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Need Advice: Grandparent Going to Nursing Home and Doesn't Want to Go

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Old 04-20-2005, 09:11 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2005
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morninglorylf HB User
Need Advice: Grandparent Going to Nursing Home and Doesn't Want to Go


I am in need of a bit of advice. I'm hoping someone here has already been through this and can give some insight on what they should/shouldn't have done differently. Sorry if this gets too long, i'll try to keep it short....

My grandparents are 85 and both of them have been in and out of the hospital. It started with my grandpa and then slowly took a toll on my grandmother. My grandpa is in the hospital now with pneumonia, it's not a terrible case but it's still bad enough for him to be there. He was addicted to prescription drugs for years because of neuropathy in his feet and now suffer from dementia. It's not severe but still enough to cause problems.

My mom has almost worn herself trying to take care of them and she was never in very good health to begin with. She has two brothers but they don't do a whole lot. I try to help but most of the time my mom makes excuses for me. For instances, it hurts her legs and feet to go stay at the hospital all night. I have volunteered MANY times to go stay in her place but she always says I "have to go to work the next day". This is true but if I'm willing I wish she would let me. Now, it's gotten to the point where I have to push her in a wheel chair through the hospital because it's too far to walk to his room.

She also have a really negative attitude that rubs off on my grandpa. It drives me crazy the way she talks to him sometimes. He can no longer use his legs and he's always talking about getting up and walking home so he can see my grandmother and of course my mom's afraid he's going to fall but she doesn't have to yell/fuss at him about it because he doesn't understand like she does.

Anyway, I try to tell her in a nice way that she needs to be more positive but she gets defensive. I understand she's been through a lot and you get negative after so much but it doesn't help anyone to wear yourself out and then yell at everybody. Is there anyway to approach this subject to make things better? It seems like everytime I say or do something it just makes things worse.....

Anyway, they have decided they are going to send him to a nursing home when he gets out of the hospital because my grandmother has cancer and "he worries her" and "makes her nervous" and "he's going to kill her". I understand this but he absolutely HATES the idea of going to a nursing home and I don't think he'd last even a week there. But, either way you have both of their lives in your hands, how do you pick one?

My mom says he's just going to wind up in the hospital again if he comes home because it's a never ending cycle. He leaves the hospital fine, goes home and won't eat, get's dehydrated and ends up back at the hospital. I think the eating problem is mostly from depression because he does nothing but lay in the bed all day. People come to see him but it's only to give him his meds or change his diaper. I suggested to my mom about taking him outside in his wheelchair to make him feel better and her reply is "Are you going to move him?" I told her I would but she's still negative about it. I know moving him isn't easy and I wouldn't do it everyday but you've got to start somewhere.......

All he talks about when we go visit is going home to see my grandmother and I'm not even sure he's going to last the rest of the week if he doesn't go home/see her because he wastes all of his energy complaining about going home and every day he seems even more run down. He has said he doesn't want to go to a nursing home but he knows its coming. He even suggested paying me to come stay with them at night, which I don't have a problem with, but of course my mother does.

Anyway, my main question is - if he doesn't want to go the nursing home, how do you handle it so that the least damage is done? My mom and her siblings seem to think they need to get someone to come pick him up and take him there and not follow the first day or so becuase they think if they are there he will blame them for it, even though none of them really want him to go. I completely disagree, I think they need to be there when he gets there so that he won't think everyone just abandoned him. Sure he will blame them but I think he'd get over that quicker. Any thoughts on this?

I'm just not sure how to handle this subject because I know my mom has been through a lot and I don't want to put any blame/guilt on her but at the same time I want to help everyone as much as possible. Sometimes I think I would do better just by staying completely out of everything. I told my bf tonight that I wasn't doing anything else but that's not really what i want to do.....


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Old 04-21-2005, 12:13 AM   #2
Martha H
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Re: Need Advice: Grandparent Going to Nursing Home and Doesn't Want to Go

Dear Morning glory .. I'm so sorry you are in such a difficult position. It seems clear to me that your grandfather must be in a nursing home, and if the financial aspect of it works out, getting him there should not be the worst part of it. I agree with you that if he is taken there by ambulance, someone from the family should go along or be there when he arrives to make the transition easier. If it helps, tell him it's only 'for a little while until he gets better." Maybe he will relax then and later forget it was only temporary.

Please let us know how it works out, because my family is probably going to be faced with this decision sooner or later.... and the experience should be made as smooth as possible. It is clear that an 85 year old wife can not and should not be the caregiver, way too hard for her, too emotionally and physicaly draining .. and your Mom also needs a life of her own outside of caring for her parents. It will shorten her life!

Is there a possibility of the two of them going into nursing home or assisted living care together? Then they would still have each other, but not the lifting, feeding etc .. ask about that.

Good luck!


Last edited by Martha H; 04-21-2005 at 12:15 AM. Reason: sp

Old 04-21-2005, 03:35 PM   #3
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Re: Need Advice: Grandparent Going to Nursing Home and Doesn't Want to Go

Hi Morninglory,

Sorry this sad and difficult situation has fallen to you. I think your mother and grandparents are lucky indeed that you are the caring person you are.

If the money or insurance coverage is there, couples with different health needs can still live together in many facilities as Martha said. That would allow your grandparents to be together and your mother to have her life back and hopefully her health would improve, too. Everyone would benefit.

An alternative is to have an aide come to the house at scheduled times to bathe your grandfather, perhaps twice daily to get him into the wheelchair and again out or the wheelchair. The doctor can write an order for this at-home assistance. The hospital may have a discharge planner who can help find the help that is needed and will know about Medicare and such.

I hope an acceptable solution is found.

Wishing you well - Barbara

Old 04-21-2005, 04:08 PM   #4
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morninglorylf HB User
Re: Need Advice: Grandparent Going to Nursing Home and Doesn't Want to Go

Thank you both for your replies. I've thought about putting them in a home together but I forgot to write about the reason we can't. My grandmother doesn't want him at home. She says it's too much for her to worry about. All he is now is a burden to her. That fact in itself makes me cringe but what can I do? He said last night that she would be devastated when we told her he was going to a home. He doesn't know that she's the main one who wants him there.

I think it would work fine if we had someone coming to take care of him every day and someone to stay there at night. Then she would at least have some security and she wouldn't have to do anything, but she doesn't see it that way. She wants to do things for him but she has to realize she can't and there's nothing we can say or do to change it. She also refuses to let anyone come in her house if she doesn't know them very well. I honestly don't blame her for this but that would mean we couldn't hire anyone.

Her doctor put her on an anti-depressent about a year or so ago but she took it once and got an upset stomach (don't know if it was caused by the meds or not) and wouldn't take it anymore. I really wish she would take it, I think it would make things a lot easier on all of us. But, if I say something she's going to get upset which certainly won't help things.

I just don't know what else to say or do, there is no good answer......


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