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Living with my elderly grandparents

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Thank you for all the kind words yesterday on our fireplace makeover. I am glad it’s finally done! I’ve been trucking back and forth lately with my grandfather to his doctor (s) for a variety of reasons and I commented the other day to him how sad it was to see so many elderly at their doctor appointments by themselves. It’s so sad to see someone who can barely walk and talk, trying to communicate with the staff at our local VA where my grandfather goes for his doctor appointments. It makes me wonder, where is their family? Do they have any family? I usually end up having a conversation with some of them in the waiting room and it blows my mind how many of them tell me that their family can’t be bothered helping them.  It’s sad how many of them do have family and they don’t step up to help their elderly parents. What is wrong with people?

living with my elderly grandparents

Since my grandparents returned from Florida over two years ago and moved in with us, living with my elderly grandparents has given me a sort of new perspective on my own life. My grandparents are not spring chickens and neither of them are in great health. My grandfather is starting to show signs of loosing his memory and getting confused more often.

We joke with him because sometimes he comes home from work, yes the man still insists on working, and will take a nap and wake up a couple hours later thinking it’s the next day. He gets up, eats his oatmeal and grabs his lunch pale (as he calls it) and heads back to work. My grandmother tries to tell him it’s still the “same day” but he insists otherwise and leaves for work. Of course, about 15 minutes later he returns and realizes it’s still the same day. He makes me laugh because most of the time, he picks on himself and jokes about it. I hope he is always light hearted about it and doesn’t get to grumpy. The man can get pretty grumpy. ha

 living with my elderly grandparents

Living with my elderly grandparents makes me think about how my parents will be in their 80’s. I pray they live a long healthy life. I wonder, will I be taking them to doctor appointments and helping take care of them? It’s so weird to see the grandparents that you remember as so young and vibrant as a kid, deteriorate right before your eyes. I often think about how it will be to watch my parents deteriorate as they get older. So many questions and thoughts about how I will be as an elder and who will take care of me!? Kind of scary to think about those things. I know if I wasn’t living in this multigenerational living arrangement, I probably wouldn’t be thinking about this stuff but it’s kind of hard not to, when you live like we do, four generations under one roof.

Those are my random thoughts for today :). Who would have ever thought I would be writing about elderly and living with my grandparents and parents 5 plus years ago. My how life changes.

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20 Comments

  1. Alicia Clinton says:

    Your piece is so timely to me Jessica, as I had my father (he just turned 63 yesterday) in the hospital a couple weeks ago and not a few days after that my grandfather (in his mid 80s). Since my mother had taken so much time with my dad she couldn’t take off more work and he was in no shape to be near a hospital, all those germies he didn’t need to be around, well being the only other in the family available (with a supportive husband, inlaws, and job) headed in to help my aging grandparents. It was nerve racking, but we all pulled through, less than a week later he was back home but now I worry and pray more. I learned of more ailments to their list, special dietary needs that I didn’t know they needed to follow and the state of their home. I want to call them daily, take food over for the week, almost quit my job to just take care of them and the thought of my boys who I know they mean so much to, it’s a lot to carry – this plate is full. Jesus, I pray, is with us all.

    1. Hi Alicia. Sounds like you have your hands full as well. It’s so sad to think that some have nobody. Some days are worse then others but as my grandparents are getting older, they require more help ect. Sounds like you have a good support system so if everyone chips in, hopefully it doesn’t bog you down. Hang in there ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad everyone is out of the hospital!

      1. How do you have any time to look after your family with all your blogging and decorating ?

  2. I love that you accompany him to the doctor. It is so important. I remember seeing people at the oncologists office alone too… so sad. When both my moms parents were older, they were an hour away, but we would go down for doctors visits. My Grandpa used to get ready for work when he got much older, after years and years of being retired. He would want my Grandma to pack his lunch pail. My Grandma had to start hiding the car keys! I wonder how my parents will age, and what will happen often, as they live in CA and I am in OR? I tried to get them to move here… but so far, no luck. So much to think on. I worry.

    1. I hear ya Shannon. It’s a bit overwhelming. Most days I don’t harp on it but lately, I have been thinking more about it. Must be that darn “time of month!” ๐Ÿ™‚ hehe

  3. Sharon Duffey says:

    Jessica,
    May God especially bless you for loving and taking care to have your Grandparent’s in your home. I think this is AWESOME! and I wish it could be a ‘new trend’. There are so very many precious things to learn from Grandparent’s…too many to count.

    I lost my parents in the past 3 years. My mother was 88 when she passed on to Heaven, but had gone through about 3 years of Alz/Dementia. One thing I learned through this…is never to tell her ‘she is wrong’ because in her mind she was right. And it does not hurt to say “Umhmm, that’s right!” It is kind of their way of working through the thoughts…by saying what they believe is true. I always treated my mom like I remembered her “being”…I wanted to do that for her as a respect to what a wonderful woman and mother she always was. Even though, it was hard to see this happen to her, the blessing in it was she would say the most hilarious things! And she liked to giggle…so when she would say something funny and giggle, we would laugh along with her…it was a real blessing. The Lord helped us through each day, and gave us blessings back…and so I pray this for you and your family too!
    Rely on Him, and you will have many good memories yet to live and for always.
    God bless!
    Sharon Duffey

    1. Thank you so much Sharon. Your words are inspiring and so true. My other grandmother (my mom’s mom) passed away 2 years ago and she also lived with us. Both sets of grandparents for a short time. It was kind of crazy. She had dementia/alz for the last year and half of her life and I can SO relate to your stories about giggling and laughing. You are right, I find myself now just agreeing with my grandfather. Someone has to agree with him b/c my gram is constantly telling him how wrong and crazy he is! haha. The two of them are pieces of work together ๐Ÿ™‚ They are both loosing it together!ha. Thanks again and stay in touch!

  4. Loved this post so much! Two years ago I brought my 82 yr old parent to my house in VA from AR because of my mother’s Alzheimer’s. Mama passed away this past March 22 and Daddy is still with me. They were married for 64 years and it has been quite an adjustment. He is forgetful at times also. Every day I thank God that I still have my father around to take care of. So many people will say something like,” that is so nice of you to take care of your dad.” I wouldn’t have it any other way! It is a privilege and not a burden. I can tell you feel the same way. Lisa Montgomery

    1. Thanks Lisa! I could NEVER not take care of my parents. I cannot believe the ones who ignore them. It just blows my mind. Anyway, sorry about your mom ๐Ÿ™ but glad you have your dad with you ๐Ÿ™‚ . Stay in touch!

  5. What a great post! My parents have been gone for quite a while now and I miss them both terribly, but caring for our Mother through a devastatingly quick illness and passing made me realize what a responsibility it is for the caregivers and loved ones. That being said…I wish we had had more time with our parents.
    Your comment about the lunch pail brought back some great memories of my Dad. He had a grey Thermos lunch pail that he took to work everyday. He was a grader operator and he hitchhiked (can you believe it) to work every day! We would watch for him coming down our long street every night, lunch pail swinging, hat angled on his head, likely singing a catchy tune…I can still see him!
    Thanks for the memory Jessica!

    1. Awww you brought tears to my eyes Wendy thinking about your dad and I didn’t even know him! So happy you have such great memories & yes, the lunch pail cracks me up as well with my gramp:)

  6. I can relate to your post today. My sisters and I are taking care of my mom she doesn’t live with us, but it maybe the next step. And yes it does make you realize how quickly time/life slips by. I think the multi generational living and taking care of the elderly has been lost. Thanks for being a good example I know its not always easy.

    1. Thanks Kristie ๐Ÿ™‚ I never thought I would be living like this but feel fortunate to have been given this opportunity. Thanks for stopping by and good luck with you mom!

  7. It’s disheartening to see family forget about their elders who love their families to pieces. It’s important to put aside what are really trivial things and take the time to pick up the phone, or visit when you are in town… to make an effort!

    You are lucky and blessed to have such a supportive and loving family – I’m sure they appreciate you to the moon and back!

  8. Lovely post Jessica. I feel the same way about the oldies sitting in the doctor’s rooms without family to assist. When my dad was in a nursing home, in his last year, we visited him every day because we couldn’t stand “not” seeing him daily. We noticed that there were rarely any visitors to the other oldies and now, my brother works as a nurse in different nursing homes, he says that we were a “rare” family and that most families don’t visit their loved ones at all. I just can’t comprehend this. So sad. I love multi-gen living and thankfully our 12 year old son does too – he wants us (when we’re oldies) to always be living with him, and I thank God he is this kind of person.

    1. Aww that’s great your son loves the multigen living. Sounds like you come from a close family! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Hi
    Just wanted to say what an amazing job you are doing. I just found your site. We are in the same boat. We have four generations in our home! We moved our in-laws in with us after Mom had a stroke and Dad starting having memory problems. Mom has since recovered. Our son still live with us. Our daughter moved back in with her son. It is a full house. It took some time to adjust but it does work. Just need to remember to give each other their own space. My daughter just purchased a house, my grandson wants to know when the basement will be finished so papaw and mamaw can move in! He thinks this is the norm!

    1. That is great! I always love hearing about other families and how they live together. My son (who is 7) has never known any different. Good luck and stay in touch! ๐Ÿ™‚