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Does anyone else feel in a sandwich between their elderly Mum and their dcs?

(17 Posts)
jchocchip Sat 27-Oct-12 21:01:46

My Mum is bed/chair bound on full hoist and although she has moments when she is happy and enjoys visitors and talking on the phone and writing birthday cards, sometimes she is so frustrated by her situation that nothing is right and she is really down and anxious. I have spent quite a lot of weekends with her, leaving my own children and missing out on family time. So I feel guilty if I go and guilty if I don't. One of my dds is living with her this year while at college, but I don't want her to do too much for her Gran as she needs to concentrate on her studies. Just wondered if anyone else is in a similar "sandwich"

ClareMarriott Sun 28-Oct-12 11:30:45

Is your family her own family ? Is it just a location thing that your child is staying with her ? What help, if any, do Social Services provide?

jchocchip Sun 28-Oct-12 17:42:31

Its just location, I can't be in two places at once, takes at least 3 hours to get there. She has 4 visits a day up, lunch , tea and tuck with 2 carers (that she pays something towards) so physically she is cared for. Its just the emotional side that I find hard. Dd chose to go, she liked the course better than the local ones and she knew she would stay at her Grans for financial reasons. Dd is a mature 18 and is ok with the arrangement and it is good for both of them to spend a bit of time together and working ok - dd cooked cake yesterday and is happy to do bits of shopping and reaching things the carers have left out of reach. (!)

ClareMarriott Mon 29-Oct-12 08:45:06

I'm only asking on this one, not criticising you, but has your daughter stayed with her grandmother for any length of time or is your daughter staying with her for a year an easy way out for you, as you do say you want her to concentrate on her studies and not do too much for her grandmother?

Have you offered to pay something to your mother to cover the time your daughter is with her ? What is going to happen with food buying ( not necessarily bits of shopping ) , cooking for when they are together ( no carers ) , the change with the council tax from a single person to there being two living at the house, what if your mother needs the GP or to go to hospital ? Your daughter will be going to college, studying, going out with friends ? How does this leave your mother ? I am guessing she is maybe late 60's early 70's. Does she actually get out of the house if she can spend some time in a chair ? As I say I am not criticising you but just wondered about the reasons for her staying with her grandmother

jchocchip Mon 29-Oct-12 10:05:43

no, mum is late 80s and hasn't been able to walk or transfer by herself for over 18 months. students don't count for council tax, so that is irrelevant. Mum has lots of friends of all ages coming in and is mentally independent, if she needs the gp he knows the keysafe code -he came the other day while dd at college and gave her the flu jab.
Dd chose to go and stay with her Gran as she liked that course better and it does give her some independence to be away from home. Mum hardly ever gets out, except hospital appointments, it is uncomfortable to be in a wheelchair for any length of time and it requires two people to hoist her into the wheelchair, this is also painful.
This isn't really about my dd and her gran, they get on fine and dd can cook from scratch sometimes which mum really appreciates cos she is fed up of ready meals which she usually has.
I just wish I could do more for Mum, but I work full time and have other responsibilities. Just wondered if there was anyone in a similar position.

readsalotgirl Wed 31-Oct-12 20:30:06

Not in a similar situation now as mum passed away earlier this year but I think there are a lot of folk in this situation. I was as we lived 3 hours away from mum and it was difficult to visit as I was working (part-time) dh working shifts and one dd with a very busy schedule and not old enough to be left at home while I went to sort out mums plumbing emergencies/ broken washing machine/ make sure she went to the GP after a fall etc. Not helped by dsis wondering why I couldn't "just pop down" hmm. I do sympathise and think it's great your dd is happy to sepnd time with her gran - very precious for both of them.

jchocchip Wed 31-Oct-12 21:48:11

Sorry to hear that you have lost your Mum, readalotgirl. I also think that there will be others in a similar situation. It is being torn in different directions that is hard. I would like to do more for Mum but it is hard to find the time. I know what you mean about not being able to just pop in!
My brother and two nephews are there for a few days and today sil popped in with her dcs breaking the very long journey up north to her Mum, so I'm not alone in this. Problem is my brothers are about as far away as me geographically. Mum didn't want to move when she could have, and she was always flitting about on her senior citizens railcard and bus pass. It is so hard to watch her being so dependent on other people for the littlest things.

Dd is loving her course and making new friends.
I do think that it is a precious time for the two of them, Mum used to teach and is very interested in dds course.

funnyperson Thu 22-Nov-12 01:17:48

Modern medicine means we are left with handicapped elderly people at home. I don't think its that easy for the grandparents or the grandchildren in such scenarios. My mums parents died of short illnesses. No one was sandwiched.

Mosman Sun 25-Nov-12 03:12:58

I hope not to be given flu jabs and rattle filled with medication into my 80's it's no life is it.
Having said that I don't feel torn at all between the DC's and elderly parents or in laws, if they choose to have operations and medication to keep them going then they are choosing a life of discomfort and often depression so they have to muddle through.

funnyperson Sun 25-Nov-12 05:53:18

Operations and medicine are presented as likely to improve health. Without them, the quality of an older persons life would be a lot worse. Older people are amazing but part of looking after them is because one has known them in better times when they were younger so it is easy to give back. I wouldn't think that a grandchild trying to live a student life would find that living with a granny with limited mobility would provide as many 'precious moments' as living in student hall but I could be wrong.

funnyperson Sun 25-Nov-12 06:00:29

Does the grandchild get paid for being a carer? Does the granny get paid for feeding and housing the grandchild? Do the granny and grandchild have a choice? Is this a way for parents to get out of caring for granny and paying for university accommodation for the young person?
I think many elderly people choose a lonely life because they dont want t socialise with old friends. But also think that when old and frail, transport and socialising become very difficult.

andiu Sun 25-Nov-12 06:20:16

Just wanted to say well done for coping with it all. I was in a similar situation for years with my Mother and children. My Mother has now died and my children have all but left home so it has gone from too much and too many to not enough. Looking back, I don't regret my efforts to do my best to keep everyone happy. It was a thankless task but I did my best! Carry on the good work.

dwagdays Sun 25-Nov-12 06:36:46

I feel like this and my parents are much fitter, their episodes tend to be more acute but they both have serious ongoing health issues and there is so much i could do in a different life. my children are young and between school and journey time and part time work and having dogs and a husband in the middle of recovering from surgery i just dont have enough time. not even enough patience sometimes. i wont replace my dogs as without them i could visit more, really i want to be able to press pause and enjoy some special time. mine are mentally independent too but check all sorts with me so there is often some task i should be doing that goes undone for too long...more guilt. i can just get there and back in a day but the children and baby turn it into a logistical challenge and meeting their needs is about all i manage then it is home, more things left undone, unsaid and a big drive before bed.

how lovely that your dd is able to stay and have that relationship, she sounds marvelous. what a great image of them sharing home cooked food and course details. great that your dd can save on hall bills too, not sure why previous posters are questioning this or medical treatment for the elderly! my great grandad was ill for 25 years plus but lived in a chair by the fire in a family home with lots of relatives calling in. it is this social change where we are more spread out, have children a bit later and are more likely to be working outside them home which means for me, that the model of care i saw for the family elders isnt one i can copy at all.

funnyperson Sun 25-Nov-12 08:16:49

The whole juggle, dividing time between one's own home and family to look after an elderly parent is not that easy especially whilst working. Esp as the elderly parent might want to live in their own home and be independent and have things the way they want. They don't all live by the fire in a chair causing no trouble. More often in my experience they want to run their own home and need family help to do so and cant or wont employ cleaners etc and either dont say when there is a problem because they are afraid of causing trouble, or pester one with every little anxiety. In their sixties they might have helped out with the grandchildren which is why one might think the grandchildren in their twenties could help out a bit but grandchildren don't always want to.

Anyway OP if your dd is ok with the current arrangement it sounds like when you go up (once a term or so) you get to see two dear ones for the asme journey which is fab. It means also you can relax a bit for this year.

funnyperson Sun 25-Nov-12 08:20:57

btw I very often have the dilemma of do I clear out mums kitchen or mine, mums paperwork or mine. More recently I have decided on clearing out my own first. The reason is that I too have a life to lead and a home to look after and if I don't then my children and family will assume its because I'm a slut. I allocate time in the week for mum (visiting/helping etc) and I make sure I don't over run that time so that I do have time for myself otherwise I just get ill and then the whole family suffers.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 25-Nov-12 20:20:07

Your last post sums up exactly how I feel and exactly what I am trying to do, funnyperson.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 26-Nov-12 20:59:31

Right with you all on this one. I'm stretched thin trying to sort everyone. I'm finding teenagers need a lot of emotional support so it's not getting easier now eldest is one. We have big problems with my Mum , DH has an 86 year old Dad abroad who needs a daily call and is getting increasingly frail.

I was saying to a friend today that if I don't start looking after myself everything is going to fall apart. So I am going to try to think about the garden and get back over to the gardening thread and try to make a little time and space in my head for me.

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