Aunty yelled at me today like I was a kid!

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I stayed at evening church program today:) Eleven-year-old cousin was home with Aunty. She has not stayed in her own bedroom since her stroke last year (she has been sleeping on the downstairs couch). When I came home she screamed at me because she asked cousin to take photos of her room because she wanted to know how clean it was. She was unhappy over the way it looks: The laundry basket is sloppy (I was in a hurry this morning when I dressed her and didn't have time to fix it back neatly).There are too many things on the dresser ( I never moved anything from the way she left it when she moved downstairs because I didn't want to be accused of taking or losing something.)There is dust in the room. I never swept the floor. (I clean the entire upstairs weekly.) In the past, there were always certain things that I never touched while cleaning because that's what I was told to do. Now I am wrong about everything and the 11-year-old "angel" is being used as a spy to check behind me when I'm not home. I don't appreciate being yelled at ; when I asked her if she was mad she said, no, I'm upset.Isn't that the same thing? ??? I never know what to do because I'm always wrong.If I said the sky is blue, she would probably insist it was purple! So now I am going to spend this entire week deep cleaning her room instead of searching for a new orthopedic doctor for myself (another long story: old doctor left to go to another hospital, and I don't like his replacement. )She is supposed to restart home therapy either this week or next (I am waiting for them to call us).She said that the first thing she wants to learn is how to go upstairs.


GospelGirl, No. You, as the competent, functioning, adult, decide priorities. Not Aunty. Not cousin. This is bull. She is mad or upset and that's TOO BAD. YOU put first things first. YOU are not wrong just because they yell at you. A little dust and imperfectly folded clean laundry will not kill anyone. Failing to get necessary medical attention will.

If you can't tell Aunty that there is no yelling needed, and ask her to tell you what you want done first and I will get to it when I can, you need some assertiveness training. Do you think it is good for the 11 year old to regard Aunty with dementia as the head of household, or you?
Your profile doesn't say that Aunty has dementia, but is sure sounds like it. (Maybe that came up in another post.)

First, re-read what vstefans wrote. She is correct. You cannot let someone with dementia set priorities for you.

I'd also suggest TRYING to get into Aunty's world. Not easy, and no guarantee you can do it every time, but worth thinking about.

"Oh Aunty! You must feel so bad that you can't even go to your own room. Sleeping on the couch downstairs is not what any of us wanted for your golden years. I hope the therapist can help you learn to get upstairs, and also help you strengthen your body. I know you would do better with your room than I can, because you know how you want everything. I'm doing the best I can. My most important job for you right now is helping you be comfortable and safe down here."

And give some thought to your young cousin. At 11 it must be thrilling to be entrusted with "spying" tasks by an older relative. But is must be kind of creepy, too. Maybe it would help her if you took her under your wing a bit, and let her do things for a mentally healthy adult. I certainly wouldn't scold her for doing as Aunty asks, or even bring that up. Just let her feel she is your partner (junior partner, of course) in caring for Aunty. Tell her how much you appreciate it that she can stay with A while you are at church, etc. Let her know how serious you are about providing good care to this sometimes-aggravating old lady.

Is Cousin only there when you are not? It might be good to have some "family time" with the three of you.

Don't let Aunty's crabbiness get you down. It is about her and her lack of independence and powerlessness to even go to her own room. She shouldn't take that out on you, but, hey, she has dementia!
Aunty was never diagnosed with dementia; is it possible that the stroke could have caused some dementia-like symptoms? Aunty has been watching Cousin since birth, and we keep him "off and on" during the school week depending on parents' work schedules and babysitting needs. His school is 6 blocks from us, so he often stays overnight and I get him up for school ( he's the type of kid who has to be called about 5 times before he will wake up. ) He has a 16-month-old brother at home (whom we also watch on occasion). He would be considered a bit "grown" and spoiled, but that's another story. Aunty does not have dementia; but that has made me think of another question: could the strokes have affected her attitude? For lack of a better term, could it explain why she is "meaner" to me now even though I am busting my #$* off ( sorry, admin.!) more than I ever have? Pre-stroke, she was always bossy, even to her own kids (my older 2 cousins, who both sadly passed away in their mid-40s from drug-related issues).
GospelGirl, the answer to your question is yes; you may want to look up "vascular dementia". Did they really never do any kind of a cognitive eval while she was in rehab?
try mayoclinic/diseases-conditions/vascular-dementia/basics/symptoms/con-20029330
The only type of cognitive evaluation I remember is after the first stroke to see if she needed speech therapy; she had to read stories and answer questions about them, solve mathematical-type word problems, and do logic- type examples like arranging facts in order based on a situation already described in a story.
(Sorry, didn't mean to post yet).She passed the tests, and it was determined that she didn't need any help with speech therapy.
It sounds more to me like Aunty was ruminating and looking for a bone to pick with someone. She was probably thinking about how much she would like to be back in her own room and wondered what it looked like now without her careful attendance. So she sent your cousin up there to take pictures. She was looking for something to be mad about. The room could have been spotless and she would probably find something.

It sounds like your aunt is used to being in control and still sees you as one of the kids. Our elders don't see us as grown, no matter how old we get. We're always the willful kids who need to be told what to do. Gosh, it gets irritating. What we have to do is ignore it and don't say anything back, because it just starts an argument. BUT you don't have to clean her room. She can hire a maid to do it just the way she likes it.

I wondered if your aunt is paying the bills, so thinks she has a right to boss you around. Living in someone else's house is very tough, because to them it is their house, their rules. I'm in the same position, so know how it is. Even if we pay our own bills, there is always the house ownership thing.
We both pay the major bills; I give her "rent" every month to take care of my half of the cable, electric, and water. We split the grocery bill evenly. I pay my own phone bill because I have a separate line. I also pay half of any improvements or work that we get done such as plumbing, gardening, or repairs (cousin's boyfriend , one of my uncles, or two neighbors that help us a lot usually perform these tasks for us).And the point you made about control is probably right; she retired from the govt. after 30 years at Social Security. She supervised people and trained them on various skills at the job.She has told me many stories of how she conducted workshops and organized activities there.By the way,
(Posted too fast again).By the way, she had a boyfriend for many years whom she did everything for. He was 10 years older and died of Alzheimer's-related complications. Their relationship was interesting because he was from the deep South and grew up poor and illiterate. He was a friend of my uncle. When we had a fire, Uncle brought him over to fix our kitchen back. He and Aunty fell in love, and stayed a couple for about 20 years until he died.

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