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Senior Health

Old age?



My grandma is 85 yrs old. She has a heart attack about 10 yrs ago. She had a brain tumor taken out a year ago. She is ALWAYS complaining that everything in/on her body hurts. She makes up stories that are just off the wall and I think she is starting to "lose it". Her grand daughter had a baby a month ago and is now living with her. My grandma takes her to school and then takes care of the baby all day while the baby`s mother is in school. My question is, is this okay for a woman to be doing all this when she is getting so old, is already in a lot of pain, forgets a lot and isn`t in the best health. If not how should my family let her know it isn`t the best idea without upsetting her.

Just one more thing- She is getting to the point where my family is debating putting her in a home. How should you know when it is time for this?


From your information, it sounds as if your grandmother needs to see the primary caregiver to address her physical complaints and to have a cognitive assessment performed as well. She has had some major health issues that could be influencing her memory and personality. However, because she is caregiving for a baby,  this may present safety issues.

It is recommended by expert clinicians working with older adults that the person experiencing memory problems and personality changes needs to undergo a comprehensive assessment to discover what is causing it before deciding to relocate an older adult. Your information does not indicate that she has been evaluated recently.

Recommendation would be that family members address their  concerns with your grandmother by letting her know how much you care about her and encourage her to see her primary care provider to make you and her family members feel better for her. Offer to go with her to the appointment.

Also, express safety concerns regarding her child care to her and the child's mother during this time when she is having memory and personality changes. 

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Response by:

Evelyn L Fitzwater, DSN, RN Evelyn L Fitzwater, DSN, RN
Associate Professor Emerita
Associate Director of the
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati