Is what I'm doing right?

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Grr, I hate this so much, but my grandmother calling me at 3 in the morning for a non-emergency was the last straw. Not in the terms of anger, but it's so difficult to help my grandmother who's 30 miles away, she currently lives with family, but only trusts me to do literally EVERYTHING for her, but I'm in the middle of trying to buy a house, get married and have kids and all with my fiance. I'm 25 if it matters, but I've been taking care of her for 3 years.

Because of how situtations fell into place, I'm highly considering a retirement home. She's not doing so well anymore with her dementia and her anxiety about EVERYTHING is through the roof. She's afraid to even go to the bank because she "doesn't know what to do anymore" She consistantly tells me about how she's having trouble with this, and granted, financial issues is something I HAVE to help her with. That's not a huge deal for me. But, she's living with her niece & their family at the moment so there's plenty of people to assist her with her outings. Why is she always calling me for help? I cannot help. I don't own a car. How am I suppose to see her to give her assistance? Apparently, nobody else is stepping up to the plate (or she's not even asking them for help!! Embarrassment, maybe?)

But it's just..this happened at such an inopportune time. I've been trying my best to put in applications for her for assisted living, I'm trying to buy a Power of Attorney JUST in case... but now, I don't know. I don't know what she needs...I'm probably gonna have to call the doctor just so I'm up to date with her meds..

Am I doing the right things so far?

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I agree with the others who have written. You are doing a great job. Do have your g'ma appoint you as POA ASAP! She can only do this when she is competent, and it looks like she is well on the way to becoming incompetent. It does sound like your g'ma shouldn't be driving, and that the family needs to come up with a plan for her transportation needs. Do not take her into your home. That would be far too much for you. It sounds like she needs to be in assisted living, funded by medicaid. You might start looking into that.

At one point I got 20+emails a day from my mother, tried responding to them all and nearly drove myself crazy. She does not have dementia, but does have a personality disorder. I had to detach/distance myself emotionally, as it became to stressful. Family's responsibility is to see that the senior is well cared for, safe, etc. but not to entertain their every whim. It sounds like she has many fears, anxieties and wants constant reassurance. The right meds may be able to calm her. Her doctor should know about this behaviour.Good luck with all of this. It is a lot, and I think it is time for a change so your g'ma can be cared for more by others who are trained, as in the retirement hime you mentioned. Yes, you are doing the right things! High five, well done, I would be happy to have a daughter or granddaughter like you! (((((hugs))))) Joan
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OmgWhatNow, it sounds like you are doing a terrific job under very trying circumstances.

I am glad that you are having her tested regarding driving. I know that it it is EXTREMELY distressing and VERY inconvenient for anyone to have to give up driving. But if she is no longer safe driving then it has to be done.

Good luck!
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JeanneGibbs - Thanks for your response. There's just ONE problem with her driving though. She's the only person with a car between her & her niece. Her other niece only lives 2 houses away within a rowhome, and there's other family VERY close by who, according to her, visit on a very frequent basis - if not at least 3 times a week. So, SOMEBODY between them must own a car. I have not be able to go as far as asking them yet, but my grandmother makes it seem like that she'll be stuck without a car - which just might be the case!

I've done research for Medi-CAR (which is basically a Medicare paid service to drive you to your doctors appointments) However, they do not exist in Philly...not that I've been able to find yet.

The issue with ME getting a car, well, if I were to take my grandmother's car & use that on her behalf, I can't afford car insurance or gas at the moment since my paycheck is going to savings to help pay for the house (my fiance is doing a fantastic job with finances..) So, I have very little of my own money to even car for her car, let alone by a used one for myself at the moment. The car situation has been discussed a number of times and even the DMV is threatening to take her license.

She currently has a doctor appointment scheduled for a Cognitive Test to basically make sure that she still has the correct mentality to drive. After the follow up, we'll go from there. Chances are, we'll have to take the car away, and somebody in the Niece's family has GOT to make the decision on transportation. Also, I did mention currently that she's in Philadelphia. I'm even willing to show my grandmother how to use Public Transit. This is NOT our first option since it can be dangerous.

For now, I'm waiting for the Cognitive Test before making decisions on the car. Right now, I can't do much about it... as stupid as it sounds.


Also just as a P.S. - My grandmother's finances are not in good shape at all.. Subsidized housing is our only option. (Again, I can't help fund anything!) I'm doing my best to fix it, but in the future, she will have to file for bankruptcy.
~~~

wuvsicecream - You're pretty much right. I want to do WHAT'S BEST. What's best in my grandmother's eye isn't exactly what's best in the practical world. She wants to live with my fiance and myself. My fiance hates the idea and I have to agree with him. What if she does get worse? We'll have to end up moving her AGAIN and that's too much on an older person. What if I DO have kids? I cannot take care of an elder AND an infant. I do still intend to work a full time job. There is no way I'm quitting my job to be a caretaker. Kids are one thing, but sorry...I am the type of person who believes lives & living goes forward. Not backward. You should be there for your kids, but your parents should not EXPECT you to be there for them. Basically, my grandmother is expecting this. I am a little resentful, but I'm doing the best I can with my limited resources, and I must say, I'M DOING A PRETTY DAMN GOOD JOB SO FAR!!! (big smiley face) I've done my homework and went to an Adult & Aging Services place to get tons of info. I'm still slooshing my way through it, but I understand enough to know what she qualifies for and what her rights are. I get her doctor appointments scheduled on days that I'm off so I can be there with her. I'm helping her not get her driver's license taken away (although if it comes to that, then..well..she's just not driving anymore...meh.)

I know AAAALLLLL about her paperwork, and if she looses any of them, I know where to get new ones. These, thank GOD, where discussed LONG before she even got sick. Her cemetery & plot is paid for when it comes to that time, and I got the paperwork to prove it. I have living wills, regular wills, SS info, The ONLY thing I'm missing is Discharge Papers from when my grandfather was in the navy. Unfortunately, I cannot get her Vet benefits until I have paperwork to prove it. Once I get those, we should be on a better road to getting the help she needs both for her physical care, and financially. Also, I need a Power of Attorney soon.

It's only tough now because she went downhill so quickly at such a inconvenient time, so I'm in between a LOT of personally things while she's calling me 10 times a day, leaving messages about how unhappy and confused and somewhat angry she is. I can't stand to listen to this everyday. It's even especially more difficult when we get into conversations like this:
((It's Saturday 3pm))
"I need help!"
"Okay, with what?"
"I don't know. I went to the doctor today and I think I have medicine to pick up."
"Okay, We'll get your medicine."
"But I have no money."
"Okay, we'll go to the bank on Monday."

Then she'll call like 2 hours later crying about that she needs her medicine and doesn't have money to buy it......... Granted, she still have a month's left of meds to go and she acts like she'll run out by tomorrow.

But then I get phone calls ALL THROUGH THE WEEKEND. I swear, when I checked my messages today (Sunday 7pm) There were 50 messages all back from Saturday ._.; WHAT THE F --

And this is what frustrates me. This is a daily thing and I cannot be available!!

So...have assisted living help her with some things ¬_¬;;

Also, I've also tried speaking with the family. They do the best they can, however, my grandmother won't allow them to do certain things...(trust issues again, me thinks...)
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OmgWhatNow "You are doing what is Right!!!" This is the answer and all it takes to continue with your concerns about your G-Ma. You can't go wrong if you know in your heart it's Right! I say this because I see a young lady who is not ignoring the problem, but, facing it head on, looking for answers, because you want to do the right thing. Your G-Ma trusts you for a reason she must see the strength in you and that is a good thing. A person (your G-Ma) that is dealing with these mentally confusing and stressful emotions of insatiability finds it very hard to trust anyone so you really need to work with her trust in you before this emotion changes. You are very young and have a life ahead of you but from what you wrote here I can tell your not going to be happy until you do what's best,... you just don't know how. If I am right about this ... That's why I am here for you as well as the others at AC, we all have had experiences beyond belief and we are happy to share and help, because we know support and direction is needed. No one has the exact remedy you just have to go with the flow.
If you look at things one at a time it is easier. I use cute ways to explain to ease the stress. First thing is clear out the "I can't do's" from your "Plate". Start filling up the plate with "What CAN I do today". You can't order your meal until you know what's on the menu. You need to get her birth certificate, S.S. card, photo ID, marriage certificate or divorce papers or husbands death certificate, a bill with her current address. You need these things to get the P.O.A. papers signed you need this ASAP. The words on the P.O.A. papers are very important as to the duties, transactions of accounts, what you need to access and how, and health issues for care needs now and for future, like applying for medicaid, dealing with medicare, finding housing, withdrawing from accounts, deposits, address changes, etc. Sometimes legal departments of these companies need specifics worded on the papers, they may require specific language. Also I learned the hard way... get more than one stamped (by notary) copy, you may need to mail the original and at the same time need it to do something else. Once you have the P.O.A. papers you can then go through her financial accounts, take her to Dr's use her money for her needs etc. Once you get a good diagnosis of her condition and if meds are prescribed you will need a trustworthy person to give them to her at a regular scheduled time of each day. Then meals need to be handled etc. Her decline may slow down after meds are taken but behavioral changes will most likely continue, but at a slower rate. You may think at this time, that you have a lot of time to plan but most likely time will not be on your side, progression in most cases is going to happen. There are many different types of Dementia and causes, info on this site is quite helpful, read some articles.
As far as getting help from the family in her home, think about the personalities you are dealing with and who can handle what or would be willing to do what. Have them gather mail and make copies calls etc. As far as your G-Ma's behavior and annoying calls, just thank the lord, she's on the phone with you, instead of lost in the woods or outside without shoes or a coat. Just some more things to keep in mind is you can't change what is happening to her but you can keep her safe and healthy as much as possible, and give her a decent quality of life....AND it's not her fault if she acts unlike herself or tells stories or imagines things. You can't change her reality but you can change the way you think about her new reality. If you know her Well, use her personality as a tool, she's still there just mixed up.
Well I left you with a plate full..... Now, You know what is on the menu and you can order a course at a time and one bite at a time will clear the plate, and leave you filled with a more comfortable and satisfied feeling. G-Ma knows you can do it, and so do you.... and I bet that's why your fiancee is such a good guy to you too.
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About her getting lost ... is this woman still driving? OMG! Say it isn't so. If she is, that is the first issue to address. The worst risk here isn't about forgetting how to get home -- it is forgetting which side the brake is on, or not knowing what to do in an emergency. Persons with dementia should NOT be driving.

Then, the responsibilities Grandmother has assigned to you are simply not realistic. You are thirty miles away and you don't have a car. I suppose it is an honor that she trusts you and it is sad that she doesn't trust anyone else, but what she expects is evidence of poor judgment -- probably a symptom of her dementia.

Has Grandmother's condition been evaluated by medical professionals? That would help you decide what kind of a facility she needs. It should probably be somewhere she could transition to dementia care as her condition worsens.

What are Grandmother's finances like? Will she be able to afford a care center? Will she need financial aid? Is she on Medicaid? If she needs aid, start the application process as soon as possible.

What I would do in your situation (I did it in mine) is contact Social Services in her county. Ask for a needs assessment. Be present when the social worker comes out to interview her. Grandmother will probably deny that she needs help and you have to make the situation clear to the worker.

I am sorry that the process to get Grandmother placed will mean a lot of work for you. But work now is a good trade for continued unrealistic expectation on your Grandmother's part for years to come.

Keep in touch and let us know how things are working out. We care!
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My father and mother have both gone to assisted living facilities. Different ones because they are divorced. It sounds to me like that would be a perfect place for her. They offer a little extra help, when she needs it. All meals are provided and they have activities. Best to get the POA as soon as you can. That way, you can deal with the issues more effectively. These places can be expensive. My sister and I visited several unannounced, the only way to do it, by the way. Good luck.
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I appreciate the response, Eddie. Although I'm more lucky than he is!! He's been sticking around with all these shenanigans and he still comes home every night. I'm the lucky one.

I have spoken with the cousins and they're too scared to do anything because of what I might say :\ I had assured them that whenever my grandma needs to leave the home, just..someone go with her. Something tells me she goes out when everybody's at work, and then she gets lost.. Trouble is, she calls me saying she's lost and I'm not always at a computer to google map her! (No, I don't have a smart phone, I live a pretty basic life ^_^; )

So, it's things like these that make me highly consider assisted living. I don't think she's bad enough for a retirement home because she can still cloth, bathe & feed herself. It's just boughts for "forgetfullness" - but it's not simple forgetting her keys or her glasses. It's forgetting how to get home from a familiar place or even GOING to a familiar place. She has difficultly understanding what anybody says, she has trouble following directions (ie; I told her to take out only 500 from the bank, so she withdrawls 700 ._.; like, really?) And I had only told her this 5 minutes ago.

Sounds like dementia to me! And some assisted living places I've looked up so far has aids to help with that. For the area that we live in, I have confidence that they will take very good care of her (even though they ARE, in fact, subsidized)

However, my understanding so far with assisted living places is that they have extensive waiting lists. (A year or 2 at LEAST)

DO Retirement homes have the same thing? Even though she doesn't need it yet, should I consider putting in apps for retirement homes too just in case she DOES get worse in the next few years?
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You're probably the only one she trusts. ... Still, try to get in touch with her niece and everybody else she lives with and come up with some kind of action plan that doesn't wear anybody out.

If I were in your husband-to-be's shoes, I'd be resentful of 3am phone calls; especially if a crying baby in the middle of the night is also robbing me of beauty sleep and sanity.

If they don't want to help, a higher level of care is in order. You've done the best you can. ... Your fiance is a very lucky, lucky man. Wish you the best.
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