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Old 04-09-2009, 11:17 AM   #31
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Thanks, A Stor!

It was a really lovely service (as far as these things go) and there were tons of people who came to celebrate her life and that was very good to see. And everyone ate and drank, she'd have been proud of the way she was remembered.

My thoughts are with all of you who have family members that are going through the ageing process. It is a hard thing, and it can be very stressful for the family. Remember to take care of each other and yourselves.
It sounds as though, it was beautiful. I think your grand mom has a wonderful family. She was blessed.
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:28 PM   #32
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This thread is really hitting home for me. My step-grandpa died at 11am this morning. It's a long story. My mom says that she thinks the elderly are more difficult than teenagers because at least with a teenager you can take away their money and their car. My step-grandpa (my real grandpa died when I was in third grade, and while I'm not particularly close to this side of the family, my step-grandpa is more familiar to me than my real grandpa was) and my grandma live in a trailer in Florida for the winter. They have been there for a while. Step-grandpa started having chest pain, so he went to the ER. They discovered he had an aortic aneurysm (I think it's called) and admitted him, saying he was about as near death as you can be and they were going to ambulence him to a surgeon in Miami immediately. Well he decided that was BS and checked himself out and drove home (this is where my mom's comment comes in). Not only that, but they decided to pack up for the season, so he was packing and lifting and insisting on driving home (this is a three day drive) even though he was likely going to kill himself and take out a bunch of innocent drivers on his way. On the drive home, he got really sick. Luckily, they only made it as far as Tampa, where my aunt and uncle were vacationing. They immediately rushed him to the hospital where they had no choice but to perform the surgery. The surgery was actually a success and he was scheduled to be flown to the hospital here to recover, but because of his age, and his chain smoking and frequent drinking he suddenly deteriorated. On Friday, it was apparent his organs were failing. We convinced my grandma to say goodbye, sign the DNR, and come home here so we could take care of her. She amazingly agreed and grandpa died this morning, with some of his family by his side (at this point he was not aware of anything or that grandma had left). What's even worse is that my grandma is in very poor health herself. She has diabetes, joint problems, her mind seems to be slipping, and she is the type of person who flat out refuses to take better care of herself or listen to her doctors. So no we have no idea what to do with her. We all have our own jobs and families and commitments, no one can care for her full time.

We went through this same sort of thing on my mom's side. My grandma has had rheumatoid arthritis, skin cancer, and other problems for a long time and my grandpa was basically a full time caregiver for years. This grandma is much better about following dr's orders but refused to admit they needed help and that grandpa couldn't care for her. Well, one day he ends up in the ER with abdominal pain (he's had several massive heart attacks already) and it turns out he had several hernias and dead, toxic tissue in his abdomen. He needed extensive surgery and several weeks recovery, so somehow someone had to be with my grandma full time, 'round the clock because she cannot even walk or dress herself. Luckily we got her into a nursing home where she has the appropriate care but I don't know if she will ever forgive us. My grandpa lives alone in their apartment which is across the street, so he can see her everyday and we wheel her over for holiday dinners.

It just sucks because I know both my grandmas are only going to get worse and worse as their minds slip and their pain increases. My one grandma has had several MRSA infections on her leg and it has been infected and open for so long that an amputation is really the best solution, but she would not survive the surgery. That's how it is for them now, they would not survive the treatments necessary to fix their ailments so instead they have no choice but to suffer.

Sorry for ranting, just needed to vent.
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:40 AM   #33
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I'm so sorry that your family is being hit with all that, Lies, and for the loss of your step-grandpa. My condolences to you and your family.
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Old 04-13-2009, 03:08 AM   #34
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I'm very sorry to hear about all that Lies, it really is a lot to get hit with at once. Unfortunately when the more able-bodied spouse suddenly dies or has drastic decline, the surviving spouse is often left in crisis.

I wish your family the best with figuring out a care plan for your grandma. With luck, perhaps for the immediate time being she might be able to remain at home with paid help.
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:35 AM   #35
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I will be thinking of your family, Lies.

MRSA is particularly tricky because it spreads so easily. My other grandmother, who died 2 years ago, dealt with this problem and it was really sad because when she had visitors at the hospital, the doctors would often advise them not to touch her (especially if they had small children at home, for example), which made it really hard for people who came to say goodbye (she wasn't conscious at this state anymore so at least she didn't have to see that).
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:41 AM   #36
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I'm really sorry to hear about your grandparents, Lies and anitram.

Dealing with ageing seems to be getting more and more complicated as more people live longer with failing health rather than die suddenly which used to be the case.

My step-grandmother is 89 and still drives and lives in her own home although I don't think she should be doing either. She recently totalled her car (no one was hurt thankfully) and wants a new one...

A gradual, graceful transition from independence to assisted living is something we still need to get better at planning for in our families and communities.
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Old 04-13-2009, 12:37 PM   #37
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A gradual, graceful transition from independence to assisted living is something we still need to get better at planning for in our families and communities.
I agree, but it sucks when the people involves are so resistant. Take my mom's parents for example (the second part of my previous post). They sold their house and bought a condo in a retirement community. Down the road is the nursing home which has various levels of dependence/care. When grandma's health began to decline more rapidly, we insisted they begin the application process. It can take months and often the waiting list is a year or so long, so it's not as if we can just shuffle them off to the nursing home once the tipping point is reached. Well they thought that was such a stupid idea and resisted it for years. Then, the people who own the nursing home bought some apartments in the same neighborhood and decided to convert them into independent living apartments, but ones that had an "in" with the nursing home, so you could easily move from the apartment to the home if you needed to. These are really nice apartments and are specifically designed for elderly people (elavators, large walk in showers, large doorways...). Again they fought it and fought it for no good reason! We applied anyway, and they were approved but declined. They declined twice and finally they had one more offer and if they declined again they would be dropped from the waiting list so we insisted they move. They did, but always complained about this or that, how the old house was better and the new apartment sucks. When my grandpa had the hernias, we had no choice but to move grandma across the street to the dependent care floor but I think she still resents it. A little more planning and willingness ahead of time would have made the transition a lot easier!
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:06 PM   #38
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Change is so much harder to deal with when you're older, even if it's good change. Resistance really does suck, but to be expected and not really sure how to deal with it without generating resentment.

In her late 70s after many years of resistance, my paternal grandmother reluctantly moved from the family home to an apartment building where many of her friends lived. She loved it immediately and regretted not having done it sooner. It didn't last long though, she died 3 weeks later from a massive stroke.

My maternal grandparents had a very difficult time. In their mid-80s my grandmother developed cancer and needed to be in a nursing home but my grandfather was still relatively healthy so it was very hard for my mom to find a place that would take them together. Thankfully she did but I think many couples end up being separated by health issues which is really sad...and makes the decline more rapid for both.
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:26 PM   #39
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That is how it is now, they are separated b/c grandpa is fully independent. His mind is fine and he can drive. Caring for grandma was literally killing him. Lifting her gave him the hernias. Now that he has recovered from that surgery, he is doing well but he can't go on caring for her or it will kill him. That's probably the only reason she let us move her across the street for full time care. My mom and aunts tried for a while but my grandma can't remember her doctors or medications and while grandpa was in the hospital recovering they had an impossible time. She needed to be somewhere with nurses who could keep track of her meds and fill them on-site.

We talked about moving grandpa too, but he would still be in a different part of the building (grandma is basically in a hospital room that we have furnished to look more like a home).

It's like every possibility is a lose-lose situation...
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:50 PM   #40
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Liesje, thanks so much for sharing. And God bless you.

Love is the most important thing a person can give to another. I have tears in my eyes, reading these post. But, not all my tears are sad ones. What amazes me the most. Is the love that surrounds your family and everyone else, here. I truly believe there is a special place in Heaven for those, who have in many ways. Sacrificed their lives in order to care for the elderly and other sick family members. All of you represent the best of humanity.
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:48 AM   #41
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Not per se on-topic, but since a few of you mentioned elderly relatives with diabetes, I thought I'd post this. It was in most of the major papers here today.

Quote:
Study Finds Risk of Dementia Increases After Hypoglycemia

By RONI CARYN RABIN
New York Times, April 14


People with Type 2 diabetes may be at increased risk for developing dementia as they age, several studies have suggested. Now researchers say the higher odds may be linked to life-threatening drops in blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, usually caused by excess insulin.

A long-term study of thousands of older patients with Type 2 diabetes in Northern California found that those who had experienced even one episode of hypoglycemia serious enough to send them to a hospital were at higher risk for developing dementia than diabetic patients who had not experienced such an episode. With each additional episode, the risk of developing dementia increased, the study found.


The findings, to be published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, are significant given the high rates of Type 2 diabetes around the world, and the expectation that dementia rates will increase as the population ages. “We’ve known for some time that patients with Type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of dementia and cognitive problems,” said Rachel A. Whitmer of the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., one of the authors. “This adds to the evidence that balance of glycemic control is important, and that trying to aim for a very low glycemic target might not be beneficial and might even be harmful.”

The study found that the risk of dementia among patients who had experienced a single episode of hypoglycemia that required hospitalization was 26% higher than the risk for patients who had never had an episode. Patients who had experienced two episodes faced an increased risk of 80%, while those who had experienced three episodes or more had a 94% increase in risk, or almost double the odds of developing dementia. “To see an effect after just one episode is remarkable,” said Dr. Alan M. Jacobson, a researcher at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. An earlier study of Type 1 diabetes and dementia found no connection, Dr. Jacobson noted.
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Old 04-16-2009, 07:09 AM   #42
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Thank you Yolland, for the article. This is of particular interest to me, since I have been diagnosed with Pre-type 2 Diabetes. I am careful with diet and I exercise. I am hoping to keep my blood sugar as close to normal. As I can get it. Diabetes is a very serious disease.
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Old 04-17-2009, 05:40 PM   #43
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I work in an 'old folks' home. I can say outright that the number one goal of these places is MONEY. They will sell any employee downriver for trying to help if it's in a way they feel draws attention to their inadequacies. I have literally seen patients die due to staff inattention and they lied and said the person wasn't dead when they were. If you try to point out something they are doing wrong that needs improving you will find yourself gone and framed up for something you didn't do just to ruin your rep so nobody will believe you. I have seen this and experienced it personally.

I have also seen that mentally ill but healthy patients are put in the same room with very weak and ill patients and they do frequently suffer abuse, even if only verbal, all the time. Again, the goal of these places is money and if they have a patient whose family is loaded or they have ins. that totally covers it they will keep them at all costs even at the expense of others. Then they lie about it. Money, I'm telling you. Money over care.
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Old 04-17-2009, 05:45 PM   #44
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My opinion on Alzheimer's/Dementia- I have seen much of this. I have a theory it is not so much memory 'loss' as a complete loss of control of the circuitry that keeps the memories in order. The patients I've seen have very clear and detailed memories of years ago, but they cannot choose when they come out and take over their heads. This is why they usually think it's a different time and place and you're a different person. All the memories are there, but they're jumbled. Imagine clicking on your song file of your computer and getting your documents, but they're out of order. That's how it seems. The mind has gone haywire and no longer works right, but nothing is 'lost.

I can't say I disagree with theories that pollution, chemicals, medications and food additives are to blame. Sure seems strange how common this condition has become the last couple decades compared to all of time.
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Old 04-17-2009, 05:55 PM   #45
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All the memories are there, but they're jumbled. Imagine clicking on your song file of your computer and getting your documents, but they're out of order. That's how it seems.
That is only true of early stages of Alzheimers, and yes, the patients have an uncanny ability to remember what happened 80 years ago, but not what is happening to them this week.

But in the later stages, this is no longer true. They lose even the very basic ability to remember that they should eat and drink, so I would not say that their memories are there; it is a definite degeneration as you approach the end.
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