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Dementia and grandchildren

(13 Posts)
AbbeyRoadCrossing Sun 01-Jan-17 19:24:40

Hello everyone, I'm new to this board and first post on this part of mn.

Mum has alzheimers and lives about 3 hours away from us with dad. My sibling is disabled and unable to help. My kids are aged 1 and 2 and in full toddler phase.

Christmas was awful. Despite trying to rise above the nasty comments I failed miserably and had an argument with my parents who asked us to leave. Source of argument was noise from the toddlers and how I'm a bad parent for being unable to keep them silent all day.
The worst bit was Dad said some horrible things too but I know he's worn down from being the main carer.

To get to the point - I feel a bit stuck. They are obviously not able to cope with the noise and disruption of toddlers. And at Christmas I took them out for the majority of the day. But then say they are missing them growing up.
Also feel such a bitch for arguing but a build up comments got to me. It's awful of me but it happened.
Not sure how to support them from a distance with toddlers in tow. Perhaps it's not even possible?

ZaZathecat Mon 02-Jan-17 12:05:37

Hi Abbey, I sympathise with you though not in exact same circs. I have dm with dementia, just gone into care home and not happy about it, and 2 teenagers.
Just wanted to offer a practical suggestion in case it helps. Would you be able to stay nearby when you visit, e.g. Airbnb rental or Travelodge so your visits with the dc could be little and often? Costs more but if you can afford it you might get more pleasure having a mini holiday yourselves while slotting in visits to your parents.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Mon 02-Jan-17 14:28:16

Thank you for replying. Yes we could do something like that.
I guess part of the disease is she's quite easily offended so not sure if that would go down too well but I think it's probably the best solution so we can pop in and leave when it's got enough for her.

ZaZathecat Mon 02-Jan-17 21:05:23

You end up 'upsetting' her either way so you may as well make it easier for you and your dc. Also, I often make up excuses to my dm to avoid problems, e.g. if I just want a day off from seeing her I say I have to work or something, otherwise she'd be upset because she can't understand why I wouldn't want to see her every day. Maybe you could have a good (made up) reason to stay nearby.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Mon 02-Jan-17 21:17:35

That's very true. It's so bloody hard isn't it?
Meanwhile I need to get better at ignoring comments and rising above it.
Thank you for your help

ZaZathecat Mon 02-Jan-17 22:16:04

Yep, it's easier said than done I know. When dm says things that make me feel guilty I try to tell myself it's the dementia talking, but I still feel the guilt.

ZaZathecat Mon 02-Jan-17 22:17:26

By the way there's lots more support on the Elderly Parents topic and plenty of people who understand what you're going through.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Mon 02-Jan-17 23:33:53

Thank you I'll take a look at

mrsmalcolmreynolds Tue 03-Jan-17 16:34:55

Hi AbbeyRoadCrossing - no solutions here I'm afraid other than the idea of staying somewhere local rather than at your DParents' house. I am in very much the same position - DM has Alzheimers and came to us for Christmas and although she had some nice moments with the DC (aged 7 and 3) their liveliness and just the increased noise levels compared to what she is used to made things really difficult.

It's really hard as she is very keen to spend time with them before it gets too advanced but she's increasingly unable to participate in things with them or even cope with them being around for more than a short period.

Traalaa Fri 06-Jan-17 09:44:17

I'm a couple of hours away and my dad cares for mum who has Alzheimer's too. Really, really hard to help when you've got kids/ family of your own. It just doesn't work does it.

I thought I'd post just to say that what really seems to help my Dad is knowing I'm going to phone every day and that he'll have a chance to chat. I make sure that there are no distractions and that I have a proper amount of time, so at least 12/15 minutes. It's easier for me as my DS is 12 now, but just giving them that time seems to really help. Could you manage that? At least it's something!

Blossomdeary Fri 06-Jan-17 09:53:57

It's bloody awful thing! - been through all this with both parents. Both were highly intelligent people and watching them get eaten away was truly horrific - and neither would have wanted us children to be put through the pain of it all. Dreadful.

I remember coming back from a visit and sitting in the bath weeping because I knew we had "lost" Mum even though she was physically there.

I think the solution to your problem with the little ones is to create a "little and often" situation that your parents might be able to cope better with - as others have suggested.

In the end people with dementia just live in the moment - so creating some good moments for her, however short, is the way to go.

You have all my sympathy. flowers

AbbeyRoadCrossing Sat 07-Jan-17 18:47:26

Thank you for all your replies, much appreciated. Phoning much more often is a great idea too.
I suggested to Dad today that we come on a day trip and he wasn't impressed but coming for a few days and mainly keeping the kids away from them seems not good for anyone especially in the cold - only so long we can spend at the park!

Baylisiana Sat 07-Jan-17 18:55:10

I am sorry OP, this sounds so hard. Your DF being there though means that care or responsibility for arranging it does not fall fully on you. Does he get any proper breaks? I hear what people are saying about it being hard to help if you have family of your own, but surely that relies on their other parent being a carer which will often not be the case.

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