The "Catch 22" of my grandfather needing to be placed in a nursing home.

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So, after months of my grandfather driving emergency rooms and his primary care physicians crazy that he felt "miserable"... they finally took steps to deem my grandfather incompetent to make his own medical decisions and gave us ZERO options other than to place him in a nursing home.

Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars... head directly to the nursing home. Goodbye driver's license, goodbye legal right to deal with his own finances, goodbye freedom... hello wristband that will set off alarms if he tries to leave the building and a wing full of roommates that are grievously in need of being in the home repeating hostile sentences or being humped over in chairs heavily sedated.

My grandfather was just a cantankerous old man that got it in his head that he should feel 65 instead of 85 and when no doctors or nurses at the hospitals where he was constantly being admitted to try to help control his high heart rate and low blood pressure could help make that a reality, he would check himself out against doctor's orders and go home to start the process all over again next week.

I am not saying that I did the best job any care taker on Earth has ever done, but I did the best job I was capable of. There is some part of me somewhere that wants to feel relieved that he will be "contained" and yet all I feel is like I failed him.

I have known for some time that he selectively picked pills out of the pill planner I would fill for him to see if skipping this pill or that pill would make him feel better. It "had to be" that new pink pill that was making him feel too sleepy to go mow the grass at the American Legion today. So he would pick it out and flush it. I have stressed that this was bad for him. I even tried to get home nursing to help administer meds, but they couldn't tolerate his surly belligerence and discharged him from their care with little notes that said "do not take this client back" in his file.

He is feeling so much better now that he is in the nursing home because he is getting the right medicines at the right times including some medicines that I couldn't, in good conscious, have him on before because if he skipped them it would likely kill him (blood thinners for his artificial heart valve, GOOD heart arrhythmia medicine for his A fib, Aricept to help control his "bad mood days").

The fact that he is feeling so much better and acting like the man I knew 20 years ago is making HIM not want to be there even more and making ME doubt that it was the right decision. As he keeps feeling better and better, he is becoming less surly and more the pleasant "Pappy" I remember. It is so easy for me to forget how difficult he can be and feel like I should bring him back to his home.

I feel like I am going crazy. Like I need to be the one with the wrist band on milling around the halls mumbling, more than my grandfather does.


Are you saying that now that he feels better it's a Catch 22 situation? Get over it. The docs finally got him somewhere where he could be helped. He's being helped. Don't mess with success.
The Catch 22 was that he felt miserable and needed put there because of it and now that he is there and feels better he doesn't want to be there and thinks he should be able to go home. No worries, I will "get over it"... I just feel a little crazy myself. Thanks for the compassion.
The feeling that now that I take meds and feel better, thus I no longer need them, happens super frequently with people who need altering medication. When the feel so good they can fall right back into the problem with the meds. The docs have been right so far. Follow their advice.
PS...find something happy to do now. The weight has been lifted. Lift your head and take some deep breaths. Find a way to enjoy the return of the guy you used to know and quit worrying about the good news..
If he's feeling happy there, that's great!! You shouldn't feel guilted into bringing him home because the shenanigans are likely to start up again if he is feeling bored or lonely. At least he can talk to the other residents, nurses and carers on a daily basis and that's probably what has perked up his moods.

As an aside, you're the only person on here who I've found has personal experience caring for a grandfather. I posted on here a couple of days ago (title was 'caring for grandparent?') but maybe it sounded a bit mean and uncaring because I didn't get too many responses. I'm not caring yet beyond fortnightly visits for a whole day but for various reasons mentioned in the post, my mum and her siblings are not able to. As I'm the only relative within reasonable distance (1 hour) I think I'll be expected to take on more care as his needs increase. He is quite a lot how you described your grandpa. Have you got any tips for me?
Oh mimihao... he isn't happy. My problem with it is that he desperately wants to go home and even more so now that he feels better because he is getting the proper meds at the proper times. With all the reasoning parts of my brain, I know that he is better off where he is... but with all the bleeding parts of my broken heart it hurts that I had to put him in a home.

Probably the best advice I have, depending on the state of his mental comprehension, is to take him to visit a nursing home and make sure he SEES what his reality will be if he is non compliant with the things you NEED him to comply with to facilitate his freedom to live on his own with minimal interference from others. Make sure he SEES what it will be if he can't listen to you. If dementia is a factor though, it really won't matter how much you try to show him or beg him to listen to you. He will do as he choices until it is determined that he is incompetent make his own choices and then it will all have to fall on caregiver. :(
I see. If his behaviour and health have improved though, he's probably happier than he cares to admit to you. My grandfather, of late, has nothing positive to say about anything. I am pretty sure that if I took my grandfather out of his independent living villa to live with us, he would be equally as miserable as he says he is there. He would fully expect that I be at his beck and call. Even though he chose this place with entusiasm and it's what he wanted rather than to move in with/be close to my aunty. He doesn't have a dementia diagnosis as far as I know and physically, he is managing to take care of himself, but depression can lead to dementia I believe. Still, it's early days yet (he's only been there just over 2 months) and he's obviously talking to people because when we go for a walk, some of the other residents greet him (despite him saying he is terribly lonely). He says he's becoming incontinent but each time I or my family have been, he hasn't visited the bathroom. He told me complaingly that he has bowel movements three times a day now .... I have at least five! Because his diet is pretty old-fashioned, he probably wasn't getting much fibre before so he thinks it's abnormal. Luckily the focus has not changed to complaining about me or the rest of the family .
Kiteri, you don't take him back to the house, because he is IN his HOME. My MIL talks about going back to her house. Not possible. She uses a walker, she would mix up her bills and her pills, she would fall again. She feels good now BECAUSE someone else cooks the meals, someone else counts the pills, makes the bed and does the laundry.. What they both really want to go back to is being young again, strong again, independent again. All you can do is help them be happy where they are and who they are with. All else is illusion.

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