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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 aging...you 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.