My Mother's Adventures with her Elderly Father.

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Oh. My. Gosh. Alright, a a little background about myself and my family. I'm Syndal (nice to meet you all) and I'm 23-years-old, living at home with my mother. My mother is a housewife, has been since I was born. My father works out of state (at this time, actually out of the country) building golf courses. Several years ago my mother's mother passed away, leaving my grandfather alone.

Myself and my parents sold our home to move in with him, because he couldn't take care of himself. At the time (6-ishyears ago) it seemed like the ideal thing to do. My mother ran a business (Exotic Birds, of which were housed at my grandparents as they live on 2 aces of agricultural land) and it would be easier for her to care for not only the business but to be sure my granddad ate, took his medicine, etc. So, we made the move.

Its been, like I said, something like six years now. Perhaps more, I honestly can't even remember. My father went through a phase of unemployment for several months before finding his current job, something that has taken him farther away from us for longer with less benefits. My mother and I stay here at home. I work full time and my mother keeps up with our house, animals (several dogs, two cats) and... my grandfather. My father is home appox 3-4 days a month as of current.

So, now I get into our 'adventures' and I'd like to know if anyone else has similar problems or could give me some advice at this point.

I love my mother with all my heart. She's the driving force in my life and always has been. I just want to see her happy again!

My grandfather was the light of my mom's life when she was young. She and her mother had a very (very) strained relationship and my Grandfather was always the one there for her. He's now 89-years-old and it takes everything in my mother's power to even get up in the mornings because of him. He is no longer the person he was in any way. He isn't the granddad I remember nor the father she remembers.

When we sold our home and moved here, we actually had to rennovate the house. My grandparents had let the house flounder, none of the appliances were even up to fire saftey codes. Animals had ruined the carpets and to top it off, we had add on to the house to even accomidate everyone. My grandfather contributed nothing to this telling my parents that he'd 'given' us the house... of which was hardly fit to live in anyway. Alright, that was fine, my parents dealt with it accordingly. My mother also recieved power of attourney concerning my grandfather.

Now... things have just gone to hell. My mother struggles daily through depression and guilt. She feels that she has put my father in I in a situation that we can't get out of due to her father. We can't move or sell our home to live where we wish to (My father was raised in Colorado and we want to move out there) because my grandfather 'doesn't want to'. My grandfather can't hardly do anything for himself, needs a walker to get around. He leaves faucets running (full on), leaves burners turned on, leaves the oven on. He will not wash out pans he's cooked in (wipes them out), tries to reuse disaposable plastic bags. He has incontinence issues and on MANY occassions just tosses the soiled garments into his hamper or into the bathtub for my mother to deal with 'whenever she finds it'.

Basically, my mother is currently not only the caregiver, but the maid and the doormat as well. He does nothing for himself aside from cook (and burn things, or cook food the is obviously rancid that he has stashed away, or that is freezer burnt, etc) and drive his vehicle (which he should be driving as he has NO FEELING in his legs and feet). He is also condecending. My mother has done nothing but DO for this man yet he still finds is nessisary to tell her what she ISN'T doing or let her know he 'NEEDS' something.

My mother feels incredibly guilty all the time. I know my grandfather belongs in a nursing home, physically my mother can't take care of him anymore. She suffers from fibromyalgae (oh gosh, spelling?) as well as restless leg syndrome. On top of that, my father working this new job and being home even less than he used to has taken its toll. Recently my mother, a very very strong woman of almost 50 years, told me that she prays at night for the lord to take either her or my grandfather... and that she feels so awful that she doesn't feel awful about it.

Sorry for the extremely long post, however I felt I had to get it all out there. I just want to help my mother. I want her to understand that feeling guilty about putting my grandfather in a nursing home (where he has said on many occassions he doesn't want to be and he WILL NOT go) is normal and that she can do this. She's put her entire life on hold for him and has shouldered the burden herself for so long. Any advice would be greatly appriciated, thank you so much.


I know the feeling. My father, who is in the early stages of Alzheimers, was diagnosed this summer after I ran an intervention. Five doctors have now decreed that he should no longer drive. My siblings and I decided that he needs to move closer to some family and I now have him living in my home. Your grandfather sounds a bit like my dad. My husband and I have found a nearby (10 minutes away) apartment that we're going to try him in so that we get a little alone time and he gets a little independence. I'm just praying that it works out, and am feeling guilty that I can't keep him here, but know that I'm going to need some space away from him for this to work. He's not bad enough off yet that he fits into the nursing home scenario, but does need someone looking in. I'm going to look into having someone stop in to check on him in addition to my own daily visits and see how that works.
Does your mom have the means to hire a respite caregiver? I can hardly imagine her going through this day after day. I believe that a person in his situation may "behave" better for a caregiver, and your mom can get out and breathe and do something for herself. If that's not possible, or practical, there are people who help in the transition from home to a care facility and who know how to help the family member cope with this change. We had to do that with my mom, and she eventually not only accepted the change, but enjoyed the company and the environment of the home. I wish you and your whole family the best. This is a very challenging time for you.
You mentioned a nursing home. Can your family afford a nursing home? Your grandfather is really up in years at 89. The situation in your home sounds so difficult and trying.... that I honestly think it would be best to place your grandfather in a care facility. If your mother has prayed that the Lord take either her or her father, it is high time to look into this. If the nursing home option is out, then at least hire an aide to come into your home a few times a week to help. You are a dear to write on behalf of your parents. Good luck to you.
Oh I wish your Mom and I were neighbors. I am dealing with the same thing. I have both my parents. Mom has dementia and my Dad has mobility issues. I bend over backwards for my Dad and he treats me so badly that I to sometimes wish that I would go to sleep and never wake up, because I feel like I can no longer do everything. I finally stood up for myself. I took my Dad on a tour of our County Nursing Home, which he hated and said he would never live there. I let him have his tour, express his opinions and when we got home I told him how it was going to be. I told him he will respect me, my Mom, my grandchildren and my grand children until one of us does something that does not deserve that respect. I went over the house rules and explained to him that this is his one and only chance to continue to live with me. The first time he curses and demeans anyone he will be put in the Nursing Home ASAP. Don't know how long it will last but it has been a month since the visit to the NH and he has been a different man. Mabey your Grandfather needs a taste of reality. Good Luck and I hope and pray your Mom will be able to deal with this.
Syndal your Grandfather needs more help than you and your mother can provide. Please ask your mother to take him to a neurologist and get a geriatric checkup. This doesn't sound like 'old age' to me, and with the 'goings on' you have described it sounds like moderate Alzheimer's.

Your mother needs more help than can be provided at home, and if you and her have NOT thought of this, perhaps a good facility for Grandad IS the only answer.

Please have your mother (or you) talk to his doctor, and see what their assessment is.
Syndallynn, What started out as a good idea and was working fine, is no longer working. It's like when I lived at home when I was younger. Things were fine, the whole thing was good but then there came a time when things weren't so good. Mom and I started to butt heads, I didn't want to be told what to do anymore, it was time to make a change. Your mother evidently expected things to always be as there first were, but with dementia/alz it's not possible. Time to make a change. It's not your mother's fault, not her dads fault, it's just the way it is. Tell her to drop the guilt, she did what she could for as long as she could have, it's time to make some changes. No harm no foul, just LIFE.
Reading your letter has hit close to home. I am 66 years old and I have taken care of my mother, who was an amputee and passed away 6 years ago, and my father who is now 95 and going strong. I have often felt like your Mom has. Time passes and we get older making life comfortable for our parents who many times don't appreciate all we have given up.
I too feel guilty for giving up 16 years of my married life for my parents. If I could afford to put my Father in a nursing home, I think I would do it.
Your Mother is still young, the age I was when I took this all on. Encourage her to put him in a home now. She is still young enough to enjoy some time with you and your father.
Ask her if she would want you to give up your life for her. I know I never want to be a burden to my children.
A geriatric assesment is in order. Unless he is determined to be unfit to make the decisions, he cannot be forced to go into a home.
Help your mom as best you can. She probably doesn't want to burden you with a decision she regrets having made, but the more you help the better it will be for her. Sounds like she is at the end of her rope & you can ease the situation for her until the matter is resolved.
You'll need to talk with an attorney to find out what your options are.
Your mom having respect for her father & being his slave are two different things. Maybe time to set some boundaries & lay down a little law for him unless of course he has Alz or dementia. In that case there will be no reasoning with him & your mom may have to take control altogether.

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