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Moosenogger
12-14-2011, 06:23 AM
My grandmother has either fallen deep into senility or she's showing the first signs of dementia (or Alzheimer's). She constantly repeats herself, asks the same questions continuously, and is doing progressively stupid things, for lack of a better description.

She recently let a solicitor into her home and was talked into signing a $3,200 contract for a new air conditioning unit. Does she need one? No. Was the company legit? NO - they weren't even licensed. Shit, we had to hire an attorney just to bully the assholes into giving her $1,500 down payment back. Unbelievable. The most frustrating part is that she keeps telling me about how all these people are scam artists and that's why she "doesn't let them in her house." :doh:

Since we can't trust her to not give away her life savings to the first idiot who comes to her door with their hand out, I've been given the task of babysitting her. I spend 5+ hours a day at her home, making sure she doesn't answer solicitation phone calls or house calls. The only reason I can do this is because I am currently unemployed, so I have nothing better to do.

Today was especially irritating. When I arrived at her house, I opened the door and felt like I'd walked into an oven. I asked her why it was so damn hot in her house, and she just said, "I don't know." When I checked the thermostat, I immediately noticed that there was only a Heat and Off option. What the hell? We literally COULDN'T turn on the air. It was miserable.

I called her air conditioning company and had someone come out to service the unit. Turns out "someone" (MASSIVE FUCKING QUOTATION MARKS AROUND THAT WORD) had screwed around with the thermostat and somehow managed to change the air conditioning settings so the air compressor was turned off. This meant that we literally couldn't turn on the Cool feature of her air conditioner. The service man re-set the settings and put everything back in order.

You know what my grandmother said to me while the guy was working, trying to fix the error? "I don't think he knows what he's doing."

Um, no. There's only one person in this room who doesn't know how to work the thermostat, and that's you. NOT the service man.

Help me. :cry:

Aethian
12-14-2011, 11:47 AM
Sounds like it's time for a nurse that comes by to check on her or it's time for one of those progressive nursing homes. And it does pain me to say the second one.

Good luck.

RecoveringKinkoid
12-14-2011, 12:44 PM
You just described my grandmother several years back, before she really got bad. Right down to the thermostat. I had to put a plastic cover with a lock over he thermostat. Everyone knows where the key is but her. I lied about what it was for and she believed it (the gullibility can work in your favor. I don't say that because I think it's funny. I don't. I say that because lies and stories can go a long way to avoiding saying things like "I locked up your thermostat because you're losing your faculties and I can't trust you not to turn it up to a hundred degrees." )

I'm sorry you're going through this. I know, it's very hard. Try to remember she's not doing it to be irritating, she doesn't realize she's doing it and scolding her won't do anything but cause her worry and angst. She would likely be mortified if she realized what she was doing. My own grandmother nearly drove me to the breaking point when I had to care for her alone, back when I was eight months pregnant. Thank God my sister showed up, I was literally to the point of hyperventilating from stress and sleep deprivation (this is when and why I put the plastic shield on her thermostat...I was sleeping over there, hugely pregnant, and every time I fell asleep, I'd wake up in an oven. This was August in South Carolina. Fun times.

A live in nurse lives in her home now, which is right next door to my parents.

If you want to talk, pm me. I know firsthand how it is.

tropicsgoddess
12-14-2011, 02:10 PM
Around the time my mom had her 40th birthday...this was the late 90's we noticed our grandma (her mother) would ask the same question a lot and forget things A LOT. My grandfather can't take care of her all that much since he's got health issues of his own but they have a nurse come by and help out and my mom's oldest brother takes helps them out since he lives close to them. Sounds like your grandmother (INAD) may have Alzheimer's and she definitely should have a caretaker or nurse.

Amethyst Hunter
12-14-2011, 02:44 PM
Also, check for hoarding behavior. Is she collecting more of something - like food - than she really needs to? That can be a sign.

My late grandmother had Alzheimer's and this was one of the ways how we first realized something wasn't right with her (the other came from accidental money mismanagement; she'd forget to pay bills, or put cash in places where cash shouldn't go). Her pantry was WAY overstuffed to the point where she'd go and buy ten more things of staples she already had about a hundred of. She'd forgotten that she'd already bought the item(s).

Best wishes to you and your grandma. Even if it isn't Alzheimer's, it's still rough to deal with for everybody involved. :(

Moosenogger
12-14-2011, 05:21 PM
Sounds like it's time for a nurse that comes by to check on her or it's time for one of those progressive nursing homes.

Sounds like your grandmother (INAD) may have Alzheimer's and she definitely should have a caretaker or nurse.
(

I'd love to have an in-home nurse for her, but I'm not sure how much that would cost. My grandmother has AMAZING insurance through the U.S. military, so that might help offset the cost, but even if we managed to get a nurse here for a reasonable rate, that still leaves my grandmother. You see, she gets really upset if we mention anything about a home or a nurse or a "babysitter." She wants so badly to be independent, and is in complete denial about how bad the situation has gotten. I don't know if we could ever get her to agree to have a nurse come here and take care of her.

You just described my grandmother several years back, before she really got bad. Right down to the thermostat. I had to put a plastic cover with a lock over he thermostat. Everyone knows where the key is but her.

I did something similar. The air conditioner serviceman realized what had happened (that my grandmother had messed up the thermostat) and showed me how to lock the keypad. That way, she can press those buttons all night and it won't change a damn thing.

I set the thermostat to Auto so that the heat will come on if the house gets down to 74 degrees, and the air will come on if the house gets warmer than 77 degrees. I figure that's a safe range for her, and it seems to be working. It's 76 degrees in here right now, and she says she's comfortable. I'm crossing my fingers that she won't realize the keypad is locked.

I might take you up on that PM offer. Maybe one day my grandmother will be more open to the idea of having a live-in nurse. At the moment, though, she's against it. :(

Also, check for hoarding behavior. Is she collecting more of something - like food - than she really needs to? That can be a sign.

I haven't noticed any hoarding behavior, thankfully. She does like to keep food way past the expiration date, but I think that's more due to her living through the Great Depression than it is senility. She hates to throw away food that she considers good. /sigh

FormerCallingCardRep
12-14-2011, 05:42 PM
I helped take care of my Grandmother until the day she chased me out of the house with a broom and locked the door. We ended up putting her in a care facility a week later.

Moosenogger
12-14-2011, 05:53 PM
I helped take care of my Grandmother until the day she chased me out of the house with a broom and locked the door. We ended up putting her in a care facility a week later.

Did she have Alzheimer's? I know that when people reach the later stages they can start to forget their own family members.

FormerCallingCardRep
12-14-2011, 06:11 PM
Yes she did. We started noticing her forgetting things, but the final nail was when her Aunt died and she thought she was at her Mom's funeral and kept asking where her Aunt, Uncle and Brother were, that they needed to be at her Mom's funeral. They were all dead and we would tell her and she would say, that she forgot. The only thing she did not forget was the scriptures that she had memorized as a child.

She will be gone 8 years next month. She was diagonsed with Lung Cancer and Grandpa did not want to put her through treatment at the stage whe was. She died in January and he grieved himself to death and died in February. They had been married 67 years

AriGriffin
12-14-2011, 06:14 PM
Are there any senior services in your area? If you are in the USA, they are usually offered through the county you live in/ the department of health and human services. The one near me offers medical and general transportation, nutrition programs, in-home aid, home repair & improvement, assists with medical insurance and getting medication, and arts and crafts. The one near you might be able to help out.

RecoveringKinkoid
12-14-2011, 06:15 PM
Yeah, if I wear my hair up when I go over there, Nanna does not recognize me. All she sees is the platinum witchlock sprawling over my forehead and she thinks I'm some blonde woman.

The first time that happened, it was like I'd been hit with a wrecking ball. I mean, it didn't surprise me, and it didn't even hurt my feelings because I know why it happened, but that doesn't mean the six year old inside me didn't fall over like a house of cards and bawl the moment I was out of earshot.

Yeah, I make sure my hair's down when I go over there. And I have to reintroduce her to my daughter (her great grandchild) all the time. It's sad.

Food hoarding is a common one. So's hygiene. And you might want to check the plates and silverware to make sure she's not putting it away dirty. Me and my sister used to wait till she wasn't in the house and then go over there and empty out the old food. She wouldn't notice we'd done it as long as she didn't catch us at it. If she caught us, she'd blow a gasket on us.

Elspeth
12-14-2011, 06:51 PM
We are dealing with the same type of things with my Grandmother. Thankfully she has finally moved in with my Aunt and Uncle. But she is having a lot of the same problems. She is a packrat (whole family is) and boy it has not been fun. She wants to do everything her way. And she is really getting mean towards my aunt, mainly because my Grandfather liked her better.

hugs too you and your family. it is not easy.

42_42_42
12-14-2011, 07:28 PM
Doesn't matter is she wants it or not, if she needs it, it's the responsibility of the family to make sure she gets the appropriate level of care. My grandmother has Alzheimer's and was refusing to move to a nursing home. Her neurologist said that she HAD to go (it simply was not safe for her to be on her own any more and it wasn't possible to get her a live-in nurse or for a family member to be there 24-7) and that if she didn't comply, Adult Protective Services would get involved which would mean the cops would show up and make her go with them to the nursing home. Fortunately, just the threat of that made her compliant. It's still tough on my mom even with her in the nursing home. We had to sell the house and most of my grandmother's things in order to help pay for the nursing home. According to my grandmother, she's "homeless" now because "they" took away her home.

Seshat
12-14-2011, 07:41 PM
Senior services people are accustomed to people wanting to be independent long past the time they can be.

That said, I know firsthand what it can be like learning to accept disability and loss of independence. :cry: It sucks.

But the fact of the matter is: if it's not safe for her to live the way she is, it's not safe, and she needs to accept it.

Get help encouraging (or if it has to be, forcing) her to accept help. Talk to her doctor, talk to nursing staff, talk to the local carer assistance people. You haven't done it before: they have.

Be aware that HIPPA (or if that's not applicable for you, the local equivalent) means that they can't tell you anything about her care unless you have the appropriate medical-legal documents. But you can tell them the symptoms and behaviours you've seen, and the help you want in caring for her.

Buglady
12-14-2011, 07:43 PM
Check what medications she is taking, and if there are any potential interactions (Pharmacists can help with this). Several years ago my family was very worried that my grandmother was declining cognitively, but it turned out that some of her medications were interacting and that was what was causing a lot of her confusion. She had several more fairly good years before we lost her to lung cancer three years ago.

(At 87, she said she'd had a good run, and she missed my Grampa, so I think she just decided it was time to go when she got the diagnosis. It was very peaceful; she was gone two weeks after diagnosis, and before the pain got too bad. We were grateful for that.)

Victory Sabre
12-14-2011, 08:53 PM
Concerning the money issues - you might want to consider getting power of attorney over her finances, so scam artists don't steal all she's worked for over the years.

I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer's disease and it was a, fairly, quick process. The last time I saw her (and I'll always regret that it was the last time), I asked her if she wanted to play cards. She loved playing cards, but she told me she didn't want to. I thought that was a bit odd, but brushed it off. A year later she was diagnosed. 3 years later she was gone. She made it to 96, but the last 4 the person I knew, and loved, was no longer there.

Moosenogger
12-14-2011, 09:44 PM
Doesn't matter is she wants it or not, if she needs it, it's the responsibility of the family to make sure she gets the appropriate level of care.

We're waiting for the ball to drop, basically. I can stay with my grandmother for now, since I don't have a full time job. However, once I get one, we'll have to make the decisions about whether we'll get her a live-in nurse/attendant, or if we'll have to force her into a nursing home. I'm really not looking forward to that time, since my mother will take the brunt of the stress and anger from my grandmother. I think my mother is putting off the nursing home issue until it absolutely must be done, simply because she's not looking forward to dealing with the fall out.

Check what medications she is taking, and if there are any potential interactions (Pharmacists can help with this).

The memory loss has been gradual over the past 2 years or so, so I don't think it's her medications. My mother would know more about that than I would. I'll talk to her about it.

Concerning the money issues - you might want to consider getting power of attorney over her finances, so scam artists don't steal all she's worked for over the years.

My mother has power of attorney over my grandmother's finances already. That was one of the main reasons she got it - scammers were constantly calling my grandmother and coming to her door, asking for money. Actually, my mother flat out told the air conditioning scammers that she had power of attorney, so the contract was null and void, anyway (my grandmother can't legally sign a contract by herself). The company didn't give a shit, so we had to hire an attorney to MAKE them give a shit.

RecoveringKinkoid
12-15-2011, 12:34 AM
Yeah, I second and third that. Both on the power of attorney and the HIPPA thing. Someone probably needs to go in with her on her doctor's appointments and paperwork will need to be filed for that.

MoonCat
12-15-2011, 12:58 AM
First, she has to be medically evaluated. I second the advice about checking her medications, if she's on anything. There are some things elderly people shouldn't take, or sometimes they are just on too many things and the meds are messing up their cognitive abilities.

Also, have her doctor check to see if she might have a urinary tract infection. Believe it or not, those can cause dementia-type symptoms in elderly women.

Last, if she does have to move to a nursing home (it sounds likely), remember that after a while she may not understand that she is in one, which, while sad, does make it a little easier for her and for you. The mother of one of my co-workers lives in a nursing home. Her mom just considers it her "apartment" and the other people there have become her second family. The residents often become very close and really care about each other.

unperson
01-03-2012, 10:38 AM
>My grandmother has AMAZING insurance through the U.S. military

If your grandmom has military coverage, she probably also has access to the huge number of services they offer; while this won't change the underlying situation, if she's former military - or a military spouse - having someone in uniform emphasize the importance of having a caregiver (and the impact on your and your family of not having one) to her might help.

Seshat
01-04-2012, 11:33 AM
if she's former military - or a military spouse - having someone in uniform emphasize the importance of having a caregiver (and the impact on your and your family of not having one) to her might help.

Oooh. That's a really good point. And Legacy (the Australian military's 'family-support/elder-support' group) makes sure it's the friendly, helpful personalities who do the family contact.

saint
01-07-2012, 08:03 PM
I worked several years at an Alzheimer care facility as a caregiver/med-aide for over 40 residents. I've dealt with residents who are in the very beginning stages of dementia, all the way to end of life care, as well as grief support / family support for the residents' families.

I would definitely go through their VA and get her diagnosis through them. Once she is diagnosed you'll have an easier time either finding a live-in caregiver or Alzheimer ward that they will pay for, or pay a portion of.

Senior Services can also help give you a lot of pointers on how to go about getting her care and the process.

She sounds like she has a very limited amount of time until she will need 24/7 type of care. There are also medications now that can improve her cognition and slow the progression of the disease, all the more reason to get her diagnosed.

Also, the incident with the heater is only the beginning. They forget to turn off the stove, coffee pot, etc as they get more advanced.

Memories define us. Define our personalities, our fears, everything. And people with Alzheimers lose that. they lose everything they were. How terrifying would it be for you if you were slowly forgetting everyones faces and names? If you looked at someone you knew for 50 yrs and couldn't remember their name? I can't tell you the number of times I've seen a family member get upset and leave because their mom didn't remember their name anymore, only to walk back and find the resident upset as well becuase they know they should know that person, but cant recall it from memory.

Breathe, understand that nothing she is doing is to hurt you, or frustrate you. They can read you very easily. if you're mad, they will pick up on it, but wont understand why you are mad. It can be just as frustrating and scary for her, as it is for you.

If you need any tips on making her house safer for her while you are gone, or have any questions, or need help dealing with certain behaviors, please PM me. I'll help you any way I can.

protege
01-08-2012, 01:26 AM
Memories define us. Define our personalities, our fears, everything. And people with Alzheimers lose that. they lose everything they were. How terrifying would it be for you if you were slowly forgetting everyones faces and names? If you looked at someone you knew for 50 yrs and couldn't remember their name? I can't tell you the number of times I've seen a family member get upset and leave because their mom didn't remember their name anymore, only to walk back and find the resident upset as well becuase they know they should know that person, but cant recall it from memory.

That's what happened to my grandmother. She didn't have Alzheimer's, but by the time she turned 91-92, her mind was fried. Moving her from her house into a smaller apartment, and then into an assisted-living center...both in the space of a year...really didn't help things. She'd been in that house since about 1950.

Then the forgetting started. We think she had a small stroke either when she was in her apartment, or sometime when she was still at home. Just enough to mess with her. She would forget where things were, who some people were, and that Grandpa had been dead 20 years. Grandma would even forget what some family members looked like, especially if she hadn't seen them in awhile.

One Easter, she didn't recognize my mother. We were in the dining room, and she started asking me "who the woman was in the kitchen." When I said that was my mother, she looked sad. Her own daughter, and she didn't even recognize her. Granted, my mom has lost a ton of weight, but still.

Then she started having problems remembering what time it was. I can understand thinking that it's later than it really is. But, she went far beyond that--she would call my mom at 3 or 4am, in a tizzy because she didn't know where her husband was. She would call my mother, and occasionally, both of us...multiple times per night. By then, she was living in the nursing home, so my mom had her phone taken away. She had it set so the only people she could call... was the home's front desk.

It got really trying at times. We'd go to dinner, and within 5 minutes afterward, she would start bugging me to go eat. Some nights, she'd go on about that for an hour. I admit, while I was trying to drive her back to the home, I was actually thinking about wrapping the car around a pole, just to shut her up. I'd never do that, but having to listen to her drone on...was tiring. Plus, it was frustrating as hell to be constantly answering the same question.

One thing I'd like to stress, is that you can't *blame* them for it. It's not their fault. I was never mad at *Grandma* (how could I be?), but at what her condition was doing to her. It wasn't her fault, and I had to keep reminding myself that. She was probably scared as hell about what was happening to her, and that she couldn't do anything about it. Plus, even her weakened condition...she could probably still kick my ass. This was, a woman who survived a serious auto accident, after all ;)

trailerparkmedic
01-08-2012, 03:40 PM
If your grandmother doesn't have many medical issues beyond Alzheimers, and she can still do things like dress herself and use the bathroom on her own, assisted living might be an option. It's pricy but she'd have her own room, someone to cook meals, and someone to watch over her. The assisted living we put my father in law in had movie nights, day trips, that sort of thing.

Sapphire Silk
01-08-2012, 06:37 PM
If your grandmother doesn't have many medical issues beyond Alzheimers, and she can still do things like dress herself and use the bathroom on her own, assisted living might be an option. It's pricy but she'd have her own room, someone to cook meals, and someone to watch over her. The assisted living we put my father in law in had movie nights, day trips, that sort of thing.

Quoted for truth. This is what Brother and I did with our mother last September. She has Alzheimer's. We knew something was wrong for a couple of years, but Mom would not go see the doctor, and quit taking her blood pressure medication. She threw me out of the house one day because she forgot I was coming (I had called her the week before, the day before, and that day to remind her). The next day she denied anything was wrong, and hung up on me when I tried to invite her to come to my neice's dance recital.

We tried getting Elder Services in to evaluate her, but Mom refused to cooperate. She refused to sign a Power of Attorney.

Things came to a head when she got a UTI, and was wandering the neighborhood knocking on doors at midnight. She'd locked herself out of the house. She spent a week in the hospital, then we moved her into the Memory Care Unit of an assisted living place near with Brother lives. She is doing much much better, and we now have control over the finances.

When I stayed at Mom's house over the holidays, the phone rang non stop: scammers and charities trying to get money out of her. We looked at the check book; she'd been writing checks to some rather dodgy people. We were able to put a stop to it, but since the numbers were so low on the checks ($30 typically) we aren't trying to get the money back.

Putting Mom in AL was the best thing we could have done for her.