Post # 1
DH and I have been married just over a year and are currently (happily) living in Southern CA, about 2 hours away from my parents, 8 hours away from the ILs, and 15 minutes away from my Grandpa who is 88. Initially, it was not a huge deal…kind of fun, even…to visit Gramps and have a fun dinner, etc. But, as he has been aging, it has become more and more frustrating. He used to get up to visit my mom on a regular basis, but can’t now as he has lost his driver’s license (due to bad eyesight). So, DH and I have been taking him out on a weekly basis (a little hard with both of our schedules, but still ok.)
But last week, he took two falls and ended up in the ER. DH and I were the first ones in the ER and my stepdad drove down and met us. Of course, my work was ok with me leaving early for this. But now, I am the only one who can take him to doctor’s appointments, grocery store, etc. and I fear I can’t take all of this on. I work full time and DH is a full time computer science student (very demanding major). We have tried on multiple occasions to convince him to move to an assisted living facility near my mom, but he refuses. He says that he doesn’t want to be a burden, but (ironically) it is a huge burden on me, especially if he falls again (which I suspect he will.)
I just don’t even know how to bring this up gracefully. I mean, DH and I want to start a family soon, and I just can’t even fathom having the time to dealing with ailing Gramps. If he moved closer to my mom, he would at least have more people than just the two of us to split the time and would probably be happier in a more social environment. I’m not trying to pawn him off — we actually have a lot of fun together. I just think it will ultimately be a better situation FOR HIM. Has anyone else here had to have “the talk” with an elderly parent or grandparent? What finally made him/her cave and decide to do assisted living?
Post # 3
@sbottiani: Oh wow, that is rough. You’re an amazing granddaughter! Is there any way you and your mom could maybe tag team him? Maybe come up with a plan, either for him moving closer or into assisted living, present it to him, etc? Maybe try and convince him just to check it out?
Post # 4
@sbottiani: Maybe talk to a retirement home or somplace similar to get suggestions on how to handle the conversation. Perhaps your family can get on board with this and discuss it with him so that you won’t be handling it alone.
So sorry you are being put through this stress!
EDIT: You are an incredible grand daughter and I wouldn’t feel guilty about this because it is an over whelming situation! He may be reluctant but I am sure he already knows that he needs further help.
Post # 5
That’s tough. I would think this is a conversation for him with his children, not grandchildren.
Post # 6
@sbottiani: Ok lady….this is a tricky situation, but a totally fixable one, because honestly, the people that need to be having this discussion about his transition from independant to assisted living, are HIS children.
If it were me, and about a year ago…it totally WAS. I would make a list of the things I am able and willing to do for Grandpa, because hey, that’s why the invented families…and the things I cannot do and are unwillilng to attempt doing, and call my parents and tell them in a no nonsense kind of way that the buck stops here and its time to re-evaulate his living situation because he’s gotten to the point where being alone, all the time is not an option and using you as a day to day caregiver is no longer feasable either.
This can all be done in a lovin and caring way, you certainly want what works best for him, but it has to work for you too.
Post # 7
@sbottiani: bless your heart! I haven’t had to deal with this personally but I imagine it’s pretty stressful trying to figure it all out. Is it your mom’s dad? I would call her, and explain just what you explained here: that you love your Gramps, and that it would be in HIS best interest to be closer to her and other family instead of just you and your DH. I hope the best for your situation, and hope your grandpa gets to feeling better soon 🙂
Post # 8
Having taken a lot of the brunt of caring for an elderly grandfather when I was just out of college, I feel you. Have you had conversations with your parents about how the family is going to handle this? Because this is a family issue, not just your issue to shoulder. Your mother needs to be really spearheading this one, and if the family decides that you need to be the primary carer, it’s a decision you need to make, not let it happen by default. Elder care is hard. And draining. And it only gets harder, as well you know. So my advice would be to have a sit-down with your mom and step-dad and your DH, and make a plan everyone can agree on about what to do, who’s the point person, and at what point assisted living is necessary.
Post # 9
All I can say is I feel for you. It is so difficult to explain to an older person the benefits of moving into an assisted living facility because they only see the drawbacks of completely losing their freedom. I think you have to look at things from his point of view. He obviously has had a huge lifestyle adjustment from losing his license, and it is probably extremely difficult for him to not have that freedom anymore. He is holding on to any ounce of freedom that he has left, and it is negatively affecting you. You can try talking to him and maybe getting your mom to talk to him about it too, but you have to understand that it may not change anything in the end. If talking to him again about the ALF doesn’t help, I would tell him that you are going to have to consolidate running him around. As in, if he has multiple appointments and needs to go to the grocery store also then you won’t be able to drive him the 4 hours to see your mom. As someone who took care of an ailing grandparent you will easily become frustrated with the current arrangement and may end up taking it out on your grandfather even if you don’t mean to. Something’s gotta give.
Post # 10
Thanks, everyone, for the kind words. My mom came down over the weekend and tried to talk to him about it, but he flat out refused. I think it’s easy for her to just tune it out and write it off as “one more thing” since she doesn’t live down here. It just sucks because SOMEONE has to deal with it, and more often than not, that someone is me. The falls last week were a wake up call for me…and kind of made me angry that everything falls on me. I have my own life that I need to deal with and it straight isn’t fair that I am doing the dirty work for my mom. I know my mom understands, but it is just kind of frustrating that he refuses to move. I just don’t think my mom even knows what to do. She is his only child by the way, so it all falls on her.
Post # 11
My grandfather was always the type to say “when I get too old, just take me out back and shoot me.” He was adamant that he wouldn’t be a burden to his family, to the point that he and my grandmother didn’t call 911 when he had a heart attack because they “didn’t want to trouble them.” So, I have sympathy for your situation.
If I were to sit down with my grandparents tomorrow and have this conversation, I would guilt-trip them. Honestly. I’d be all “I worry about you so much, Grandpa. I can’t stop thinking about what could happen to you if I’m not there to help. I would feel so horrendously awful if you were injured or worse because you were alone. It just hurts my heart to think of all the time you spend by yourself! And I feel like I can’t spend the quality time that I crave with you when we’ve got all of these errands to run. I want to know that you’re being taken care of 24/7, and that when I visit we can just focus on [insert meaningful activities here].”
Yeah, it’s laying it on pretty thick, but if you’re able to convince him how much easier a care facility would be for you, he might be more willing to consider it.
As far as the financial considerations go – and I have no idea if this would apply to your situation – there may be a way for medicare to cover the costs of a care facility or supplement his social security. That’s what we did for my grandparents, although I do know that their Alzheimer’s diagnosis was key in securing the funding.
Post # 12
It took my grandma seeing some of her friends move into communites or assisted living and raving about how awesome it was. This year mom took them to visit a few places and they found one they really like. Now she just loves that she has less space to clean, someone to cook for them, a ride to the grocery store and doctor all the time, all that stuff that was hard to deal with on their own.
Post # 13
There are a lot of people out there that come and do in home care, stop by once a day, do some cleaning, run errands like do the grocery shopping, drive the elderly to appointments. Would he be willing to do something like that?
You might, just have to be homest and say I know you don’t want to be a burden, and you AREN’T a burden, we all love you and want to be with you. But I just can’t be here as much as I should be and I think we should figure out something that is more reliable.
Post # 14
@Phamnomenon: Finances are not an issue. Gramps is pretty well off. This brings me to another issue with him living down here. He has a lot of friends down here preying on his wealth (or at least that’s how it looks to me, from the outside.) I feel like he’s just too nice to see it. Luckily, he’s still too “with it” to be lured into the many scams that prey on the elderly.
Post # 15
@sbottiani: You have my sympathies! My family just went through this with my grandmother and it was an enormous struggle. She desparately wanted to stay in her home, despite it being a safety risk, and we eventually convinced her to move into assisted living. Her needs are almost too great for the care they can provide there, but she’s safe and my family is making it work for now. My mom visits her every night.
Unfortunately, despite many discussions with the family and her doctor, it did take major fall in which she required hip surgery to convince her that she had to go to assisted living. We did take her to lunches at the assisted living residence a few times before her accident. So she knew what to expect. And she had 1 friend who was already living there. She LOVES the food there, so that was good. My mom actually had to stay with her for the first month she was there to help her adjust. But she’s been there almost six months now and it’s been so much better.
So to keep the conversation going, I recommend involving your grandpa’s doctor as he/she can review how independent he is in completing daily living tasks. Take him to visit assistive living facilities, “just to see” – they provide tours, meals, and even overnight stays for prospective residents. Stress the fact that an assisted living facility provides residents with the resources they need to stay independent longer and have quality time with their families, without have to worry about meals, transportation, or activities of daily living. It can be a long road and you have to empower him to feel like he’s choosing to move, rather than being forced.
While you’re in discussion mode, have you looked into what local elder services could provide so you don’t have to do it all? They often provide free transport to appointments or store, meals, and social activities. If money isn’t an issue, what about hiring a paid caregiver to help him out? We framed the idea of my grandma hiring a housecleaner and landscaper under the guise of “this person really needs a job, could they do x, y, z for you?”
Post # 16
This is something that you should bring up to your mom and have her (and the family) decide what is best for him.
Getting people the kind of physical and mental care they need is a difficult, time consuming process (i work in that area) and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Its a family matter that should not be wholly dumped on you. I know people who literally end up in the hospital because of the stress of dealing with aging parents. Its best that you make this a family matter and establish a combined family solution that works for everyone.