Jayalakshmi 98 out lived all her 6 children. It’s a boon to live longer but to live longer enough to see all your children’s death isn’t. All her life she looked after her 6 children when they grew up and few she cared for when they were in death bed due to terminal illness. She also extended time to bring up her grandchildren and cared for her husband during his last days. Being the youngest daughter-in-law her older parent-in-laws too received her care. Jayalakshmi had a marvellous journey of being a traditional care giver doling out love and compassion virtually for every single immediate family members. It’s an experience not everyone get to witness and a unique journey not everyone lucky enough to travel.
Maya, her eldest granddaughter, 51 years, lives in Pune had housed her grandmother after the death of her parents and parent’s siblings. Declining mobility, changing temperament, picky eating habits, non-social behaviours with great grandchildren slowly started creating rifts at home. To add to the problem, Jayalakshmi started losing balance and had frequent falls. Though she was escaping with minor bruising, Maya knew the falls can be fatal and her grandmother is running a huge risk of head injury or a fracture. Jayalakshmi was stubborn and fiercely independent all through her life was not willing to take assistance for her ADLs even at 98.
When Maya realised her relationship with her grandmother was turning to sour due to constant confrontations and negotiations, she sought help from her cousins who ever equally concerned and involved in their grandmother’s care. Except one Mr. Raghu in Bangalore rest all the 9 grand children live abroad spread across the globe. None of them were in a position to help Maya. Mr. Raghu in Bangalore was more than willing to care for his grandmother and housed her with him moving her out from Maya’s place. Couple week later, as Jayalakshmi continued in her own style of functioning, and ended up having a fall, this time the worst has happened. She ended up breaking her neck of femur bone. After a surgery, she was taken back home. Her temperament, constant nagging, unachievable demands made the caregivers fail giving care to Jayalakshmi. Constant change of care givers made Raghu take leave and stay with his grandmother to train the new caregivers. In many cases the care giver goes away and no replacement for longer days leaving Raghu and his grandmother in lurch. Meanwhile Jayalakshmi developed couple of bedsores lying in bed and lack of care. When things were unmanageable, Raghu in consultation with all his cousins sought the help of our Social Gerontologist to derive a win-win situation.
Problem Areas Identified
- Financial crisis.
- Temperamental Issues coming in the way of care giving.
- Failing domiciliary care.
- Non co-operative and adamant patient.
- Inferior care due to constant change of Carers.
- Care Giver Burnouts for family members.
How We Helped:
Started a dialogue with all the grandchildren, identified Mrs. Maya as the Primary care giver and one point contact to co-ordinate her grand mom’s care, since she is stationed in India and a non-working woman. Convinced that domiciliary care is failing and optimum care cannot be achieved in a home atmosphere. She was moved into a care facility and helped the care facility draw a care plan. First thing was to to start physical therapy and thus brought back mobility. She is currently ambulatory with the help of walker and engagement therapies were given to make sure her temperament is controlled and helped her maintain a cordial relationship with her care givers. Financial crisis was managed by pooling resources from her grandchildren as per the estimated cost of her care to fund her health care.