It only seems like a couple of months ago that my Grandad died. In fact it was more than a year now, and I’m not sure where that time has gone. That was my Dad’s dad, and now a year later it feels like it won’t be long until we lose my Mum’s dad too.
The same as it was with my Horrible Grandad, my Nice Grandad is nearly 90 now and in the last few months his health has suddenly just started to fail. He’s lived in the same house, the house my Mum grew up in, for something like 60 years, and for the last 30 of those he’s lived alone and managed all by himself. But he just can’t do it any more. Unfortunately he hasn’t wanted to accept that he was starting to need help and starting to need to make changes to his home so he could carry on living there, and now everything has suddenly gone crunch and there’s nothing been put in place to help him. And it’s SO stressful because no one knows what to do for him.
He lives in Hertfordshire about an hour from my Mum and Dad, and my Mum’s sister lives in Canada. Mum’s obviously ill so can’t do very much, and my Dad is having trouble with his heart again and isn’t meant to be over-exerting himself. So there’s no one really that is very nearby. They knew Grandad was starting to get more frail, so Mum has tried for about a year to convince him to make provision, to get a stairlift and to consider that he might need someone to come in regularly like a carer or district nurse or something to check on him, but he just wouldn’t have any of it.
And now what’s happened? He can’t really manage the stairs, he can’t clean his house, he can’t get his shopping on his own. He just can’t be on his own really. It’s all deteriorated so quickly. Why does it have to happen like that with old people? They get something wrong with them, and suddenly they get something else too, and something else, and their body just can’t cope. Everything gives way all at once.
So now I’ve got my Mum on the phone several times a week at the end of her tether with worry about him, and I just don’t know what to say to her. She feels bad because she can’t do more for him, and my aunt feels bad for being so far away and puts pressure on my Mum to do more than she can. I’m about two or three hours from Hertfordshire, so I don’t feel like I can realistically do much myself, and we’re all just talking about how difficult it is and not actually fixing anything.
I just don’t know what to do. If he won’t even allow them to arrange for a carer or anything, what are we supposed to do? He doesn’t want help even though he needs it, and you can’t force him. You can’t kick his door in and install a stairlift and a carer. We’re all just stuck in a horrible stressful limbo and it feels dreadful.