He doesn't remember she's in hospital

My grandpa has alzheimers. He knows who we all are, but can’t really take care of himself.

My grandma is sick. She needed to go to hospital yesterday for tests. He kept asking where she was, and every time we had to tell him she was in hospital, he’d get a shock. But then he’d forget. And ask again. He forgot to take his meds yesterday - grandma couldn’t remind him. He forgot to eat too.

Worse, he lost his license late last year (due to the disease) but he forgets that too. My dad was about to take grandma home from hospital last night, when grandpa shows up in the car to take her home. This morning, when she was worse, he refused to call her a taxi or ambulance to take her to hospital. He drove her himself. She was too sick to fight him about it.

It’s hard enough having grandma in hospital, but trying to figure out what to do with grandpa while she can’t look after him is a nightmare…

Take his car keys away from him NOW. He’s liable to kill or injure himself or someone else if you don’t.

On preview, I don’t mean this to sound harsh, but you need to do this for his own good.

I’m not sure how things work where you live, but would an in-home aide be possible to look after your grandfather while your grandmother recovers?


It’s not as simple as all that. If we take away his keys, he will still refuse to call a taxi or ambulance, and then she won’t even get to hospital. Plus he’s liable to become agitated when he can’t find them and make things worse for my grandma… Also, my dad doesn’t want to admit to himself that his dad is losing it - and thinks that he shouldn’t have lost his license, and is the one who is half telling them that’s OK for grandpa to drive to the hospital “because it’s really close to home”. Personally, I disagree.

As for home care, we’re looking into it - most of the local ones have waiting lists and require an in home assessment first - which we don’t have time for. He has a veterans gold card, which I’m going to see what it entitles him to. Half the battle will be getting both grandpa and grandma to agree to it.

I just wanted to offer my condolences for your situation. I’ve gone through the exact same situation with my grandparents recently, but fortunately it has all worked out. IMHO, it’s a different generation with different ideas about responsibility and independance, and this can be a terribly vague and frightening path to travel. Best of luck!

IIRC it entitles him to a lot. We had a guy in the private hospital I work at for over a year with nothing more than a leg ulcer because the veterans health fund kept paying for it.

Well, we managed to lose him today. Twice.

First time, he decided he was going to visit grandma. He drove (illegally) to the local public hospital, and demanded to see her. Only problem was, she wasn’t there - she was in a nearby private hospital, but he didn’t know that, they didn’t know that, so they had to try and figure out who he was. They finally got onto his GP, who rang grandma in hospital and demanded he be taken into care. Grandma managed to ring my dad, who managed to get him home.

He was then to go to another friend’s place for dinner, a 1 minute walk down the street. 30 minutes later, he hadn’t arrived, so they went looking for him. He eventually showed up, but we don’t know where he went in between.

On the plus side, we’ve managed to get meals on wheels lined up for him, which includes a welfare check when they drop off the meal. Also, we have a roster for someone to stay with him until grandma’s out of hospital.

We didn’t get as much help as we’d hoped from the department of veterans affairs, but then again, it was all pretty last minute.

Good luck. My best friend had a grandpa with Alzhemier’s and a grandma who was just plain sick/weak (sweetest lady ever!).

My friend’s family ended up selling both homes and buying a bigger house so all 6 of both generations could live together. They had different people who came 9-5, and etc, but I swear I was damned impressed my friend’s mother wasn’t insane after that year (the grandfather was a handful).

The grandmother ended up passing away peacefully in her daughter’s arms, and, as true love (even through Alzhemier’s) has it, he passed away peacefully not a few weeks later.

I really don’t know how my friend and her family did it. They are now in the process of selling the house (so they can move into a smaller home again). It was stressful just for me to be there, and I always felt so bad for the daughter/my friend’s mom. But I also remember the grandpa when he was extremely independent and talked your ear off :smiley: so those memories always make me smile.

Be strong. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your family too.



I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I have had to deal with the same thing with several members of my family. And I hate to say this, and you probably already know this, but things will only get worse.

Now is the time for your entire family to sit down and have a talk about what to do. I can understand your dad’s reluctance to admit how bad his dad is. I ignored my mother’s warning signs that she should no longer drive longer than I should have. I knew she was having blackouts and memory confusion, but figured she only drove to the nearby store, so wasn’t in that much danger. Then I saw her neighbor’s small children playing in their driveway, and realized she could get mixed up, or black out, and run over those kids, and I took action.

First the family needs to acknowledge that there are no easy, nice choices. This is a horrible disease and it takes it’s toll on everyone involved. The symptoms your grandpa is showing now are going to get worse. The confusion and tendency to wander can put him in great danger. A neighbor of my in-laws wandered off one night and froze to death trying to find her way back home.

Can you locate any Alzheimer’s support groups in your area? They should have information concerning your options and can give you the benefit of their experience in dealing this. Sometimes people from outside the family can give objective viewpoints, and make the tough decisions ahead easier.

I imagine your grandma is going to need help with him even when she recovers. Now would be a good time to set out a plan, and have several options explored so you can be ready to put them in place when needed.

I wish you and your family the best of luck to get through this hard time.

I also want to say that physically removing the ability to drive is a good idea. Take the keys, take the whole darn car. When he is more lucid, explain to him that he will likely hurt of kill himself, anyone who is with him, and whoever he hits. Tell him graphic stories about all the accidents that older drivers have caused (the farmer’s market in California comes to mind). Tell him every time you see an article or news story about an elderly driver causing an accident. Most of all, tell him that you are doing it because you love him and you don’t want him to get hurt. Also, if the nursing home is a scary concept for him and your dad, tell them both that getting into an accident at his age will almost surely result in a short term or perminant nursing home stay. Also, look into adult day care or respite care. A nursing home sounds like more than he needs and a community center might be able to take him in to a program now.

Oh, and I meant also to say good luck in dealing with a difficult situation. Take care of yourself too!

First let me say I am sorry your family is going through this. My grandfather died of Alzheimer’s and my aunt and possibly even my dad are also showing early signs of it. It is my greatest fear that my dad will get it, although he pretty much seems resigned to it.

Sometimes the best thing to do is not to try to explain too much, especially if it will upset them. I wouldn’t tell him you are taking his car because you think he can’t drive safely, but I would take the car away from him. You can tell him it needed repairs, or make something up about why the car is not there. If it lets him keep some dignity that is better for him to think the car is just gone than to think “my family thinks I am losing it.” But for his own safety and others someone does have to step in and take the car. It is only a matter of time until he hurts someone. It is hard for families to face but he hurts or kills someone the whole family will be living with that guilt.

If he is to the point where he wanders it is time to start looking for permanent solutions like in-home care or a nursing facility. He is going to need constant supervision. It is hard to make that decision but like others have said it is going to get worse. There are cases of Alzheimers patients wandering off and getting very lost or hurt and the primary concern is that he is physically safe and cannot harm himself or others. It is very sad to see a family member like this but honestly people need to face reality about what is going to be happening. I say this not from a lack of sympathy, but having seen it myself.

Best of luck to you and your family.