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Are we being unreasonable to want to force her?

(130 Posts)
CutToChase Sat 26-Sep-20 08:10:32

My gran is in her late 80s and lives in England.
My parents live in Ireland.

My gran lives in this kind of place, I'm not sure what you call it: lots of self contained flats for elderly people, so it's not really a home, more like a kind of assisted living residence.

She has always been very independent.

She has all her marbles and is sharp as a tack. She was also a war child, so you know the drill: trooping on without complaint.

However her health has been deteriorating rapidly. She has had just about every type of cancer you can imagine. Now her cancer has become skin cancer. Her feet are swollen, some days she cant wear shoes. Last week her consultant told her the cancer had spread to her back. It turns out it was shingles.

We have started a campaign to try and get her to go over to live with my mum in ireland now. She has always said she wanted to do this. She can travel and is so happy when she is over there.

I've been calling her weekly (we all take turns) and yesterday I really said we needed to get her over to live in ireland and she said how much she would love that. My mum is worried now that autumn is coming and there might be more lockdown in the UK and she could deteriorate and be all on her own.

My gran seems to really want this but something is stopping her. She says she feels too tired to make it happen. I also think she is worried about changing consultants etc.

But what should we do? It cant be right that we leave her there in the UK to live alone through this? Especially when she would love to go and live with my mum. At the same time she is digging her heels in - I'm not too sure I fully understand why. But wouldnt it be better for her if we forced her? I know we need to respect the elderly's decisions. But surely this is the right thing for her? If this is the end, surely it is better to spend them in peace, in a family home with the comforting presence of people who love her. Maybe she is just scared and to a certain extent it could be helpful for us to make the decision for her?

YABU = Respect her wishes and drop it
YANBU = Take control and get her to ireland

OP’s posts: |
CheshireDing Sat 26-Sep-20 08:13:16

Has she got friends/a social life in England ? She may be worried about that as well as changing Doctors.

willloman Sat 26-Sep-20 08:13:21

You need to handle all the practical stuff.
I get exhausted thinking of moving - can't imagine at 80 with illness how daunting it must seem.
Tell her you will arrange everything and then do.

CutToChase Sat 26-Sep-20 08:21:33

@CheshireDing Yes, she does have people she sees regularly, maybe not an ultra active social life but certainly she has made friends with people in the residence. She also has my uncle and aunt and her grandson who live close by, so it's not like shes completely stranded.
It's more about the comforts of living with family I think she misses - you know, watching the telly with someone, sitting down to a family meal together every night, being involved in a household.

It's really tricky.

OP’s posts: |
Lonelykettleshed Sat 26-Sep-20 08:26:41

Could you try to address the concerns - say that you (as a family) will pack everything up for her and help her to get ready for the move, that you will find a new consultant etc. Perhaps she likes the idea but is just completely overwhelmed by all of the practical steps needed to make it happen.

eosmum Sat 26-Sep-20 08:27:42

She goes for a holiday first, then it gets extended etc. that’s how we are doing it with my mum. We are into week 8 of her holiday now though we haven’t moved country.

user1471462115 Sat 26-Sep-20 08:41:06

Are you NI ? So she will get free health care ?

Or will you have to pay ? As she is not entitled? Do you know how often people with cancer need to see a HCP and can you afford it ?

RedRumTheHorse Sat 26-Sep-20 08:41:33

Your gran has one of her other children and spouse living nearby. Instead of you just taking over talk to them about your gran's needs which include her emotional needs. They may understand her reasons better than you for her not moving.

All the older OAPs I know and have known would be fucked off if a younger family member bulldozed them into moving even if it is/was to their home country.

I know a younger OAP who is Irish and while he loves his holidays in Ireland with his family he won't move back their permanently as England is his home. His health is getting worse so this was actually discussed with him. Due to his previous generosity he now has some close friends as carers.

EarringsandLipstick Sat 26-Sep-20 08:43:26

OP, I think you need to discuss with her doctors first (with her permission)

If she has cancer everywhere, has she much time left? (Sorry for the bluntness of that question)

Expecting an elderly lady in ill-health to move her life to another country, in these difficult times, sounds very unfair.

She may think it would be good in theory but the thought might exhaust her.

Honestly, I think your DM (if it's her mum?) needs to come over to the UK & be there for your granny. I know that's not easy either but it seems like the right thing to do.

EarringsandLipstick Sat 26-Sep-20 08:44:21

She also has my uncle and aunt and her grandson who live close by, so it's not like shes completely stranded.

Sorry I missed this before I posted. Ignore my bit about your DM needing to move over then!

LadyLoungeALot Sat 26-Sep-20 08:48:53

You would be very unreasonable to "force" her to do anything.

awesomeaircraft Sat 26-Sep-20 08:55:52

Ask her if she finds the logistics overwhelming and would like the family to sort out the admin/flights/medical appointments. If she is the type not to complain but is very mentally sharp, keep talking with her and explaining that you are unsure if she really wants to leave, etc.

I expect she will want the help. Transferring medical records, etc is not an easy task, let alone for an 80 year old cancer patient.

zafferana Sat 26-Sep-20 08:59:31


You need to handle all the practical stuff.
I get exhausted thinking of moving - can't imagine at 80 with illness how daunting it must seem.
Tell her you will arrange everything and then do.

This^. Expecting an elderly and unwell woman to sort out not only a move of home, but also of country is totally unreasonable. If she wants it to happen and so does your DM, FGS stop dithering the pair of you and make it happen. But you will have to organise it. You can't expect her to even know where to start. So stop talking and start acting (you and your DM) and accept that this is going to be a big job for the pair of you until it's done.

Submariner Sat 26-Sep-20 09:02:42

You can't force her to move if she has capacity to refuse. Even if she didn't have capacity you would have to think about whether it would be in her best interests to leave one set of family and a settled home to travel a long distance while so unwell.

It sounds really hard but I would focus on how you can get the rest of the family around her. I feel for you having to deal with this in the current circumstances.

rainkeepsfallingdown Sat 26-Sep-20 09:05:20

I'm not sure moving her is the right thing to do, and I suspect she has the same concern, hence why she hasn't taken steps to move. Being enthusiastic might be her way of appeasing you all - there's no follow through, perhaps because she doesn't actually want to move (but doesn't want to hurt your feelings).

The right thing, if she needed more company, would typically be for someone to move in with her (rather than her with them), but I think there's usually an age and occupant restriction on those places, so I don't think any of you could actually do that, even if you were willing.

If you lived nearby, you still might not be allowed to see her in the event of a lockdown. And there are some of you nearby already, anyway.

If she moved in with one of you (but nearby, not Ireland), she would still lose part of her daily routine. You might be able to provide her with family companionship, but what about her medical needs? Her friends? She has a good set up going on.

I think on balance it makes more sense to leave her where she is, but to continue with the regular calls.

CoffeeAndWhisky Sat 26-Sep-20 09:06:54

Honestly, at that age and in these circumstances, I would expect her children/grandchildren to arrange the move. Check if X date suits her to move out and then get the ball rolling. Assuming she really wants to move, obviously.

Even if she is cognitively fit for her age, normal cognitive decline still means it can become really really difficult for older adults to do something as complex as arranging to move. She'll have to cancel her current lease, arrange for movers and for removal of anything she doesn't want to take. Will have to have her files transferred to a new location (ask for a papercopy, it will make things quicker). She will also have to arrange her own transport - can you pick her up? Maybe with a moving van? If not, that would mean train + ferry + train...

Insurances and subscriptions need changed etc - that is an awful lot to think about. Our perception has a bottleneck, we can only process so much information before we become overloaded. The older we become, the more difficult it becomes to process changes in our surrounding, so she'll have to deal with that on top of things. And anyone knows the feeling after a long and busy day, when you just want to have good cry for no other reason than that things have been 'a bit too much'.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Sat 26-Sep-20 09:09:13

I agree that someone else would have to do all the packing, make all the arrangements, and travel with her. I dare say that even thinking about it all makes her feel exhausted - hardly surprising.

Has anyone told her that someone else will see to absolutely everything?
Presumably there may be treasured possessions - things that won’t go in suitcases - that she doesn’t want to leave behind - she may need to be told that any such things can be sent, so she won’t have to part with them.

ChicCroissant Sat 26-Sep-20 09:09:31

So she lives near her son? I doubt she does want to move to Ireland, she may want to see your mother/her daughter though it may be difficult for your mother to travel to the UK at the moment.

Stop the campaign, it's putting pressure on her that she doesn't need when she's ill.

MagnoliaXYZ Sat 26-Sep-20 09:10:40

You said she has all her marbles. She can make the decision herself and you and your family should not 'force her' to move. She has every right to 'dig her heels in.' You say she said she would love to move to Ireland; sometimes I half-heartedly agree to doing something for the peace with no intent to actually follow through with this - could it be something like that when she says She would love to move over there? She is not alone, she has family living locally. She has friends. She has a life in England. Is this a way for you and your mum to make you feel less guilty for spending less time with her than her other family members?

You need to drop the 'campaign,' let her know moving to Ireland is an option and that you would support her with the practicalities and then let her make her own decision. And you all need to respect that decision.

kittykat35 Sat 26-Sep-20 09:12:37

This will give you information on what medical care she can receive. She will need to be resident for a year before it is free as such and then she will need to meet the criteria for a medical card.

FredaFrogspawn Sat 26-Sep-20 09:14:43

Encourage a stay and see how she feels when she’s there? You can then pack everything up etc if it is obvious to her that it’s safer and she likes staying there.

Bunnymumy Sat 26-Sep-20 09:16:05

My guess would be that she knows she only has so long left and doesnt want her kid to see her suffer.

A holiday is all well and good because she can put on the 'grin and bare it stiff upper lip' for a week or two but...not 24/7. The way you have described her, she is a tough cookie and probably wants people to be able to remember her at her best, not as someone old and sick.

And I'm sure she doesn't want to be found by her daughter when her time comes.

Sad things to think about but I think thats what would be going through my head. Not wanting to be a burden or leave people with sad memories of me.

Maybe her daughter could reassure her that all time spent with her is precious, that she doesnt need to worry about pretending to be strong for other people. Talk about some good memories that shared of when they were both younger and full of beans. Perhaps a "you would never be a burden, you're my mum" is sonething she really needs to hear.

seayork2020 Sat 26-Sep-20 09:20:02

Someone needs to really find out what she actually wants, not what people think she wants or 'i will do x because I don't want to be a burden'

But what she genuinely wants then go with that

SunbathingDragon Sat 26-Sep-20 09:24:01

You can’t take control and make her unless you have POA or a deputyship (which you won’t get because she has mental capacity).

By all means ask her nicely once more and offer to do all the groundwork for her but otherwise respect the fact she has very little time left and probably doesn’t want the same conversation with you and her family every time she speaks to you. It’s quite possible she feels safest where she is and doesn’t want to cause offence by saying she wants to stay put. Don’t add the burden of your wants to her final days.

IdblowJonSnow Sat 26-Sep-20 09:24:33

You cant force her. confused
Ask her what she really wants.
If she doesn't have much time then getting her to move seems unnecessarily stressful and not a good way to spend her remaining time?

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