I just don't know what to do anymore. My Mom's mother lives in the same house as my Mom and Dad. It's been that way for 30+ years.... and it's not always been easy on them.. there's a long history of drama in that house, with my father's alcohol abuse and my mother's deteriorating health, and my grandmothers fixation in her old ways... It's all coming to a boil now.. and I'm caught in the middle. It's not fair. I don't want to be here. I want to be the little kid who thinks that they all get along.
A few months ago My Grammy gave me and my sister each a check for $9500... and told me it was for anything I wanted, and gave the same to my sister.. I'm starting a business and was laid off, and my sister was struggling with the bills and her kids.. So I thought it was just generosity. She's in her 80's... and I dunno. Ignorance is bliss I guess. Today I wake up to a voicemail from my mom saying that my grandmother is upset... and one from my grandmother saying she's upset becuase my mom is having the kitchen remodeled.
Catch that? Grammy's upset because the kitchen is getting remodeled.
In fact, I think that she is suicidal. I stopped over at the house this afternoon.. and, she had some papers on the table, and there it was... checks again... this time, $8500 for me, my sister, her friend, $1000 each to the animal rescue, the humane society and the church... sounds like final affairs to me! I said Take this money and move out, and she said no... I said go to assisted living.. she said it's not enough.. I said stay downstairs in your apartment.. bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchenette, etc... she said "I don't have a freezer or a microwave" I said "I can fix that" and on and on. It ends up with both of us in tears. She doesn't want anything I could offer her.. she just wants to be left alone.
She fled the scene and went down to her apartment to calm down... told me NOT to follow.
My mother is in the living room folding laundry, and says "I don't care. I mean, I care, but I don't care. I'm remodeling the kitchen not pulling out her toenails." Mom says I don't care if she stays or goes, I'm tired of living with her like this....
We all know it. My sister and I have offered to take my grandmother to live with us, but she won't move, and she doesn't want to be a burden...
We've offered to help her move to a first floor apartment, but she's too old and set in her place.. refused...
We've offered to help her with assisted living, but she's not social at all, and it would be "tortuous" to live with other people, and she doesn't want to be a burden...
simply put.... she doesn't want anything we have offered her. I don't know what to do. I called my sister and got her involved-- and she called my grandmothers only friend and got her involved. She called the office on aging and they said we should '302' her-- an involuntary institutionalization. I can't. I won't. That would upset her even more!
My sister has decided to write our Grammy a letter saying all the things she wants to say. I'm not a letter writer. I went through that phase a few years ago (thanks to Oprah) so I've said what I wanted to say. I'm too angry at them right now to say anything nice anyway. They're so mean and disrespectful to each other-- Heck, I can't even imagine living with either of them anymore! They really are miserable together, and i don't know what to do. Ideas, anyone?
I'm going to clean the basement and channel these feelings into something constructive... it's that or booze right now.
I have (some) experience in dealing with older folks (80+) who just REFUSE to accept that they are now limited in what they can do and at the same time they REFUSE to accept any kind of help at all. She doesn't want to "be a burden" but she is refusing any offers of help and makes it all sounds like "what's the use?", right? For folks in their 80's, this is ... believe it or not ... pretty normal.
Do NOT feel like you're in the middle. I know you love them all, but don't get sucked into this.
I'm not sure I'd see this as suicidal. Older folks tend to start giving away things and money, but it doesn't mean they're suicidal.
Not sure I'd recommend the letter, either. when our grandparents get this way, it can be frustrating, but understand that lots of times they don't understand they are being this way. Putting it in a letter isn't going to lay it out for them because they just don't understand. She probably doesn't have that many years left, and I'd hesitate to burden her soul with "The Letter". (In my family, "The Letter" method was used once, at the advice of a therapist, but it was a TOTALLY different situation, so I'm not speaking with zero background on it. I'm not a therapist and I dont' play one on tv.....! )
Having had to deal with older people myself, I know how they can refuse to be flexible. Sometimes it means that they are suffering from depression. I don't think it is about the kitchen remodel, but her fear of change.
We found it helpful to start with the family doctor, check to see what is up:senility, depression,??? There are a lot of treatments now to make older people function in a happier way. The doctor may be able to do what is needed, if not he will send her to the right person.
Good luck with this. I know that you really love her.
In a weird way this is almost my life story (sort of). My MIL, who lives next door, is going downhill fast. She has three heart valves that leak and is causing a fluid build up in different areas of her body. She can barely breath and move around. Yet she can find the strength to p*** of her three children that are trying to make her last days comfortable. No matter what we try to do to make her comfortable, she complains. She does not want anything moved or changed in her house and that alone is one of our problems. We need to make paths to get to her in her chair and bed and she tells us off if we move any of her things. I say paths because this lady collects all sorts of crapola. She has newspapers, magazines, letters, notes, cards, gifts, etc. all around her chair and bed. She uses a walker, (not by her choice) to go to the bathroom and we have to follow her so she doesn't fall or trip on her junk. Her daughter sleeps in her mother's bedroom in a recliner so that she can help her at night. She has been doing this for a year and her mother will not allow a twin bed or cot to be put in the room next to her bed. We would have to move her crapola for the bed to be moved in. This lady use to be an alcoholic, and now her meaness has shown its ugly head to her children. They can not use the excuse that she is drunk and that is why she talks to them the way she does. I told my dh to tell her that she either allows their help or she can let someone from the nursing home put up with her. Sorry for highjacking this thread, but this just came to a breaking point this past weekend.
My mother is one year older than MIL and I tell her like it is and she never gives trouble. She is actually greatfull that someone wants to help her.
Cakenicing, when I was reading your note, I thought that she was going to ask for the money back after giving it to you and that you had already spent it. LOL She sounds like she just doesn't like change and because things keep changing and she has no say, she is no longer in control of her life. Her giving away things is not unusual. She has control over what she wants done with her stuff before she dies and does not have to worry if her wishes are carried out. My grandmother did that and it made her happy at the end so we let her. Just make sure you write her a proper thank you note, that matters to them.
It just has me so upset still! I am just frozen. I called off work thinking I would go back over but now I can't find it in me to do so. I want to tell my husband about the whole story but he doesn't care and she told me not to let him have any of the money anyway- she doesn't like him anymore ( but for a long time neither did I) my sister got upset and I got angry this time- last time it was the other way around. I understand her giving away the tea towels she gets as gifts every year- the earrings she doesn't wear etc-- but the money really bothers me this time!
Ugh. At least my five boxes of photos will be organized- channeling the frustration doesn't help much but it keeps me busy.
Being a caregiver is stressful so your mother is probably having a rough time. Is there some way you can offer to help that might give your mom a break? Maybe your parents would like a weekend away but can't or your mother would enjoy a day shopping without having to worry about your grandma.
It's not like that for them- my gram still drives and my parents both work full time and count on gram to watch the dogs while they go away... Which they do quite often I might add! So thanks for the idea but in this situation it doesn't apply. My mother was the one infirm for part of the summer due to surgery and it was my gram who helped her!
Has there been a change to her medication recently? The reason I ask is because my grandfather got very depressed when they put him on a certain medication, or combo of medications. I believe it was a blood pressure med that did it. Anyway, it might be worth a call to her physician, just to see if depression might be a side effect of something that she is taking.
Good luck, and hugs to you.
cakenicing...I live with my parents who just last year put a large addition on their home to take in my grandmother and her two sisters (82, 84 and 91 years old). My grandmother's health has not been great and she is a bad diabetic. Needless to say we visit the doctor often with her and they had to adjust her medications because she had been really depressed, not eating, not getting along with anyone. It took only one medication, a generic of xanax (spelling) to calm her down a bit. The other two, my great aunts, are characters, I mean real characters, collect plastic bags, donate crazy money to foundations that may or may not be legitimate, sit in their quiet bedroom for hours on end, eat strange foods...the reason I say all this (and believe me the list of weirdness goes on and on) is that they have gotten to a point where they are not going to change. We do the very best we can to accommodate them without flipping our own lives upside down or putting anyone in danger but really, they do not have much longer and we would like to let them live their last years as peacefully as possible.
I am sorry if I hijacked the thread but I think what I am trying to say is that you can do your best to work with your Grandma and Mom, but Grandma is probably not going to change now. My first suggestion would be looking into the medications and then next, keep your distance if it bothers you too much to be around. I doubt you will convince her to move to an assisted living community at this point but would she consider a seniors center for activities during the day? (Neither my gram or her sisters would consider this, they are far from social).
I wish I had a better answer but just now there are other people who have similar situations and sometimes these things happen with age. I hope you find a solution or at least something to alleviate some of the stress. Good luck.
Do you remember if your grandmother had any hobbies? Maybe gardening, painting, cooking, making puzzles, reading?
If you can get her involved with something that she does not have to go anywhere, but will keep her occupied, then maybe her mood would get softer.
I am remembering when my father was ill and my mother had to take care of his every needs, she was slowly becoming depressed and short tempered.
I enrolled her in watercolor classes with some ladies her age not far from her house. That was the best thing for her spirits. That was 7 years ago and she still looks forward to her classes every Thursday.
After my father died, these ladies became her new lifeline for a social world. As an added benefit, she really is good at painting and she gives her art as gifts to anyone she wants.
Thanks everyone for the support... it helps to know that people are so caring.... And that so many people are in the same boat as I am with disgruntled older folks in their lives.
Right now, she's mad at my sister, my aunt and me because we are refusing to deposit her checks. We have all banded together, and we are calling her every day, checking up with her, and finding ways to outsmart her miserableness. We have told her that we are allllll in this together!
She seemed better today, but that's because the walls are done now, so the guy won't be back till next week... and UGH.. then the real work begins... he's going to move an island that has electric running to it, and rip up the pergo flooring and the linoleum underneath and lay down a new floor.... SO the worst is yet to come, I think...
As for hobbies... they were always what they are now-- reading, TV, crosswords and ya, that's about it. She reads the newspaper front to back every day, and she does the crossword puzzles from the papers every day. She watches brainy shows like WWTBa millionaire, Jeopardy, wheel of fortune, etc...
I WISH she had a hobby... she used to love figure skating, but now the rings are too big and too cold and the skaters are too far away, and she doesn't like sitting too close. We've given up on the movies, they're too loud.. and the malls are too crowded and on and on... there's not much we can offer her anymore.. she doesn't even like going out to eat because the kids are too loud, the places are dirty, servers are stupid, portions are too big, food's not that good-- you name it, she finds an excuse!
What can ya do? I have to keep loving her and caring about her!!