Help with 90+ Year Old Grandmother...(long)
I have been a member of this website for some time and usually post in other forums. Today, however, I am posting here in hopes of some good advice with regards to my grandmother.
Background: My grandmother has lived alone since the mid 1980s when my grandfather passed away. Her only child was my mother, who also passed away, ten years ago, after a long battle with cancer. She lives in a small ranch house in a working class neighborhood. Many of her neighbors are also elderly.
Her closest relatives are her two granddaughters; me in Virginia and my sister in the MidWest. The fastest either one of us could reach her in an emergency would be about five hours.
Up until a few years ago, my grandmother was very spry and able to "do on her own" quite well. However, age has finally started to catch up with her. Last year, we hired a woman to do housekeeping for her on a bi-weekly basis.
The Bad Stuff: She has become so deaf she cannot hear the phone ring when the television set is on (she keeps the set so loud). She has started to become forgetful about paying her bills. Her health has deteriorated significantly, although it is not one particular thing.
The Good Stuff: She has a nice circle of church friends, who average about 25 years younger than she is. She plays bridge and she is content to stay in and watch TV or read for her amusement.
She is adamant that she does not want to go to a retirement community, which she refers to as a 'nursing home'. We have taken her to several nice retirement communities to show her that they are not truly nursing homes, but she is a stubborn bird and insists she wants to die at home, in her own bed.
My question to you is this...do we ever force the issue of getting her to leave her house? If so, how do we know when it is time to do so? I know that if my mother was alive, my grandmother would be living with her or my mother would have made her go into a retirement community long ago.
She has had numerous times over the past year where my sister and I have found out that she was in the hospital, but is now home and "okay". It is very frightening to us that she [obviously] hides this information from us until after it is over. We worry about her.
Any advice/insight you could give would be highly appreciative.