To be very worried about my grandparents but not know what to do?(10 Posts)
Or if there is anything I can do? Sorry, because this is long.
My Grandparents are in their very late 70's. They have always been very young for their age and very active/organised etc. About 18 months ago my Grandfather started to become occasionally confused/forgetful and also agoraphobic. (he has had a period of his life where he was agoraphobic before) A few months ago, after being investigated for dementia etc he was told that he had had a number of tiny strokes that had affected his memory/clarity of thinking.
My Grandfather has always been very on the ball in all areas really and organised everything, particularly their finances, meticulously. He was very good with doing things online, the internet etc and has always researched every single thing they have ever done or bought very thoroughly. Now he can barely get online and at times can't even have a conversation as he forgets what he was trying to say or gets too tired. He does also have some breathing porblems, which doesn't help. This is so sad, the one thing he always said he dreaded was his 'mind going'.
My Grandmother insists she is fine. However, my sister and I have noticed she is also getting forgetful/absent minded. There's also the fact that she doesn't even know how to turn the computer on and has never done any of the organising of anything, my Grandfather has done it all.
They are both very proud and will not admit they need help, but both my sister and I feel they do. I live very far away and my sister lives where were grew up, but my Grandparents moved 'away' to be near my Grandmother's siblings etc once my sister and I grew up. My father is a waste of space and lives abroad anyway, so any relatives near my Grandparents are as elderly or older than them. My sister has suggested that perhaps my Grandparents move closer to them so her and her DH can help them out and also see more of them. They do not want to do this. My Grandmother insists they have lots of friends and family to help, but my sister and I have never met any of these friends and my Grandmother does sort of live in a sort of fantasy world and as she is friendly with people, for example neighbours and people at the gym, she feels these are her friends whereas my sister and i feel they are probably being polite and friendly, but aren't actual friends. Eg. they never go round for a coffee or go out together, just chat in the street, at the gym etc. It also seems like my Grandparents go out of their way to help their family members but not vice versa. They are very kind, giving people and my Grandmother in particular loves to help people.
My Grandparents are coming to stay for a few days next month. I am hoping I can chat to them then, but I'm not sure what to say. I supect they will just insist they do not need help and I don't really see what I can do?
I hope this makes sense, I really feel very upset about it all. I am sure my Grandmother would feel IABU to be worried, but am I?
YANBU but I haven't been in this situaton so I don't know what to say. I'm sure someone who is wiser (probably Worra) will be along soon enough.
If they are insistent they don't want any help then there is nothing you can do. Elderly people have to be severely mentally impaired to take decisions out of their hands. It sounds as though they aren't in any danger at the moment. All you can do is be supportive and remind thenm GP/ social services are there if needed. Your grandfather has already had his memory assessed, but if your grandfather and grandmother refuse help then there isn't much you can do unless you feel he is in danger.
Moving people with dementia isn't necessarily a good idea as they get more confused. It may be that they are functioning as well as they can in the circumstances and you have to come to terms with the fact that they are ageing.
If they are still up to long distance travel to see you they can't be that bad.
Could you or your DSis switch it to the other foot? Ask if there's any way they could move closer to (one of you) because you need their help with the DCs/garden/keeping an eye on the house etc ? Also, what is the chance of a 'granny flat' or extension. Older people don't always want to live in the middle of a house of younger people but an extension, allied with a request for assistance, might be more acceptable.
YANBU by the way. I'd worry also.
Under Other Stuff you'll find an elderly parents subject...some clever mumsnetters over there might have some good ideas.
I think you are right that they don't want to move again, although they say it is because my Grandmother's family need them, although what really happens is they use them . My sister has tried to say they would be helping by moving closer, but I do think it is mainly my Grandfather who can't face moving, my Grandmother probably would if it was just her. There is no way my sister could move closer due to employment and they wouldn't be able to afford a house where my Grandparents live or within any sensible distance. I move around a lot because my DH is in the army, so we don't even own our own home yet.
Why would they want to move away from their home and their neighbourhood to be near your sister? You might not think they have much of a life but they seem to be happy.
What specifically are you worried that they need help with? What do you think might go wrong? Doctors appointments? Bills? Work that out and offer practical help with specifics. Avoid communicating to them that them you think they are incapable of looking after themselves, respect them and treat them like the adults they are.
Has you got Enduring Power of Attorney organised? My great aunt controlled their money, then had a stroke leaving her unable to sign a cheque - we had a mad scramble lasting several months to get their household bills etc paid as my great uncle had no access to the money. I now have the paperwork lodged so that, should something incapacitate one/both of my parents, i can access their cash in a limited way to ensure their care. There are strict criteria to be met beforehand, i can't just waltz in and take over.
It might be worth telling them about your "friend" who is having this trouble at the moment (actually, it all happened about 15 years ago for me!) and how hard and worrying it is fir her, and shall we get it organised look I've got the details from helping her research it...
At least then you know that the electric will stay connected and the care workers will get paid (i think my dad is still out of pocket, not that we're bothered)
The worst thing you can do with anyone with any sign of dementia is move them. They are comfortable with what they know and have problems learning new things or places.
Are they eating properly, is the house clean, do they take any medicines they are prescribed? If the answers are yes then they are probably ok for now.
It would be a good idea for them to put all of their bills on direct debit and consider doing a living will, which will allow a nominated person to take financial control in the future, if it becomes necessary.
Try to visit regularly and see if things start to worsen, if they do phone social services and ask for a care asessment. They will get a plan together, meals on wheels or a carer visiting. In my experience it is better to start these things fairly early so they can become the norm before any severe dementia.
I feel for you it is very hard watching elderly relatives deteriorate.
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