So it is beginning.
I was hoping against all prudent and logical hope, that we as a family would not have to deal with this type of situation.
My grandparents are getting old. I mean, they have always been “old” but now with my grandfather nearing 90 and my grandmother beginning to lose her bearings on daily life, we are going to have to step in. My father and my uncle should actually be thanking their lucky stars that intervention is required only at this very late stage of their lives. Many people have had to deal with much worse much earlier.
My sister and I are agreed that perhaps a good old fashioned family meeting should be held, giving everyone the ability to voice their opinion. In fact, this Saturday, my grandmother requested one, telling me that she cannot seem to make my father believe that they need help. They want to move closer to other members of the family, as the nearest one of us is 40 minutes away. They want to downsize, get a plan in place when the inevitable happens to one of them. They want to make decisions about things while they are still able. Of course they have a financial plan in place, as far as trusts and things like that go. But they don’t have a firm plan as to what will happen to them when my grandfather becomes unable to drive, or if my grandmother loses even more of her mobility.
Now rest assured that my father would be the first person on the planet to come to their aid should they require it. But when they speak with him or my mother, the story is different. They are fine, no rush in figuring out what to do. As a result, my parents are in a bit of denial about the whole thing. It has taken me, my sister, and Hubba-hubba to try and convince them that there might be some issues that need to be addressed.
Again, my sister and I think that my grandmother’s changing reality that shifts from day to day and whomever she is speaking with is a possible sign of instability. For years, she has been progressively more forgetful about things, and we cannot see the situation improving. Add to that she is on some heavy drugs that affect her thought process due to residual pain from a major back surgery performed last November. My grandfather, lovely man that he is, normally does whatever my grandmother asks him to do. It is time to become more proactive than reactive to their situation.
The last thing anyone wants is for them to lose their autonomy. No one, including them, believes they would be happy in any type of 24- hour care environment. Nor are they really at the point for that either.
But they are beginning to feel their age finally, after so many years of blessed good health. It is too much of a burden upon my grandfather to have to care for my grandmother, as well as being responsible for the day-to-day running of the household.
I am crossing my fingers that this family meeting will at least get feelings and ideas out into the open. We are not the type of family to sit and yell at each other, although a certain amount of huffiness is not entirely out of the question.
When I spoke with her Saturday, my grandmother told me, “Gina, as I get older I find myself living more and more in the past.” Let’s hope that together as a family, we can gently pull her with us back into the present.