Mar 10 2013 in Caring for Grandparents by EllysGdaughter
I have to say that getting used to the new caregiving site has been difficult and I haven’t mastered it yet, not that I had the former one. I have been in a state of contemplation. It has been more than enough to be going to work, part-time and keeping up with the daily chores. Spring is coming which means a mountain of weeding and yard work that should happen almost daily like last year and the year before that.
Not much has changed except for hiccups here and there. I thought I’d share a hiccup that unnerved Awesome Hubby. I let Grandma help me by cooking bacon one evening. As I was busy at the counter nearby, I heard a Bang! I looked over to find glass all over the stove, floor and counters in the small kitchen. I looked to see if there was any blood on Grandma because she was standing next to the glass plate that had exploded.
I picked up the paper towel that contained the bacon that had been resting on the glass plate and tossed it into the trash before Grandma could say anything about saving it. She was quite concerned about the mess and started to pick up pieces of glass which I implored her not to touch since it would cut her papery skin easily. She said that she should clean it up since it was her mess. I encouraged her to just keep cooking the bacon.
My eyes roamed over the stove controls but I only saw one burner on, just the one she was using for the bacon. After dinner and vacuuming the glass from the kitchen, I decided to check the paper towel that had been tossed with the bacon and sure enough. I saw burnt rings on the bottom of the folded paper towel. It seems she had turned on the burner under the glass plate, whether accidentally or on purpose “to warm it up” – I didn’t ask her but she had owned the mess.
The next day she left a burner on after fixing lunch and then the following day I found a pot of carrots still steaming on the stove after lunch. She visibly shivered when I asked her about the pot of carrots; it was clear that she had forgotten them.
There have been no other incidents since but I’ve asked Awesome Hubby and Livingroom Son to be extra vigilant in checking the stove whenever they enter the house. So far so good, Grandma really has OCD type habits which keep her safe for the most part. Interruptions in her schedule or events that are unexpected in her day will throw off her habits to some degree. We just watch for those.
My contemplation comes as I am trying to figure out what is wearing me down in my caregiving situation. Our three-year caregiving anniversary is coming up in April. We’ve been diligent about getting away for date nights during the week and overnight vacations during the year. We are thankful that our house is still gainfully rented but we aren’t sure what the future holds for that house.
There doesn’t seem to be any downturn in Grandma’s health for us to be making any major decisions on ending our caregiving adventure. I may be most bothered by lack of communication by Grandma for my daily lunch meal that she fixes and the rut she tries to hold us to in our mealtime schedule. While it is acknowledged by her that we have our own life, it is best if our “own life” happens outside of the home because she expects us to conform to her life.
Grandma fixes my lunch before I get home from work every day. It’s usually heated up leftovers, enough for three or four. There are days when I just want a salad or don’t want over microwaved veggies. I don’t always eat what she puts in front of me.
On a Saturday, we are still expected to eat lunch and dinner with her at the same times even though we may have projects that we want/need to finish. She becomes anxious about when we will eat even though we’ve encouraged her to eat without us. The food will stay out on the table even though we’ve said that we will fix our own lunch when the project is done.
Often on Sunday evenings, Hubby and I will not have dinner and will let her know ahead of time. She will fix herself food AND enough for four other people (cheese, bread, jelly, fruit) and setting the table for us also. Out of respect, we will sit with her and then put the clean dishes away. When she is alone and we are away from the home, she will just make herself a plate; we’ve come home and seen that.
I would like to think that I don’t feel manipulated by her but her “caring” for us is stressful! She is very much in control of her life and to some extent ours. She will say differently but act as though she is in control. We are reminded every night to make sure we lock the door and turn out the light (which she leaves on for us regardless if we are in that room). I know she has fears that she doesn’t/won’t talk about but when I see her muttering under her breath, it’s a sign she is bothered. She is a private person and so suggesting a counselor as an option won’t work in this situation. Her church has a new pastor who came to visit once and seems very nice but she’s just too private to even confide in a pastor.
I look for ways to get away from the Grandma routine; it helps somewhat. Currently, I spend two days a week at physical therapy for my ankle which is healing nicely. I should have a Silver Starbucks Card because I could definitely spend more time there with friends or even the baristas who know me by name.
Awesome Hubby and I are working on changing the things we can change to be more removed by the ruts. He has been more the affected one at times with me being the calm one – kind of a role reversal of late. We have made reservations for camping and will be visiting family in Oregon in July. It is something to look forward to and hope will give refreshment. I haven’t been to the ocean (2.5 hrs away) since the summer which I usually need/am able to do in the winter months. My ankle and saving money are the only issues that keep me home – just a temporary one.