Caring for grandparent?
Hi, I am posting to see if anyone has any experience of this and tips to give? Our situation is that I am the only relative that lives in the same city as my grandfather. He is 88 years old and I am 37. My parents live about two and a half hours away and, at any rate, my mum (his daughter)has serious health problems of her own which pretty much takes up all of my dad's spare time to care for her. My uncle is somewhat estranged and lives overseas. My aunty is great but she lives on the other side of our country (which is large - about a six hour flight away). My grandfather wished to 'settle his affairs' and sold his family home of fifty plus years with the sale being completed earlier this year. My aunty offered to have him move over to live with them (they have a 5 bedroom home) or in a facility nearby if he preferred that. We also suggested that to him but he was adamant that he didn't want to leave the area due to his doctors and accountants - all of whom will probably be retiring themselves soon! He had his heart set on an independent living retirement village close to his old suburb where some of his friends lived/lived. As this was a decision he made over two years, he was fully cogniscent of costs involved etc (exit fees, monthly fees, cleaning fees etc). This is where he has moved to about two months ago - it's a lovely 2 bedroom villa which was completely renovated before he moved in.
He has always been a difficult man. My strongest memory of him from my childhood is of him yelljng at my mother/aunty at family occasions and making them cry. He has completely alienated my brothers due to his treatment of them when they were boys. That said though, he really managed to bring all that under control for about fifteen years or so and has been an excellent great-grandfather to my children (13 & 7) who have never seen that explosive side of him. The last couple of years though, probably with the stress of making these decisions, he's started to slip quite a bit. Dad told me that he's been quite verbally abusive to my mum/aunty on the phone. He told me to 'bugger off' several times (I asked him to repeat what he said) and hung up on me when i told him that I didn't want him to complain about relatives not visting him again when he wouldn't even let me drive him to his own great-grandson's christening (Italian family so was a big deal). He snubbed my brother, wife and children when they did visit about a year later - not a single word to them for 3 hours. He has been hospitalised several times for at least a week at a time for what turned out to be, each time, anxiety attacks (not the pneumonia he expected).
Anyway, since he has moved into his new place, he has been very depressed and calling it a prison. That he wishes he would die, he won't be able to manage.I visit him on Sundays fortnightly and take him frozen portions of meals I've cooked previous two weeks. he has been good about not moaning about other people or us yet but he does moan about everything else, especially about having to pay monthly maintenance fees and the purchase price of the villa (it was very expensive but before the move he said it was worth it). He has been hinting that my husband and I should buy a car so we can run him to appointments and get there quicker in an emergency. My husband had an accident last year and the car was written off by the insurance company. Since public transport us very convenient here, we have not needed to replace it. he has expressed several times that he hopes my aunt will move over to live him when he needs more care (she has a husband and 3 children- 2 of whom are still at home). I am pretty sure she would not agree to that and my mum really can not do it. Physically, when I check everything he does seem to be managing and is not as frail as he has convinced himself that he is, but mentally he has been very negative about everything (except people). He was adamant he would not be able to walk to his 'leisure learning' center even though it's right across the road from his facility. I tried to persuade him to try when we went for a walk but he became very agitated and 'shouty' so we walked up a hill the opposite way instead. We got to a point where he realised he could have made it to the center so we turned back and he kept going right to the corner opposite the center but refused to cross the road. When I took him solid foods he expressed concerns about being able to chew it (were all gone though when I checked the freezer) so when I took him mostly soups he was worried they'd go straight through him. So, yeah, that kind of thing.
I'm fairly sure I will be expected, by him and my family, to take more care of him as his needs increase. He's asked if we've thought about buying a bigger place in the context of being concerned that what we have (3 bedroom, 2 bath!) isn't big enough for the four of us but fairly sure he was hoping we'd offer to have him move in with us.
to be continued...