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Taking care of the grandparents - King Rat
Private Life
Taking care of the grandparents
While waiting in the hospital tonight, Gram and Gramps started talking about how my aunt wants them to move to assisted living and how they don't think they need to yet. They should, and I'll tell them that. But I'm also not going to get on their case about it either. They've earned the right to make bad decisions. I watched mom make a lot of not so great decisions over the last year. Me getting on her case just would have made her more obstinate and kept stuff on her mind. I viewed my job as to make the best of her decisions. That doesn't mean someone shouldn't have been on her case about her decisions (or on my grandparents now), but that someone isn't me.

My grandparents did start talking about how they think they can hire someone to help them in their condo. Know them, they'd dither on that for a long time for a number of reasons. So I told them they could hire me as their personal assistant if it would help them do what they want longer. Basically, I told them I could do for them what I did for mom the last year. I think they'll go for it. At least if they pay me I think they'll go for it. I don't need the money, but they feel like they are keeping me from doing stuff I want if I am volunteering.

I'm keeping me fingers crossed that they don't change their minds. I watched Gram try to put the coffee filter part in backwards for 30 seconds tonight. They can't really live independently anymore.
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evillinn From: evillinn Date: December 11th, 2008 07:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Did I miss something? Why were you at the hospital?

I hope whatever is best for all involved happens. I do worry about you taking on the care taker roll again. But I'm glad you'd be closer to your friends, at least.

Speaking of which...breakfast soon?
gkr From: gkr Date: December 11th, 2008 07:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Gramps had some sort of heart attack tonight and was taken to the hospital. He's home for the moment and has a cardiologist appointment tomorrow, which I'll drive him to.

Helping my grandparents will be easier than mom. They are nowhere near as particular or as obstinate about everything as mom was. They are obstinate about not moving and about driving (at least officially). But about everything else they are generally okay with whatever suggestion I come up with.

And breakfast would be fine, though probably not for a couple of days. Until I don't need to drive them to the cardiologist.
evillinn From: evillinn Date: December 11th, 2008 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll drop you a line in the morning. I couldn't plan on breakfast until the weekend, regardless.

gargoylettelc From: gargoylettelc Date: December 11th, 2008 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Bravo! As health care professional and family member, it's hard to watch people make poor decisions for themselves, but they do have the right to do it. Having hired help in the home isn't a bad option, especially as I know you will help as much as they need for I'm sure a reasonable price, vs moving to an AL facility. Stairs/access to/from home can be an issue, but then again, I'm sure you are willing to help them with that as well.
gkr From: gkr Date: December 11th, 2008 07:42 am (UTC) (Link)
They have a single floor condo with an elevator, so access isn't really a problem. One of the first things to do though is to start helping them de-clutter. I suspect Gramps may need to start using a scooter type of thing and he'll need more maneuvering room. Plus, all the stuff tends to make it harder for Gram to focus on stuff with her memory problems. Having 12 coats in the closet means she doesn't see the one she wants a lot.

I'd be less a physical caregiver and more an organizational assistant for them. Let them focus on the enjoyable things rather than fuss with the details of what they need to do. Not completely, because Gram lives to fuss. But at least make it so she has fussing to do only for one or two things, rather than 10 or 15. They just don't move fast enough anymore to do a lot of the stuff.
gargoylettelc From: gargoylettelc Date: December 11th, 2008 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)
That sounds good, making room for the front or 4 wheeled walker. I have coupons for Life Life, roughly a discount on the 1st month, which may be a good thing for them. Don't downplay being more of an organizer for them vs a physical caregiver, it can still be a lot of work, and extremely helpful if they are to stay in that environment. I hope they live a little closer to home.
gkr From: gkr Date: December 11th, 2008 08:02 am (UTC) (Link)
They live on Shilshole. Definitely closer than Lynden.
ryanlion From: ryanlion Date: December 11th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
This stuff isn't easy, they're lucky they have you to help out.

The only thing I'd caution is if it really does get to the point where you can't take care of them anymore, and they can't live alone, someone has to get them into assisted living, or get them home health aids and meals on wheels. Otherwise the state can start intervening on the grounds of elder abuse.

None of this is fun, and no one wants to be the person to tell someone that they can't live at home anymore, but the family avoiding it can lead to bigger problems.

Still, it's awesome that you want to help them out and keep them in their home for as long as possible. :)
gargoylettelc From: gargoylettelc Date: December 12th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
If they are considered of 'sound mind', and make the choice not to get help, it's not considered elder abuse/neglect, and unfortunately a serious crisis has to occur before APS can step in, and actually do something. I've seen significantly worse situations where APS referrals were made past and present, but could not do anything. Typically, a medical crisis and hospitalization would result in better discharge planning/alternate living situation. (I work in skilled home health care) I think Phil won't let it get to any said extreme.
ryanlion From: ryanlion Date: December 12th, 2008 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think Phil will either, I was just warning caution as I have also worked with elders and know the can of worms that can be opened when people are trying to respect their elders, but their elders can no longer function on their own. Since Phil said he didn't want to go there himself then I was merely saying that someone may have to in the future.
Thanks for assuming I'm dumb though :D
gargoylettelc From: gargoylettelc Date: December 12th, 2008 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
OH, NOT assuming you are dumb!! Yikes, not my intention. I've just had people who were literally unable to get out of their recliner, and would sit there ALL day and day after day, and be incontinent with a hasty clean up 1x/day, who also had several past APS complaints against them--children letting them make their own decisions, which said person was clearly questionably qualified to make... and APS couldn't do anything. I am just amazed at what *I* consider a problem, and that I have yet to see this agency do much. I know they have their rules & regs, but I just don't know what it takes to get any action, as I've yet to see much.
takolaura From: takolaura Date: December 12th, 2008 12:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm excited that they are considering hiring help, whether it be you or someone else. I know when Mom talked with them that was one of the suggestions she made as a "I think you really need to look at Retirement Homes, but you should at least hire some in home care"... she'd made it in the past (especially in regards to driving), but they weren't keen on it then. You can let Mom be the mean one and push assisted living, and tell them they aren't making great choices. I think she's in a better position as daughter to do that.

Mom emailed me about Gramps last night. Keep us posted.
gkr From: gkr Date: December 12th, 2008 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Gramps has been told by his cardiologist he isn't to drive. I don't know if that's permanent or just for the foreseeable future. You didn't hear it from me.

I told them I'd come by 2 or 3 times a week and drive for them for now. I pitched it as convenience so they don't need to stand in the rain to wait for the bus.
takolaura From: takolaura Date: December 12th, 2008 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Just so you know- you're awesome!
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