My grandmother fell right after Christmas, fractured her hip. She had previously been living alone and was doin everything in her own up until the fall. She is 88. After the fall it was apparent that she could no longer live alone. My father lives 4 hours away. He and my mother whom are in their late 60's can not care for her. We decided that because of her physical issues and because of her moderate demintia she would come to live with us.

I am a stay at home mom to a 6 year old son with high functioning autism. My spouse of 15 years works from home. So because there are two of us at home most days it seemed like the best thing for my gran to come live with us.

We have a moderately sized home. We had to have a complete renovation of the bathroom before my gran could come home with us. We are currently in the process of remodeling the basement for extra space.

My issue is between caring for a special needs child, who has many "quirks," my spouse, and now grandma I am at my breaking point!

One of the biggest challenges is my gran's non-stop talking. She gets up every morning (we have established a routine to help with her memory) and then she sits by the front window and just talks and talks and talks!!!! She talks about every bird, squirrel, dog, cat, person. She will repeat the same thing every day. Then she will start with the same stories from the past.

She comments on every little house work thing that needs to be done. And what is on the agenda for today? -- this is a particular sore point with me as I do all of the housework, I used to run my own business from home. I am a mental list maker so I know every little thing that needs to be done around the house. I just don't have the energy most days. And when I am cleaning she constantly is pointing out things I miss or things I haven't gotten to. For example when I am dusting she will start telling me about a piece of furniture that is waaaaaayyyyy across the room. One I haven't even touched yet.

She asks non-stop questions about my son. Like really off the wall stuff, like will he get a drivers license, is he going to graduate high school, will he drink and do drugs; my son is six for frackin' sake!?! Most days I feel like it is all I can do to get him out the door, dressed fully, teeth brushed, hair combed and a bite of food in his belly for school.

She is constantly asking if she "can help" but she can't walk with out a cane, and when she does he is very off balance. In the last month she has fallen 3 times because she refuses to sit down while getting dresses. So now I have to watch her an help her get dressed. Reminding her to sit down while putting her shirt on. Then slide on her underwear, pants, socks and house shoes then stand up one time. I have to tell her sit at the end of the bed and then comb your hair.

I have tried giving her small things to do, like fold the laundry, or watch so the dog doesn't run out the door. But she will constantly ask "can she help" And not just one time, repeatedly every 5 minutes or so.

When we watch TV she will just randomly start talking about things. Topics that are not related to the TV show. Or at dinner we will be talking about our sons day and she will then just interject with some random topic even if she was previously speaking about his day.

Riding in the car is a nightmare if you are the driver because she mentions every little thing she sees. Like tonight there was a plastic grocery sack on the side of the road and she asks if we saw the white dog.

Anytime I make her food or we go out to eat she constantly offers everyone at the table some of her food. No matter how many times we tell her no, she will offer again and again. She weighs about 100 lbs and is like a twig. I am overweight so that is frustrating.

She crochets so I have her making a bunch of stuff or different family things like baby showers and weddings. But even then she is not always able to follow a pattern or complete even a small project. She is not able to do any new patterns with out the project going completely amok. I even learned how to crochet so at least she could talk to me about that.

I was taking her to a senior work-out class twice a week but because she couldn't stand and was having a hard time doing the work-out she now refuses to go. I take her to the library once a week to get new books/magazines but she rarely finishes a book now. I take her with me for all the household errands. But she can't walk for long periods so I have to bring her walker with a seat and then try and push her and drag the shopping cart.

The other thing is when she is walking she does not concentrate on walking but starts pointing out random things the will trip because she does not pick her feet.

She hated the rest home/rehab. Won't entertain the idea of a facility at all. My spouse is getting more frustrated than I am and I spend more time with her. She won't "join" in with groups.

Any suggestions?

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The DVR was the GREATEST invention ever for watching TV. We record series in advance or, if mom starts talking and we can't watch, we just hit record and let it go. TV isn't that good or that important. We also deal with the constant interruptions at the table, she's always offering us bites of her food. I know where her hands have been and she fights us so hard about washing them, that there's not a chance we're eating anything she has touched, LOL.

I'll be honest with you, she has entered a phase of her dementia where she hardly talks at all, and I kind of miss the conversation. She, too, would comment on anything that caught her eye. Now I point out the boats on the lake or whatever, and she will hardly even turn her head to look. It's so sad.

As far as the questions regarding your son and his future, she may recognize that there is something going on with him, but not have any real idea of his age and development. Also, she asks questions over and over, because she doesn't remember that she asked. Her dementia may be more than moderate at this time. Trauma will do that sometimes, cause it to advance.

It may be time, regardless of how she feels about it, to consider a different living arrangement. You do have a lot on your plate and are finding that at this stage, she is too much. Our elders have such an old fashioned memory of nursing homes. Assisted Living didn't really exist until fairly recently and there weren't many options between living on our own and being warehoused in a NH. Now there are many, many lovely homes with wonderful employees who work a shift and go home to recoup.

Hugs to you and your family.
Helpful Answer (7)

Thank you all for the great advise.

I am very close to my gran. My father is an only child and my only sibling, my sister, is a drug addict and alcoholic. When we were little we lived all summer with my grandparents because my parents couldn't afford day care durning the non school times. Any time there was a break from school my grandparents took care of us. My dad and mom struggled to make ends meet. On top of the summers, my mother had her own mental health issues and was verbally and physically abusive towards me and my sister. So my gran became more like my mother.

I am relieved to know the non-stop talking gets on other peoples nerves. I feel so guilty about getting frustrated with her. I try to remember how my son was as a toddler, the constant repeating of questions and answers. I don't want to get frustrated with her or angry with her. I want to enjoy this time with her since I know this time with her is short.

I really do enjoy having my gran at home with us. I had been trying to get her to live with us since my grandfather passed away 5 years ago. My son loves having her at our house. He was surprisingly easy about switching his room to the small room and giving up his big room for gran.

I don't think of her as a burden, she loved and cared for me and now in the last years of her life it is my turn to care for her. I know she feels like she is a burden, she always says I am working to hard. But then in the next breath she remarks about house work that needs to be done.

The stories about the past are actual a glimpse into the family, she never told me any of these stories before.

I will have to remember to take long deep cleansing breathes.
Helpful Answer (5)

Interesting. My Mom has started with a lot of that. The nonstop talking, subjects that just pop up in the middle of a different subject she was on. Then sometimes trailing into a long old story, many times told, sometimes with different endings, usually ends up forgetting what started the whole thing. :-)

Driving her places with the non stop talking, heehee, fun stuff! Especially if it's someplace I've never been and am trying to read addresses and look for street signs, exit ramps, etc. Have even tried asking her to help me look for "Daisy Drive" up ahead, (in other words please be quiet for a second or we'll miss your appointment). Will wind up getting a story about the Daisies my Grandma used to grow in her garden in the summer, ...what the color reminded her of. Drove me bats at first, now I just laugh. Have learned to tune it out completely when I have to, she doesn't seem to notice I'm not listening, so no harm, no foul I guess.

My Sis used to say "Mom is great at sitting there thinking up stuff everyone else should do". I lived in another state then, so didn't see it, I just kinda giggled trying to imagine what she meant. Boy did she have that pegged. :-) I think she's thinking of things she'd like to do if she were more mobile really. Doesn't sound like you are alone with these issues anyway, I'm glad to hear that I'm not either. I love her dearly, but yeah, sometimes it can make me nuts. Then I feel bad about getting frustrated at such a dear person, she didn't mean to make me nuts. Geez. Hang in there, sounds like you are doing great.
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So glad to read all these comments today. My 89 year old dad talks constantly and my brother just brought him back after a 48 hours visit, ears ringing from the constant chatter that he's not used to experiencing. It helps to know that it's just a symptom of the dementia. It's also worse in the evenings, which fits with Sundowners. I can deal with it in the house but when we're in the car, I want to strangle him. He really is just verbalizing what he used to just think, not necessarily being critical, even though it can come through that way. I'm happy to have the time with him because it won't last and when he can't even remember the stories anymore, I'll still be able to tell them word for word.
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I just wanted to say my mom is a lot like your grandmother. But I don't live with my mom. If I did, I'd go crazy. When I take her out in the car, she comments on everything. She reads signs to me. At home she asks me the same thing over and over. She doesn't ask to help because at 95, she can't really do anything. But she'll ask me how my weekend was on a Wednesday or Thursday three times in five minutes. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the Alice in Wonderland aspect of it.

I think getting her out in some kind of program would be great for you. If she's like my mom, she may be afraid to do that, because she knows that her brain isn't working right and she is afraid about that. Pam's idea about a good evaluation is a great place to start. Hugs to you - I have a small idea of what you're going through.
Helpful Answer (4)

My mother fell, hit her head, broke her hip when she was 88 also. She had mild dementia, lived alone and could function before that. After the fall, it threw her into much later stage. I've been dealing with that for 6 months now, talking all the time, following me around like a dog at my heels (I could win the speed peeing event if they had one because I know I have to go fast or she would follow me into the bathroom even though I told her where I was going and would be right back) Her broken hip didn't slow mine down one bit, she couldn't remember she broke it! Two weeks ago she fell and hit her head again. Ever since then she has pretty much been acting like the final stages of AZ, to the point that her dr recommended hospice evaluation which she did get accepted for. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it doesn't have to go on forever, even though it feels like it. If she fell once, chances are she will again, no matter how careful you are with her, accidents happen. Now mine only says a word or two and they don't make much sense where she used to stand at the window giving me a run down of the number of cars at the neighbor's house and her belief that they are selling them. The main thing to keep in mind is that your son and husband come first, and if it gets too stressful you may need to see about AL that deals with memory care.
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You are generous with your efforts and your caring. Most of this is not working. She can't do normal things anymore, so let AAALLLLL those normal things go. Lower lower lower your expectations of what she can do. She's lived life, she's done things. She can't do things anymore. Stop thinking of things for her to do, and observe what she does. Build something off that. My Mom would tell me, just after sunset, what lights she saw or didn't see outside. She told me about her three lights. Yup, there they are. So I started asking her about her lights some nights at the right time. She would check it out and answer me. It became truly fun to just have this little interaction. It was her doing, not mine. As for the constant talking, I can offer one tiny idea that I use when my Dad is talking nonstop and slowly about stuff I've heard many times. If the tv is on, I just mentally measure how many words the person on tv says for each of my Dad's words- e.g. 10 tv words for one Dad word. It's a distraction for me, and it can help me not be close to the edge of losing it. There are other games that you can make up for yourself. I know this is only a small help, if it does help, but this is something I do when needed.
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Mamamurdoch, I related so well to what you wrote. My mother has been on a nonstop talking spree since she started her new antidepressant. She tells me the same stories and worse, she talks bad about people. She also talks about her childhood and my brothers. If I interrupt her stories, she will get mad and say I just don't care about what she was talking about. It is strange that she can forget the five times I listened to the story and remember the one time that I didn't. I think that negative things must have a special storage place in the memory that lasts longer than the more positive things.

My mother also wears me out with lists of tasks that need to be done. A person has to go through it every day to know how hard it is. If you're like me, you wake up fresh, but hearing we need to do this, we need to do that, we need to do this, too... I gets tired like I'll never get anything done. It is very wearing.

Are you close with your grandmother? That makes all the difference. Caregiving is tough even when you are close to a person. It is even tougher when you aren't.
Helpful Answer (2)

Sounds like she may have a touch of Asperger's herself. Have you taken her to a Neurologist for an evaluation? Tell him about the logorrhea (constant talking), the random pattern of thinking and the drop foot tendency. He may even be able to recommend the appropriate day program for her.
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Mamamurdoch, that was a nice message to read in the morning. When you look at things this way, it makes the repeat stories sweeter. I loved reading what you wrote.
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