Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Today I went out with Marcy and my niece and left Leiya home with Grandma. Marcy and I do a lot of talking while we drive around and the conversation always goes back to Grandma...

What are we going to do...?

The point is that she needs 24 hour baby sitting.

There are 7 of us living at my brother's house right now and we are all involved with Grandma's care to some extent. But we all react to Grandma in different ways and we all approach her failing health with different emotions.

I am in California for only a month. I see how much has been lost in the past year. My mother no longer participates in family activities being "content" to stay in bed all day sleeping or "reading" or staring out the window. Those words do not even express her anymore. She will not eat unless urged. She will not take her medication unless we stand over her. She cannot walk without a walker and even with one she is in danger of slipping or falling.

I am a worrier (I hate that word!) and a doer. Whether I want to or not I am willing to hover and help and keep her company. But I'm not a decisive person and I don't have any real suggestions for long term care. I do what is put in front of me and try not to complain or get upset.

My brother is a wonderful family man but he is not good with weakness and giving care. His extent of dealing with Grandma is to call through the window,

"Hey Mo! You'd better get out of that bed! You're not going to get any better that way!"

Marcy will light into him in a flash and it is all I can do not to jump on him and tell him to get out here and do some hands on care or at least take part in Marcy and my discussions. His attitude is, "Whatever you want to do is fine."

Marcy is a fun loving person. She is wonderful at keeping the family running, at making us all laugh, at touching and caressing, and her patience with Mother is abounding. But she is not a nurse and has no desire to become one. She has friends and schedules and often only seems to be at home for an hour the whole day through. Which means Grandma doesn't get her medicine on time or dinner might be a take out taco. And Marcy is annoyed right now because my brother doesn't really even help her with the decision making.

"Of course I love Grandma, but she is HIS mother! Keion ought to be more supportive."

Sometimes Marcy and I can get into "Keion Bashing".

Kiana is 14 (today!) and she is willing to take Grandma to the bathroom, to give her medicine and to just chat and answer the same questions that Grandma asks over and over again. She is developing a caring heart just by watching Marcy. But she is still just a young teenager.

Colin is 11 and he is getting into his hard to handle years. He makes derogatory remarks about Grandma and her feebleness and yesterday Leiya and I really lit into him and gave him a scolding. I feel bad about jumping on him but his disrespect puts a fire in my eyes. He probably won't say anything more negative about Grandma at least while I'm around. Poor boy. He's only speaking his mind.

And Leiya is wonderfully helpful and patient. But she cries easily. She sees the changes in Grandma and the way the rest of the family goes on having fun and leaving Grandma alone and it makes her sad. She also realizes what may lie ahead. Having to take Grandma out of her home or maybe worse, letting her stay alone and lonely and in danger of injury.

Emotions are running high around here.


Linda said...

Oh Tanya, what a difficult time. My heart is with you! Many, many hugs.
Lurking Linda

The Calico Quilter said...

My heart aches for you in these hard times. It sounds like Keion is avoiding thinking about a difficult situation. Maybe you and Marcy could sit down calmly with him and lay it all on the line, and make him see that this is the future, and he needs to step up with you to help. It isn't fair for Marcy to deal with everything after you have to go home, and the children are too young to be saddled with that kind of responsibity, although they are old enough to learn from witnessing the ageing process. (Colin especially. I never bought into that "girls are more caring than boys" line.) There are in-home medical assistance agencies that could assist in round the clock care. Her doctor might be able to recommend some. It is always better for her to stay in her home.

Poor Tanya. Stay strong and let your faith support you.

Quilter Kathy said...

I can sure relate to your current dilemma. We went through it for 2 years with my mother in law and tired to keep her in her home, but it was just too draining and dangerous. When it came down to the majority of the work, it was up to me. She is now in a seniors' home about 1/2 hour away and it is the best thing that ever happened...for her and for me. She is healthier now and happier with all the activity going on. I am thankful.
I hope your family can come to a happier arrangement for everyone.

Diana said...

I'm so sorry for what you and your family are going through, Tanya. It sounds a lot like what my family went through last year with my mother. I agree with Calico Quilter; there are many, many community and social agencies who can help you. You should start with your doctor who should be able to point you in the right direction. If that doesn't help, get in touch with the social services department of the hospital she was in. We were in awe of all the services that were available that we knew nothing about until we asked.

The other part of this is how your family is reacting. Each person has his or her own unique way of dealing with these stressful situations, sometimes helpful, sometimes not. Maybe an outside person, such as your minister, can help you thread through all these difficult emotions.

My heart is with you.

Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

This is a hard time for your family. I'm afraid you have accept that your mother is coming to terms with the end of her life. It sounds like she won't be able to live alone anymore and about the only choices are that members of the family will have to give up their lives temporarily to care for her, hiring at least part-time in-home nursing care, or get her into a nursing home. Hard choices, I know. Nobody but your family members can make the decision that has to be made. I'll be thinking of all of you.

meggie said...

I know how hard it is to see a loved one become feeble & disorientated. It is worst for the family, because the one affected often doesn't even remember who they are. Hugsxx

Rae Ann said...

Oh Tanya, I can completely relate to what you are going through. All I can say at this point is take one day at a time, like I do. You are fortunate that you at least have some family members there to help, no matter what help you get. You have more than I do. My prayers will continue to be sent your way and you muddle through the decision making you must do. Rae Ann

Mimi said...

Oh, Tanya...I'm so sorry you have to deal with the difficult times you are having right now.

Whem my own mother was so very ill, near the end of her earthly time, I didn't even know what to pray for. Finally I figured out what to pray for...for God to work his plan for her.

My prayers are with you and your family.


quiltmom said...

It is a very hard thing to come to a decision about what is right for our senior parents. Sometimes the circumstances will force one's hand- We expect that our parents will remain our parents forever- be the ones that we can rely on and turn to when we need support. At some point the tables somehow get turned around where we take on the role of the parent and our parents are the ones who need our care and support. You had some excellent suggestions in the previous commenters.
Together you and your family will find a solution that will help grandma be safe and well cared for- in the meantime grandma has the support and caring of a loving family.
My thoughts are with you all,

Allie said...

Oh hon. Praying for you and your family, that the Lord will give you wisdom on how best to care for your mum. This must be so hard.

Mary said...

It's really difficult I know, especially being far away. Both of our mothers are some distance (not as far as yours!) and both have some health issues, both still live alone. I don't know what the future will bring but I cared for my father-in-law in the months before he died and it's a full time job. I think every family needs to assess all the options and decide what's best for the parent and for them. You and your mom are in my thoughts.

Quilt crazy said...

Dearest T, my thoughts and prayers are with you! This must be the year for aging parents and all the related issues. After my mom in law had a stroke, she had to be moved from her home to adult foster care,as she was 1,000 miles away and had always refused to move. Thankfully, she is now with the Lord. At the same time I had full time care givers at my home with my dad, which was quite expensive. Now that his hip is replaced he moved to assisted living, as it is just too much for me as a single parent to handle. Know that there are no perfect answers that fit every situation. I found the adult foster homes in California a great option, that are not always everywhere else. Take care and know you are in my thoughts and prayers!

Shasta said...

A lot of hard decisions around for everyone. Unfortunately, there really isn't a right answer. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

UB said...

You are very worried and good on you to express all in these words. This situation touches cords with many people and happens in several families. Sometimes it's left to one or two people in a family to visit and worry about ageing parents. Other people have time for everything else and are brillant communicators at informing other people about how his or her parent or ....in-law is deteriorating. Just do the best you can. What is that young person learning? The thing about life is we will all die. Our journey to death is also a mystery.

Marilyn R said...

Tanya, my prayers are with you during this difficult time. You have a few more worries then many because you live so far away from your Mother. God is good in giving you this time to spend with your Mother and family. It helps sometimes to try to focus on your blessings as it is so easy to dwell on the worries. May God give you the wisdom to know what to do and when to do it.

Denise said...

You don't know me but I have been following your blog for the past couple of months. I am so sorry to hear about your mom and the challenges your family is facing right now. It must be especially difficult for you, knowing that you are only here for a month and then you will be gone again. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.