Nana with dementia living with teenage grandson

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Boldredrosie, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    It's been a while since I posted but I was wondering if there are any other carers who live in multigenerational families who could offer some advice?

    My mother, 85 this weekend, has dementia, diagnosed in 2010 and quite advanced now. My son, 17, ill and housebound. Me, early 50s menopausal and totally p*ssed off most of the time. This is our household. With the exception of the cleaner and the carers there is little other support.

    I've just returned from a week away and generally things were ok at home. I'd upped the visits from the carers (who have always been arranged through me via one of the private care companies and paid for wholly by me and my mum) to ensure Ma was settled especially at night. Although my son is not well he's fine to feed himself etc.

    Anyway, last night while I was asking him how things had been and chiding him for eating junk food while I'd been away he replied: "When you've seen your grandmother p*ssing in a bucket in her bedroom you've earned a little bit of junk."

    I felt so sorry for him for having to witness this and I'm at a loss as to what to say or what to do either to support him or prevent Ma's behaviour (she no longer washes, is reluctant to change clothes etc). Me and the carer have tried to explore with Ma why she doesn't use the toilets (three in the house) and is choosing to urinate in a bucket but we get no answer because probably she doesn't know why.

    Over the last ten years living with her we've been through a lot. Her behaviour has caused many problems, some of which I know have contributed to my son's ill-health and I know all of you will know how it probably affects me as a carer to both of them.

    But does anybody have any solutions? Tricks? Work arounds? Please don't suggest anything to do with social workers or the memory clinic; they're a useless shower here where we live. Whatever the suggestions are we need to be able to implement them -- or pay somebody to implement them.
  2. chelsea girl

    chelsea girl Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    Hi my mum has alzheimers and lives with us. I have twin boys of 18 who live here too. The only help i can give you is to make light of the situation to ur son. My mum ses " where is everyone" constantly and the twins mimic her and laugh, it may sound unkind but she doesnt know and if she was ok she'd laugh too! They have put up with so much, i feel their teenage years have been marred by this so if they can laugh about it, its better than crying! Hope that helps xx
  3. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    Such a difficult situation, and all I can say is that children/teenagers are often more resilient than we give them credit for. And as the previous poster says, a little humour can go a long way.

    My own perspective is slightly different, though. And although I can't offer practical solutions, I can share my experience. Please accept that I'm in NO way criticising your own situation. In fact I'm full of admiration and slightly envious of your capacity to cope with all of this (because I've found it all too difficult).

    My mother looked after both her parents, who lived a few doors away, and when I was 16 we moved into grandad's house because he was too poorly to move in with us. We were there for a year. He suffered a series of strokes and these days would probably be diagnosed as having vascular dementia. He became cantankerous and totally self-absorbed, and as a teenager I watched my mum run herself ragged, all the while dealing with a massive amount of verbal abuse. My parents sheltered me as much as they could, but I still witnessed my grandad beat his dog with a walking stick, swear constantly at my mum, soil himself etc etc. And for the rest of my life I've resented it... resented that I had to move out of our home, and that I was exposed to all of this. It also coloured my view of my grandad :-(.

    Having said all this, I've come to terms with most of it, but now that I'm 51 and have been struggling with menopause, breast cancer and a grumpy teenager of my own, I decided that I was not going to expose my own family to the same situation. So my dad is in a lovely care home (thankfully he was able to self-fund) and is being well looked after. He still occupies most of my thoughts though! And he manages to find me jobs to do all the time. And then there's the finances of course, sorting the house out and so on. It's still never ending, even though he isn't living with me.

    This Christmas Day will be the first one that I won't be spending with dad - I'm nervous and worried, but my daughter who is 15 is delighted and looking forward to having a day where I won't be on edge, or anxious, and we can relax as a family unit. It's a bitter-sweet situation.

    So I've seen it from both angles, and neither is easy. It is what it is, and your son sounds mature enough to recognise that. You are doing a fantastic job for your mum. We can only do our best, out of love and respect for our parents. Take care :).
  4. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    My grandad lived with us from when I was 7-15, with last two years exhibiting signs of what would now be called dementia.

    I resented it too, and like you, looviloo, made the decision to move my mum into care, as I knew I had my parents' blessing. They didn't want me and my family to go through what they did when I was young.
  5. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    My son went to young carers - it made a huge difference to him. It was once a fortnight and they arranged transport which doesn't seem much but they understood and so did the other kids what was happening. If your son can't access easily then they may well be able to help or offer some solutions to help out. They had a lot of fun including days our and a couple of weekends away. The were very supportive and he loved going - now Grandma has died he goes along as a volunteer and still loves it. Try to google young carers in your area and see if anything comes up

    Do you belong to your local carers organisation - I understand that you have had a poor experience with SS but carers are completely separate and they were my lifeline (the carers cafes)

    I am so sorry it is really tough and you probably feel totally unappreciated by everyone and very very stressed. There are no easy solutions but I am thinking of you x
  6. Onlyme

    Onlyme Registered User

    Apr 5, 2010
    I can only assume she has slipped back to her childhood when she used a potty type thing under the bed. Mum used one until about 10 years ago and she was a similar age with two toilets.
  7. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    Thank you everyone for your suggestions; I'm always amazed at the generosity with which people share their experiences, some very personal, and ideas on this website.

    Young carers has been suggested to him but he's chosen not to participate. Frankly, it's been a struggle to get him to accept any help or engage in anything that might make his life better and I think young carers may be one step too far. I'm afraid he's an example of the fact that children aren't resilient, that sometimes things are just too much for little ones and they can't manage with everything life throws at them.
  8. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    From the impression you give about your son, forgive me if I am wrong here, but sounds like your son doesn't find social situations easy. My son is exactly the same, to the point of not being able to attend school and is currently being home educated. He, like your son, has to endure my parents dementia but we luckily don't live with them.

    Instead we spend a lot of time driving back and for, get night time calls , and constant change in situations or plans, this adds to all his anxiety and panic attacks. I agree not all children are as bomb proof as we think they are. He knows that if I ever end up in my parents position to put me in a home without guilt etc as I wouldn't want any of my sons to live this life because of me. My son was offered young carers but couldn't face it, but maybe if he could speak on line to young carers that may help him and not feel isolated in this situation. Has he received counselling about it, just to get things off his chest etc, maybe ask GP?

    Have you spoken to Age UK, hospice at home, admiral nurses to see if a befriender can come in and let you and your son go somewhere. The cinema works for us, or a walk in a wood followed by hot chocolate whilst we are out. My son plays a game called Magic the Gathering which is a type of fantasy card game which mainly guys meet up once a week to play, or board games and they all seem the same type of people and it's helped him greatly and they have a commoradery too. You can play it online too, if your son wants to see if he fancies it first. Too complicated for me to understand but he loves it.

    I hope this helps but you would be surprised how many teenagers are going through this but feel ashamed to admit it and see it as a reflection on them and their family unfortunately.
  9. arielsmelody

    arielsmelody Registered User

    Jul 16, 2015
    I have every sympathy for you and your family - my MIL will probably need to go to a care home fairly soon, and if I'm being honest one of the factors that is holding me back from suggesting she moves in here would be the impact it would have on my teenage children.

    The one thing that struck me - and I'm speaking as the parent to two teenagers with only the ordinary teenage issues so please forgive if this is not appropriate to your situation - teenagers are very good at finding reasons that justify their behaviour. So give your son lots of understanding, but don't let him use his nana as an excuse for every single thing. It might become too easy for him to hide behind that as a smokescreen, so sometimes he might need you to be gentle but a bit firm with him.

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