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Been caregiving with my wife for 2 years for her grandmother. We gave up our house and life to move in with grandma after grandfather passed. The reason for this is my wife's mother stole what was left of their retirement in the end and for years before, slowly drained the funds constantly asking for money to which grandfather couldn't say no. Mother is still on the loose and it was put upon my wife and I to take care of grandmother with whatever pieces were left. No help from any family because all they did was take money so can't be trusted. So hard on our marriage right now trying to make the best of it but I'm no longer working for my wife and I, I'm working to take care of grandmother. It all seems so very unfair and cruel to have all this dropped on my wife and we're still young enough that we should be enjoying our lives instead of putting it on hold.

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You and.....are obviously overwhelmed and you need help. apply for medicade for grandmother and she can be placed in a nursing home. If you need her social security income, things will get much worse and your problems will work on your mind and the stress can change to resentment and then to anger because you are "wearing out". Get reliefe!!!
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Reply to DKelso34
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I am in a similar situation. As harsh as this sounds: locks for the fridge/pantry. My mother will wander into the kitchen like 20 times a day and just take things: ingredients that i have for planned meals, the kid's school lunch snacks, my husband's special diet foods, anything and everything. It became very frustrating to all of us and I was running to the grocery store, last minute, multiple times a week because of it.

So far, I have not put locks on yet, I just put a sign in the fridge and on the pantry door saying: "Please don't take food until you ask [me] first."

It sounds kind of rude, but it is just enough of a deterrent (for now) to at least give me a chance to give her appropriate snacks between designated mealtimes so she doesn't eat every random food item in the house.

I know that because of her consistent deterioration, I will eventually have to resort to locks. But so far, this is working for us.

Best of luck :)
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Reply to OurOldHouse
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"We gave up our house and life to move in with grandma..." 

This was a choice you made at that time - with good intentions. It happens. You stepped in to help but it became too big. You fell down the slippery slope into a bog. You now feel stuck.

Keep your head!
You can choose to take action! To look for the way up & out. Or.. continue to stay in the bog.

"It all seems so very unfair and cruel to have all this dropped on my wife..". Yes. Probably. But work with the now.

1. Contact your area of aging, ask about obtaining a Social Worker to assist you & your wife

2. Medical stuff: is the Alz/Dementia on profile diagnosed? Get a current medical review. Opinion on level of care **

** This is important. What is recommended? IE Grandma home alone - with occasional home help? Assisted Living, Nursing Home or Memory Care?

3. Legal stuff: who has POA/MPOA, enduring POA?

4. Ask Social Worker who can help find & fund the appropriate type of accommodation

Basically it may be time to handball Grandma's care onto a bigger team than your team of two! This is not abandoning her - it is helping her get the care she needs - now & in her future. And a life for the two of you too.

Read this thread to your wife & make a plan together. Especially this sentence *Dementia is progressive. There is no cure. Which means it WILL get WORSE*.

Best of luck going forward & up.
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Reply to Beatty
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If she doesn't have much money, apply for Medicaid if she doesn't already have it. Try your best not to spend your money. . Call her insurance to see if you can get any respite care. If not, call The Alzheimer's Association for help, respite care, resources, support group, & help on developing a plan. Take a 8X11 lined paper, list days of week along the top & breakfast, lunch, dinner, meds, etc.(whatever she does during the week)along the side. Make duplicates for each week, add & subtract tasks as needed. Have a pen or pencil nearby & show her how to mark it as she completes the task. If she 's unable to use it, you or your husband can mark it so that she can see it. Should only do small meals during the day if her condition requires it or she has a small appetite. Large amounts of food multiple times a day will lead to unnecessary weight gain. Plan a weekly menu & stick to it for your shopping, think about leftovers. This will avoid too much food coming in & waste of food. The memory clock is a great idea. Caretaking for someone with dementia is very hard, time consuming, frustrating & doesn't allow free time. Think of your strain this is currently putting on your marriage & talk about your plans together. Have a conversation to see if you, meaning both of you can handle this this situation much longer(which will also get harder) & the future when she becomes dependent on you for everything including ADL's, mobilization, toileting, feeding, etc. If neither of you can handle this, please sell her home & put her in a memory care unit somewhere. Don't feel guilty if you decide to place her. She requires more than you are able to give & she'll have others to help her. Maybe consult an elder attorney via legal aid, about the steps you need to take in her best interest including POA, Medical POA, Advance Directives, & selling her home for future expenses (AL or Memory Care). Good luck in whatever you decide! 🙏
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Reply to ToniFromRVA
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Imho, as she's overeating, her digestive tract is going to tell her she cannot keep this up. Moreso, you need respite badly. Prayers sent.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Regarding what time it is and whether its time to eat. I have recently purchased 4 clocks in total. 25cm down to 17cm. They are called 'digital day clocks' or 'dementia clocks'. Unfortunately I can't put a photo on here, but they show the day, the time of day, the time, the date, month and year, so for example:
SUNDAY
EVENING
22:50
15 NOVEMBER 2020. You can also set alarms, and also medication reminders. The reminders can put out an alarm and the screen changes to whatever you set it to, so for example 'take morphine' or if you choose you could set it to say 'eat lunch', or whatever you want. It isn't like the usual digital clock where each word or number is made up of lines, it is large clear bold letters. They come in numerous languages. Day month year, or month day year etc. Some can have each line coloured so Sunday on a red background. I prefer plain white print on a black background. Both Amazon and EBay sell them and maybe elsewhere but check features and cost, mine were £25-£30 in U.K. Best buy in a long time. Got the 10" first for lounge, then 9" for kitchen, and seeing how clear they are opted for 7" for bedroom, and a spare 7", still extremely clear, can be seen clearly from outside the room. Can remove 'evening' and just have day time and date. They can also be used as a digital photo frame if you insert a memory (sd) card.
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Reply to Walrus77
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Please talk with your wife about your concerns. Many seniors "pick at" their meals and don't eat much at each meal. Your gram-in-law may be one of these folks and grazing through out the day may be helping her maintain her weight. If so, plan on having "mini-meals" on hand for her that are easy on you as caregivers - cheese and fruit, soft granola cookies, Ensure-type drinks... Make the dish situation easier too by serving on disposable dishes (get sturdy paper ones that compost into dirt in the land fill).

I also suggest that you discuss with your wife the dreams you have as a couple: children, travel, home, activities together... that do NOT include grandma. Both of you probably feel stuck with this situation, but it is not so. Your needs as a couple are as important as gram's. Gram's home can be sold and her assets consolidated to pay for assisted living for residential care. A banker can be named to caretake her assets to make sure that family members can not touch anything until she passes, then her assets should be distributed per a will.

Please consider talking to a lawyer who specializes in family law and/or elder law. Make sure you get powers of attorney for medical and financial. Make sure Gram has a will written. Discuss advanced directives or end of life issues with Gram and have that put into a legal document as well. Since you are her caregivers, it might be helpful to have a "contract" that spells out your duties and compensation (yes, you can be paid to care for Gram).

Please consider talking to a banker where Gram's accounts are. Try to streamline her finances: auto pay for bills, family trust fund-type account to manage Gram's needs, asking a banker to caretake her finances (especially if you can not get power of attorney for her finances).

Lastly, have gram's doctor examine her for "mental competency." If she is deemed "not mentally competent", then her powers of attorney can be invoked by the person(s) who hold the POAs. If she is considered mentally competent, then she makes decisions for her finances, health,... life.

Caregiving is one of the hardest jobs, but it can also be rewarding once you have the basics in place. Please find joy in your current situation to balance the work.
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Reply to Taarna
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The more serious eating disorder in the elderly is not eating and drinking enough. I say that if weight and blood tests are in normal range, continue to replenish food and let grandma eat as much and as often as she wants.
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Reply to amoeba
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Also make sure that all of her paperwork is in order: a will, Power of Attorney for medical and financial decisions, medical directives (a living will), and some banks have their own POA forms. Do this while she is still able to sign papers.
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Reply to NYCdaughter
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Is the grandmother gaining weight as a result of all this eating?
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Reply to jacobsonbob
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I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. Have you set everything up so your wife is her legal guardian and power of attorney? It would be a good idea to talk to a lawyer that specializes in elder law, they can be expensive but it will help you to protect what she has, especially if you’re considering Medicaid.
Have you had a serious, heart to heart talk with your wife about how you’re feeling? Not to put more on your wife but to just have open and honest conversations during this really hard time. You could discuss the plan with grandmother, your marriage plans, and how your feeling through all of this, and allow her to talk about how she’s feeling. The hard part is to be able to have these conversations without it leading to a fight. But if you’re able to do this it may feel like you and your wife are on the same “team”, and that might lead to less resentment. I’m wishing you the best!
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Reply to Protam
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If her income is low enough, she might qualify for Medicaid. Even if the plan is to keep her at home as long as you can, Medicaid does often provide a limited number of hours/money so you can hire help. This can either provide breaks for you and your wife or allow you to work part-time.

If grandad was in the military, she might also qualify for VA assistance. Do some research and/or get some help from Social workers, VA and/or Elder Law atty to look into possible filing for one or both (I don't think you can collect from both, but apply to both and take the one that pays for the most help!) If she's very low income, you might find an atty who will work pro-bono, or low cost based on her income.

I'm not sure about VA benefits, but often Medicaid benefits can be paid to the family caregivers (beware this may mean ensuring you chip in for various taxes, SS and FICA, just as you would when working a regular job.) Also, I've read that Medicare might pay for a one week respite/year.

Explore all the financial options. If you can hire someone to help, spend some quality time together with the wife. Even with two of you providing care, it's still a tough road. Dementia isn't for the faint-hearted.

Also, shame on all those who fleeced your wife's poor grandmother, and then abandoned her. Hopefully they'll get their payback in the future.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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It isn’t easy to be a caregiver. I second what grandma has said. Please reevaluate your situation and plan for an outcome that works for all of you.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Sounds like there's a lot more going on than just grandma eating too often. Actually sounds like you and your wife have bitten off more than you can now chew. If grandma doesn't have the funds, she can apply for Medicaid, and when approved you can place her in the appropriate facility. That way you and your wife can live the life you deserve and not continue to put your life on hold. When caregiving starts to effect a marital relationship negatively, it's time to reevaluate things and make a change. Wishing you the best.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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