How should the family handle the fact that grandmother refuses help for grandfather?

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My situation involves both my grandparents. Gramps is 86 and has always been active; Granny not so much. Gramps' bladder ruptured in early October and almost bled to death. It has left him weak and incapable of managing by himself. He gets frustrated, but is eager to do his physical therapy and insists on doing small things that he is capable to doing. He is willing to accept assistance. Our problem is Granny. She refuses to allow home care for Gramps "I'm his wife; I will make that decision for him!" The problem is her decisions or indecisions are going to kill Gramps. She does not want the chair transfer for the bathtub, because she believes Gramps needs to take showers. Their shower is too small to fit two people in and Gramps cannot stand for long periods of time by himself. We pick up the rugs, she puts them back down. (She uses a walker to maneuver through the house, though she does not need it.) She refuses to exercise and has made herself unstable. She demands that the doctors come to the house Monday and remove Gramps' catheter because she believes it is slowing him down. She does not want the rails that were installed next to the commode. She does not want any equipment in "her" home, including his wheelchair. Personally, I believe there are two reasons for this. 1) she does not want to admit that there is a need for the added assistance because of pride. 2) Granny has always hated any change. Everything has to sit in the exact same place, facing the exact same direction.

She keeps saying she has always taken care of Gramps, which is not true. He has always taken care of her. Granny gets mad and refuses when any family member tries to talk with her. "Oh you don't know what I go through with Him." is her standard comment. We love her dearly, but know she is a "Drama Queen". She makes herself the center of attention. She hates it that Gramps has taken the priority with the family and that she is not in the lime light. She refuses to do what her doctors recommend.

Gramps wanted to go home from HealthSouth Rehabilitation. The family and the doctor's agreed his mental health would improve, and in turn he would regain his strength. A physical therapist would continue to come to his home and he would need a visiting nurse. We all felt a live in care taker would be best. Granny refuses to allow a care taker, even though Granny is incapable of getting him out of bed and wheelchair. In fact she told HealthSouth and the family she had called and arranged for a visiting nurse, which turned out to be not true.

He wasn't home three hours and she had already lost patience with him, threatening him that she would have him placed in the hospital if he did not eat. He eats, he is just very slow. These types of comments upset him. She has the family at its wits end. Are there any suggestions to help us? We know it is Gramps' house too, but he doesn't have the strength to fight a battle of wills with her.

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This made me cry. It's all too common.

Your Grandma doesn't want to give up her place as center of attention, and she likely does see it as her "duty" to care for her husband. Since people think she can't manage, she get's even more stubborn.

You are right that her "care" could kill him. I don't know that there is a smooth answer to this. You are willing to have an in-home care agency come in. The fact that she resists this "stranger" coming in is also not unusual. But something needs to be done.

Do they have a pastor or Rabbi they trust? A third party seems to be your only hope. If there is no one else who can convince her that more help is needed (I think rather than making this about Grandpa, you could say "this is too hard on YOU - make it about her), then his doctor (or maybe hers? Again - all about HER), could be contacted and asked to give "doctor's orders" that they have help.

If all else fails, Social Services can do a welfare check. If they see that this couple can't manage alone, they can step in. In the end, this may be what you need to do.

Best wishes. This is going to be tough,

Carol

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