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Advice please for my grandmother...

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by magicmaiden, Jul 28, 2015.

  1. magicmaiden

    magicmaiden Registered User

    Jul 28, 2015
    2
    Hi all

    My grandfather is currently in a nursing home, he has vascular dementia. My grandmother was looking after him until he went into hospital after a fall at home 2 years ago and he has been in residential, and now nursing care, ever since. He was diagnosed after a CTI scan in Nov 2014 with dementia, however the symptoms started a few years before that.

    My grandmother struggled with his care for many years. Every day she would phone my mother, and invariably the conversations would turn to my grandfather and how hard it was to look after him, sometimes she's be in tears. Any offers of help, especially from outside sources, were turned down. She didn't want him to go into a home and that was that.

    That changed when he spent months in hospital after the fall at home. During this time he obviously became dependant on nursing care. My grandmother was in despair wondering how she would cope with him. At this point he was totally dependant on a zimmerframe to walk, was incontinent (this had started before the hospital stay, the main reason my grandmother felt she couldn't cope), slow speech, some memory loss and a need to be in bed all day and sleep (like the incontinence, this had started prior to the hospital visit). As a family, we discussed and explained to my grandmother that at her age of 82, with her medical problems aswell, it would be impossible for her to cope. This tug of war (or love) went on for a while until one of his Dr's basically spelled it out for her that he needed to be cared for 24/7 in a home.

    In the last 2 years, he has worsened to the point where he has now very recently been moved to a nursing home. They look after him well, however we visited yesterday and he wasn't that great. One of the nurses explained that he was wandering (this is a habit that has increased in the last 9-12 months) all day, to the point now where he won't sit and eat and he's lost weight. He's agitated, understandably not the man we all knew and loved and it is heartbreaking to see.

    My grandmother is very emotionally involved, of course it is her husband, but to the point where we as a family are worried about her and not so much my grandfather! She is having serious trouble in accepting his condition. She is always willing to discuss what he is up to but will try and find excuses for his symptoms that could be something other than dementia. She doesn't seem to get that by telling my grandfather to sit and eat and listen to the nurses is all well and good, but his body will do what it is being told to do and rational thought is unfortunately not there with him anymore. We are a small family. My grandparents are only children, my mother is only child and so she is the one who my grandmother leans on to offload any worries. However, we are trying to tell her that she needs to stop questioning EVERYTHING (she does, ridiculously) and worrying about EVERYTHING. It seems like she feels she cannot let go when it comes to his care, and it is bringing her down. She is worried sick about him, it's an obsession. The rest of us, of course we are concerned but we understand and accept the condition and what will be, will be. We are satisfied with his care, but at our wit's end with my grandmother.

    Does anybody have any suggestions how we can help her accept him for how he is now and what he is going through? To take her mind of it?

    Sorry for the long post!!
     
  2. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    426
    Hi Magicmaiden,

    It sounds like you and the rest of the family have done all you can to try and help your gran. It's natural as you say for her to be upset about your grandad's situation, but it sounds like it has got to the point where it's crossed the line and she is suffering more than the average person in her situation.

    I don't know where you are and what kind of options are open to you and your gran, but I think she needs to talk to a professional about her feelings. A place to start would be her GP. If you tell him or her about it, they can hopefully either talk to your gran themselves or arrange for someone else like a therapist to talk to her. I think rather than trying to take her mind off it (which sounds like an impossibility at the moment), you need to do the opposite and allow herself to talk through her fears with a mental health professional.

    Best of luck,

    LS
     
  3. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,850
    England
    As you say, it's an obsession. Your grandad is her job, her hobby and her entire focus. She's in a well worn rut. It may be painful, but it is also comforting familiar. She's also been suffering from stress for several years which messes with her body chemistry and ability to think rationally. I am sure she is by now impervious to being distracted. :rolleyes: Being stressed, and watching over her husband like a hawk, has become her way of life. Some of this is down to personality as well as circumstances. You aren't going to be able to change the habits of a lifetime.

    She may accept help from the GP in the form of stress reducing medication, or counselling, but only if she thinks it will benefit your grandad for her to stay healthy. She won't be interested in improving her health for her own sake IMHO. In some ways her stress is proof to the world that she is doing all she can for her husband.

    The rest of the family has a more healthy balance in your lives. My advice is to accept that your grandmother may not want to change. By all means encourage her to look after her health, invite her to take part in other activities, and offer her some fun if she's prepared to accept it. Do not be surprised if she springs back to full-time stress mode. She may not be able to cope with change, or the guilt of having being distracted from her 'job'.

    I really hope you can achieve some creative improvements. Good luck. X
     
  4. magicmaiden

    magicmaiden Registered User

    Jul 28, 2015
    2
    Thank you both for comments, all that you say certainly rings true! I think we'll suggest her going to see her Dr to talk and see what the Dr says
     
  5. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    426
    The doctor is always a good starting point. Once you start the ball rolling and get a professional involved it (usually!) takes a lot of the weight off your shoulders. Let them work on it. It's their responsibility as much as yours.

    Best of luck!

    LS
     

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