Friday, March 10, 2006

Not Necessarily an Intervention, But Close

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.


Liz said...

Can they move into the house next to your parent's house for the time being? That would at least delay any decision you have to make for your immediate family.

You are lucky to still have them. I haven't had any grandparents for a long time.

Anvilcloud said...

Things are slow here, I guess. I just gor updated about your most recent posts. They stretch back for a week. Good posts too.

Gina said...

Liz- that house had been offered to them a long time ago, but they felt it was too much work and they didn't want to put a lot of money into fixing it. And, they didn't like the pool and didn't know what to do with it! When I was talking to her on the phone, she mentioned that the house was now a possiblility, which I know for a fact had not been true just a little while ago.

Another indication of the instability, unfortunately.

AC- Thanks! I was wondering where you had gotten to!

Trabinski said...

Hi Gina - I'm new to the bloggers but am having a hoot of a time reading everyone's stories. My friend Bobita encouraged me to start my blog, so here I am.

A belated Happy Birthday. I'm one month away from turning 36. I was totally okay with 35 and think I'm okay with 36, but for some reason it sounds much older than 35. :)

Good luck with your grandparents! My mom was just asked to sign a DNR for her Dad - who is late 80's and most days doing alright. But there are some recurring problems so . . . It has been incredibly hard on her as you can imagine. I too was hoping this stage of life would somehow bypass us, but no such luck.

Hope the family meeting goes well!


oshee said...

As difficult and stressful as this is going to be for you and your family, I am struck by how blessed you all are. How beautiful to be so close to your grandmother. How special it is that she is sharing her feelings and thoughts with you. I really hope your father comes around to seeing your grandparents as who they have become rather than who they always have been.

My grandparents have all passed on and I lost my father four years ago. I still have tons of family and we have learned through the family deaths over the past five years how much we need to take the time value each other properly.

I hope the meeting goes smoothly for you.

Awesome Mom said...

Good luck!!! I hope that you all can come up with the best plan for your grandparents and that people's feelings do not get hurt.

Shopping Diva said...

Yes! Good luck Sweetie! I hope that your meeting went very well and that everyone feels good about the situation! Those kind of meetings are always dicey for our family!

chichimama said...

Good luck! Keep us posted! We had to do this with both sets of grandparents, and it i s hard but eventually worth it.

Suzanne said...

I hope the meeting goes well. My family went through a similar situation with my grandparents, and it didn't really turn out well (they were in pretty poor health, though, so it's not analagous to your grandparents' circumstances -- e-mail me if you'd like to hear more!).

It sounds like you and your family will approach this with sensitivity and honesty -- good luck and let us know what happens!

Granny said...

This can be so difficult for families. My adoptive mom (great-great grandmother of the three girls, I'm just a great) is now 93 and living 3,000 miles away.

My brother is there for her but I wish there were more I could do than write or call.

She's doing quite well, considering. I received a two page letter the other day; handwritten and legible.