Grandmother with Dementia, question on care

Hi all,
This is my first post and I have joined as I really need some advice with regards to my poorly grandmother, who is in her 80s.
She currently lives 2 hours away from me and her 2 other grandchildren. She lives in a big house with her daughter, my aunty, who we all assumed was taking good care of her. This seems to not be the case, infact on recent visits we have been disgusted with how my Nan has been left/treated. She recently fell down her stairs breaking her hip and damaging her collar bone. She has been in hospital a week and looks set to remain there for at least another 2. She also suffers from early dementia, although my communications with her have been difficult at times and so I wonder what ‘early’ means as she struggles at times to recognise us.
My question is; the house and her daughter are clearly not right for her. We and my dad are her only family, along with my aunty who she lives with. We all agree that she should not be with her or in that house but what can we do?
We would really like her to be nearer to one of us so we can take a more active role in her care and life.
It has been mentioned but dismissed as ‘my aunty’ wouldn’t like it, it’s almost as if she is brainwashed by my aunty.
Any advice would be truly appreciated. Thank you :frowning:

You could contact Social Service and raise your own self guarding referral.

Safe guarding covers many areas and so may over lap. Alternately, and/or you could speak with PALS dept at the hospital. Discuss you concerns.

Odiously, if you contact SS relationships could become difficult. However, the needs of your grandmother is paramount!! And should take centre stage.

SS could at least given a safe guarding referral has been raised. Make some regular visit’s when grandmother returns home.

Going forward SS would then contact all family member for a family meeting.

Hi Alex,
‘my aunty’ wouldn’t like it, it’s almost as if she is brainwashed by my aunty.
Is there any possibility that it’s the other way round?
I agree that Granny needs to be properly looked after but has anyone thought that Aunty may be really struggling and finding it very hard to look after her ailing mother? How old is she?
Does Aunty have any time away from her mother? Does she have regular holidays, carers helping her out, time to herself? Has anyone in the family looked after Granny for a week while Aunty has a break?
I wonder whether it would be worth having a gentle talk to her? Not to go in ‘guns blazing’ so that she feels accused of neglect, but asking how she feels about the situation and what she would like to be put in place to help her if she wishes to continue to care. Does she know that she doesn’t have to? Does she realise that however hard it is now, it’s going to get much worse?
Look out for ‘Mother wouldn’t like it’ comments!!
As for moving Granny nearer to you. Moving her to what? A house or flat she doesn’t know? The whole upheaval of a move like that is upsetting and Granny may need a Home shortly afterwards and move again.
Have you considered what affect having Granny near you will have on your busy lives? (That’s not meant to be sarcastic but a genuine concern).
Maybe your best approach to the situation is through Aunty?
They both need help?

If it is a large house then please consider the implications of selling it and realising a lot of equity, as that would mean that she would have to pay for all he domiciliary care, if needed.
I know this may be painful, but can you tell us a bit more about the home situation before admission to hospital.
Does the house seem squalid, in need of a jolly good clean, or was nan not getting enough food to eat, or was her bedroom unsanitary?
Is the home suitable for nan, can she have a bath, or does she need a walk in shower, for example?
Is she claiming Attendance Allowance?

There may be solutions that you haven’t thought about, so if you share a bit more with us, it would give us a better idea of the whole problem.

The problem or solution may rest with aunty, so can you tell us a bit more about her too?
How old is she?
Does she have any property elsewhere?
Is she clean and tidy?
Is she in good health?

Sometimes people have been a bit “scatty” all their lives, but it is the change in someone’s situation which shows that a problem is developing. With a broken hip, nan may need some physiotherapy to get her going again, so be sure to ask the hospital to consider transferring her to a rehabilitaton hospital.

What is the house like? How big is it? Is it dirty or clean? Who owns the property? Also have you had a needs assessment or not? Ask Aunty what she thinks. Show her that you care by listening to her opinion. Don’t forget about me time. Try not to worry however you are acting in her best interests here. Also insist on physical therapy for nan. It will really help her. It is also a good idea to literally request one for peace of mind. If you have not already done so.

Once this is done you can start looking at all of the care providers and care homes in the area. Can you afford a care home? My advice is to carefully vet a few local good care homes that are appropriate for her care needs etc. Ask a few questions. Look around properly. Trust your gut feeling as well. Read reviews and also make notes.

Is she on any benefits? The two main ones to apply for are personal independence payment and employment support allowance. Citizen’s Advice can assist with this, call or email. Ask to talk to a benefits advisor on Monday. Additionally have you considered pallative care options?

The cost of any care home, short or long term, depends on NAN’s finances, not your own. Do not, ever, sign to pay top ups!

Thank you all for your responses. You have been most kind. I haven’t really known where to turn to be honest, just for some thoughts and ideas about next steps. Already you have all given me something to think about or look into so thank you.

In direct response to your questions;
It is a big house, owned by my Nan, over 3 floors. The first floor is the main entrance floor with the kitchen, my nans bedroom, living room, toilet and utility room, the ground floor gives access to the garden which is now rarely used, and the 2nd floor is used by my aunty but also the main bathroom with just a bath, no walk in shower. So my Nan has to go upstairs to clean. It was these stairs she fell down last week. This house will not be suitable once out of hospital now she is even less mobile.
The house and my Nan have gotten progressively worse over the last year since my Nan has become less mobile. The chores always done by my Nan have clearly not been picked up by my Aunty.

To paint a picture for you my Nan has always done everything for my Aunty, cooking, cleaning, financials, bills etc. So my Aunty has never really even looked after her self. She is in her early 50s now and has always lived with/off my Nan, never really had a social life and has only worked a few jobs amounting to probably no more than 10-15 years, the last of which ended around 10 years ago. It’s a weird situation. She has always been spoilt by my Nan, who is very passive and generous.
My Nan lost her husband, my Grandad, sadly, 2 months before my Dad was born! She brought up my Dad alone, never remarrying and apart from a short affair when my dad was a child, bringing about my Aunty, whom never met this man as he disappeared when hearing my Nan was pregnant, she has always been the widow. I guess thats why she held on to my Aunty for so long, they were very rarely apart, together in hobbies, interests and holidays. When I was younger I always felt it sweet and comforting that at least my Nan had someone, had company. But as my Nan has aged she cannot be what she has always been and needs looking after herseld. Unfortunately my Aunty doesn’t seem capable.
My last visit a few months back, the house was filthy, my Nans clothes were dirty her hair a mess her nails long and curled round. When I asked my Aunty about it she said oh she has more clothes in the wash and hadn’t gotten round to tidying up and brushed it off before telling my Nan to make us all a tea! :frowning: My Nans house was always immaculate and clean, as was my Nan.
My Aunty has no one else, she is not in poor health but she is over weight.
My brother went to see my Nan yesterday, he said my Nan kept asking who he was at first and didn’t know he got married. (He got married 7 years ago in America and my Nan has pictures of the wedding on her shelf at home). We are all in agreement her mental state, apart from the recent and ongoing physical problems, has gotten dramatically worse. I’m back down to see her tomorrow. Today she even asked why my Aunty hadn’t been to see her all week!
We just don’t know what to do :frowning: . I wish my Dad would take control but he lives even further away, 5 hours compared to our 2+ and doesn’t seem to want to take control of the situation.
Me, my brother and my sister all live within 45 mins of each other, we are my Nans only grandchildren. My Nan now even has 2 great grandchildren with myself and my sister having 2 year olds. My Nan adores them. We just wish she was closer. I can’t help thinking she hasn’t got long left or how worse it could get.
Sorry for the long reply. And thanks again for your help so far.

Hi Alex,

Thanks for the latest information, which gives us a much better picture of the problem.

We will help all we can. Lots of us have been in difficult situations with elderly relatives, and in the next day or two others will be along with ideas. You don’t have to follow any of them, pick and choose whatever feels right, because you know the people involved best.

Aunty sounds like she has some very serious problems, which ideally your dad needs to sort out. Is there any reason why he won’t get involved? When did he last visit nan’s house?

What is nan’s financial situation? Is she comfortably off, or receiving any income related benefits?

If you lived nearer, I’d suggest going to the house and taking some photographs and show them to the GP, so that the hospital realise that at the moment the house is unfit for anyone in Nan’s condition to live in.

If there is a toilet on the middle floor, where Nan lives, it should be really easy to fit a walk in shower. In some circumstances, it can be done in a day as a prefabricated unit!
There are companies which can do a “deep clean”, so the house, or at least nan’s floor, fairly easily.

However, will it ever be realistic for Nan to go back there? With good meals in the hospital, and clean surroundings, she might improve, but may be more confused because a hospital environment where you never get any peace is so different from home. I’ve had 8 operations, never sleep properly in hospital and hate never being left alone!

Does anyone have Power of Attorney for Nan, as aunty sounds pretty useless, frankly, she should NOT be left in charge of Nan’s money. Something formal needs to be arranged, so that all bills can be paid, at very least!

This is useful. I hate hospitals. Whenever my cared for person has had surgery, I always tell my partner to stay because I am very restless at night. Does nan have paid for carers or not? If aunty is not willing or capable, then politely suggest you are more than happy to sell the house on nan’s behalf. See what her reaction is to that bombshell.

Maybe nan needs a care home? Have you visited all local care homes? Carefully vet them.

Hi Alex,
It seems that you have more of a problem on your collective hands than your first post suggested.
It appears that both Nan and Aunty are in URGENT need of help.
It seems to me that Nan may have been been your aunty’s carer or has kept her by her side all of her life.Maybe aunty had learning problems or some other (maybe mild) MH issues? Perhaps your dad knows? Now Nan no longer is able to manage, perhaps Aunty has no idea what to do. Perhaps no idea what she should be doing. Perhaps doesn’t even realise that Nan is not at all well.
It appears that Nan may be starting to suffer with deteriorating dementia? It can only get worse unfortunately.
You really have to call in the troops. Social Services for an urgent assessment. Nan’s GP for a medical and mental check up.
If, when you get there tomorrow, you find Nan in the same bad state then call an ambulance. Get her into hospital where she will be looked after and fed etc.
That leaves the problem of Aunty who may not be able to look after herself either?
Please do not drop any ‘bombshells’ on them. Both of them seem to be in need of alternative, supported accommodation and the house may well have to be sold eventually but putting that into the mix right now is a really bad idea. Could really upset them.
If Aunty is able to look after herself, then I don’t think the house can be sold from under her seeing as it is her home that she has lived in all her life. However she needs help too, whatever the reason for her apparent inability to take care of herself, her mother or the house and garden.
Take a suitcase with you tomorrow. You mightn’t feel able to leave the situation to fester any longer. Scream and shout for all the help you can muster. Age UK, Citizen’s Advice, the rest of the family.
Good luck and keep posting.

Thanks again for your responses. It really helps.
I went to see my Nan again today in hospital. I realise being 88 is no spring chicken but she looked so old and fragile in her hospital bed. There is nothing of her and she is barely eating. It made me so sad. I was with her most of the day and she even, with the help of the nurses and a Zimmer frame, managed a 5 minute walk around the ward which was nice to see. She loved seeing her 2 year old great grandson. He kept lifting her blanket and touching her socks while laughing. This really made her smile :slight_smile: She got upset at times telling me how lucky she was to have such wonderful grandchildren and great grandchildren.
She seemed more coherent today, speaking of her younger days and relatives long since gone. It was actually quite nice because she rarely used to speak of her past, especially my grandad. Of course, she would repeat stories and get confused alot. She even thought I was my brother on a few occasions. She freely admits her brain doesn’t work very well anymore :frowning:
It’s looking like she is going into a rehabilitation centre next week so it maybe some time before they look to discharge.
I spoke to her about moving closer to us all as she has no-one where she lives apart from my aunty. She didn’t seem put off by the idea as I think she realises she will need help, she told me she won’t be getting better when I showed her my get well soon card which was hard to hear, before she soon continued digressing on old stories, so not sure she even took it in. I am back down next weekend with my siblings and dad when we will also hopefully see my Aunty to discuss what happens when she is released from hospital. Hopefully all goes well and we can all agree on what is best for Nan.
Thanks again.

Hang in there!

What will happen to Aunty could be almost more of a problem, so bear that in mind. How has she been coming without Nan?