I've offically become a member of the sandwich generation

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by muttmeister, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    On days like today I feel like I'm losing my grip and would just like to run away.

    My soon-to-be 97 year-old mother is no longer able to do her own medications. I have to drive 10 miles to where she lives each day and deliver them to her and then call her twice a day to be sure she takes them when she should but even then she misses taking them occasionally. Had her to the doctor today; physically she if pretty good but mentally she is so forgetful that it drives me nuts. After we got home from the Dr. she looked in her date book and informed me she has a doctor's appointment tomorrow. I told her she was looking at the wrong day; we'd already been there today. Oh....she says. !!!!

    difficult child 1 hurt his shoulder a month ago and hasn't been able to work. He is a good worker and the boss is holding his job for him but he isn't supposed to lift anything for nearly another month. They are letting him work part time just running the cash register so he will have a little money coming in. Also, he used to be a manager at Taco Bell and they are letting him pick up some hours there also to get a little money. But he was off a month..I sent him $1000 a couple of weeks ago to pay bills and now his rent and some other stuff is due so he needs another 1000. I live on my pension and SS. He is usually good with money but I guess this qualifies as an emergency but I can't afford many emergencies like this.

    difficult child 2 is basically no good and irresponsible and wants money all of the time. I usually tell him no but still get stuck buying diapers, laundry soap, gas to get him to work, etc. I know that my helping is not good for him and if it was just him and daughter in law I would leave them to their own deviced but I'm not willing to see my grandkids living on the street so that's another problem.

    5 year old Grandson is staying with me on school nights - he is in kindergarten. I tried to tell them to wait a year to send him but they decided to send him. He has no clue what is going on. Besides being immature I think he may be SPED material. He is cute and lovable but basically not the brightest bulb on the string. Granddaughter lived with me last year and they put her in gifted class at the beginning of kindergarten - this one will be a different story.

    I don't mind helping everybody. I'm glad to be busy. But right now I think I"m on overload. I have some friends who want to get together the first of October in KC but right now there is no way I can come up with the money to get there.

    I guess I don't expect you to solve my problems and I don't even need a lot of sympathy. I just needed a place to unload. HOpe you all don't mind.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Your set-up sounds like mine... same only different.
    Sandwich generation? totally.

    I just wish the sandwich that is my lot wasn't grilled cheese. I keep getting burned.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Mutt...Im gonna give you some advice that may help...may not but you never know until you try so here it goes:

    For MOM:
    1. They can put medications in blister packs for each days use. Never knew that but they do it for Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s all the time.
    2. Get her a medicine alarm clock that will tell her vocally to take her medications. "Gladys take yer medications now!"
    3. If you dont want to do the blister pack, just get a combo of the vocal alarm and medication box that is fancy that will only open at the set time it tells her to take her medications. Now you can have a key to fill the pack but her little box for the day and time will only open when it gives the command.

    As far as being forgetful, well, that is just gonna be what it is gonna be. There is some new brain food out there that may help some but I dont know if it would be worth it at her age. Id be more inclined to do a really big calendar like the put on desks and hang it on the wall then color code it for different things. Blue is Dr Appts, Red is lunches out, Green is something else...you get the idea. Most of those calendars have at least 6 lines per day so you can easily list things.

    Also leave her sticky notes on her fridge when you are there that she can see...plus on her mirror in the bathroom.

    As far as the kids, could oldest 's wife take on young difficult child youngest child so they can cut down on diapers for awhile. Or even take on all the kids until youngest and his wife get back on their feet. At least that way you are only helping out one family.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Have you considered assisted living for your Mom? Many of them are awfully nice places. The staff would do the medications, she could either eat in her room or eat the meals they serve in the diningroom, many have tons of activities and also have a lot of outings for shopping and such in which they provide transport and supervision. mother in law hated it at first.....but she actually grew to really like it, except she never got the idea that all she had to do was hit the call button if she needed help and would call 911 if she fell. She'd hit that call button for every thing else under the sun though. lol It would give her a lot of social interaction as well, which can stimulate the brain and aid in memory.

    Hopefully that month passes quickly with difficult child 1. An injury can throw everything out of whack. A suggestion to squirrel money away for such a future occasion would be a good idea. Even 5.00 a week is better than nothing.

    As for difficult child 2, sounds like the 2 yr old needs to be potty trained, that would at least stop the diapers, which would save them and you a small fortune. I wish I understood how easy child has been picking them up most of the time with cpns and sales for under 5.00.....but I don't buy diapers so I have to assume it's like we do the other cpns / sales. I keep telling her if she'd just take the time to potty train Brandon who is more than ready, she'd cut her diaper bill in half. But what do I know. Maybe showing the kids how to budget or watch for sales ect would help?

    The sandwich generation svcks. I did it for quite a long while. I keep saying someone else will have to do it with my Mom, but odds are I'll be back at it again later down the road.

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You can also get diapers cheaper on amazon mom. It does help quite a bit on the cost and they deliver to the house free. Im setting that up for Cory's baby but he has to pay me for them first. I am gonna throw in the wipes as my part.
  6. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Hey mutt, I too am a member of the sandwich generation...was so not happy while it was approaching. However, now that we have things in place for my mom, at least that part is easier. And I don't have grands yet, so whew.

    In regards to your mother, if she owns the home she lives in you should have no trouble finding here appropriate assisted living for her. If she does not, well, then that's a different story because then you have to pay out of pocket initially. I know because physically she's okay,you wouldn't likely consider a nursing home situation but I think you need to consider that your mom can no longer live on her own. Your description of her completely blanking on her dr appointment means that her dementia is fairly well along. It's one thing to forget your medications, another to forget an entire outing or event, within hours, Know what I mean?? Likewise, forgetting her medications is one thing, but have you thought about the possibility of her OVER medicating? What if she thinks she forgot, but takes a double dose? What about forgetting the stove is on? Or what about going out to get the mail and forgetting why she's out there? Not too panic or freak you out, but I seriously think she's ready for a nursing home facility and those are easier to get into than assisted living if she doesn't own her home. Have you discussed with her dr these issues? My mom's DR didn't say boo about his concerns until we initiated the conversation. He had assumed that my sister was caring for my mom, which she was but my sister worked full time so she wasn't always available. Just some food for thought.

    Food pantries and some shelters around here have diapers for the needy- your son should look into that; also churches help out with that. When difficult child was a baby and her father was a louse, I went to the church for not only food but diapers. They also had formula but I breastfed so that wasn't a need for me.

    I would help out also like you because it's one thing to see grown ups screw up their lives, but I couldn't allow my grands to suffer either. Perhaps helping them to find other resources would be a way in which you could help without shouldering the burden. You need your income to care for you! Do any of them qualify for partial services such as housing of Medicaid or food stamps to help with monthly expenses, especially the ones related to the babies? Big hugs, you have a lot on your plate.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  7. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    That's one reason I take her medications to her every day; I only take one day at a time so she can't take them more than once because that has happened.

    I don't think she's really ready for the nursing home and I know she wouldn't do well there. She does live in an apartment for seniors. They kind of keep an eye on them (but no real services like with medications) and she's lived there for quite awhile and it is home to her so I'd like to keep her there as long as I can. Independent living would be perfect for her but financially that is not possible. She doesn't wander off or anything like that and she mostly cooks with her microwave. She is still good enough to know that she forgets a lot. It might be better (from her standpoint) to just not realize how crazy you are.

    The fancy pill thing that opens only at certain times sounds like a good idea. But we'd still have the problem of her thinking she took them and so not taking them at all.

    The two sons are not much help to each other. They didn't get along at all growing up. It is better now with them but there is friction between the two daughters in law. Older difficult child's wife used to be married to younger daughter in law's brother and he (the brother) is the father of her two kids. (I never thought of myself as a hillbilly redneck but I'm beginning to wonder!) Younger daughter in law knows her brother is a useless piece of you know what but blood is still thicker than water.

    Both difficult children get food stamps and older one has medicaid for them all. Younger difficult child's kids have medicaid. So some services are there. Both wives are not working right now. Older difficult child's youngest is in Kindergarten this year so she is looking for work that she can fit into her picking-up-kids schedule. Younger one, who knows? She's looking for work but she doesn't have a very good record about keeping a job. Mostly her fault.

    I'm glad to help older difficult child as I know he will get back on track asap. Younger one I'd gladly throw to the wolves if not for the grandkids. I hope I die before I get as old as my mother.
  8. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    It's difficult to be squeezed and I know that at times I felt drained. What helped me was looking for ways to solve obstacles to make things easier for myself. I set mom's medications up for 3 wks at a time. When one week was done, she went to the next zip lock bag. Of course, you could do one week since you are much closer to your mom than I was. Anyhow, you get my drift. Find a way to make it easier. I'm sure there was a day here and there where she would forget night time medications. It wasn't a matter of life and death. Many times, patients in hospitals don't get medications because of testing. They survive missing a dose. Not weekly or even monthly but occasionally.
    If there was someone who offered or was available to help out, I used those resources. A good friend who lived nearby would stop once a week or two to see if she needed groceries. It was offered and I took it. I did take her to dinner when I was in town.
    The biggest mistake is to feel so put out that you end up resenting what you are doing. It makes for an unhappy caregiver.
    I really tried to fit things in to my life so I could care for my family and care for me. There are home health agencies that can come in for a few hrs/day to do basics. I had a woman come 3hrs a day to help mom with cooking meals(mom chopped and helped but couldn't stand to attend the stove or do dishes) for a few weeks until Hospice was ordered. Mom could afford 3hrs with her ssi check. It gave me a measure of comfort to know that she was checked on every day when I was out of town.

    I know you have to talk things out since this is a new chapter in your life. I did too. Good luck.

    PS: I ordered 1 box of diapers to be delivered every month for 12months(via amazon) as a new baby gift for the last two. It was a godsend to have them delivered especially in winter and I didn't think either child needed one more outfit or toy. The parents did appreciate it greatly. It's just another way to make things easier on myself. (free shipping and handling)
  9. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I do set her medications up a week at a time but I can't leave them in her apartment because there are times she forgets what day it is and after I've reminded her to take them, then she takes them again. That is the reason for going each day - I just take one day's worth of medications.

    I really don't resent helping her and I'm thankful she's been so good for so long. Maybe that's what makes it hard: she has been really good up until the last year. Most people aren't 96 and still perking along at all, let alone as good as she has been. I think maybe what worries me the most is that, in the back of my mind, I wonder if that's whats in store for me 33 years down the road. I know it's silly to think that far in advance but you can't help having it cross your mind now and then.
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    This was/is something my oldest sister has/is dealing with - my mom had this sister when she was only 23, so for her that's the blink of an eye and although she doesn't feel that she will end up like our mom, there is a part of her that struggles with 23 years being just around the corner for her. I get it when my sister is telling me about her feelings, but my mom had me at 40 so for me, it seems a long distance off, Know what I mean?? The biggest differences between my mom and all of us is that we have different lifestyles - healthier for the most part - but the dementia factor is the biggest worry for all of us. At 89 years of age, my Mom's doing okay. I don't even think I will live that long so I've decided not to worry about it so much. I feel lucky that I can be there for mom, I really do, but it can be stressful at times. Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on things - just be sure to unload once in a while. ((MM))
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Don't know if you have access to this where you are, but we have a "home care" system here, where if the MD is on-side, he can order a caregiver to come in X times per day for medications... can also get help for basic health issues (like, someone to come through and clean critical bits once a week like fridge, stove and bathrooms - so spoiled food doesn't accumulate etc.). Depending on what is needed will determine which level of caregiver is sent... in this case, she doesn't need an RN - not sure if someone below LPN can give medications (varies here).

    Some places, you have to pay for this, other places its funded depending on need - its cheaper to keep these people in their homes than to put them into care.
  12. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    PA's Dept of Aging was able to help for a while with my mom and her medications until she moved in with my sister. It was sketchy coverage but it did help a bit. We should all check with our state's department of Aging (or whatever it is called in each state) for future reference since so many of us are either in or getting to this point with our parents.