I never could have imagined a year ago that my grandmother would require 24/7 care. I guess I could have tried harder to break her habits of leaving the sink running and walking away all the time. She has always been a multi-tasker, but in her current condition, misses some things.

Inevitably the sink flooded her apartment several times and caused water damage. The final straw was one of the over-zealous (and generally unhelpful) neighbors saw her walking in the hallway, assumed she was wandering, and made a huge fuss getting social services involved.

My grandmother is the most selfless person I know and always cares more about other people than herself. We all feel she deserves to live at home as long as possible. With private care being costly, I immediately volunteered to do as much as I could bare. That meant arriving early Weds and leaving Saturday morning EVERY week. I don't accept compensation, because I have my finances in order and don't need the $, plus think I'd feel ethically wrong if I were to. One of the biggest motivations is that her savings are finite and since she requires constant care, she is ALWAYS spending money. Except when I'm there. I've saved her over $40,000 in the last 7 months.

In the beginning, I felt like I had no option since nobody else was willing :(. I also wanted to be there for her in her time of need. I never thought I could stand almost 72 hours being stuck somewhere EVERY week. I have to say, it's gotten a lot easier. I almost look forward to it now-like a small vacation from my life.

She was diagnosed with vascular dementia when this started, and she seemed so confused. I really thought she was going to decline like her husband (my grandpa). He had frontal lobe dementia and couldn't really even have a conversation towards the end, but I always knew he was still there somewhere. We'd always do like clint eastwood in dirty harry and pretend shoot it from the hip. Sometimes he'd get me first, sometimes i'd get him :D. That was an eye opening experience because it proved to me that you don't completely lose someone. Through it all, she stayed right by his side and managed to keep him out of a nursing home. He died in bed at home and it was because of her that he was able to.

I found that reminding my grandmother of things, and making sure her blood sugar stays constant (diabetic) with regular meals was key. I feel like I witnessed a miracle. She improved steadily for weeks until she seemed like she was back to her old self again. In that regard, it's incredibly rewarding.

Does anyone else find that it gets easier over time?

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My first response was, not just no but HELL NO! Then I truly thought about my answer and I would have to say it is like most parts of life, has it’s ups and downs.

Do you think it is because it is the grandmother you always loved? I adored my grandma. She was the sweetest woman in the world to me.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

Who takes care of your grandmother when you leave from Saturday to Wednesday? Your profile says that your grandmother has dementia? Is someone else coming to her home to care for her too? It's good that you have some help.

To me, providing around the clock 24/7 hands on care for a person with mobility problems and dementia was extremely exhausting and stressful. In our situation, hands on around the clock care in the home was not feasible. I felt better when I had shifts of professionals taking care of her in MC. THEN, it was great when I was able to visit and have my energy and enthusiasm. This also allows m the time to take care of her healthcare, financial and personal affairs.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
Troubledwaters Mar 5, 2019
Another family member mon-weds and private hires on the wknd. It definitely isn't easy. Thank you for sharing your experience.
It depends so much on the patient, what they have, how close you are to them, how much you're doing--so many factors.

My DH has been my "patient" many times with various health issues and wow, I don't look forward to a lingering illness and the CG that will entail. I have hated many, many days of care, esp when he'd been ornery or complains to the kids that I am not doing anything right. (Of course, they always believe him). My 'best' for him is just not good enough.

I cared for my FIL and he was a peach. Same with my daddy. I will NOT be doing any hands on care for my own mother and my MIL has "divorced" me from her life, so I am off the hook with that.

Some people are just easier to care for--I really hold to that belief that as people age they just become more the way they already were--I never expected my daddy to be and angry, grumpy patient and he never was.
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Reply to Midkid58
NeedHelpWithMom Mar 5, 2019
Oh MidKid,

I feel exactly as you do! How they were before is usually how they age in a lot of cases. Always exceptions but for the most part I feel your feeling on it is correct.
Yes, I do - at least usually. My mother's short term memory is shot so we talk about the past a lot and I have learned lots of interesting stuff about my aunts, uncles, parents and older brothers that I would have otherwise never have known. Like you, I take a certain amount of pride in providing better care than she would experience in LTC, although recently I have had to hire some in home care help. I worry less about Mom now that she is living with me than I did the last couple of years she was caring for my father with vascular dementia. My mother is a sweet old lady and never verbally abusive, although occasionally she might for me 3 times in 10 minutes.

There are periods where things seem to stabilize and get easier; then there's another decline and things are difficult again, only to stabilize at a "new normal" until the next decline. When I'm having a "spell' with my own chronic illnesses, it's harder to head down the hall answering Mom's summons.

There are a lot of posters on this site that have a very different and much more difficult care giving challenge than I. Some are caring for someone who has always had abusive tendencies; some have become verbally and emotionally abusive as their dementia advances; some are caring for someone who needs them 24/7 for everything; some of the care givers have reached an age where meeting the care needs is almost impossible and very exhausting when it is accomplished. There's so much constant stress and exhaustion that I cannot even imagine those care givers "feeling good" in their present circumstances. They will probably feel proud of the care they have provided at some future date - when their care giving days are over and they have had at least a couple of months of good sleep.
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Reply to TNtechie

You are an exceptional person. I did not like being at someones beck and call or worrying about them 24/7.
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Reply to JoAnn29

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