My 87 year old grandma that is suffering with dementia moved in with us about 5 months ago. It hasn't been bad for the most part...she has good days and bad days but, this past weekend she went completely crazy. She ran out of the house with a safety pin and a pair of fingernail clippers stating I was going to hurt her (I'm the only one who consistently is patient with her outbursts) and that I'm hiding her money upstairs (we live in a single-story home--no attic). I didn't try to argue with her because I've learned that they're beyond the point of reasoning. I chased her down in the rain and begged her to come back inside and eventually had to call 911 to have an ambulance take her to the hospital. She ended up having a UTI and is much better now--even embarrassed about how she acted--but, my gracious, I'm so nervous with her staying with us now. I haven't been able to get a good night's rest since. She was diagnosed about a year or so ago with mild dementia but, it was always forgetting to eat, take her medicine or forgetting what day of the week it was. She is still able to bathe, feed, and toilet herself. She even likes to go get our mail and walk around the yard. We have never had a problem with her. She would have paranoia about her money after the move into our place but, it never made her run away. My husband and I are both working full time and we really try so hard to take good care of her. We are both in our mid-20s and I'm pregnant with my second child and my first is 2.5 years old. I really don't want to put her in a nursing home but, I don't know if I'm doing her justice by keeping her home. I'm always on top of her medicine and doctors appointments but, with work and going on 2 young children...I don't know what the right option is. I would appreciate any and all advice from experienced Alzheimer's/dementia caregivers. Or anyone with experience with putting a loved one in assisted living/nursing home.
You are my daughter’s age.
We just moved my Mom to a care home after having her with us for one year, preceded by 6 years of caring for her in her own home.
During the past year, my daughter (a full-time college student) gave up her social life, many nights of sleep, and one of her part time jobs to help me care for Mom. My husband became our cook and took over care duties when no one else was available. I can’t begin to tell you how much it affected my health and job security. We ensured 24-hour care for her. And, spent thousands of dollars on in-home care just so we could go to work.
Based on our experience, and of others I’ve met along the way, I would tell you this -
First - love yourself, your children and your husband. Place these things first in your life. They should take priority over any care giving responsibilities you accept.
You are a kind, loving granddaughter (like my own daughter). No one else can take your place in that. Allow others - professionals - to “care” for your grandmother. They are trained and equipped.
Next, invest your time and energy now to find the best and affordable long term care placement for your grandmother.
Dementia is a degenerative disease. There are no cures. Your love will not be enough as the disease, inevitably, progresses.
Lastly, make your Grandmother’s move to a care home or assisted living a high priority. Transitioning to a new home is difficult for elders with dementia. The sooner your Grandmother can move, the sooner she will adjust to the change and learn to be happy there.
Wishing you all the best.
I went through it with both parents. Stubborn dementia, the whole 9 yards. But I’m in my 60s and retired. You guys are far too young to let this become your full time job, which it will be in short order.
Take a look at her finances. Visit some facilities in your area. There’s no way you can do this at home with a young family.
Since the safety pin/escape incident has been definitively chalked up to the u.t.i. and therefore isn't related to her mild dementia, you do have a little time in hand. So use it to do a thorough job of research, aiming to find a place that will meet your grandmother's long-term needs and allow you to maintain a close, supportive relationship with her.
At the moment, assuming that your grandmother is generally competent, you will need her agreement to move her into care. But for one thing that won't always be true, and for another, more important thing, her chances of enjoying a good quality of life will be hugely improved if she's fully functioning when she arrives.
What I'm getting at is that this decision is not only about your capabilities or even your children's environment. It can be an active, positive choice to provide your grandmother with the right setting for her individual needs - which would not be the standard family home with untrained caregivers and small children underfoot.
Drop the guilt, and focus instead on what is really best for her. Best of luck, let us know how you're getting on.
If she is still able to bathe, feed, and toilet herself, she is very high functioning on the dementia scale and it is much too early to put her into a nursing home.
My grandmother did not have dementia, but she would act absolutely crazy if she had a UTI.. On the other hand, my mother had a brain illness that caused rapidly progressive dementia, and she needed care the last 3 1/2 months of her life as she became unable to perform any "activities of daily living" for herself (bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting, etc.) Don't be too quick to admit your grandmother to care just because she has a dementia diagnosis, especially if there is some other condition present that can cause the symptoms you mentioned and is easily treated with antibiotics.
My fears are stemming from the uncertainty of this disease. I'm just scared that it will happen again and who knows if I'll be able to run after her with 2 children or if I'll be at work. I do feel that now that I am aware of the complications of a UTI, I know I can be more vigilant about it. There are just a lot of what ifs. I feel like maybe it wouldn't hurt to have a back up plan though. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.
Where was your toddler during this incident? How terrifying and baffling for a small child. I understand that grandma was treated for a UTI after this incident but unfortunately dementia doesn't get better, it gets worse. And she will probably have another UTI eventually -- what if she freaks out and feels the need to defend herself from your child when your back is turned away for a moment?
Seems to me this situation is no longer appropriate for your family. Your children come first.
It sounds like you’re trying to convince yourself that Grandma isn’t really “that bad”. Well, my mom had chronic urinary tract infections and became combative whenever she had one. As adults, we were wary and vigilant, but a toddler... As SnoopyLove writes, this situation doesn’t come and go. It will get worse. It would be a shame if some tragic event had to happen to cause you to seek out a facility. What is the reason why you, at your young age, have been charged with this responsibility? Did you accept without knowing what it would involve or were you made to feel you “had” to do it? If no one else wants the responsibility of caring for Grandma, you are well within your rights to research facilities and place her.
I have the same hard dilemma (but I am a daughter, not a granddaughter) with my mom, who has stubborn dementia, bad esophagus, should not eat solid food, but never listened to me and that's went to aspiration pneumonia and feeding tube. now she is eating puree food and doing OK in rehab, but I am almost sure that if I ll bring her home she ll start eating solid foods and everything repeats in a week. So I am crying every day but looking for a good NH, actually found one but there is waiting list. But my kids are grown up and I have no idea how its possible to take care of dementia (even mild) person with 2 toddlers???