Thursday, June 5, 2008
Thoughtful on a Thursday...
I have been thinking of ways we can help my Grandmother
as we deal with all the symptoms of her dementia.
Trying to put a system in place to allow her to remain in
her own home for the rest of her life has been fraught
with missteps,confusion and petty infighting.
I understand why she has forgotten how to act like an adult,
but the rest of the family...there is no excuse for the way
they have all been treating each other. I made a promise
to my Grandfather to help with certain things (there was a
great deal of discussion about how things would go when he died,
because he knew she was loosing her ability to handle things on her own),
and we all knew how he wanted things to go.Now, many are changing the rules of the game.
She is also loosing her eyesight, so that adds yet another challenge to her
life, and therefore to all of ours. My sister has been living (first,with them, and now )her
since my Grandfather's cancer put him in hospice care. Her daughter lives with her.
In theory, this would solve a great many problems, because they would be there
to keep my Grandmother from hurting herself, or wandering off. She has wandered,
all be it safely once already, but we are trying to get an alarm for the door so there
is a warning when she opens it. She was not alone when she snuck off, it was believed
that she was in her room. The biggest balance is to give her space and treat her like
an adult, while keeping her safe in her unclear times. They will become more often than her
clear times as the dementia is not going to get better. With or without treatment.
There are some members of the family who do not seem to understand that.
They give my sister a lot of "you need to do this..you need to do that" type of
thing and not in a kind or loving or helpful way. More like she is their live in help and they were not raised with manners fit for bears.That she is helping us all by staying there does
not seem to occur to them. The party in question will be flying in from the state they live in soon..a couple of weeks, and there will be more fighting. It is unavoidable, knowing them all my entire life ,as I do, I know this.
Others will not stand up for my sister and she will feel attacked, and it will all go downhill.
I am resigned to this, and yet I find myself trying to be hopeful that they can be talked into acting like adults for a change. Hot head that I am, it is getting harder and harder to hold my tongue (those of you who have been in the same room with any of us are now saying.."you have been holding your tongue?", you have no idea)
while they self destruct.There is no good reason why we cannot come together and offer my Grandmother and my sister the help they need to keep my Grandmother in the house.There are many selfish and childish reasons why it will probably not happen.
To my family members I say simply.."put the can opener down and step away from the counter...you're fixin' to open a can of whoop-a*s".Don't even ask what the side order will be.