This may be a little off-topic for this site, but I really need some advice. My beloved grandmother is in her late 80s and in the last year or so has started to suffer from dementia. After I've visited, I'll call to let her know I'm home safe (I live a few hours away) and she'll have forgotten she's seen me. She tells me my mother (her daughter) hasn't been to see her in weeks, but a neighbour will tell me she's been that morning. She has fallen twice in recent years, both times sustaining injuries that took months to heal and that have had a serious impact on her health. Most seriously, she left the gas oven on a few weeks ago and nearly caused an explosion. We've had to remove the gas appliances from her house, which resolves the immediate danger but is hardly ideal.
It's clear that she needs much greater, and closer, care that we are able to provide personally. The problem is that she is ferociously independent and refuses to accept "strangers" in the house. She insists that she will only have my mother, myself, or one of three other individuals in the house; but those three individuals, while geographically closer, all have their own lives and families to take care of, and can't make the commitment to see her more than once a week apiece. She refuses point-blank to move in with, or closer to, my mother, who lives two hours away, is in her late 60s herself, and has demands on her time at home. My mother visits twice a week. I'm working full time and visit once a fortnight.
This is not enough. She needs someone to see her at least once a day. My mother has booked agency staff to pop by for half an hour, to check that my grandmother has food in the fridge, is in good health, and has no urgent needs, but my grandmother won't open the door to them. My mother has suggested she move in with her and my father (who my grandmother adores) but she refuses absolutely, because she says she doesn't want to be a burden. When we explain (nicely) that not accepting help is much, much more of a problem than moving in would be, she won't listen.
Does anyone have any suggestions? We love her and want to respect her desire for independence and her own space, but we're at our wit's end.
Maybe what she needs, rather than agency carers who will keep changing is someone who you, your mum and the others can help her to build a relationship with by them visiting with you at first. Introduce them as someone who is going to do a task she sees as important, but might admit she can't do - hoovering, doing the inside of the windows, scrubbing the kitchen floor. This might also be referred to as 'getting a bit much for your mum to manage' too so she can form an image of this person doing your mum a favour.
If she has a calendar or diary that she uses, then put that person in there to emphasise that she is expecting that person at that time.
The lady who cleans for me also does a clean for a lady with dementia 3 times a week and checks her food levels, makes sure all is well etc, and using these techniques its worked out well
Could you also have a key safe put onto her house so that a carer could come in to check on her?
It's a small box with a four digit code to be entered and it contains the house keys. You could say it's for her just in case she forgets her keys when she goes out or the front door slams when she is putting our her rubbish.