Im 30 and I informally care for my grandmother (81 yr old) with what I can. Ive always helped her but since covid Ive been helping a lot more. She currently has a big decision to make re. Whether or not to have surgery and im feeling the pressure.
I dont know anyone who is in a similar position to me, who understands what its like to care for an elderly relative, so hoping someone can relate in some way and/or suggest things to consider. I’ve been so upset, lonely and stressed, but I’m trying to look after myself too and I have a therapist that helps.
I help my grandma with what I can, interpreting at appointments (shes forgotten most of her English and gets v anxious) and managing her appointments . Even though her son (my dad) is around Im more than happy to help her because we have a close bond and I can fit caring commitments around my work, whereas my dad cant do this and hes not as organised as me.
Over the last 6/9 months shes been having more frequent heart episodes. She was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis earlier this year and the other week the doctors decided she would be suitable for a TAVI (safer option compared to open heart surgery).
As her carer I feel a lot of pressure to make sure she fully understands the risks of having and not having surgery. The decision is obviously entirely hers, so I see my role as helping her have as much info as possible. As hard as it’s been I’ve also translated letters talking about risk of death with and without intervention.
My grandma sometimes says she doesnt want to do the surgery and other times just says that she is just really scared either way. Shes also grieving for her little sister, who we lost a few months ago in tragic circumstances, which makes things harder. I’ve been calling and talking to her doctors all the time to check we understand the process and risks, as well as educating myself about the condition and sharing material with my grandma too so she understands what is involved. I dont want to overwhelm her, but at the same time, im finding the balance of giving information and not overdoing it really hard.
On top of this, pre surgery, I have to record her symptoms and any changes in detail every day and report them weekly. It’s a nightmare for someone to remember exactly how they were on a given day especially when theyre elderly and/or forgetful!
Thanks for making it to this point and reading. Any support and advice is much appreciated.