Grandma in need of a checkup
Dear Carol: I love my Grandma but she is ruining my life. She lives with me and my family. The doctor says she doesn't have Alzheimer's, but she asks the same questions over and over and is nasty to my kids. It has gotten so that when she eats, t...
Dear Carol: I love my Grandma but she is ruining my life. She lives with me and my family. The doctor says she doesn't have Alzheimer's, but she asks the same questions over and over and is nasty to my kids. It has gotten so that when she eats, the rest of us nearly gag and she won't let me change her clothes. Also, she lays on the guilt whenever I go anywhere without her. Maybe I'm selfish, but I would like a little freedom. She doesn't have the money for assisted living or in-home care. I'm considering a nursing home, but she will never agree to go there on her own. How do I go about this? - Marnie
Dear Marnie: You love your Grandma, but you have a right to a life of your own, too. Because of your grandmother's finances, I felt the Adult Service Unit at Cass County Social Services would be the best option. Here is what they have to say:
"Unless the behaviors you describe are a lifelong pattern for your grandmother, it would seem that an evaluation is in order. You should start with her primary care physician. It would be good if you could accompany her to the appointment. If that is not possible, prior to the appointment, you should set out your concerns and observations of her behavior in a letter. Her physician can refer her for a neuropsychological evaluation, which will give a picture of her brain function and can determine a more definitive diagnosis.
"Once you have a better idea of the problem, you can make a more informed choice about the options available to her. If the neuropsychologist recommends 24 hour care and you are unable to provide that, a nursing home may be the most logical alternative. If it appears she can remain in your home with supports, she may be eligible for home and community-based services through your local county social service office, which can pay for services such as personal care, respite or adult day care. Fees for these services are based on a sliding scale, and there is no fee for low income individuals.
"If the neuropsychological testing determines that your grandmother has diminished capacity to make decisions, you could petition the court for legal guardianship. This would enable you to make decisions for her and arrange for services or admit her to a nursing facility."
Marnie, the resource below offers emotional support. You may want to try it.
Resource: A good elder care support Web site is www.groups/msn.com/CaringforElderlyFamilyMembers . This monitored site was started by Barbara Halpern, who works as a senior advocate. Halpern presents seminars and special events on issues related to keeping seniors safe at home and in the community. She is actively involved in expanding the mission of the support site.
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