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.
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.
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???
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.
Sometimes it's a personal choice.
Best to find that best quality memory care facility she can afford now and relocate her. She will hatd it for a while, but she will be safe and have more professional support than family can provide. If you are not POA for health care and/or property, then work with whoever is to relocate her.
Once she is relocated, you, the kids and hubby can visit frequently and at the same time preserve the joy of living your young family life .
Please do not let her condition keep you and yours hostage to her condition. It will soon feel like that and it will get far,far worse.
You are a loving granddaughter and have been generous.
If your grandmother's finances permit, call around to assisted living/memory care communities near you. They are MUCH less expensive than a nursing home and your grandmother doesn't sound like she needs medical care. She needs support with activities of daily living, social engagement with peers, and an environment that will keep her safe and set your mind at ease. All that spells AL/MC. She may be able to start off in AL (if that running out of the house episode was entirely due to her UTI).
Expect the initial transition to be a little rough (dementia can make it hard to adapt to new environments for some). Hang in there. It will be OK.
Visit an elder law attorney (not just any attorney) and talk about your grandmother's finances and the best way to plan for her care now and in the future.
You obviously love and respect your grandmother, but you're in charge now.
I personally wouldn't trust her near a newborn & neither should you as you would be on pins & needles worrying about another UTI
You need rest not stress as this can affect the baby long term - check it out because this type of stress can be as harmful to an unborn baby as drinking while you are pregnant
I knew the moment had already passed when both my husband and I began getting physically sick - him, began having high blood pressure and now is on meds, and me, I could no longer sleep deeply nor rest during the day and I got sick from exhaustion. I then had to choose between giving her constant care and our long term health and ability to work - her needs or our life.
I was also at a point when I knew I could no longer sustain the situation for her benefit nor ours.
That day, although I wisely chose our life and health, was one of the hardest for me to take action upon. A year and a half later I am glad for all our sake, although my heart wishes I could still take care of her. I go visit now 2-3 times a week and can spend quality time with Mom.
Sounds like you have a lot on your plate! That is a lot to take on with you being pregnant & you have another little one & working full time! It is always difficult to make that decision. First, I am guessing your parents are not in the picture, do you have any other siblings? Second, does grandma have the funds for a NH? Just letting you know, it is a LOT of work if Medicaid is needed, it can be a full time job in itself! You can always talk to her doctor and see what they think. My mother was deemed as needing 24 hour care and that is when I had to make the decision to place her. She says she is lonely & bored, but it is better for her & me & my family that she is somewhere safe, gets fed 3 meals and has many activities to fill up her days. (not that she remembers them ) : ) Safety was a big issue for me as well, she wanted me to continue taking care of her at home,but I can't be there 24 hours a day, and you are still young and have a lot going on in your life.
Best of luck - don't let the guilt control any decision you need to make, write down pros & cons and put your emotions aside. : )