My 79-year-old (almost 80) grandma is starting to have issues staying home alone. She is experiencing anxiety attacks, is unable to keep her thoughts in order, is easily confused or losing a thought mid-sentence. She recently ran a red light and was t-boned by an oncoming car. As Grandma drives basically a tank she was unharmed but someone in the other car was hurt. She has no other health problems other than mental and tiredness. I am the only living relative in the state and she doesn't get along so well with her 2 sons, 1 of whom is in Hawaii and another is 1500 miles away. I love my grandma and we have offered her the opportunity to come live with us in our finished basement where she would still have privacy and yet we would be much closer to, obviously, and she would have people around more often. My grandma is an extremely independent woman but the last 3 months have left her very shaken and concerned. I am in my 30s with a 12-year-old and a 6-year-old at home with a husband in the reserve AF which means he can be gone at times...usually around 2 to 3 weeks at a time but not all that often. I also work 40 hours a week, 4-10 hour days and am gone for about 12 hours on those days.

Assisted living is pretty much out of the question money wise and I feel that it is a families job to care for their family members. I have many questions including what having grandma with us will cost us financially, she will help out as she can, what it will cost emotionally, and what I should expect as she gets older. She very likely will be someone who simply dies in her sleep but who knows.

I have tons of other questions but don't know how to word them. Any ideas, support would be appreciated.


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You are a very mature person and have thought this through. Many folks who come here are leading with their hearts and not their heads. Ya' need both!
I like the suggestion of inviting grandma over for a one month "vacation." That way you can see the family dynamic at work and make adjustments where needed.
The idea of a "stop over" point is a good way to look at it. Most seniors, mostly because of medical issues, will need a facility at some point. I am glad you are realistic about this.
I say go ahead and give your grandma that lovely home and family she deserves. And you rock!
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My Dad will be 55ish this year and is the one just remarried. My step-mom passed away from cancer/massive stroke. My Uncle is 57? Somewhere in there at any rate. I already have durable and medical POA which is a very good thing. The room-mate is a wonderlust at heart and has already been making plans to start "seeing" more of the country. Not having him around will be a hard adjustment for my Grandma. The reason my home is the best option so far is because it does give her the opportunity to have at least SOME of it be her own domain and I hope that will help. I am also the most "stable" and established in the sense of having lived in the same home for almost 5 years, having a support system to tap into, and having the room in which to grow in for something like this. We haven't spoken to the kids about this yet...waiting to see if it will actually happen. We will soon. They love being around all their grandma's/great-grandma's and are actually with my in-laws who had my husband when they were in their 40s and are the same age and my grandparents quite often and enjoy it. My grandparents were a vital part of my growing up years and I learned a LOT from them and am hoping to be passing on that blessing to them. Though I never LIVED with a grandparent.
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Thanks for getting back with us. Keep posting and thinking.

When grandma moves in, where does the room-mate fit into everything? Among what you listed, the son who has married again really needs to focus on his marriage and getting the marriage identity thing all together. It is sad that grandmother has limited or no financial resources as well as no long term care insurance? Has she or is she willing to give you durable and medical POA over her? I would make that a requirement for the sake of future preparation in case you needs these when her mind does not work so well. Your grandmother as an extremely independent woman may well have more of an adjustment to living in someone's home that is not her domain.

Forgive me for being so intrusive, but which child of your grandmother is your parent? In my own situation, my mother is the age of your grandmother and I'm turning 54 this month. Her mother died back in 1997 when I was 40.

I'm curious to know what your children think of their great-grandmother coming to live with them? I wish you well as you all work through all of this.
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Just a quick few answers since it's on my mind. My husband is fully on board with this decision, if not slightly overwhelmed by the implications as am I. Between the 2 of us, we have 5 relatives in the 75 to 80 age range who we expected at some point in time to be needing to care for in one way or another, while my grandma is the only one whose only support system within a 500 mile range is us. There will be a time when we can no longer care for her and that will be something we have to discuss. As of right now, she is operating at about 90%. She can do all of her hygiene on her own, she pays all her own bills, she keeps track of appointments, medications, etc. fine on her own. Her biggest issue is being home alone for 5 days straight (nights included) while her room-mate is off doing his job driving a truck. As of right now if she were to move in tomorrow, we would be providing a roof over her head, security of someone being home at night and home at least 3 to 4 days a week, meals, and companionship with the opportunity to discuss issues and things as need be. That is honestly where she is right now. The 2 other things she probably needs is interaction with others outside of us which shouldn't be hard to accomplish with my church and community and someone like a physical therapist to help her keep her strength up. We will have the ability to go as far as home health professions when needed but there will also need to be in place another plan because I won't be able to be a full-time caregiver and she may get to the point of needing that. Our house may simply be a stopping point and we'll just have to deal with that when/if it becomes an issue. As far as her sons is new remarried after being a widower and simply isn't in much of a state to have her live with him fully as he doesn't have the space for her anywhere nor the patience to live with his mom full time. The other is in Hawaii and may possibly move back but again will not likely have the room for her like we have the ability to provide but may be a huge support system as needed. The getting along with each other works both ways and neither side is willing to give and take whereas grandma and I have a deep respect for each other. Grandma respects my opinions and thoughts and is willing to work through stuff with me right now and I respect her and am able to work with her. Again, I get that might change but right now she is willing to make the adjustment and acknowledges that an adjustment has to be made. I'm not forcing this on her, she is choosing it.
I appreciate all the questions and thoughts given. I need those questions and concerns to think through things that hadn't crossed my mind yet and long-term decisions that may need to be made.
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Prior to having your Grandmother move in permanently you may want to have her stay with you for a one or two month period so that all of you, including your Grandmother can see if the new living arrangement works for all involved. At the end of this period all of you, including your husband and children, Grandmother and especially you should evaluate all the good and bad aspects of the arrangement to see if it is feasible as a longer term solution to meet your Grandmother’s needs while recognizing the current and future needs and wants of all the family members.
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Adding to Lilliput's wonderful advice, I would search for threads on this site about having a declining elderly family member live at home. BTW, does your grandmother not get along with her sons or her sons don't get along with her? I know they are men and this is not something society expects of men, but they need to man up and see that their mom is taken care of properly. Now, they are not going to do this if they see you are taking this on for them. What is going on there between her and her sons? How is your husband's relationship with your grandmother?

If you bring someone into your home that cannot be left alone and you are working 40 hours a week with a husband who is in the reserves, then someone like a CNA will need to be hired to cover during the day. 2 or 3 shifts of that level of care at a minimum of $10.00 per hour will soon add up to basically how much a nursing home will cost. The only other alternative if a nursing home is out of the question and it does sound like she would not qualify for the lifestyle of assisted living, then would be for someone to quit their job. Seriously? Can you afford to put your family, your children's college education, your house payments-etc., and your retirement under the bus so to speak in order to take care of your grandmother 24/7 at home? In my opinion, if one has a 40 hour a week job in today's economy, they better keep it.

Add to this dynamic of having two young children at home. They are probably too young to understand their great grand mother's decline and her mental decline at some point will get rather frightening causing them not to want to be around her or to have friends over to the house.

Another cost will be decreased family time, probably no vacations as well as no date nights or get aways for just the two of you with your husband. I don't mean to scare you, but there are a number of stories here where various choices with poor boundaries threw the children and husband under the bus.

For some reason, I find many people feel that they are not honoring their parent or grandparent if they do not personally care for them at home. Some see this as a biblical matter although the scriptures do not say specifically show your Christian faith by taking care of your elderly in your house. For others, it is a matter of fear or of obligation or feelings of guilt or possible guilt if they don't care for them 24/7 at home.

If your grandmother has dementia, it will only be a matter of time when her need for care and one person's ability at home will reach the level of impossibility both on a personal level and on a professional level of medical needs for a certain level of care.

I'm also so glad that you are asking questions before jumping in.

BTW, what does your husband think about this or have ya'll talked about it? I perceive much anxiety over this whole subject and hope you can express your additional questions soon for this is a very safe place to do just that.
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It is nice of you to step up to the plate to help your grandmother. You are younger than the average age of caregivers here, so you have that in your favor. Caregiving demands more time and energy than you can imagine. The problem is predicting the future. None of us knows what time we have left on this earth or what condition we will be in as we near the end of our life.
When you bring an elder into your home, even if they have private quarters, it is challenging to separate your life from theirs. You need to figure out if you have enough tolerance for interuptions in your private life. If she cannot afford paid caregiving, then you will be responsible for her care 24/7. As seniors get older, they cannot be left alone, so vacations are rare.
Also, as seniors age, personal care becomes more challenging. So you have to figure out if you can deal with all the "interesting" sights and smells.
As far as the cost is concerned, there should not be that much of an impact on your family. Allow her to chip in with some expenses, being mindful of what she can afford.
If you work 40 hours, your husband is away occasionally, and you have growing children, that sounds like you already have a lot on your plate. If your grandmother is physically healthy she could live for 10 more years or so and need more fulltime care. Are you willing to give up your job? Remember, if you make this commitment and regret it later, it is very difficult for seniors to adjust to a new environment.
You may want to consider other solutions before you decide to have her move in. Does she own her home? If so, it should be sold and the funds used directly for her care. Was she or your grandfather a veteran? There are funds available that can be used at an assisted living facility or for in-home care, if she needs help with ADLs (Activities of Daily Living). Will her sons chip in for her care? You may want to contact your local office on will end up with a lot of phone numbers, but it is a good start.
Offering compassionate care to a loved one does not necessarily mean that the best solution is living under the same roof. One thing I did not take into account, was that I was more mobile and Mom can rarely leave the house. So you have to think about providing more social interaction.
Btw, has your grandmother been evaluated for her memory issues. It may be happening for several reasons, a UTI, reaction to medication, or the onset of dementia. She should be evaluated by a specialist in this field. I hope that you have convinced her to give up the car keys.
Good luck. You made a good choice to seek information before you make this important decision. Lots of expert advice here.
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