Sunday, June 07, 2015

Grandma and the Boy Scout

We had a minor incident with Grandpa yesterday. We caught it early, brought him over to the lake, and everything calmed down in short order.

My mom, who had her knee replacement surgery not even two weeks ago, is doing more than enough entertaining of my grandfather. He wants -- as any human does -- to feel useful. So every day he says he has "things to do" and he's going to do something, be it a task that you suggest or one that he comes up with on his own.

Basically he ruins things. Paints where he shouldn't paint. Rub solvents on surfaces that shouldn't be treated. It infuriates my grandmother, who insists on correcting him. My mom just lets him do what he wants to do and lets him ruin whatever he has his mind set on (within reason).

I think that my mom's outlook on this -- treating him, essentially, as a toddler who doesn't know better -- is why she can handle this so much better than my grandma.

Today, they both came over to my mom and dad's house. Grandpa had this idea that he was going to work on the deck (he brought a saw with, which was a horrifying prospect, but we managed to distract him from that) and Grandma was just seething the entire time.

She's having a really hard time lately. She's in this denial/avoidance mode where it seems, almost, that she doesn't care. I don't believe that it's actually the case. It's just how she's (poorly) coping.

Grandma is not interested in taking a caregiver class or joining a caregiver support group (she recently lied to the doctor and said that she had taken a class) or doing anything different. So she is just, well, it's very apparent that she is miserable. I hate that.

And my grandma's inability to cope just means that my mom is carrying a heaver load. I hate that, too.

There is really nothing about this situation that I don't hate, to be perfectly honest.

Except that my grandpa has started wearing suspenders with his khaki shorts and looks like am 82 year old Boy Scout.

That's basically the cutest.


gloriason said...

I saw the exact same dynamic play out when my dad began his decent into dementia. My mom could not understand why he did and said such strange things. No matter how many times I tried explaining dementia to her, she thought he should straighten up and act "right". Aging is not pretty and the whole idea of living to be 100 has lost it's appeal to me. Best wishes to you A, and to you mom and grandparents.

NewNew said...

Being a caregiver is so hard. And no matter how how close and functional a family is, there's usually one person whose shoulder it falls on. Most of the time it doesn't feel like a choice, but you're still a wonderful person to be helping out so much.

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