Has anyone snapped at the person they're taking care of and not felt bad about it?

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Last night at about 11:30, my grandma had tried to get out of bed by herself and fell. I called EMS and they came, got her up and back into bed. I've been under a lot of stress lately. My mother is pretty much refusing to help me out and my dad has been sick so he's missed work, so money is tight. I still can't get in touch with my Uncle (Grandma's POA), I'm still waiting for my freaking insurance to approve palliative care. The icing on the cake? I've been sick lately, so I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. Similar reactions can occur because of my PCOS, but now my boyfriend is freaking out and is yelling at me. Accusing me of not taking the pill everyday, which I do. Every single freaking day for the past 3 years, at 8pm. I'm hoping it was a false positive, but I still don't know what this means for our relationship. My docor's appointment is next week. Then this morning, I give my grandma her meds and I made her a sandwich, which she loves, and she threw the sandwich at me saying she wasn't hungry. An hour later, she yelling at me that she's hungry *rolls eyes*. So, I made her some strawberry oatmeal that she likes, she took one bite of it and threw it onto the floor before turning over and going back to bed. I got the oatmeal cleaned up out of the carpet and then I hear the t.v. on about a half an hour later. She starts yelling at it because she didn't like what was on, so I changed the channel for her. I turned on about 10 different shows that I know she loves, but she didn't want to watch any of them. So I turned on some music and she hit me. I handed her the remote and said I couldn't find anything. If she wanted to watch something, then it's up to her. 10 minutes later, the music is still on. I got in to bring her some yogurt puffs trying to get something in her, and she hit me again telling me that she wants a sandwich. I told her I'll make her a sandwich in a while, because I needed a shower badly and they were about to turn off the water to work on the pipes in our neighborhood. After that, she took my arm and bit me. I didn't say anything, I just walked away. A couple minutes later, I hear her calling for help. I go in there and she had fallen, again. So I called EMS, again. Thankfully the same guys who were here last night and a couple times before also, showed up. Got her back up, and back in bed. Then she tells them that I'm being horrible, not helping her, not letting her eat. Saying it's my fault that she was in "wet pants", even though I just changed them not even a half hour before. One of them pulled me to the side, I explained what happened. Showed him the bruises and bite mark on my arm from her, and thankfully because he's been here before and knows her, didn't report me to APS. Afterwards I got her her noon meds, got her cleaned up again and made her a freaking sandwich again. And surprise surprise, she didn't want it. So after it sat out for an hour without her even touching it, I took it back into the kitchen. She saw me take the plate, and she spit at me saying she wasn't done eating. Today is a good day. She knows who I am, she can hold a conversation. She had a good night sleep, didn't chock on her meds once. A day like this is so rare. So after that, I finally snapped. I told her that I'm trying my best, and the way she is behaving is inexcusable. I don't care if she's 91. I will not tolerate her physically assaulting me over something so little as her not liking what she had asked for, or over something out of my control such as nothing she wants to watch is on T.V. Then I told her that if she does anything like that one more time, that I was going to call her home care nurse, and have her take care of her. Our temporary nurse doesn't put up with anything like that. She said she was sorry, then while I was doing the dishes she called my mom crying. Telling her that I threatened her, and that she doesn't feel safe. That she hasn't eaten all day and is starving. So my parents show up, my dad goes in to calm her down. I explained what happened to my mom. Then when she accused me of lying. I snapped again. I feel bad about it now, but at the same time I don't. I'm just exhausted, and she's making a hard job ridiculously hard for no reason. Was it wrong for me to snap at her?

12 Comments

Has anyone else snapped, or if you have gone through a similar situation what did you do?
Sounds like she has dementia. Have you ever called the Alzheimer's Association hotline and asked for them to help with respite care? I believe in tough love sometimes - you shouldn't have to worry about getting bitten on the arm! No one should have to put up with such bad behavior. The local Dept of Health and Human services will often have some help available for dealing with a nasty attitude from someone with dementia. There are some programs, depending on the state, with counselors to help. They can help you with the right responses to get the older person to respond in a decent way. No one can be a saint 24 hours a day when they get chewed out about everything.
This is too much for one person to deal with.
As to eating, I would tell her that she has to eat when it is fixed - otherwise all she gets is crackers or a snack, since it sounds like she is pushing your buttons to control you. Tough love - she won't starve, believe me.
What has she been diagnosed with? It sounds like she has cognitive decline or dementia. Plus, she's incontinent, combative and has trouble swallowing. I'd be consulting with her doctor about what level of care that she needs or perhaps discuss it with the aids that are coming in to help with her. When people are not mentally and physically well, they cannot be judged the same as someone who is.

There are some helpful videos on You Tube by Teepa Snow on dementia. She has some good suggestions and approaches.

I think I would try to accept that she may have no control over her behavior and lower my expectations. She likely has no control over what she's saying. I'd try to get past verbal banter, (it won't help) and learn to redirect her attention, anticipate a crisis before it happens and delegate her care, if you aren't able to not take things personally.
@Sunny. She has an aggressive form of Alzheimer's. I know a lot of times she has no control over her actions, but on good days she typically does. That's why I let the first few slide. She was just in a bad mood today. We are working on getting her palliative and most likely hospice. We're just waiting for approval from the insurance company so that they can start coming out.

I think I've heard of Teepa Snow before. I'll have to check her out.
That's good. The dementia can create a very exasperating situation. If you are pregnant, I'd be particularly concerned with your own welfare. I'd do a lot of reading on dementia. While the patient may some days appear that they are not as effected as others, they still have brain damage. 

I hope things are approved soon.
Sorry, I've got my own issues and can't read through your whole post, but in answer to the original question... if anyone says they have never snapped I call them a liar. All of us occasionally reach the breaking point, the trick is to either apologize and move on or to see a pattern emerging that points to burn out. I've been nasty once to often and am looking at placing my mom, both for her sake and my own.
Kaykay, you mean you snapped at your mother? And you're feeling bad about that? There's a fine English word you need to learn - bollocks!

I second CW's comment that there can't be any caregiver who hasn't snapped at their caree and yes of course you feel bad about that. Being kind to your caree is pretty much the whole point of the exercise, and if you feel you've said something mean then of course it feels terrible and you regret it, and try not to do it again, and fail repeatedly, and try again.

But snapping at someone who's just contradicted your description of a Grade A crappy day? What, your mother was there, was she? Lending a hand, with everything you've been going through? I repeat: bollocks. Why should you feel bad about that?

And it is not all right, by the way, for your grandmother to hit or bite you - not for trivial reasons, not for substantial reasons either. I'm not sure if Teepa Snow's seminars cover this - does anyone know? - but ask your nurses about managing challenging behaviour. I know your grandmother can't be held responsible for her behaviour but that doesn't mean you just have to stand there and put up with it. No grandma! Do not gnaw on Kaykay!

My niece has PCOS but I didn't know about the false positives - has this happened before? Hugs to you, try not to stress until you know where you are. And tell BF from me - thanks for all the support, dear.
@CM I do feel bad. In the years I've taken care of her, I've only snapped once. That was back when she could still pretty much take care of herself, and she wasn't the nicest to me. The only reason I stayed back then, is because I knew she needed help. She was 87 when I moved in. But she was always making fun of me, yelling at me for random things, guilt tripping me. And all that fun stuff. I remember I had a broken leg, and she started yelling at me for not getting up on the roof to fix the leak. Saying that I'm being lazy, and that if mold grows in the carpet that it's going to be my fault.

I will talk to the nurse about her behavior, but she has seen it herself. My Grandma has even bit her before, because she was scared and thought the nurse was attacking her when all she was doing is putting lotion on her.

It's happened once before that I've had a false positive. Ovarian cysts produce the same hormones as pregnancy, so if you have a new one, or multiple ones that haven't healed, then it can produce a false positive. The only way to know for sure, is an ultrasound.
KayKay, the greatest worry I have for you is your grandmother is going to get you in legal trouble. I also worry about the hitting and biting. How can you help someone who is doing that? Do you have somewhere you can go and let the professionals handle your grandmother?
Yup, definitely have snapped and didn't regret it. As Cwillie mentioned, I too am moving my mom to assisted living for my sanity as well as for the best care for her.

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