Caring for grandmother with Dementia with small children

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grans_caregiver
Caring for grandmother with Dementia with small children

I can't say that I'm "New" to caregiving because I've been doing it fulltime for almost 2 years. BUT. At times I feel like I have no idea what I am doing. About me. I'm 38 years old, married, 4 kids, 17,9,7 and 3. I moved in with my grandmother (80) about 2 years ago because her dementia was getting so bad she couldn't be on her own. I was attempting to caregive from my home, but she refused to move in with me. Recently she has gotten progressively worse. She wanders so much that I had to find a way to lock down the house at night. I caught her going outside at 4am in freezing temps in her night clothes. She gets frustrated with me because she cannot get outside. (I put hook locks high up on the doors with spring loaded locks on them). I have caught her before she chowed down a handful of dog food. She walks through the house "stealing" my kids toys, or my phone, keys, purse, wallet, .. basically anything she finds interesting and hides them in her room. My two boys have not been able to find their DS systems for over a year now. I've looked, can't find them either.
What I need advice about.... She is getting to the point to where she is mean. She treats one of my children (7 year old) VERY badly. She takes food off of his plate at meal time and eats it. She will take it off and give it to another one of my kids. When he gets mad and says something she reacts to him by calling him a liar. When he says, "You hate me grandma!" She gets nice to him and is right next to him the rest of the day not allowing him to do what he wants to do. My 17 year old decides to go out with his friends, she paces the floor, looking out the window looking for him. Telling me that I kicked him out, she's leaving. I reassure her that he will be back he's just out, she is ok for a second, then right back at it. My 3 year old gets smothered by her. She gets mad at my daughter if she will not sleep with her and wants to sleep in her own bed. She tries to go in her room and wake her up in the middle of the night. How do I manage both my kids and my grandmother without having my children resent her? I've explained to them that grandma is sick.. not the 3 year old.. but I'm not sure they understand or want to "deal" with her.

I wish I could give you some

I wish I could give you some helpful suggestions but all I can say is I feel sometimes like I don't have any idea what I'm doing either. I think you are amazing to be able to take care of children & grandma. My son is grown & I am divorced so my mother is my only responsibility & you can do waaaaay more than I can.

Keep reminding your children why gma is the way she is. Your children are learning that taking care of family is a priority. They learn that loving family is not always easy especially when that someone is incapable of reciprocating but they still deserve love.

Good luck to you and if it is okay I will keep your family in my prayers. If you need to talk or vent give a shout.

I was going to say 'set

I was going to say 'set boundaries' until I read your whole post.

Call a family meeting. Can anyone else take on Grandma? You & your family need a break.

My elderly sister-in-law (SIL) was taken to a psychiatric hospital when she was seen outside in cold weather w/barely no clothing on. When she came to live with my family She would pit my husband & teenage children against me. My marriage of 38 yrs was beginning to crack.

SIL is now 80 yrs old & on an antipsychotic medication. She now happily lives in an assisted living facility,

I would put my children & marriage first. Can Grandma be moved to assisted living? I know it is not the advice you want to hear.

I am sorry to hear about the

I am sorry to hear about the issues you are having taking care of your grandmother,while also managing your children. Trying to maintain the safety of everyone in the household is a difficult task, especially if your grandmother's dementia prevents her from retaining any information you give her regarding her behavior.
Caregiver stress is an important thing that you would benefit from learning about, as it can take a physical, emotional, and spiritual toll on your overall well-being and your ability to function as an effective caregiver for those in your family. Yet this situation sounds like some form of outside intervention is necessary, due to your grandmother's wandering outside in the cold, stealing, and her behavior to your children that may have the possibility of getting worse or having authorities involved.
My parents are full-time caregivers for my grandparents, one who has complex emotional issues, and the other has late-stage Alzheimer's. All of the events you mentioned occurred in some form with my Grandfather as he progressed with the disease. When his wandering got to be too much, we had a social worker come to the home to assess him, and made some suggestions to keep him in the home as long as possible (alarms, caregiver respite, etc).Eventually, we sought advice from a social worker with financial and emotional support in placing him in a dementia unit at a nursing home. When it comes to the safety of your grandmother and children, you may need to have a discussion with your family about what steps you may have to take. If your grandmother is deemed incompetent, you and your family can take steps to assure legal and medical authority through the creation of a POA (Power of Attorney).
These are difficult emotional decisions that demand time and energy, but seeking the well being of you, your family, and your grandmother are worth it. Counseling can always be an option as well, but at least some resources to assist you through the process of continuing to care for your grandmother may help. Allowing your children to learn about dementia from your point of view, as well as what happens to a person who suffers from it may help them to gain some perspective when your grandmother acts out. Caregiver options to deal with stress is a growing issue nationwide, and what's important to know is that you are not alone in this struggle. There are forums like this online, groups that meet in your community, and local agencies that can help you out if you feel you need some answers.Many caregivers have a tendency to isolate and try to solve these issues alone. I cannot stress enough the power of combined knowledge, sharing advice, laughing, and finding a shoulder to cry on from fellow caregivers who have had similar experiences. I wish you the very best with all of this, and encourage you to seek assistance from a local agency that specializes with these issues, often free of charge.