Is my grandfather giving up on life? What do I do?

Asked by

My grandfather is 78 and in the past year he has gone from very active to sleeping all the time. He is no longer wanting to eat. He has lost a great amount of weight and now needs adult diapers because he no longer feels when he has to urinate. He is losing his balance and falling and is now walking with a walker or cane. All of this in 1 year. He is refusing to go to the doctor because he says there is nothing wrong with him, even though he has been urinating blood off and on for the last year. What can I do to help him and what does all this mean? Is he giving up on life?

Answers 1 to 10 of 24
Top Answer
Yes, it does sound like he is giving up. It also sounds like he is pulling you down with him.

The next time he falls, or has any kind of crisis (I'd go with bloody urine if had to), call 911 and have them try to convince him to go to the ER. From there he'll probably be held for observation and if need be, admitted for treatment. EMTs tend to hold much more authority for sick elders than adult children do. Good luck and keep us posted!
Your situation sounds very difficult. I have a couple thoughts: he might be depressed- does he live alone? He might be in pain, sleep could be a way to avoid it?
He may be very sick and since he refuses to see the doctor, do you have mobile physicians in your area? He might allow a house call as it’s not such a production as going to the Doctor’s office. He could be very embarrassed by his incontinence. Blood in the urine is NEVER a good thing. And sadly, sometimes we have to wait for a medical crisis or emergency before our loved ones will allow us to help. Hang in there.
I would question if your grandfather is competent to be making decisions about his healthcare. Sometimes people who are mentally not able to use proper judgment with their health care can self neglect. But, if he's still competent, it's really his decision as to whether he seeks medical attention. All of the things you describe do sound alarming though. Does anyone in your family have Healthcare POA for him? What do the other family members say about it? I might consult with an attorney to find out what your options are if things continue. At least, you'll know what proof you need, if things get worse and he still resists medical care. What's so sad, is what if it's something treatable that could make him feel so much better?
Blood in his urine could mean that he has a urinary tract infection. This could explain why he is being irrational as infections can impact cognition and make seniors appear to have dementia symptoms.
UTI is a possible cause, along with medication changes. Forgetting to take them or doubling up because you forgot.
If he goes to the ER, you want him admitted, not held for observation. Medicare won't pay for observation, IME.
meallen
Mom just spent 2 da in the hospital & I realized she was an Observation pt at first. It did however change to an admission thankfully.

But how do you be sure or direct them that this must be an admission up front without the worry?
Good advice from those who have answered previously...of course your grandfather may be concerned about being entrapped in the medical system and subjected to tests he does not want to undergo. It's amazing how quickly our lives our taken out of our control. I'm concerned it could be more than a UTI, maybe even prostate related...is it possible he knows more than he is letting on to you? I have seen people who have been very elder (far older than your grandfather) increase to sleeping so much they are awake few hours. Sometimes this is just their way of fading away...but if it is too soon, that's another matter. You don't say how old you are, but I have been a young granddaughter concerned about a grandparent. What do your parents say? Is it possible you are being protected out of love? If this is critical, hospice might be appropriate and would allow him to leave on his own terms...but again we don't know that. Somehow you are close enough to know about blood in his urine. You might want to talk to his MD if you can, maybe someone can make a home visit (Visiting nurse?) just to do a preliminary and non-threatening visit. Doing anything will help in some ways...The not eating...clearly not good for whatever reason, and no doubt contributing to weakness, possibly the balance and falling issues. 78 years is still pretty young these days...He's lucky to have you:-) I bet you're his favorite!
If he's urinating blood - he has a medical condition and needs to be tended to by physicians. I am not a doctor/nurse so I can't say more than he needs to be seen and evaluated.

But giving up? That's hard to say - not everyone lives to see 80 and his body can also just be worn out. While my DH reached 96 (so far) - he had 3 sisters pass before they reached 65, one brother that passed at 73 and 2 sisters that 'almost' made it to 95.

If I had to guess, I would think that some infection caused him to sleep more and eat less - but again, I am not in the medical profession. I am just a wife and helping my DH.

The only thing I can say is that he needs to be seen and evaluated. It might be time for an ambulance to take him to the hospital. Or, at least call in HomeHealth and they will evaluate his needs and see that they are carried out.
lucyinthesky, this sounds like a hospital problem to me. The hospital we always request (there are 2 choices) local to my mom has always been very good about knowing what needs to be done for Medicare to cover, they would automatically admit her rather than "observe" if that makes the difference in Medicare paying, her doctors are all very good about this too and of course they take her supplemental into consideration as well. But without that, either trusting the hospital or her primary to keep an eye on those things the only thing I can think of is you will have to stay o top of it by either being up to date on all these details (yikes!) or making sure you ask every time they go over their "plan" for her care with you if it's all covered by her insurance and if not what other choices are there that would be. As I think about it the other safe guard is typically with hospital stay "plans" they do a break out of charges the patient will incur that someone needs to sign before moving ahead so the patient (always sign for her or as POA if she can't sign for herself) is accepting the financial responsibility and the hospital has someone to bill. Reading that should send up a red flag when they are doing something that isn't covered by Medicare or her supplementary and clue you into asking for other options that will be covered. Again this probably varies by hospital and by state (what is required legally) so if there is more than one hospital in her area to choose from it might be a good idea to make a few calls and find out what their policy and procedures are concerning admission/care plans and billing. You might check with her doctors about preferences as well as privileges and reasons for them, then if you find a reason to, make sure hospital preference is clear for anytime she needs to be transported (post it on the fridge with other emergency info for EMS) or admitted to hospital or ER.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support