Family Matters
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Needing some advice about my mom...

At 31 years old, I feel like I've been a grown up more than I haven't.  I really don't feel like I had a childhood and what I did have wasn't that great.  My parents didn't really get along and by the time I was 13 the marriage was pretty well over.  They stayed married another 4 difficult years, with my dad working all sorts of weird hours and my mom not there much.  I feel like I raised my brother until my stepdad came into the picture at 17.  Things haven't gotten much better and now I'm at a place with my mom that I don't know what else to do.  My dad's mom has Alzheimer's Disease and so I've been talking to him a lot about the disease and he symptoms.  I'm also a CNA with quite a bit of medical background so I understand a lot.  My mom's mom for years has been displaying dementia and Alzheimer's symptoms.  My great grandma on that side more than likely had dementia or Alzheimer's Disease too.  My mom's mom for the past 5 months has gotten quite a bit worse.  With the progression of her memory problems, I've been doing a lot more reading on AD and dementia so that I may halt any chance of my getting the diseases.  I've also been doing a lot of research on ways to help my grandma get diagnosed and treated.  Her symptoms fit nearly perfectly but I'm having a horrible time getting my mom to understand that grandma needs help.

 My grandparents have been married 61 years and while my grandpa thankfully is extremely healthy, he's having trouble with grandma.  Same as my grandma had with her mom years ago.  Grandma knew her mom had issues.  My mom is in MAJOR denial.  She gets so irritated at the things my grandma does or doesn't do, things she seems to no longer be able to do, etc.  Grandpa has taken over a lot and my mom, I think, thinks my grandma is just letting my grandpa take things over.  I honestly think she's had some close calls which is why my grandpa has taken things over.  Grandma was hospitalized almost two weeks ago with pneumonia so severe that they gave her a 50/50 chance of survival.  Thankfully she made it.  Lots of things have continued with her dementia and possible AD and I've been urging my mom to ask for testing for AD and for them to make sure her meds are working correctly for her other problems she has.  To make a longer story a bit shorter, my mom never asked about now she's out of the hospital with no answers.  My mom is still getting irritated about what grandma has been doing but I can't convince her to talk to grandma's doctor.  She's on the paperwork to discuss my grandparents medical information with their doctor so I'm not sure what the problem is.  She seems more than happy to bury her head in the sand.

I recently want to get things going for not only my grandma but also for the rest of my family.  My brother and I are both at risk for AD on at least one side of the family so I'd like to know what I'm up against on the other.  I'm definitely taking the appropriate steps to ward off AD as well as the heart disease on both sides of my family.  My mom has always been difficult and I've always felt like the adult since I was a teenager.  She's tried to be the parent through lots of situations but always seemed to fall short.  I've gotten some advice from my wonderful MIL but I could use more because she had it a lot easier with her parents.  My parents have always made things difficult and with my in-laws being older and I worry about their health, it has really made my husband and I sit back and seriously think we should reconsider having children.  That will upset my mom but she seriously doesn't know how difficult she can make things.

Thanks for the advice and sorry for the run on.

Re: Needing some advice about my mom...

  • can you ask grandpa for help? or to have you and your mom jointly on the medical forms? or are there any other family members you can reach out to?
    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • I agree with the PP are there other family members that you can reach out to? Is there a healthcare proxy set up. Can you take your grandma to the doctor? I caution you to jump to conclusions with diagnoses for what you think your grandma may or may not have. She will need a full medical work up and many diagnostic scans before they can diagnose or rule out alzheimers. There are many kinds of dementia that have the same symptoms but are not alzheimers. There are also many other medical conditions that can cause similar symptoms, its possible it could be something as simple as a fluid and electrolyte balance, hyperglycemia, or even an infection. She really needs to see a doctor asap, to rule out other possibilities.
  • If you feel your mother can't or won't step in and what is necessary for her care I would reach out to your local social services. They are a great resource in many situations, but they have the tools and knowledge to help everyone involved. But first, you should try to talk to your grandpa and see what he says. He may not want any other involvement for the moment. If he is of sound mind and able bodied it would be very cruel to step in, not saying I know the whole situation.
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