Has my gram (84) given up?

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I think my gram has given up, she is 84 and has taken a turn for the worse in just 4 days. She refuses to even change her clothes (very unlike her), won't get out of her chair, or even ask someone to help her to the bathroom. She would rather have an "accident" than ask for help. She cries a lot because she feels like no one wants her. She spends a lot of time alone, but with everyones schedule it's not possible for someone to sit with her all the time. She can't hear so the tv is always so loud and causes the rest of us headaches. She has age onset dementia, and kidney disease. My mother is her primary caregiver, but at 59 she isn't in great health either. I try to help as much as I can, but having a full time job and my own kids to take care of makes it hard. There are two other siblings, but they live in other states and just seem as though they can't be bothered in their lives to do anything to help, so it all rests on me and my mom and I think we are both getting very burned out quickly as we have been watching her decline for 6 years. We are looking into options. I hate to see my gram have to leave her home, but we just don't know what more we can do. We are not equipped or trained to handle such a task as long term caregiving.

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I completely agree with Jeanne about the needs assessment leading to a much better care plan; but I would start by urging your mother to contact your grandmother's doctor as soon as possible. You've noticed a very marked change in your grandmother from only four days ago: there are all sorts of things that could have caused this and they need checking out properly.
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Is your Gram living alone in her home? Or is she living in the same house as you and/or your mother? That would clarify things a bit.

It is not realistic to think you and your mother can/should provide all the care Gram needs. Other options include bringing some paid help into the home, having her attend a day program, or placing her in an appropriate level care center.

A good place to start is to have an needs assessment done for Gram. Our family did this for our mother by calling the Human Services Department of her county. Other people call the Area Agency on Aging. However it is initiated, the assessment will determine the kinds of care Gram needs, and also explain options for getting that care.

It is sad to think of Gram needing to leave her home (if that option is what works best). But is it really more sad than having her sit all day, sad, and soiling her pants?

When the person comes out to do an assessment, be sure someone is there who knows Gram's real situation. My mother told the person that of course she could get her own meals. We gently reminded Mom that she couldn't grocery shop, she couldn't use the stove, and it was was getting hard for her to carry food from the microwave to the table. She qualified for Meals on Wheels, but she wouldn't have if the assessor had to rely on her answer alone.

There is help available for people like your Gram. Start the process rolling by getting a needs assessment!
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