Caring for someone and having a child.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Bracey22, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. Bracey22

    Bracey22 Registered User

    Feb 21, 2015
    I hope this is the right thread to put this on as its my first post.

    My nan is undiagnosed (not been to the gp recently for new developments in her behaviour) but her mother had alzheimers and shes always been concerned about herself and how likely she was to develop it, if thats the correct wording. As of late shes been getting worse, she asked my grandad the other day 'are we married?' Which upset him, obviously.
    My question is, if it becomes too much for my grandad to care for her by himself, i would like to help. I have a wonderfully big family as my nan had 4 boys so lots of uncles, aunties and cousins willing to help but i previously worked in a hospital and have experience caring for elderly people with alzheimers/dermentia so feel i would be able to look after her more efficiently if she needs more care.
    But i'm due to have a baby in just over 4 months. So if within the next couple of years she does need more care, is it possible to do it with a child? None of us would like her to go into a care home because i want her to be well cared for and i know we can do that and theres always that worry about mistreatment that you see in the media. I just wonder if it is possible to look after someone whilst looking after a child?

    I know kids, especially when they're walking around will cause havoc but my cousin has had a baby 5 months ago and she loves that baby and you see her light up and enjoy spending time with her. Whether it could help give her some focus.

    Any advice would be extremely helpful.

    Thank you for listening.
  2. susy

    susy Registered User

    Jul 29, 2013
    North East
    A few things to think about.

    Even if you are not hands on caring, but helping by ensuring. She receives the right care then that is excellent.

    As for a baby and dementia, I honestly don't think on a full time basis that would be fair either to your nan or to your child. A child needs lots of attention and nurturing and they really don't need to have what dementia can present as what is normal to them. It can be very distressing for children to hear shouting, crying and general distress in an adult.

    As for your Nan, having a baby or small child around for short periods will be lovely but any longer than that and it is too much. For most elderly folk it is the same let alone with dementia.

    I think you have a big heart, and what you are thinking is very kind. I just don't think it would work well at all. Be part of her journey but first of all you are going to be a mother and your child should always come first.

    I hope you get more constructive replies and I hope you are not offended by my response.
  3. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    Are you thinking of having her to live with you? If so, I would think very carefully - a baby can be tiring enough with broken nights, etc., let alone with dementia and possible night wandering on top. I am not saying it would never work, but I do think dementia and babies can be a very worrying mix.

    We were living in the Middle East when I had my first, and given only one very dubious hospital locally I came home to have her and stayed with my folks for 6 weeks before and after. My granny, who had not too bad dementia at the time, would also be staying with my folks on and off.

    I had always got on fantastically well with my granny, but she suddenly forgot completely who I was - she would refer to me as 'that girl' and started to think the baby was hers, and what was I doing with her? Since she had also started wandering at night, trying to get out at 2 am (at one point banging on a neighbour's door and asking him to drive her to Scotland) we had to be extremely vigilant in case she took it into her head to take the baby at night and - even carrying her downstairs would have been a worry, let alone anything else. It was a case of a chair jammed firmly under the bedroom door handle - we had no locks - so she could not get in. My poor mother was permanently on tenterhooks.

    This is just my experience. Dementia can be very unpredictable and neither I nor my mother had ever imagined this sort of problem.

    Please do not be too influenced by horror stories in the media re care homes. In fact there are some very good ones out there and many people do very well in them.
  4. Bracey22

    Bracey22 Registered User

    Feb 21, 2015
    No she has her own house, this is just hyperthetical as my grandad is still around to care for her now while its all very mild and its just forgetting little things and making sure she takes her tablets and stuff.

    But if i could just go and help my grandad out just to give him a break. If my grandad wasnt there for, god forbid, whatever reason i would then care for her full time but hopefully thats at a time when my child would be at school.

    I appreciate you sharing your experience with me, its been very helpful.

    Also re care homes, the worry for me is, how do i know its a good one? You could walk round and view the place before but would you really be able to see when they're mistreating people just from a fleeting visit. Thats my concern. I just feel like its my responisibility, my families responsibility, to care for her as and when she needs it.
  5. pony-mad

    pony-mad Registered User

    May 23, 2014
    Hi Bracey,
    I would not be as pessimistic as the previous poster. I care for my husband who was diagnosed with AD 5 years ago as well my 3 year old Grandson who lives with us. Most of the time this has been a good arrangement, hard work.... but never boring. Obviously it will depend on your Nan's behaviour but children are amazingly adaptable. My grandson will wrap his arms around my husbands legs when he is upset; it always helps! One problem is that my oh does not tolerate noise well, particularly in a confined space like the car. It can make him agitated. Sometimes I get stressed when we are late and I am responsible for organising everything!!!
    But all in all I think it would be worth a try!!!
    Good luck

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  6. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    #6 Linbrusco, Feb 21, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
    My Mother 74 has moderate Alzheimers. My brother has a 4yo and an 8mth old and visits with them now and again.

    Mum loves little babies, but is no longer capable of holding a baby sufficiently, and we have to make sure she is seated, if she does.
    If you are not watching she will pick the baby up, and take him outside to show the neighbour. As she is unsteady on her feet, this has caused a lot of concern at times.

    Her common sense as to what is safe around little children has almost but gone. example being putting her medication container on the kitchen bench, for the 4yo to pick up and tip all her pills out. Leaving a hot cup of coffee at the edge of the table instead of further back out of reach.
    In Mums mind she is perfectly capable of looking after a baby or small child but in reality she is not.

    My children are now 12 & 17, and my parents live in their own house behind ours.
    I see Mum several times a day. Even now its a constant struggle who to put who first.
  7. Bracey22

    Bracey22 Registered User

    Feb 21, 2015
    Thank you for your comment, thats put me in a much better mood :) i probably cant comprehend how hard it will be but thats made me realise it can be done :) all the best for the future.
  8. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    Bracey - why don't you wait until after you've had your baby? Your feelings may alter considerably afterwards. The world is full of women who thought they would go back to work after having a baby, for example, and then changed their minds after the birth. It really is impossible to gauge the impact and emotions you will feel, and whether you will want to divert your attention from the new life you have (part)-created.
  9. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Do not make yourself, or your mum any promises about what you will or will not do as you just cant predict the future.
    When mum became unable to live on her own I wondered whether she could come and live with me. Unfortunately, not only is the downstairs almost completely open-plan so that she would have no privacy downstairs and she was finding it difficult to negotiate stairs (bathroom is upstairs), but OH has become disabled with memory loss and epilepsy. I got her to stay with me a few times to see if there was any way I could make it work, but it was very difficult. Then, on one very memorable occasion OH had a massive tonic/clonic seizure (probably triggered by stress) and mum just went into meltdown :eek::eek: I honestly didnt know who to attend to first! At this point I knew there was no way I could ever make it work.

    You dont know how long your mum will be able to live on her own, nor how quickly the dementia will advance, nor what the dementia will be like (its all different), so dont make any decisions now. I agree with RedLou - think about it after the baby has come, just take it all as it comes and dont feel guilty if your mum eventually needs a CH. Mum is quite content in her CH now.

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