To think just this bloody once they could have stepped up?

(23 Posts)
CalliopeTorres Wed 30-Dec-15 14:02:42

My Grandad (80) has vascular dementia/Alzheimer's and over the last 3 years has gone rapidly downhill to the point that he doesn't recognise any of his family and regularly refers to my grandma (79) his wife of almost 60 years as 'my wife' or 'the boss' as he doesn't know her name. It's utterly heartbreaking. My grandma and grandad have 3 kids and 6 grandkids, my mum is the oldest child and she has two younger brothers. Each with 2 kids.

My mum has taken on as much of he burden with my grandad as she can baring in mind she still works full time, she has negotiated with her boss that she can use annual leave and flexi days to work a 4 day week most of the time so she can take my grandad out at least once per week to give me grandma a break. My dad drops in on them a few times a week and will help with little jobs around the house and it's always them that my Grandma calls if she needs something practical doing eg the washing machine breaks etc.

Anyway. Enough scene setting. My sister is getting married on jersey next year, we're flying on the Wednesday and coming home on the Monday, my mam and dad are driving with their caravan as they plan to go to France afterwards for their annual holiday. Because of this my mam spoke to both my uncles and basically asked them and their families to step up and help my grandma and grandad as they wanted to go and my parents would be busy with their daughter as it is her wedding. Much assurances from them that of course they'll look after their mum and dad etc

So the flights came out a couple of months ago and we booked ours asap, uncles were informed and that is when they unveiled their grand plan to drive to jersey with both of their families (8 of them) and my grandparents. In a minibus. And get the Ferry to Jersey (10 hours due to size of vehicle). Ok so maybe driving was thought out with my elderly grandparents in mind. Maybe they realised the airport might be a scary place for my grandad and they plan to drive slowly with lots of stops and get him somewhere to sleep on the ferry?

Or not. They decided to minimise time off work they would leave at around 11pm on the Thursday night, drive through the night get an early morning ferry and arrive to Jersey late on the Friday evening. Wedding on the Saturday and leave on the Sunday morning driving through as quickly as possible to get home. They knew it was a selfish plan as they openly said they were going to lie to my grandma about it and say they were going to leave earlier right up until the last minute.

I kind of intervened and said this was ridiculous and they weren't thinking of these two oaps and was shouted down. My grandma thankfully came to her own conclusion that driving was a bad idea and she is now going to fly with us. I don't mind at all and would rather help them negotiate an airport than put them through the ordeal that driving is. My mam is pretty pissed off that after asking my uncles to step up they were quite happy to make it so difficult for my grandparents that it's been left to me to sort them out.

My grandma won't have a word said against either son, apparently they are upset that they can't fly with them (like bollocks they are) and they have tried their best to help out but because of work they can't take as much time off as us.

Except what my grandma doesn't know is that now they have been relieved of their 'duty' the two sons are planning on taking separate cars and are talking about travelling on to mainland Europe following the wedding 'to make a holiday out of it'. I'm absolutely fucking livid at these selfish grown men and women in their 40's who can't consider their elderly parents at all. When asked individually why they don't want to help out more they both said the father they knew and loved is no longer there and they actually used the phrase 'my dad might as well be dead'. It's so upsetting and I'm so cross that they're still the golden boys who can do no wrong despite having to me such abhorrent views on their father. I'm so mad.

So AIBU in wanting to tell both my uncles what I think of them? I won't as sister has asked me to pipe down so as not to spoil the wedding and upset my grandma. But man. Having to listen to how great her sons are whilst my mother does so much for her is really galling.

Topseyt Wed 30-Dec-15 14:13:33

I'd be very tempted to lay into them, though I realise you have to tread carefully because if the atmosphere it could cause at the wedding.

Do your grandparents have all of the external help that they may be entitled to when they are at home? Have their needs been assessed?

Sounds like too much is falling on your Mum here, though solutions are easier talked about than achieved.

honeysucklejasmine Wed 30-Dec-15 14:14:15

So if your parents are taking a (well deserved) holiday after the wedding of their daughter, what's going to happen to your grandparents? Your uncles were supposed to be looking out for them post wedding, and now they are going on holiday too, despite assuring your family they would help! angry

My grandmother experienced this when her mother was declining. Her three brothers did nothing. Even when great Grandma started getting aggressive and accusing my grandmother of stealing her money (she had POA) they still sat back and let my grandmother deal with it alone.

When my grandfather died, my aubt couldn't face it. She was totally in denial, insisting he'd be fine right up to his death. He had Parkinson's for a decade and she just couldn't process it. Left it to my mum, Grandma and grandma's DIL to deal with. For years.

I don't know whether it is selfishness or an inability to deal with grief. But either way its v unfair on the one shouldering the burden all alone.

TiredButFineODFOJ Wed 30-Dec-15 14:15:18

flowers that's fucking awful

wonkylegs Wed 30-Dec-15 14:15:34

Family's can be a right PITA about things like this. We have been dealing with a grandparent (sorting out house move & healthcare & everyday living) and helping out parents but one of the parents siblings in particular is being an awfully selfish individual - apparently he can't help in anyway, despite having no job or family or health problems - all of which the rest of us have in spades.
My siblings are a bit like this except they help out when it suits them rather than when it's necessarily needed - like my sister cleaned my mums house and cleared a load of junk because she wanted to move in with her which is fine but when we were worried about my mums health she couldn't even pick up the phone (she's off travelling having one of her multiple adult 'gap' years)
I've stopped beating about the bush as I've realised they often don't have any awareness of how selfish their behaviour is.
It's tricky when there is a wedding involved but I'd clear the air now or it might blow up once the drink is flowing at the wedding itself which would be worse.

CalliopeTorres Wed 30-Dec-15 14:17:56

There's no external help at the minute as it's manageable between my grandma and my mum. And my grandma is very proud and stubborn and to get anyone external in will take a lot of persuading as she will feel as though she has failed in some way at not being able to care for him on her own.

Thing is I get that it's difficult to be around my grandad as he isn't the same person he was, but he's still a person! A person who is old and scared and he still did all those fantastic dad and grandad things he just can't remember it anymore. To hear his sons say that basically because he can't remember them he might as well be dead makes me so upset. Selfish selfish bastards.

Badders123 Wed 30-Dec-15 14:42:25

Don't do it.
It won't change anything and they will probably all gang up on you and you will be the bad guy.
Since my dad died I have done everything for mum...I was dads executor and also planned the funeral at no help at all. I go to see her everyday and do dr appts and Xmas week when she was in hospital (my sister went away for 4 days and my brother said he "might" be able to go and see her) I did all the visiting etc on my own. It was very tiring.
She makes it perfectly clear my brother is the golden child and my sister is very selfish, always has been.
But who does she phone at 2am?
You guessed it.
Except she has really upset me today by giving me no thought at all...I ended up getting up very early when I didn't have to. A simple phone call yesterday would have stopped me setting my alarm (she got a better offer basically)
Don't know what the answer is except that I have to back off for my own sanity.
Your uncles are being dicks.
Upsetting your grandma and sister won't change that.
Hope it all goes ok.

Aposey Wed 30-Dec-15 14:47:37

Perhaps it would be worth asking them what kind of support from their family they would like in their old age? They are setting up the expectation with their own children that once parents become old and difficult that they can just be ignored. Is that how they would like their own children to treat them?!

I agree that it might be best to clear the air now, ideally tactfully so as not to cause too much upset, rather than let it bubble up at the wedding.

Viviennemary Wed 30-Dec-15 14:59:41

People should be told what you think of them. All this keep quiet and put up with it just allows others to go their selfish ways and behave as they have always done.

Viviennemary Wed 30-Dec-15 15:01:30

I don't think it will do them any harm to hear a bit of home truths if resentment is bubbling over. People cannot be relied on. This is a sad but true fact. Hope things work out whatever you decide.

Badders123 Wed 30-Dec-15 15:16:23

<shrug>
It might make the op feel better for a short while but it will upset her sister, whose wedding it is, her mother and her grandmother.
Her uncles, I assure you, will not give a shit.
By all means, if you can't keep your feelings under wraps, then have it out but after the wedding.

Skzr1214 Wed 30-Dec-15 15:25:32

What a selfish pair of sons and their wives! I suggest you devise a detailed plan.next time for them to follow. Discuss it openly with grandma and family and when they back off, it will be clear to your grandma who is keeping their interest the preference. I have faced primary care for sick parent for a long time and it's really binding. So it should be respected by other family members. I suggest wait till the wedding is over and the have an open confrontation minus the grandparents. It will hurt them too much. So best to do it among you other family members. Use some relatives/mutual friends to be there to buffer a bit and then make this situation public too. Primary caters (your mum and grandma) go through hell already. Such selfish sons should not be allowed to get away with his too. At least they should loose their face in public.

CalliopeTorres Wed 30-Dec-15 17:41:27

Thank you. I'm sure this will all come out in the wash but I will hold it in until after the wedding as I don't wish to spoil it for my sister. Hopefully if the brothers Grimm do decide to 'make a holiday of it' my Gran will see then that this whole thing is a show. But I suspect it still wouldn't change her opinion.

charlestonchaplin Wed 30-Dec-15 19:01:42

Yes your uncles should be involved in their parents' care but it's not just children that can help. Grandchildren are just as capable of getting involved, especially if they are adults. I get that you'll be busy with your sister's wedding, and it would be best if your grandparents were looked after at home, but the 'scene-setting' gives the distinct impression that caring is a job for the children, and that grandchildren should on no account be troubled.

OhBigHairyBollocks Wed 30-Dec-15 19:37:58

YANBU. You know you can't say anything though.

My sympathies OP- Alzheimers is absolutely evil and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, or indeed anyone's family. Its such an awful awful disease to witness. Will your grandfather be well enough to travel?

CalliopeTorres Wed 30-Dec-15 19:55:45

Charleston no that's absolutely the case and I argued for my grandparents to come with me to start but my mum really wanted my uncles to step up. As it is they are coming with us and we will look after them the whole time, however I am bridesmaid and I do have two young kids who will also require corralling. DH is fantastic and is more than happy to care for the kids whilst I'm on grandparent duties but I'm hacked off that we have to do it so that my uncles and their families - also with grown up kids - can enjoy themselves. Outside of this scenario I do drop in on my grandparents when time allows but as a shift worker with kids it's difficult to commit to anything regularly. I see your point though and do agree.

CalliopeTorres Wed 30-Dec-15 19:56:23

Ohbig. We're working on the assumption that he will but of course we won't know that for sure.

MidniteScribbler Wed 30-Dec-15 22:01:07

I know your family would like him at the wedding, but would it perhaps be less stressful for him to go to respite care whilst you are away?

UsedToBeAPaxmanFan Wed 30-Dec-15 22:13:05

I second Midnites suggestion. Although it might be very difficult to contemplate, your granda might be happier in a respite placement, where he would have the support he needs, rather than being at the wedding. Both would be unfamiliar environments, but in a respite placement he would get specialist support, and you and your family can concentrate on the wedding.

Then, if he gets on ok at the respite placement, perhaps regular respite can be arranged so your mum and gran get regular breaks. You could also look into specialist day centres, if he went to one once or twice a week your gran would get a break.

You and your mum sound very lovely and caring. Your uncles sound like arseholes.

sneepy Wed 30-Dec-15 22:38:39

Good fucking luck with it. My 2 uncles kept their distance when my grandparents were dying, one of them would only communicate with my mum through his wife as it was "too difficult" to talk about it. They made sure they got their fair share of any inheritance though. Some people are just twats.

CalliopeTorres Thu 31-Dec-15 03:01:25

That's not a decision for me to make and I don't think my Gran would agree to it. To be honest when it became clear that the wedding had to be held in Jersey my sister was upset as she was pretty sure that it would mean my grandparents would miss out however my Grandma is adamant she wants to attend although is realistic that in 8 months time it might not be possible for my Grandad to go with her. I know she will not countenance respite care at present so all I can do is support her and make her feel as comfortable as possible with it all. She is still quite fiercely independent and talks about 'old people' scathingly as if they were a separate breed. However she will look to her nearest and dearest for help. But seems to have a blind spot where the 'boys' are concerned.

OhBigHairyBollocks Fri 01-Jan-16 21:27:27

I would be wary of making too many decisions now OP. You say your grandfather no longer recognises any of your family.. 8 months is a long time away and i'm sure you know how much can change in that time.
It would put an incredible amount of stress on him (and you/your mum/your gran) travelling. You say your Gran is realistic about it, which is good.

My nan (and indeed many other relatives!) was never realistic about anything (My grandfather had alzheimers for 9 years but the last 3 in paticular were terrible) and it caused an awful lot of stress and tension when family gatherings were concerned.

Do get some good travel insurance though- and remember that most policies will not cover other parties (such as you, your nan, travel companions, etc) if something happens to your grandfather (that means he misses flights, etc)

OhBigHairyBollocks Fri 01-Jan-16 21:29:41

*meaning, they wont cover you if you miss your flights if something happens to your grandfather that requires medical care

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