Some quick thoughts on moving my grandmother to a retirement community

1. I wonder if lessons I've learned from parenting my kids have helped me with this process.

2. I wonder if things I'm learning through this process will help me parent my kids.

9 thoughts on “Some quick thoughts on moving my grandmother to a retirement community”

  1. I’m in the middle of the same thing, so your thoughts are spot on for me.So far I’d say with grandmothers, as with kids, you must pick your battles.
    Listen to them; don’t just assume you know what they want.
    Show and tell them how important they are to you.
    I’m sure there’s more, but I’ve only been a mom for 18 months.

  2. One thing this kind of stuff has done for me is make me be very specific and open when discussing such things with my own family.For example, I’ve let lots of people know my wishes should I die, become incapacitated, etc. I set up health care powers of attorney (with a primary POA of my husband and a secondary of my sister should my husband be with me during an accident). I’ve also let my family know that if I am unable to live on my own (in my scenarios, it’s always because of an accident since I’m still pretty young) that I won’t feel like they’re abandoning me if they need to put me in an insitution to care for me. I don’t want to be (much) of a burden to them.
    I’ve also specifically asked my mother whether she would want us to help her stay in her home or move to a facility and have offered to pay for long-term care insurance for her. I’ve asked her to go with some of her friends while they visit their own parents to see if there are any places she likes and to get her thinking about the kinds of things that are important to her. I would look for the same things in an elder care facility that I would in a day care (accreditation, low staff turn over, enriching environment, safety, cleanliness, etc). For all I know, decor might be important to her or fresh flowers, whereas I would never ever care about that (beyond safety and cleanliness).

  3. My husband and I were the family representatives available when his Grandmother moved from a condo to assisted living. Her health and mobility declined quickly but she was 90 + at the time. We had dinner or brunch with her once a week and took her out when ever she felt up to it.Things we learned:
    1. If they’re not so sharp anymore, be patient and put up a reminder board in the living quarters so major reminders are always visible. Grandma loved it. And it really cut down on the repetitiveness.
    2. Failing minds and senility do not a dumb person make. We read poetry together, sang old songs and kept the conversation anything but dumbed down. And we mined her for stories about her past as she could easily recall thins from childhood and early marriage.
    3. If speech is lost from a stroke, sing sing sing. The research is sound… Grandma was able to sing, but not talk and it made it fun to communicate by singing.
    Like babies, you need to be patient and remember that older people are sometimes more receptive than expressive. And they begin to depend on you in a similar way as small children do. Lots of interaction greatly enhances their quality of life. Just like babies, they are frustrated by restrictions to their independence and mobility.
    There ya go… my life lessons passed on.

  4. Agree with SarcastiCarrie 100%. I think the learning from this situation is how we can take the lessons from this and transfer them to our parents aging, and then our own aging when the time comes. My communication with my parents is completely atrocious. But the fact that my mom is currently dealing with her father being moved to a nursing facility and selling his house etc etc has helped…ever so slightly.. to open up discussions between us about their own planning for the future. Just very basic but important stuff like where the important documents are, their long term care insurance. I imagine any dialogue about their health care or end of life wishes is a long ways off, if ever. But anyway its a start. It all gets me thinking about how I just hope my communication with my own kid about stuff like this can be when the time comes. OK, he’s only 2 so hopefully we have awhile to deal with this all but still…

  5. I think yes to both of your questions -Picking out a facility and picking out a daycare provider are very similar. Looking at DCF reports, checking for smells, training, turnover, activities + enrichment, healthy food, etc.
    Hedra’s triples are important both places – safe, respectful, kind; acceptant, loving, faithful; and effective, prudent, true.
    Knowing that this, too, shall pass – becomes a little more poingnant. Also beginning to realize that your kids are going to be picking out your care facilities when you’re old and frail. 🙂
    Being the voice for your child – like in school situations where you have to figure out how to advocate for him/her. Similarly there are care plan meetings and difficult behavior situations, espeically in memory care units.

  6. I think going through it with my own parents has helped clarify how best to prepare my own child for the task someday.For me, one unexpected goal/realization was to find a way to raise my son to be as emotionally resilient as possible. My sisters and I sat at out mother’s deathbed for weeks. She hung on much, much longer than the staff thought she would. I knew she was waiting for my brother, but he wouldn’t come until the funeral. I would call him and put him on speaker just so she could hear his voice.
    He just could not deal with the Alzheimer’s. Once she didn’t know him, he gave himself a free pass – “If she doesn’t know me, I’d rather just remember her the way she was.”
    The clincher for me, though, was that the moment he got the call that she was gone, he packed his family up and drove all night to descend upon my sister’s home the next morning at 6 am. She’d been working full-time, parenting her 8 year old, and holding vigil at mom’s bedside for the previous 3 weeks – her house was a wreck and there was no food. I begged him to hold off a day or two before he came. But our family history is steeped in Irish Catholic martyrdom, and it was my brother’s last chance to suffer for his mother. So he came, and he wailed the loudest at the funeral.
    I found I couldn’t even see him until the funeral – and it had to do with the fact that my only child is a son and I was broken hearted for mom – she waited for him and he wasn’t emotionally grown up enough to come. What if at the end I hung on waiting for my son and he couldn’t be there?
    I cried for days on end about this. Mom and my brother’s relationship was what it was and I know mom would have understood and forgiven him. I know everyone has to deal with things the best they can, and as inadequate as it seemed to me, my brother did his best. Our relationship hasn’t really suffered, surprisingly.
    That’s the long way of saying that from this experience I hope to find a way to foster more emotional evolution in my son.

  7. An adult day care center is a long term care solution that offers a number of unique benefits to the elderly. This institution gives you peace of mind especially if your main concern is the safety of your loved ones.

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