the middle of the sandwich

It is not just a baby that I take care of, it’s my two grandparents, as well. I don’t hands-on take care of them as much as I make sure someone else is always there to do it. My mom has been doing the errand and appointment running, as well as the meal fixing, but she and my grandma do NOT get along. Then it’s me who gets to hear all the complaining from both sides. Lately my grandpa, who has stage 5 Alzheimer’s, is beginning to wander, a characteristic of stage 6. Previously, we could leave him home alone for a few hours during the day, but now we can’t. He has also had three falls this month. Until now, my grandma could dress and feed herself in the morning, and now she can’t. She could pay her own bills and shower. Now she can’t.

I went to a meeting with the financial attorney and my grandma where we were able to formulate a plan for using funds for more in-home care. I have been looking for people to interview who can dress and shower (or in my grandpa’s case, provide cue-ing for ADLs), prepare and serve meals, and stay home with my grandpa when we aren’t there. I will soon be taking over the bill-paying, and this is going to be quite an endeavor as my grandma, losing what precious independence she has, micro-manages me as much as possible.

Sometimes I just don’t know how this happened. How did I go from being the kid in the family, to being responsible for so many people? I worry all the time about the Alzheimer’s that runs so strongly in our family. What happens if it’s my mom next? And then me? Who is going to hold it all together someday when I can’t do it anymore?

Boy, I better have a lot more kids, in the hopes that at least one of them takes care of me!

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5 Comments »

  1. Alzheimer’s is tough on it’s own, let alone the situation you’re in. My great grandmother had it and I am not sure what stage she got to, but she ended up having to be in an elderly home as my Uncle and Mum couldn’t take care of her. Luckily researchers seem to be closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s everyday, so hopefully you don’t have to worry about that 🙂

  2. Oh gosh, I have those thoughts too! Alzheimer’s is on both my mother’s and my father’s sides of the family.

    My partner has a degenerative neurological condition and I take care of everything and everyone. If I’m out of action everything here completely falls down.

  3. You sure do earn your cape! My gramma is in a memory assisted home after things falling apart in Florida where she’s lived entire life. She has dementia and doesn’t remember much of anything that didn’t happen 40+ years ago. She even didn’t recognize one of her daughters recently. My and one of her sisters handle the finances and caring for her but since he wanders, neither can keep her at their homes safely. I worry about my mom in the future because her memory is already showing huge holes, she doesn’t take care of herself, her husband is having health issues and is 15 years older than her, and we don’t have a great relationship.

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