I had to come back...I need you guys! Let me ask you this.....

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This question is for Private Caregivers, and family Caregivers alike: how do you deal with a narcissistic 89 year old woman who is jealous, bitter, angry, and repeatedly talks about the same thing day in and day out. Someone who believes their life is or was so interesting, and only cares about listening to her own voice, and boring a** life?! I'm starting to avoid sitting down with her, and just being her companion because I can't take it anymore! Then she gets mad at me and says I'm ignoring her. The worst part of this is, she is my employer. So, I have to worry about losing my job if I don't keep her happy....but, I'm only human. 😟


Cali, It is difficult to divert a narcissistic person's attention away from themselves. I have read about it but not dealt with it myself. You say you are her paid companion. Has anything in her conversations revealed what her interests and activities were in her younger days? If not, I would ask her about her teen/young adult experiences and she may open up. My 92 y/o uncle has a tendency to complain about every little bump in the road while we are driving, and it really gets tiresome. One day, I brought some old cassettes - music from the 40's and big band era - which he is crazy about (I really like it too) and popped one in. We started singing, and I sort of tested him out to see if he could identify the song title or the name of the band, etc. This worked really well and I now do it frequently if we are going to be driving more than short distances. The point is, try to play to their interests, such as music, cards, checkers, reading to them, watching TV, whatever can get their minds off of themselves.
Cali, I am a paid caregiver and I really do understand where you are coming from...and you can forget 'making her happy'... that is not going to happen, not now, not ever....what you can do is say a lot of ' oh really's', 'oh my', ect... but you do not have to HEAR every word she says...especially if you have heard it all a million times before. Are you allowed to do a craft or hobby while being with her? Or does she demand your undivided attention? Even if you were with someone you liked , that would get old really fast...
This kind of caregiving is burn out waiting to happen... what prevents you from seeking employment elsewhere? There is a huge demand for private caregivers.You can not MAKE her happy... so maybe it is time to start looking for another job..... sending you hugs, as I have been in your shoes.....
Cali, I know what you are talking about. My mother can harp on things for days and tells the same stories over and over again. There are some stories I think I am going to scream when I hear them again. I am not a paid caregiver, so I can get up and leave, giving some excuse. Sometimes I get up and start cleaning in an area near her. That makes it look like I'm listening, but I'm not really tuned in. If I were paid, it would be harder.
Cali, if I was paying you to care for my dear Mother and knew you felt this way, I'd terminate you. Please go look for another job.

This poor woman you are working for is 89 and sounds like she might have dementia. All you need to do is train yourself to not really listen but just make some comments here and there ("oh, really"). You can't expect to have a real conversation with her because she can't.

Now, where is her family? Did she hire you directly (probably not)? Go to the one who pays you and tell them you're done.
the elder doesnt have much of a life in the present. they often trip down memory road. they are trying to validate their lives and as annoying as it is its an important source of comfort and closure for them. i try to get them onto another subject when the same story gets too overwhelming. it is difficult for you because they wont even mix it up, same darn words everytime.. i have no solution but i do understand. i toild my sister on the phone recently if i have to listen to how mom erred on the church books by 10 cents one more time i was going to drink drano. i fortunately opted for 6 beers. lol..
Find a family or other old photo album of hers. Go thru the pictures and ask her 2 tell u abour them. You will b focusing on her favorite topic: HER, and YOU will b learning some new stories. She may b more interesting than you're thinking! The more varied stories u learn, when she gets stuck (broken record), you can inject, "Hey, remember that time you ... " and move her off onto another topic. The more she feels you are intetested in HER, the less she will struggle for your undivided attention. She has a lot built up inside her. Because you're there and the only one who is, by your intention & good feelings about communicating with her, you can facilitate her happily bubbling up rather than boiling over and an attitude shift will b healthier for u in the long run.
Cali, if you were in an office working with a boss that was a narcissist and drove you crazy, but that job paid the bills what would you do? If it were me, I'd stick it out. A job is a job I figure right?
Try bringing up other memories for her to talk about instead of being held hostage by the same memories day in and day out. She's 89, that's a lot of memories. What was her favorite birthday? Did she go swimming in lakes and rivers as a child? Does she have kids? Grandkids? Lots to talk about there. Did she take a honeymoon? What was her favorite trip? Redirect her when she starts to become angry or bitter. Act as if what she's saying is the most fascinating thing you've ever heard. You don't have to listen to the same thing day in and day out. Change the subject, get her talking about something else. Look around the house, look at what she has hanging up or sitting out. Where did she get that, was it a gift? Did she work in her younger years? Where? What was her boss like? Did she enjoy the type of work she did? And on and on....

I know it's trying but you can get her going in a different direction. How long is the shift? Do you have other responsibilities while you're there? Can you take care of your responsibilities and take care of her alternating between the two so you don't have to sit with her the entire time you're there?

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