My dear grandmother is 86 years old.
She lives alone in her house that she has always lived in, and my family as well as a caregiver that visits three times a week, help her take care of the things she no longer is able to do. She never leaves the house anymore, she won't even let us take her to the beauty shop to get her hair done (its been almost a year), and everyday, she just sits in her chair in the living room. She claims she likes to live this way, but then sometimes you call her, and she said she is just staring out the window counting the cars that drive by. She watches TV, sleeps, does minimal laundry, and thats about it. She does receive meals on wheels daily, but her eating habits are horrendous, and she keeps losing weight without any medical reason to explain.
She is quite of sound mind, never misses a beat, but her body is not the same. She has accidents weekly (feces), we find messes in the bathroom, her bed, and throughout her home. She has enough diapers and pads to stock a nursing home, but she refuses to wear them, or tells us she forgets. When we try to talk to her about the problem, she says she leaks, and just has a hard time getting to the bathroom in time. All of her underwear has severe stains in the them, and all of her nightgowns are soiled as well. Today I went to visit her, and the house just smelled so badly ... I knew something happened. Her chair that she sits in daily was soiled with feces, and when I went into the bathroom, it was everywhere. She has rheumatoid arthritis, and her hands are severely disabled (she won't wear the splints that were made for her, and she denies physical therapy, so I know that cleaning up after herself when she goes to the bathroom is very difficult. She will not let the caregiver bathe her bottom half, and I just don't know why. Her sense of smell is not what it used to be, and she just doesn't realize what her house smells like as well as herself. I know she not only suffers fecal incontinence, but also urinary.
I am the closest family member to her, and she only has one daughter, my mother, and they have unspoken relationship issues. My grandmother gets very nasty when we try to talk to her about her issues, and is in total denial. She ignores the incontinence problem, and she really has no understanding of her situation. She always says she can drive, but doesn't realize its been over a year at least since she has,for example. My mom tried to talk to her about assisted living, but she outright refuses, and my grandmother just gets angry at her. My grandmother is very antisocial, and insists that she is not ready to move, and we just wonder how well she would actually do in a situation like that. My mom thinks she would resent us, and be very angry if she took the upper hand and forced her into a situation like that.
Today I told her I was worried about her, and that I did not feel she was properly being cared for. She told me she would try harder, and I told her its not about trying harder ... she just needs help and thats okay. She told me she was ashamed of herself, and I told her not to be, and that its part of life, and that she needs to wear the pads and diapers to prevent accidents, and that she needs to let her caregiver bathe her. She told me to leave her alone.
I just don't know what to do to help her. Do we just let her sit in that chair and waste away? How do we get her to let her caregiver help her, or should we be taking control of the situation and forcing a very stubborn and proud lady into something she does not want to do? Any comment would be much appreciated! It just breaks my heart to see her like this, and she is so stubborn!