My 91-year-old grandmother is slowly destroying our house.

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Right now my family is in the terrible situation of not being able to find someone to mortgage our house. Its pretty stressful since we might have to move out soon and don't have the necessary budget to land on our feet decently if we can't find someplace soon.

Besides that comes my 91 year old grandmother who is just getting worse and worse. We take care of her because we absolutely cannot afford to put her into a decent home.

The following happened in less than one week.

Knowing we might sell the house I decided to take care of some big home improvement jobs to just make the house look better. So I decided to sand away the rust and paint the porch railings and steel gates last week. 9 hours of hard work in one day and just when I am about to call it a day my sister comes storming outside yelling at me to come in because our living room is getting flooded. My grandmother clogged the toilet and just stayed in the bathroom without telling anyone. She only came out when my mother was screaming and pleading with her to leave.

The end result was a pool of toilet water floating around on one floor and getting soaked up in the carpet. A lot of toilet water was also dripping through to the basement and slightly flooding a very large area where we keep the washer and dryer, christmas lights, winter clothes and other things we need.

My grandmother's reacted like it wasn't her fault. She just kept yelling how we just use her for her money and how nobody likes her. Its far from the truth. My mother, sister and I do whatever possibly we can for her to live the most comfortable life someone her age can live. But its never good enough. No matter how good the food or coffee and snacks. The trips outside once in a while and just sitting down and spending time it is never good enough.

After I decided to shut the water off from the toilet and start flushing the toilet for her whenever she was done. I also shut off the sink and placed a plastic red bowl full of hot water with some soap in it and refill it every time I possibly can.

A day later she is going to the bathroom and not really saying anything about it which is good, but I notice that literally every time she went to the bathroom there was no toilet paper in the toilet. The toilet paper was being used, but it was nowhere to be found. The smell of urine was the strongest it has ever been in her room, but we have a commode for her there and I just thought maybe it needed to be cleaned. Everytime I checked it, it was dry. The smell was still there.

It was enough doing what my whole family had to do before for her. Now being on bathroom watch 24/7 and for me to be the one to flush the toilet, clean the wash bowl and refill the toilet paper was real tough to accept, but I accepted it. It was the only way.

I must state now that before all of this we used to leave her cups of water to drink and when that was happening I noticed there were two leaks occuring once in a while that would drip to the basement. It turns out she was just dumping the water in one side of her room and it completely ate away at some of the hardwood flooring. There now a city of silverfish living there that have invaded our house for the past year. They are all over the bathrooms and couches and ..well... they are everywhere because of the nice moisture spot for them to grow in my grandmother's place.

Another thing before this all happened is that my grandmother had a small carpet mat by her bed. When we were all sleeping she would get up and just urinate on it and that too damaged the hardwood floor. I would not be surprised if one of us or her fall through one day.

I was angry when it happened I'll admit even though I know she her dementia is quite significant. Still, her bathroom is literally less than 10 steps away. If she got up and walked 10 steps she would be a the toilet.

So now comes the worst part that happened tonight. Remember the commode in her room? Well my mother wanted to give her a shower and she was just checking out around her bed and screamed. My grandmother for the past two months was dumping the urine on the mattress and it leaked through and stained the entire floor. The missing toilet paper? Yeah it's all around the mattress and the wood is all soaked in urine. For the second day in a row (running out of characters to explain yesterday's misfortune) my mother, sister and myself had to do a big clean up job late at night.

This is all becoming such a torment for my entire family. We are all exhausted. My mother is a hardworking RN who is close to 60 years old and I can tell she doesn't have the energy to do this everyday. Me and my sister try and try, but we get beat down to the point were we almost get sick.

I'm looking for any advice and I really just needed a place to post this. I'm slowly losing it. Its too much.

Any insights/opinions is greatly appreciated. I really don't know what to do anymore. I'm 29 yet I feel so empty and lethargic and I can't think.

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My grandma who is 91 years old, never moved anywhere in her life, yet she lived in 5 different countries
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Hi JoeSam: I agree with the previous posts, but I want to offer something else for you to respond to or consider: I think you and your family are so tired from caring for your Grandmother that much of what is taking place now is just a sustaining measure not really care giving. I agree with the above poster who could not understand how your GM could be dumping urine onto her mattress for two months before anyone realized it. Same with the water, silverfish, strong urine smell, rotted flooring, water leaking into the basement, etc. Most of these problems would have prompted most to look to where the source of the problem is. Instead, I think you are in crisis mode and having a hard time doing the daily intervention things that you might have done naturally months ago.

I am not saying that you don't love your GM and want to do the best for her, but I think you all have reached the point where you have become exhausted, hopeless, and emotionally wiped out. Mentally, I think you have compartmentalized GM as that person who lives in the other room. She is fed and watered, but you have lost the spirit to do more than that for her. It can happen to well meaning people and when it does happen to caregivers, it's important to be honest with yourself about your feelings and how you are functioning as a family.

I don't know what your family financial situation is, but it sounds very stressful. Possibly your GM's social security is helping keep the family afloat. Maybe she had some assets that have been used by your family in the past to keep the household going. Does the house belong to your mom or your GM.

Maybe you, your mom and your sis need to sit down and have a real heart to heart discussion. It may be that your GM would get better care and be happier in a nursing home facility. She may have the potential to make some friends and join in some activities. You all could visit her and be in a better place emotionally to let her know she is loved.

If she only has her Social Security to live on, I would suggest you talk to your local Social Services and start the application for Medicaid. If there is a problem with the 5 year look back period concerning her assets, then you will have to deal with it and sometimes, Medicaid will make a hardship exception. You won't know until you start that process, but if you are on the verge of losing your home it may be that a hardship exception can be made.

Do you and your sister have jobs outside the home? If not, due to GM living with you, getting jobs could help with your long term financial situation.

I think the previous suggestion concerning filing a claim for damages through your homeowners insurance policy is an excellent suggestion and I pray that helps with all the damage your home has suffered.

I apologize if I have offended you. It could be that I am completely off base with my thoughts and comments. If not, please understand that I am not judging you or your family. I just think you have done your best and can't do it anymore.

Best wishes to you all. Cattails
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NO one is benefitting from this 'solution' for grandma. She needs professional care. You do not need to pay for her care. She likely is eligible for Medicaid; but if she has too many assets to qualify, pay the money to get her into a good facility and she will be Medicaid eligible soon enough. An eldercare attorney and a doctor who specializes in geriatric would be great resources to find answers to questions and suggestions for actions to take. And EVERYBODY wins! God speed.
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I am so sorry for you, your sister and your mom. It sounds like you have all done everything you can. It is time to let yourselves off the hook and help grandma by getting her full time nursing home care. I wish you and your family all the best. Hang in there.
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I just want to say hang in there....I understand what you are dealing with. All the info given to you is very good....if you call your dept of aging in your county, they will hook you up with all the info you need...they will send you packets of info related to your questions and it can have listings of local elder care lawyers, nursing homes, assisted living places, and also if there are agencies in your area that come into the home and help. I am currantly having my mom assessed to see what care she qualifies for, but it is the easiest place to start because the people there are trained in helping someone just like you get the assisstance you need. Please start there....they have done the leg work for you. I found it to be the answer I needed. Take care, and lots of love. My heart goes out to you. You are not alone in your experiences.
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Regarding meeting with a gerontologist. Great idea - unless your elderly parent has Kaiser. They have no gerontology. This was the first thing that I requested when I started to accompany my Mother on her trips to the doctor. What I got was a blank stare from the "internist" (who was about 30 years old) and told that Kaiser does not provide this benefit. Has anyone out there gone thru this with Kaiser. They are her provider from Medicare and she is very attached to them. What I have found with Kaiser is that it is great insurance to have if you are young and healthy - otherwise.....
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I agree,, this poor lady needs to go where she is not alone in her behavior and with people are trained to deal with this situation... This can be very overwhelming and medicade will pay for it... She will be much happier there I am sure and you can fix up your house and sell it and visit her and then write a book cause I am so sorry but some of this stuff was so funny! I am so trying to keep this uplifting cause I myself a caregiver to my mother is driving me out of my mind also.. Hard to do it all and it keep getting worse and they dont appreciate it,, they cannot... And its normal to resent the situation,, we here are a team a strong team and we are all here for each other!
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I don't mean to be nosey, but you stated:
"My grandmother for the past two months was dumping the urine on the mattress and it leaked through and stained the entire floor. The missing toilet paper? Yeah it's all around the mattress and the wood is all soaked in urine."

Hasn't anyone changed your grandmothers sheets in two months? I always change the sheet on beds every week and clean the rooms. Every month I would wash down the walls in my mothers room and did a complete cleaning. I did the bathroom every week, walls floors, sink, shower got scrubbed ceiling to floor with Lysol. How is it Grandma can be dumping urine in her bed and no one catches it for two months and she pours water in a corner long enough for the floor to rot and silverfish to invade your home? Sounds like you need to call an exterminator to get rid of the silverfish and a good cleaning service.

Maybe you need to set up a weekly cleaning schedule where her areas get ceiling to floor scrubbing. Move the furniture, change her sheets and wash down her bed using Lysol and then you would find these issues before your home is ruined. The smell must be awful.

Sorry, just offering a suggestion that my help. Dementia patients are good at putting things in odd places.

Good wishes.
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If you are only 29 it is time to start living your own life. Your Grandmother has lived hers. Hearing stories like yours are why I have told my daughter that she is not to give up her life for me!! I am living with my Mother now who is 89y/o, and I will not do this to my own daughter. She was not born to be my slave in later life. Send her to a nursing home. If she has money you will need to spend it down so she can qualify for assistance from the government. Probably a good time to get the house in order - with her money - if she has any so she can be in a facility that knows how to deal with dementia
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My first thought was the same as everyone else's: it's time to place her in a facility where there are trained attendants around the clock. It can be a long, tedious process to get the financial aid that you need, and the facility will not continue to care for her without payment. They'll assist you, but there is a lot that you have to do on your own. Instead, my advice is to get your grandmother to a gerontoligist, a doctor who specializes in elder care. I've mentioned this several times on this site, because it made a world of difference for both my Mom and for me. He got her medications levelled out so that they were effective, he spoke directly to her and in addition, he addressed my concerns and needs. Medicare will cover the cost of his care. Next, I'll tell you that addressing the bathroom habits is a delicate and embarassing topic for both you and for your grandmother. It was one of the first things we had to deal with when my Mom came to live with us 6 years ago. She was very embarassed, but I told her that it wasn't her fault that she was having "accidents", and that we just needed to deal with it. It's possible that your grandmother is also very embarassed & is trying to hide the problem. Once you get it out in the open, it's so much easier to deal with. My Mom has a portable toilet in her room also. I make sure that she has all the supplies that she needs within arms reach, including a waste basket that I empty every day. The toilet needs to be emptied as often as possible, but at least once a day. I make sure that Mom has Depends, baby wipes, toilet paper, and a towel. If she has an "accident", I assure her that "it's ok, Mom, let's just deal with it". I try to take a very matter-of-fact approach so that she doesn't feel like a child. Once we brought the subject out in the open, she stopped feeling that she had to hide everything and it made a world of difference. There's no question that your grandmother's behavior is unacceptable, but I don't think you'll be able to get her to return to "normal" habits at tihs point. The alternative is to try to find a way to handle this change is her life with a minimum of embarassment and to address it so that your grandmother's dignity remains intact. Yes, it means a more diligent approach to her daily care, which is more work. In the long run, however, it will pay off because your home will be more sanitary. I suggest that you have a meeting with all family members who live in the home and agree to a schedule for her care. I can't stress enough the benefits of meeting with a gerontologist. My Mom's family doctor was providing care that kept my Mom alive and relatively healthy, but the gerontologist have her back some quality of life. It's that important. Good luck!
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