How can grandchildren help caregiver parents in their role?

I see my mother working so hard to care for my grandfather. He was such a great man and now is in the final stages of Alzheimer's. My mom has gone through it all, caring for him while he was still independent, having people care for him in his house, making the tough decision of taking him to a home, hospitalizations and now he's in hospice. I admire her strength and know she's doing this with all the love a daughter can have but I sometimes feel bad I'm not there to help her. I live in another state and can only ask her about how he's doing, how she's doing and such. Any advice on how I can lift her spirits or just show her I'm symbolically there? Of course, anytime I visit I make sure to go see him but it does get harder and harder as they are "consumed" my this horrible condition. Last time I visited I couldn't hold back tears, they just fell down my cheeks as our eyes met.


My strong, funny, witty grandpa wasn't there. But then I said hi, and his eyes lit up. And I sang to him our favorite songs and he could go along with the rhythm even if singing the words was difficult. 


Don't want him to suffer, or my mom. So thankful for her dedication and endless love to him. Life is truly a circle.

AARP Expert

What a beautiful post, VMPM.    The love your family shares is so apparent; you are all so fortunate to have one another.   


It sounds to me like you are supporting your mom and grandfather in wonderful ways.  You make sure to ask your caregiver mom how SHE is doing, you meet your grandfather's eyes and communicate with him in a way that resonates and treats him with the dignity and respect we all deserve, you visit when you can, and you're even here talking to a community of caregivers looking for ideas! 


It can be a helpless feeling when we're far away and can't be hands-on to help.  I love taking advantage of technology - facetime, deliveries by instacart or prime (what about a complete meal delivery service for mom?), even just initiating a words with friends game to take your mom's mind off of things?  Or call her on the phone and watch something on TV together in real time, like a sports event or movie.  A little bit of snail mail - a small drawing or painting, card, even writing down a silly joke and popping it in the mail - can lift spirits immensely.  When we're caregiving, it's so easy to become consumed in the must-do tasks of the day.  A reminder that life is still out there

can shake up that monotony. 


You're such a good daughter and granddaughter.  My heart goes out to you for the pain and struggle you are experiencing.  I hope that you find comfort in memories of happy days and in the fact that you are presently supporting your family in a compassionate, loving, open-hearted way. 

Amanda Singleton
All posts are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The posting and viewing of the information in this community should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal or tax advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues. Nothing written in this community is intended to create an attorney‑client relationship. An attorney-client relationship may only be established through direct attorney‑to‑client communication that is confirmed by the execution of an engagement agreement.
0 Kudos
Honored Social Butterfly

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather.  I have had three people with different types of dementia in my family, and it is very difficult. 


I'm not sure what you can do from out of state -- that makes it a little rougher.  Unless you can fly out to see your mom and give her a weekend off from caregiving/visiting.   Do that for her.  When my dad had cancer, I had an infant at home and a very demanding job.   So I couldn't help much.   But I did go over on weekends and give my mom "off."  So she could relax, run errands, or do whatever she wanted. 


From out of state, I'd probably do something like send self-care gifts to my mom.  What does she like?   Books, certain foods, a gift certificate for a pedicure?   


Now that my mom is older, I have put her on my accounts like amazon prime, so she can just order what she needs, and instacart, which is a 2-hour grocery delivery service.  I got her an apple TV, too, and let her sign up in my account, so she can watch her favorite shows when she wants to.  Around her schedule.  Audible for audio books as well.  These types of things can be helpful, too, if a person is housebound by caregiving or just overwhelmed with time constraints. 

Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Need to Know

NEW: AARP Games Tournament Tuesdays! Achieve a top score in Right Again! Trivia and you could win up to $300 in prizes! Learn More.

AARP Games Tournament Tuesdays

More From AARP