I am the teenage granddaughter of a woman with dementia. She will not bathe herself or eat properly. In fact, I really have no idea when she last bathed. As for the eating, she is convinced that, as an "old person," she doesn't have to "eat as much anymore." She drinks milk, wine, and Ensure, and occasionally eats crackers, yogurt, or fruit cups. Gran lives by herself in a rough neighborhood (she moved there so many years ago that it has gone from respectable working-class to pretty rough). My father or aunt visit her at least once a week to check on her, but they both work and do not have much time to take care of her. She is on several nursing-home waiting lists. We have also hired an aide who cleans the house and drives her to her bars so she can maintain her old routine. (Gran is an alcoholic and also smokes heavily, which we think caused the dementia. At this point, this is not something we can control. She becomes absolutely impossible to deal with when denied her wine and cigarettes.)
As much as they try to help her, my father and aunts (one lives away and one lives in this city where she can help us with Gran) are all bitter about how poorly my grandmother treated my grandfather when he was going through Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. She neglected him a lot. I was much younger at the time, so I don't feel as angry as they do about what happened because I didn't really experience it.
My father thinks that the only way she will be able to get to the nursing home is if she gets injured, goes to the hospital, and the doctors get her to the front of the line at the nursing home. Right now, before she has some catastrophe, I want to try to get her to bathe and eat at the very least, but I can't drive yet, my adult family members are at their wits' end, and they have other emotional inhibitions to taking care of her.
Oh, and did I mention she gives her credit card and checking account numbers to anyone who passes her house? My aunt has power of attorney and handles the financial matters, so that at least is under control, mostly. Her immediate neighbors look out for her, but there's only so much they can do.
The only thing I know to do is to start driving ASAP. Then, I can drive down, bathe her if necessary, attempt to cajole her into eating, check on the house, etc. But I won't be able to do that for at least a year, and even then my parents may not let me drive there because it is a very rough neighborhood. By the time I finally have a license, she may have had the "big accident" that my dad predicts will get her into a nursing home.
Advice please? Magic spells? Anything at all is appreciated.