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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Grandmother Update: Head, Meet Brick Wall

The last time I wrote about my grandmother on this blog was at the beginning of December. She'd moved into a shabby residential home and hated it - as did I. However, at the beginning of January, a place 'became available' at the home she'd always wanted to move into. It was the one we drove past every Saturday and she said, 'people say that's very good, you know, why can't I move in there?' We'd had her on the waiting list for months and she duly moved in.

The good news? The place is beautiful. Whereas everything about the other home was dank and shabby, this one is lovely. They're doing lots of work to it and they've just had an extension built; a conservatory with two flat-screen televisions, high-quality armchairs and some dining tables. Her room - admittedly, it's a bit far for her to come and go and involves four steps, but they will move her as soon as a better location becomes available - is ideal. Three chairs, lots of natural light, a view of the park in the distance: there's not much in there to gripe about. The food is excellent and, plus, the staff are wonderful. On our first visit I made a point of asking their opinion on how she was settling in so, on our third visit, four (?!) of them had a candid discussion with us about how she was getting on. The level of interest and friendliness is astounding and, really, I couldn't think of a nicer place for her to be.

So what's the bad news? Well, she still hates it.

Yesterday we got tears unlike any we've encountered before. She's sat in this beautiful conservatory loudly proclaiming the place to be 'hell'. And, unfortunately, my patience has worn thin. She was the one pressing to go into a home, making residents at her sheltered accommodation clamour for it. I knew how she would take it and I did my best to persuade her of the truth but to no avail. Now she's in a home, there's no getting her out and, honestly, if she's going to be anywhere, this place is the one to be in. But she doesn't see it like that.

I think I can pinpoint some of her problems. She falls apart without a routine and claims she 'never knows what she's doing'. Yesterday she claimed she had dinner at breakfast time which is, quite frankly, rubbish. The home tries to be flexible with the residents but not that flexible! The trouble is, of course, that when you're ninety and in a home, there's not much to do especially when you won't watch television, read anything apart from your paper or take part in the activities arranged. She just seems to sit with two women who are grouchy (and rather bitchy) being miserable all the time.

I know I sound heartless. Believe me, I'm not. I just think that this is the situation she wanted, the situation she deliberately put herself into, despite all warnings. There is no alternative now and, to be perfectly honest, it's not a bad way to spend your later years. She has to learn to reconcile herself to it or she's going to drive us away. I think the problem is that she only really cries in front of me and my dad - we get the misery and very little else. It's unpleasant all round and yesterday it quite upset me.

I've really tried to be a good granddaughter but I've had eighteen months of my own 'hell' trying to deal with her. From twenty five phone calls in a day to a home where she's utterly miserable, with reason, to this one where she's utterly miserable, without reason. I don't know what else I can do but twice weekly visits will soon push me to the edge. This should be about her - and it is - but I can't help worrying about the impact it's having on me. Selfish, I know, but I'm only human.

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