to ask where to turn, elderly grandparents(32 Posts)
Sorry if this is in the wrong place, don't know where else to post and Im at the end of my rope. My grandparents live about 15 minutes walk from me and my sister, hour from my brother in the car.
They are both 80 this year - both have various health problems and in my grandfathers case we believe early onset dementia.
Many years ago he suffered a broken leg and has regular pain in it, has had occasions recently where he cannot get up if he falls or out of a chair.
Grandmother has fibromyalgia and is in heart failure. She had an attack at the weekend and was hospitilazed for the week coming home this yesterday. She has refused any surgery so basically will be managed but the breathing problems will continue to reoccur.
My AIBU is where do I turn for help? They are struggling but refusing to have carers in and us three grandchildren are struggling to keep them safe and looked after as we all have jobs/children and my siblings have newborn babies.
Feel like im at breaking point this week between being at the hospital, making sure grandfather was eating/ getting him to the hospital and then today he had fallen and couldn't get up. Just don't know where to turn and how to persuade them that we cant go on like this them included.
Can you get their GP to visit and talk to them.
Suggest to them Age Concern can help with home help, lifts to appointments etc.
Are they members of a church _ maybe vicar/priest can talk to the .
Sometimes old people are afraid of agencies getting involved as they might be forced into a home or something.
Sit down with them and your siblings and work out what help they need (without assigning that task to anyone) eg shopping on a Tuesday and Friday, checking on them once a day, being on call for emergencies.
Then without your grandparents you and your siblings work out what you can actually do yourselves while maintaining your own lives. Prioritise taking on things that are harder/more expensive to hire someone else to do eg being on call.
When you have this done present it to your grandparents and explain there are certain things leftover that they need to get help in to do.
This does assume they can afford help and are just refusing it, which is what your OP suggests.
Not members of a church or any kind of group really, granddad will say he hasn't got time when in fact he has loads of time just not the inclination any more.
I have tried regarding age concern and home help but they fall out with me because they don't want strangers coming into the house, they don't let anyone go upstairs in their house other than us grandchildren.
I just don't know what to do I daren't go further then 15 minutes away in case I need to get there in a hurry like today.
I think they can afford help if it was necessary, they would say oh its too expensive but its a case of not wanting it I think.
You have to toughen up and tell them they have to accept careers as you three can no longer help them, you will still visit and step in, when there is an emergency but you are no longer able to do it.
It is a common problem and my Dad through a wobbly about how he didn't need or want carers in his house. Eventually one day I said that's fine you don't have to have them but I don't want or need to help you any more and walked out, within days he had carers and within weeks he was looking for a residential home because honestly I don't think until that moment when I left had he actually realised how much I did, I think he thought I took him shopping and had a chat.
After that our relationship improved as I was becoming very resentful prior.
Good luck it is not easy, you will feel like shit and guilty but it is best in the long run. I had a breakdown which was why I walked out and I nearly lost my job as I was constantly needing to leave early, I had fertility problems and couldn't put any effort into seeing my doctor until after he died and my weigh ballooned as I was never getting to eat until 10pm then I was so tired I was eating takeaway.
Ultimately OP there is no easy answer. All you can do is to do less - refuse to pick up the slack. It is not unusual for elderly people to prefer to depend on family but that doesn't mean it's either realistic or reasonable.
If you are concerned that your grandfather has dementia, it may be worth contacting his GP to express your concerns and to ask for a referral for testing. It's worth considering as it may open up options of support as well as various medications if he does have it and keeps developing symptoms. If your grandmother has been discharged from hospital then she should have had an assessment to make sure that she was well and able enough to go. If she is not home yet then you could speak to the discharge coordinator and express your concerns. They may be able to implement a short term care package which could help your grandparents to see that the extra support is helpful long term.
Unfortunately if they are both capable of making their own decisions then aside from speaking to social services to raise specific concerns (eg if they are at risk of harm by not eating or taking medications etc) you're very limited. It may be worth sitting down with your grandparents and siblings and trying to explain that you are not able to care for them as you would all like, and that you would like to look at other helpful options (a cleaner, housekeeper, carer to help with medication on mornings, a befriender, sorting power of attorney etc). I'd also suggest this as a way of ensuring that your siblings don't leave the care and support to you, if you are the only one without children.
Age UK might be useful to call too.
Well that leaves the GP then if there is nobody else they trust enough to help them towards a solution that suits all. The GP, with your permission, could also let them know that your health is suffering now.
You need to persist in ‘pushing them’ for your own sake as well as theirs. They will be suspicious and afraid as many older people are of being ‘institutionalised’ or at the mercy of ‘bad’ carers. (Sadly some rare but horrific stories of career abuse has been hitting the press recently)
I do have children just mine are all 10+ so easier to take back and too. I know you are right its just so bloody hard theyve been like our parents since mum passed away 5 years ago and i hate letting them down but we are all really struggling and they still need more care than we can give.
Grandad maintains he is fine, but he is very rigid and set in his ways, they bicker a lot which doesnt help.
You are right they are scared, its awful but i try to explain to them that the good carers and stories dont often make the news whereas the bad do.
Promise them you'll help choose carers, check references and drop in to spot check them. But they do have to get them.
I found Age UK to be fantastic when I needed help and advice with my Mum. An advisor came out to us, assessed my Mum, worked out what she was entitled to (both financial and care related) and also filled in the forms (a mammoth task). The thing that helped the most was that I already had power of attorney so was able to set these things up and do things on my Mums behalf. They will advise on that too if you haven’t already got it. Good luck to you 👍
It sounds like you are doing a great job but understandably, at breaking point. Where are your parents in this, do they have involvement/views?
One suggestion if it isn't already in place is to get them a pendant alarm for emergencies. You may know the type of thing but if not, it's a little red button they can wear and they press it if they have a fall. It contacts the 24 hr call team who have your details (anyone you nominate to be an emergency contact) and they then call and see if you can go round.
My grandma has one from Lifeline24 (just google them) and it's amazing, and gives me peace of mind as she has had falls in the past and couldn't contact anyone. I would really recommend them.
There's an "elderly" board on here which has lots of information, also stories of people in similar situations which helps with the inevitable guilt when you feel you're not meeting their needs.
supermariossister I know that you said your GPs don't want any help, but if you get in touch with Adult Social Services and tell them you're a carer and you need support they can steer you in the right direction. Carer's Network (or whatever it's called in your area) can give you invaluable information, or just somewhere to vent amongst people going through the similar things.
sorry I have no advise OP as I live abroad and not sure the system there. I know how tough it is though as I am one of the primary carers for my 90year old GM who lives alone and was also to my 91year old Nan till she died last year. It's really tough and you have my sympathy. Good luck getting help for them.
Sorry you are going through this: it’s so hard. What I would say that helped in a similar situation I faced with my elderly parents is that I made a deal with them that they’d ‘try’ the carers for two weeks and could then refuse to have them if they still didn’t want them after the two weeks. It was a risky bet but it worked: the carers were brilliant and they wouldn’t be without them now. I think what helped is that it meant my parents still felt they had a little control over the situation. Whatever you do though, try to take care of yourself too: this is a trying and exhausting situation for you too.
My dad (mum has dementia) didn't want carers. I got tough and told him that they had to have them, and that if they weren't having carers that the hospital wouldn't discharge mum (not a lie entirely, but a slight exaggeration). After the first lot, he got used to it, and its been much easier to add to their care package with time - and they are still both at home.
If you speak to the staff on the ward, they can put you in touch with the hospital social worker and even though they won't press carers on them if there is family around to do these things, you can use their words iyswim. My thoughts meant nothing to dad, the nurses saying they needed things were taken as gospel!
Contact Social Services.
They will be entitled to carers.
It is a difficult subject to broach with their generation but it is for their own safety.
There is a thing called Direct Payment ( where I live in NI) which allows you to take control of budget for carer yourself. It means you can employ one person to call each day rather than different carers every time iykwim.
We had similar problems with my mil when she lived at home. We had social services come round and they told her she needed a carer if she wanted to stay in her own home. She seemed to listen to them more and accepted it. The carer firm also came round while we were there and did an interview about how they could help. The lady that owned the care firm and the carers themselves were so friendly that she relaxed into their care amazingly quick once they started.
I'd go for the button/buzzer around their neck too.
Good luck. It's very hard. But you do need to insist on some help at this point. Cruel to be kind..
The elderly parents board is helpful,
I too am in a nightmare situation with a parent and have encountered much of the same. My half-term has disappeared because I have had to care for my mum who had another fall. Can't cope much longer
It is really hard, things havent improved today if anything they have got worse. Ive noted down the number for adult social care and occupational therapy so am planning to ring them tomorrow. Do i need to tell them who i am? she will really fall out with me if it gets back that it was me and im scared to fall out with grandmother as it then leaves grandad fending for himself so to speak.
Wondered if it was worthwhile speaking to brother and sister and granparents daughter ( lives 8 hours away but has been down recently and seen how things are) and having a list of concerns.
I feel like a massive dick doing this, but something has got to give before one of them gets hurt or worse.
You aren't being a dick, you are ensuring their safety, and ability to stay at home. Once I started parenting my parents it was easier to deal with things tbh
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