I live with my Gram who has Dementia

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by MeganC, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. MeganC

    MeganC Registered User

    Jan 13, 2015
    1
    I'm wondering if you have advice on how I can better care and help my Grandmother (Gram) who I live with. I am 21 and work long days. Most days I am gone by 6am and not returning to her home until after 11pm. My aunt is her main caregiver. I just help with house chores and picking up items for her from the store. I am going to start making her breakfast (oatmeal) and bring it to her in bed in the mornings to make sure she is eating and taking her medicine. She will sometimes go days without eating and will take her medicine anyways and won't eat because her stomach is upset. Her sleeping hours are small naps all throughout the day and night. She is in an endless cycle of taking naps because her stomach hurts, but it hurts because she took her medicine without food, and she won't eat because her stomach hurts, and because her stomach hurts she wants to sleep.
    I did a ton of research so I can best communicate and care for her while I'm there and have also been listening to other peoples testimonies but I can't find any like mine. Most grandchildren do not live with their Gram and the grandparents are still married or they have a live in caregiver. Gram is still able to eat and think on her own but she is forgetful but knows it, she only remembers how to make toast and will often burn it so bad the smoke detector comes on, she is becoming more verbally and sometimes physically violent, she has difficulty reading and writing, has poor judgement, forgets words and names, my aunt is taking care of her bills because can no longer do it herself, she grew up playing rummy and forgets what it is, she misplaces things a lot, she has a hard time learning and paying attention, and she thinks that my cousins and sometime me are taking things from her. Recently she has even begun to yell at me that I'm telling people that can't come over because I'm racist and unloving and accusing me of thinking I'm a princess who owns her house. Which is not true in the slightest! I'm not even there to tell people to leave or have any problems with any of the people she has over! I knew her mind has been slowly going but with her recent claims towards me and other family members and her getting more physically violent, I don't know where she falls on the Dementia levels but I believe she is somewhere on them.
    Growing up, we were over her house very often having tea parties, baking cookies, and playing cards. She was always a sweet lady and extremely loving and kind. She has become a violent lady with her words and actions with telling people things that are not true and saying extremely cruel things to her family (which family use to mean everything to her) and sometimes grabbing and pushing people and leaving marks and bruises.
    When communicating with her I stay calm and have short answers so she won't get confused or upset. I try my best to be a help to her rather than make her mind more confused and upset.
    I have not heard anyone with a situation like mine and I'm not sure how to best help and care for her. Have you heard of anyone in this situation or have any advice and tips that will help?
    Thanks!
     
  2. jeany123

    jeany123 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2012
    19,036
    Durham
    #2 jeany123, Jan 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
    Hello and welcome to Talking Point, I am sorry no-one has answered you but there are a lot of young people helping to look after their grandparents on here so it isn't rare, It will help you to read the fact sheets and posts and I am sure someone will be along soon to give you some advice,
     
  3. Lisa74

    Lisa74 Registered User

    May 27, 2011
    276
    Hi,

    It sounds like you're doing a really good job in a very difficult situation. I'm in my twenties and my Gran lives with me too.

    It sounds like a good idea to start giving your Gram breakfast if she is struggling to make her own; if she refuses the oatmeal then try a few different breakfasts because she might find some foods more appealing/easier to digest than others. Perhaps sweet, light food like a piece of cake or a biscuit (unless she has a tendency to choke, in which case stay away from dry foods like biscuits/cookies, toast) would suffice for breakfast- I know that's not nutritionally balanced but it's better than her not eating at all and a lot of dementia sufferers develop a sweet tooth!

    If she continues to not eat then you could try giving her meal replacement drinks such as 'fortisip' and adding a multivitamin to her tablets.

    If she hasn't been given a diagnosis yet then I wonder if you or your aunt could take your Gram to the doctor and explain that she is experiencing problems with her memory. Then s/he can assess her general health and check your Grandma's nutritional state at the same time.

    It sounds like her behaviour is very challenging, especially when she is making false accusations about you and being aggressive/angry. I know it's difficult but try not to take it personally and realize it is her illness because she was a nice lady before the illness set in.

    Do you have to stay living with your Gram or could you move elsewhere? It's just that working full-time and coping with your Gram's dementia is a lot to manage.
     
  4. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    119
    It sounds to me as though you and your aunt need additional help and support. As someone else has already suggested, you should consider contacting both the GP and explaining your situation, and also Social Services asap to see what they can do for you and your Gram.
     

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