Should I move in with my grandmother? -

Should I move in with my grandmother?


My grandmother is 94, and she has stayed in relatively good health up until two years ago when she started having heart problems. She was still driving herself around town until 3 months back. She has suddenly started going downhill. Two months ago she moved into an apartment complex for seniors. This week she's been in the hospital, and now her health may be too bad for her to return to the apartment. I don't want her to spend her last days/weeks/months in a nursing home. We have always been close. Right now I live in a different town than she does. I would like to consider moving her back into her own home and moving in with her. I have children (age 1 to 19) who would be with me, which I worry would disrupt the quiet she's used to. I could also find a home near hers, but I worry that she will need someone there with her 24/7 at this point, so renting a place close to her is not really enough. My mother and uncle make legal decisions for her. I want to ask their permission to do this for her. Can anyone with experience give me advice. Are there other things I need to weigh into this decision?

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If your mom and your uncle are grannies DPOA & MPOA, the decision-making is really going to be up to them as to what path of care grannie takes as they legally have the ability to make these decisions.

Not to sound too too harsh, but the grannie you grew up knowing and loving is not the 94 yr old now in the hospital recovering but unable to return to her just moved into 2 mos ago senior apt; you, as a mom of kids from a 1 yr old - a 1 year old!! my goodness they are/have just started to walk!! - to a 19 yr old, you have your hands full with just your responsibility for your own family. Do you have a job outside the home as well?…..the 19 yr old won't be at all happy if you basically expect them to become the responsible point-person for your family unit as you will be off dealing with great-grannie in a whole other city. (btw I'm a mom of a 19 yr old).

My suggestion is visit grannie often, be encouraging her to do whatever rehab is ordered for her; do things to make her room at the hospital, rehab center or NH cheerful and filled with happy photos of you and her and you & your family. Listen to what your mom & uncle say are the doctors concerns about gran's health situation and be supportive in gran's care plan. Have your kids visit great gran too and try to keep those visits short and up-beat as hopefully it will imprint that dealing with elderly family can be a positive rather than depressing drudgery.
Helpful Answer (6)

This usually does not work out well, particularly moving children into a home with an elder who requires 24/7 care. This would be so disruptive to your family's life.

I suggest you have a talk with the aunt and uncle about grandmas care. At her age with many health problems a nursing home might be best for her care. You may even want to have her evaluated for palliative or hospice care.
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Its commendable you want to care for her but this doesn't sound like a good idea given your situation. You are a good and kind granddaughter, but this could end up being way much too much for you. It entails moving her belongings out of her apartment, and moving your and your children's into another home - two physical moves are a lot of work to start with.
You might want to ask her if she prefers to move to an assisted living or other place near you where you can visit daily and she could have caregivers? Given that she is declining quickly, she will eventually need 24/7 care which would be impossible for you to manage especially with a one year old and other children. Re-locating your children and maybe exposing them to something upsetting, for what could be a short term move is a consideration. What does your 19 year old think about this as he/she might end up as caregiver also?
I know the idea of a nursing home is not a pleasant one, but if she continues to decline it might be the only option.
I only say this based on observing the equipment and constant care my mother required in the last five months of her life. A nursing home was the last resort because our family could never have managed her care on our own. In fact, she got excellent care.
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ILoveMeme, the logistics of caring for someone at home is long and many. To get a more realist idea what would be needed, could you spend 2 full days and nights at the hospital to get a better idea of what your Grandmother's needs would be. Seeing Grandma at the hospital for 48 hours is a whole different story compared to visiting for a short time.

One thing to remember, you would need to set up Grandmother's house as if she was in a nursing home. Items needed would be a hospital bed as it is more comfortable and easier to use then a regular bed. Grab bars would need to be installed in the bathroom. Maybe even a walk-in shower or walk-in tub, if Grandmother is mobile enough to still bathe for herself. Depending if Grandma is a fall risk now, she would need a walker, the rolling walkers are nice if she can manage using the brakes... or she might need a wheelchair that is narrow enough to go through regular doorways.

Now, for her care. It may become a point where you will be doing the work of 3 full-time caregivers each day, that can become exhausting. What would hurt would be your one year old as you may not be able to give that child full time and attention.

It might be better to have Grandma sell her house, and if it is paid for, those funds can be used to have home caregivers with her 24 hours per day at her apartment. The cost would depend on where you live. Don't be shocked by the cost, it could run up to $20k per month.
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I care for my grandma and care for two children (my sister's) during the day. It is A LOT to take on yourself. My grandma needs around the clock care. This includes nighttimes as there are times at night where she just refuses to sleep and yells all hours of the night keeping me awake. Then of course since the kids I care for are young, I have to be awake for them the next day. This is really tough as she seems to have no problem sleeping all day.

My nights include cleaning up accidents, even poop, shadow walking her everywhere, bathing her, dressing her, giving her pills and food to eat every 2 hours and that's just the regular daily things. On occasion she has other needs such as GERD, pain, or diarrhea.

It's hard to give up your life to care for someone else. I must confess I do not do it all alone as I have my dad who sits in the living room with her at times and I also have helpers who are supposed to come for 3 hours a day on the weekdays to help sit with her (although since I moved the helpers have been very few).

People are right in saying you have to set your house up for a nursing home. My house has raised toilet seats, a lift chair, (had a hospital bed in it for a while before she started refusing to even get into it), depends, assist bars everywhere, a ramp to accomodate her walker and on her bad days a wheelchair that I have to push and a locked cabinet for her pills. She requires doctor's appointments which I have to take her to (her primary every month and a pain doctor every 3 weeks) as well as a foot doctor every 6 weeks and now physical therapy comes 3 times a week for a few weeks. Life isn't quiet at all with an elderly person to care for.

With you having children which I'm sure are a full time job, just go into this with eyes wide open. It's hard to juggle it all. I can't imagine dealing with my grandma's nonsleeping nights plus a one-year old. My sister's kids go home at night which I'm thankful for because her two year old does not sleep through the night and I couldn't imagine trying to juggle them both.

If it was me knowing what I know now after caring for my grandma for the past 3 years, I'd try to find another option. Visit her and visit her often enjoying the visits but understand the commitment that comes with taking care for someone 24/7 who is not well and will never be the same person they were again.
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I know it's hard to lose your grandmother. You've been very fortunate to have had her in your life for so many years and it's only natural that you would want to be with her as much as possible in the time she has left. But as a mother of several children you already know your first priority has to be to your own children. You say that their father is away from them so they are already down to one parent. You can't possibly take care of those children AND an elder who is on the brink of needing extensive care. The greatest honor you can give your grandmother is to nuture your own children in the manner she nurtured you. Do plan to visit often but give your own children that special care they need from their own mother. They are children. They need at least one parent. They are already sacrificing by not having their father in the home. Your grandmother does have her children to care for her. And you have your children. Best of luck to you all.
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Thank you all so much for your responses. I am not working right now. My husband is overseas and is ok with the kids and I moving in with Meme if we need to. I do realize that my 19-year-old would have to be my go to person for helping with her younger siblings if I am busy with Meme. It's not ideal in several ways. At the same time, my Meme has been an active part of my life since I was born. Until I was grown I saw her daily. She braided my hair, cleaned up my vomit when I was sick, hand sewed dresses and quilts for me, taught me manners and how to cook and when to plant tulip bulbs in the fall. So much of who I am is because of her. It hurts me to see her weak and fading and suddenly helpless. I have a hard time trusting the people I love to others. I stayed home with my kids rather than using daycare, because I needed to know they were safe and loved at all times. I know there are good quality nursing homes that Meme could go to, but there's still that level of worry that I have. If someone will have to be bathing her or attending to her toilet needs, personal things, I feel like it should be me or my mom, not a stranger. Ideally. And then there's just my wanting to spend time with her while I have the chance, before it's too late. I could do that by renting a place nearby and seeing her daily at the nursing home, and maybe with my kids in the picture that's better. Maybe my mom and uncle won't consider letting me keep her myself anyway. I just have this on my mind, because I know these decisions will be made in the next few days. Thanks again for listening and giving feedback.
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