My grandparents can barely walk with walkers, they're in constant pain, they have a ton of family members breathing down their necks telling them what they should do but at least we got my grandmother on anti anxiety meds (that only helps so much). Everyone is wearing themselves out helping my grandparents but it just angers them. We can't even convince them to let someone meet with them for an hour just to discuss the idea of getting some profession in home care. Before I was supportive of everyone helping but I've changed my attitude. Now I feel my grandparents (and everyone for that matter) are so stressed and upset that everyone needs to just back off. Will one of them end up in the ER or worse--yes. Will their lives be easier if they had prof. help--yes. Will they accept help--NO a hundred times over. I feel they need love in the form of good conversation and distraction from the topics of health and death. What is the right thing to do? Force them to get help when they're already furious or back off? The entire, huge extended family is miserable at this point. How can we help my grandparents move on gracefully? (they don't qualify for hospice just yet but they did come by one day)
I also agree that if they aren't too resistant to wearing personal alarms to call for help that would be a step forward. Because of all the pushing in the past, they may even refuse this for awhile, but in the future you could gently mention that this form of help is non-intrusive and possible so that you'll set it up if they decide they want it. To me the magic words are "they decide."
I know it's hard to watch this and not try to fix it, but human dignity and the ability to decide for oneself is important. Good luck to you all,
My regrets are that I kept trying to force my father to do what his poor body couldnt do and that I didnt share what was happening to him. It was his life and he was scared and in pain. He needed compassion, empathy and the dignity to chose what he wanted for himself and for my mother. That was the greatest kindness I could have given him. May you find a decision that puts you at peace.
I would imagine their is one or two children are grandchildren who have the respect of your grandparents (Perhaps their "favorite son or daughter"). Inlaws need to really back off as help needs to come from the children --same with advice.
Let things cool off, then have the "favorites" visit to make sure medications and doctor visits are being handled. If they are on walkers they need help with these things. Make sure they are eating well. Get someone to clean for them. See how they do alone.
The favorites should talk to them in unrushed visits about what they want to do. Take them out to eat, to church not just medical trips. Reduce their loneliness and sense of isolation.
Always remember the elderly know they are losing ground. At 45 yrs old, people think they should be exercising more, doing this or that, but the 45 year old has no idea the pain they are feeling.
In the short run, less is more. Be guided by what they want done for them.
As time goes by, they will realize what help they need.
Instead try to think of ways to help them maintain their independence, without criticizing or inferring they can't take care of themselves.
It's hard to recognize that our brains and bodies are declining - it can be a denial situation until something happens and they become so scared they reach out.
Make sure each of your grandparents knows who to call if he or she has a change of heart, or if there is an actual emergency - this could be either a social worker, or ONE agreed-upon family member who is available most of the time. Ideally arrange for the number and name to be prominently displayed near the phone.
Gosh, I hope your large family is also the type that can agree on one spokesman? Fingers crossed.
Making the house as safe as possible - although I agree it is desirable, of course - is a much thornier issue. I'm guessing that sweeping into their home and meddling with their possessions is exactly the kind of thing that makes them see red and chase everyone away, brandishing their walking sticks and yelling "and don't come back!" Tread extremely carefully. It's their house, their lives, not yours.
If they are in chronic pain, they are irritable to start with, I imagine. I think your stance as you presented it is very wise. I will tell you a scenario that worked for me in case you can try it later, but it had to do with helpful chores that I was willing to do myself.
My mother's "significant other" beau needed but refused help...I would sometimes force the issue if it was something like cleaning up outside, where his own adult children just always backed off. He lived in a retirement community, so he coudln't just ask or pay some local teens to do this kind of work. In his case it was pride that made him refuse, but I found if I went ahead, he accepted the help gladly. (He put up a grouchy, tough front.) I made sure HE directed what was done...I was just the "worker", so he felt he had control. This won't work with every one but may work with some. But I agree with the others, a "cooling off" period is necessary for everyone in your case...just maybe let your grandparents know that you will provide help if they direct what they want done. They may come around, but if not, it seems you have done what you can. They just want some peace.
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