Road Trip with Grandma — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Road Trip with Grandma

by Kimberly


This will be short and sweet. I am sneaking this in while everyone else in the family is still sleeping, but who knows how long that will last. We are visiting my mother-in-law for a few days at her house. Today is the day we pack our little brood, and Grandma, and drive back home where she will visit with us for a week and a half. Last time we did this it was way better than I expected it to be. This time, I don’t know.

In case you have missed earlier posts, the brief version: Grandma evidently had a stroke at some point. Since she lived at home by herself no one caught it, but the stroke did neurological damage to her frontal lobes. As a result she has symptoms somewhat similar to Alzheimer’s, complicated by severe anxiety/depression. There are a lot of things that she can still do, and being the stubborn strong-willed, independent type, she insists on doing what she can. To keep her safe we have now insisted on some in-home care each day. My sister-in-law still does the majority of week-to-week shopping, laundry, cleaning, and housework. Since we live further away there’s not a whole lot we can do, but we’re trying to give my sister-in-law a break every now and then.

Last time we offered to do this I felt like I had just walked off a cliff. We are stretched thin just keeping up with our kids, so adding Grandma to the mix is daunting. If it were just caregiving I think it wouldn’t be quite so hard, but she is angry at us a good bit of the time. Angry that she isn’t still in control, angry that we seem to know what is going on and she doesn’t, angry that we’re taking care of things she “can do perfectly well herself” except that she really can’t any more. On the one hand I understand the anger and definitely get that it is part of her neurological issues. On the other hand it is hard to take it every day when I’m just doing my best to be a support to her and the rest of my family. Last time it all worked out okay. She was for the most part quite pleasant to be around. This time she has already started off angry, but I think it is the anxiety about our upcoming travel today. It is disrupting her routine and highlighting her dependence on us. I’m hoping when we get her to our house she’ll be easier to be around again. Fingers crossed…

So if you think of us in the next week or so, good thoughts, prayers, and wishes on the morning star are all welcome.

Email Author    |    Website About Kimberly

Kimberly is the mother of three wonderful children: an eight-year-old who is somewhere on the autism spectrum, and twin four-year-olds who are just very busy little people. We live on routine with a side of novelty.

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1 Debbye April 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Thoughts and prayers your way! 🙂

2 Chaney April 5, 2012 at 8:30 am

good luck with all you have to handle. family is definitely tough and stressful. just keep reminding yourself that you love this person. deep breaths. give yourself time outs. that’s how i handle family…. and other stress-inducing people.. 🙂

3 KDL April 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Yes – lots of deep breaths. Lots of “remain calm” mantras. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

4 Jo April 6, 2012 at 10:02 am

I hope it goes smoothly. It is hard to be caught in the middle of everyone and juggle everyone’s needs. All the while hoping for some nice family memories….
Thinking of you and hoping to get even a little bit of you time even if is just an uninterupted bath….

5 KDL April 10, 2012 at 1:07 am

Yeh – you know you’re craving me time when a solo trip to the grocery store (which I did this evening) feels like a treat! It is going remarkably well now that we’re on our turf instead of hers. It is still exhausting, but not on an emotional level.

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