Hi, I'm new and need some advice/help (bit long sorry)

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by AFF, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    16
    UK
    hello, i just joined the forums because things are getting out of control in my head.

    My situation is as follows.

    My 85 year old grandad who i love dearly, has alzheimers. he was diagnosed over a year ago and at first i thought he was just losing his memory and it was quite funny and he used to laugh all the time. never swore, never was in a bad mood, was the perfect gentleman to everyone and anyone.

    my grandma and him have been married for 60 years, never was such a loving marriage but hey, they stayed together. she dominated the marriage though, imo, not the nicest at the time but she's mellowed in her old age.

    the key here is they adopted me from their daughter (my mum) when i was born so in effect they are my parents and i treat them that way.

    anyway, since the alzeimer has become worse my mum and antie have taken roles in taking care of the situation. i however have been left out.

    i can understand why, i'm of a different generation, live over an hour away and am trying to sort out my own business and am stressed and have no time.

    but it's tearing me apart. i don't know what to do anymore, even writing this as work i am fighting back tears. and i don't know why!!!

    i am frustrated because i can't be there, i've mised out on all the questions i wanted to ask him and still do, i'm scared to be with him now because i don't know what to say, it's depressing me.

    that with my grandma who has a bad hip and just had a cataract operation, and the fact she just treats him like some old fool (like she always did), it's just not fair.

    i wish i could be stronger, but that would make me selfish. i try to see them as often as i can but i'm so busy, and when my mum (biological) and auntie are constantly taking him out, i just feel total guilt.

    i rang my grandma today, the phoen rang for ages and ages, and eventually my grandad answered. i tried and tried to have a conversation but he was lost. apparantly i'm the only person other than the people looking after him, that he acknowledges which is nice for me.

    but for how much longer. alzheimers came round so quick i've missed my one opportunity to speak as an adult about things i never used to think were important.

    i want to bring him something when i see him tomorrow but i've no idea what to get him. he used to love crosswords, i doubt i can imagine him doing one now. and i dread going because what can i say, what can i do, how can i act?

    my grandma is there, but she just poo poos him, and that makes me angry, even though i love them both.

    any advice where i go from here because even though i am a very emotionally strong 36 year old man, this has reduced me to tears and i even flew off the handle at my uncle (which is not normal) because he said i should see my 'dad' more. i told him he just doesn't know what i think and should stay out of it.

    the truth is, i wish i could see him more, but i'm so damn busy and if i did, i just get more upset.

    any advice on where i should go from here?

    thanks for listening.
     
  2. storm

    storm Registered User

    Aug 10, 2004
    269
    notts
    hello Aff, just remember your grandad is still the same man he as always been spend what time you can with him and keep things simple and as normal as possible, tell him about your day or any news you may have he may not grasp everthing but on a one to one basis you who knows what is understood.Talk to him about his past a/d suffers can often recall events they had previusly forgotten yet not be able to remember yesterday,and time spent with him is the greatest gift you could give. storm
     
  3. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    #3 Chesca, Jan 14, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2005
    Dear AFF

    Hello, you, having a hell of a time punishing yourself. You're devastated with grief at the moment - natural because you love. Stop tearing yoursef apart over something you have no control of and never will - Alzheimer's has a pace all of it's own, you're probably learning. From where on earth do you get the idea that strength = selfishness? Do you mean you wish you had the strength to wash your hands of the whole damned business, the in-fighting, and walk away? You wouldn't be the first, many of us have had similar thoughts. I suspect even if you had what you call 'strength' your heart would pull you back because that's the kind of guy you are. Accept that, it's not a bad way to be at all; in fact, it's the very best way to be. You are already strong; you are trying to face Grandad's illness head on.

    It could be that while everybody seems busy trying to help the situation you feel your nose has been pushed out of joint in the helping. In their haste to put help in place possibly the rest of the family are taking into account the limited amount of time you have, your work, distance, etc., etc. Possible? I suggest that it's all a question of finding the right balance. Don't shoot me, but have you tried to explain that you feel excluded and that you too are hurting?

    You can still say the things you need to say to Grandad, no matter that his response is not the one you want, just talk to him like you always have done. On his good days you will get through and on his not so good days you will still have the benefit of knowing you have those intimate moments and make the most of them. Try to set a time when you can visit and make that time yours and Grandad's. Take no notice of their marital foibles, niggling or not they've been together for 60 years and they didn't get there without knowing each other very well behind closed doors.

    It's traumatic for everybody involved, trying to do the right thing and feeling as though you are falling short somehow. It will all come together as will levels of acceptance. He's still Grandad in there you know so just try to relate to that. When you visit try taking a pack of cards just to shuffle around, or something with small pieces - a child's jigsaw and do it with him. Old family photos to talk through even if he's not sure who they are of - a little mental stimulation never did any harm. The companionship will help you and him. While there are so many chiefs why don't you try to be an injun, but one of the good injuns - always there with support and love for Grandad, none of this lessens his love for you or yours for him. Try not to forget that. Just be yourself - sounds rather a nice person to be to me. Lucky grandad to have such a son.

    And those times you are really feeling it, do what you have done and bash it out on here, you are among very understanding friends.

    Many kind wishes
    Chesca
     
  4. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Dear AFF, hi and welcome to TP, not a lot I can add, Chesca and Storm are very true in what they say, stop bashing yourself, you are doing the best you can. It is very likely the older ones are trying to shelter you a bit, because you will get your turn eventually, it's just family politics etc. I know I did/do that with my kids who are much your age. It's done out of love, and to save you the pressure and grief as long as possible, not to shut you out. If you feel you want to be involved more, just say to them that you would like to help more, and ask what they need you to help with. Try to see you grandad and nan when you can and make the most you can of the good moments. The heavy ones, get on here and talk to us. Love She,XX
     
  5. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    She, as ever you are so right!

    I've never been much into the domestic goddess business myself: what needs getting done gets done, and home has never been my God - I've always fancied there was so much more to life, had many more interesting things to do. The rows! God! the rows between Dad and I when Mum started 'retiring' from life were many. I waded in there with all of the answers, practical - cooking up a storm, washing, ironing, cleaning, bathing and nobody knew better then me how to deal with this, of course!!!. A lot of it was displacement activity I now realise, Mum was ill and I was going to do what I could to make it all better. Ha! It took me a while to realise that Dad was suffering so very much emotionally, took it for granted that because of our conditioning he, as a man, was coping. What nonsense it now all seems.

    The day finally came, following a horrendous row and I returned to my own house after a week long stay, when it dawned on me that it didn't really matter if things weren't running ticketyboo domestically, what really mattered was that time was spent on and with each other, Dad and I needed one another so much to help with the burden of AS and a new day dawned. Who gave a bxxxer if the stairs needed hoovering and that Dad had worn an unironed shirt(something I can't bear) that day? Basic hygiene was being taken care of without the hustle and bustle; a new normality ruled. Sunny day? let's go to the beach/park/for lunch in the pub. Let's enjoy life - the favourite saying became when a job reared it's ugly head 'put salt on it'. We used a lot of salt, I can tell you.

    Sometimes we try to protect without ever considering there is a perception of exclusion by those we seek to protect! Why the hell I never stopped to talk I can only put down to that displacement activity, denial, whatever. In the end we all only wanted the best for Mum, just coming at it from different angles. It changed my perceptions for life..........and not before time.

    Love
    Chesca
     
  6. barraf

    barraf Registered User

    Mar 27, 2004
    308
    Huddersfield
    Dear AFF

    Welcome to TP

    We all feel guilty when it comes to dealing with AD in our loved ones.

    We think we are failing because we cannot make them better.
    Something that we have to learn how to live with.

    The advice from Storm, Chesca and Sheila is perfectly correct, stop beating yourself with guilt and visit your Grandad when you can. Talk to him about normal things even if he doesn't appear to respond, some will get through and the love you feel for him will also get through. You will both benefit.

    Try and talk to the family, they may not know how you feel.

    Use this forum to sound off or to ask for advice, you are always welcome and someone will always respond.

    Cheers Barraf
     
  7. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    16
    UK
    Thank you all for your responses, chesca that was an amazing piece of writing. I read it before i left to go see my dad and it really made me focus positively rather than the negativity that has been engulfing me.

    i took head of your comments and bought him a book of WWII planes of which he was a pilot. usually he doesn't have much to say, he always says he is 'fine' when asked, and that's about it.

    but by buying this book (which had alot of pictures in) it seemed he really enjoyed it and as i talked to my mother he was angrossed in the book. even my mum commented on this.

    the only thing i don't like is the way my mum talks about him like he's not there. he's only a few feet away and i think it's insensitive, bu hey, i have to get over it i suppose. as was said, they've been together 60 years, who am i to sya what should be what in these late stages.

    anyway, i thank you all, i feel better from finding this place. it's not all the time i fel like this but just recently it's been really eating me up. i just need to find acceptance and hopefully i'll get there rather than fighting it which is what's causing my problems.

    aff
     
  8. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Dear Aff

    So happy to hear you are feeling more positive about yourself and your horrible situation. I know it is a slow and painful process, but you're getting there, we all do.

    Even after all this time, I still have days when I think: if I just tried this.......or that, if we could just change locations, or some other brilliant notion. Had just such a day yesterday. It usually lasts about 24 hours then common sense takes over and I cope with accepting. It never completely goes away but in those times I have found TP a useful foil to fight my impulses to do something irrational, helps keep my feet on the ground.

    Take good care and try to stay positive about the things you know you can do so well. And give Dad a hug from me, I've a very soft spot for WWII servicemen, hero of our time.

    Many kind wishes
    Chesca
     
  9. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    16
    UK
    Thanks Chesca,

    yes i agree, WWII servicemen are the heros of our time and that's half my problem. if only i acknowledged this when i was growing up instead of being a rebellious teenager and then also into my latter years.

    it feels only since 30 plus that i really feel i'm growing up emotionally and taking proper responsibility for my feelings. but of course, it's now too late to have those deep meaningful conversations with my dad and have answers to so many questions i should have asked.

    then again, maybe i would never had got round to it anyway such is the pace of life and the taboos in the family over my adoption (not discussed really), only AD brings it all home.

    so there we have it, it seems from this short thread i've learnt already to grasp every opportunity and don't be shy or unwilling to do what you feel is necessary, because that opportunity may never rear its head again.

    good on you all

    aff
     
  10. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Dear Aff

    Thanks for replying.

    I have many regrets for my youthful, callous disregard of what has now become so important but I suspect many others do too. I tend to take the line that it is the privilege of youth to paddle our own canoes, our rights of passage perhaps. Whatever, we can't alter the past, it's what we do now that matters.

    It crossed my mind that the RAF have a benevolent society I think, and you could perhaps gain a little insight from others who served. Friends Reunited has a site for the Forces too, with a chat board for ex servicemen, which you could possibly find of some use, if that would take you a little closer to Dad's exploits.

    Take care
    Chesca
     
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Dear Aff, so glad you have found our little site a help. You know, theres not a day goes by I don't wish I had done something differently. It's a case of doing your best with what you know at the time. What's that saying, you can't put an old head on young shoulders. The main thing is that you love your family very much, just be you, that is all they would want you to be. Already you have found a way to reach out that only you managed to your Grandad, well done. There will be many other times when you will instinctively do what you feel and it will work. That won't stop you analysing everything afterwards for hours of course, but it will have meant a lot to your Grandad and Nan and the others in your family even if you are still busy trying to do better in your mind later believe me. Chesca, brilliant idea about the RAF benevolent soc. Love She. XX
     

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