Jennifer from Wisconsin

My grandma Jeanne was one of those "super active" people. She served on community committees, supported the arts, threw big parties, cooked amazing eclectic foods, exercised religiously, and traveled the world to partake her favorite hobby - designing and building miniatures.

Until she was about 88 grandma seemed to be doing fine. She and my grandpa Bill were living on their own in a condo and were as active as ever...or so I thought. I had taken a job in a different state and was home for Thanksgiving. I stopped over to see them and realized things were bad. There was an overdue bill on the counter, fruit flies in the kitchen, decaying boxes full of carryout in the fridge, and my grandpa who had always been overweight was looking downright thin. I was shocked.

Long story short my grandma who had always paid the bills, cooked all the meals, cleaned the house, and kept things running, was showing the first signs of age related dementia and my grandpa had been covering up her deficits to everyone for a long time.

That was a hard day, but a turning point. Action needed to be taken. I called a family meeting and we all decided together with Grandma and Grandpa that they should move to assisted living. That's when things got real. Almost daily Grandma changed her mind and decided she "wasn't moving" much reassurance was needed at all hours of the day or night...

Meanwhile we did "ALL THE THINGS" you're supposed to do but avoid doing...set up the power of attorney forms, set up the wills, set up the funeral arrangements (not as terrible as you'd think), set up the "living will" and filled out the paperwork for the assisted living facility.I learned all about my grandparents finances and set up their accounts so that I could pay their bills online. It was exhausting.

They made the move just 8 weeks after my fateful visit to their house. They adapted quickly to assisted living and loved the "pill delivery nurses" (something they had insisted they didn't need help with initially) and meal services. My grandma quickly joined all of the activities, lectures, and "chair Zumba" exercise classes. She made friends with "the ones who don't act like old poops around here". Grandpa was happy as long as grandma was happy.

That was two years ago...Grandpa has since passed away. Thank goodness we had those extra services available for his cares and didn't need to move him again. Grandma continues to make friends, participate in activities, and never misses a meal. Challenges arise for me as POA and mountains of paperwork but as long as she's safe I try to take everything in stride. Wouldn't you? Look how cute she is!

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