Toxic elderly parents and grandparents

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I am 41 years old and I am taking care of my grandmother, but for much of mine and my sister's lives my grandmother has always been a negative and nasty person and it's gotten much worse since my grandfather and mother had passed away. She's saying things that are inappropriate and often times abusive and has done it in front of people. People have said to me "oh she's old she can say whatever she wants" yet they're not the ones who are dealing with the verbal abuse on a daily basis. I notice that many people are faced with caring for elderly parents and grandparents, but what is unfair is the way many of us are treated on a daily basis. My grandmother has been a toxic person all of her life she's not very nice to people and has said things even stuff of a racist manner to people that has driven many not to come around. She even had the nerve to say I should forget about marriage and a family because nobody wants me and I am too old. How long can you listen to that kind of negativity until it becomes wearing on you.


Me? I couldn't listen to it very long! "Toxic" says it all. I stay as far away from toxic chemicals as I can, I avoid substances suspected to be tocxic, and I protest/advocate to keep toxic wastes out of our ground water.

I think you need to detach from this toxic woman.

Can you tell us more about this situation? Are you living together? Her house or yours? Why are you doing the caregiving?

A little more background will result in more realistic answers.
I am at her house and how my me and my sister wound up taking care of her was my mother-who was my grandmother's caregiver for 21 years had passed away leaving a lot of stuff in limbo which made a lot of things difficult to deal with one was my grandmother is used to being catered to since that's what my grandfather did which was a huge mistake. Doing that resulted in her acting nasty and negative because when she didnt get her way she acted a fool.
Queen, so sorry to read that your Mother had passed away.... around 40% of caregivers pass away leaving behind the person they were caring. Caregiving is very exhausting, both physically and mentally.

Please watch your own health and that of your sister. Your Grandmother could outlive the both of you, at this rate, and how she acts.

One possibility is to have Grandmother get onto Medicaid [which is different from Medicare].... Medicaid has a program where they will pay for Grandmother to be in a nursing home. I realize this might not be an option as many people don't want to move an elder into a skilled nursing facility. Medicaid will then put a lien on Grandmother's house so that they can be paid back.

A lot depends on what care she needs. If you could answer that, it would be most helpful.
If your mother died and left a cat and you were very allergic to cats, would you feel you must care for that cat, or would you make an effort to find a loving home for it?

Grandmothers are not cats, but the concept is similar. You don't inherit the requirement to take care of someone. I can imagine things were very confused for a while after your mother died. I hope things have settled down a bit and you and your sister can realistically face the question "What is the best for the three of us?" GM is not the only one whose needs and wants should be considered. You and your sister are each as worthy as she is to lead a quality life.

If you leave GM's house, where will you live?
From what I have read about caregiving, it's not advisable for family members who have been abused by someone to be their caregiver. It makes sense, really. It runs a risk for both parties. I'd consider that moving forward.

I'd also consider if your grandmother may have cognitive decline. When people show an increase in being negative, challenging, and nasty, it may be due to some mental issue. Some nasty people get worse and even very kind people can get nasty. I'd explore that, because, it may something that is no longer within her control. Regardless, I'd develop a thick skin or make other arrangements for her care.

Are you expecting some kind of inheritance from grandmother? If so, then, I'd consider how much of her behavior you can take, but, if you need the inheritance, then, I'd try to get a counselor and/or support group to help me cope and stay healthy myself. Caregiving is very hard to do. This could go on for years, depending on her health. I'd work on ways to build my self esteem.  You must be a pretty good person to be helping grandmother. I'd be sure to remind myself of that a lot and give yourself lots of pats on the back.  Sounds pretty impressive to me.  Other people likely see that about you too.  That's likely why they pay her words no mind.
My grandmother has offered all kinds of stuff which I told her I don't want and she has made it seem to people that I can't take care of myself when I work and pay my own bills. I even went as far as telling grandma that I have a life of my own and having to sacrifice my well being and happiness is unfair. She even had the audacity to say to me after having oral surgery why I had it done and then proceeds to do things to make herself out to be the victim when her real victims are the people she threw under the bus and treated like crap. One reason my uncle (grams son) does not come around much he'll come around twice a year, but other than that he's living his life in another state. What is also shocking is how she said she didnt care about my uncle's situation dealing with his adult special needs son it's all about her. This falls into place with how she does not care about the lives her son and her granddaughters have because she wants what she wants when she wants and doesnt care about how unhappy her family is. I told my grandmother about 3 years ago that she ran my mother into the ground with her toxic behavior. She replied that I didnt know what I was talking about which is her response when confronted about something true. What irritates me is how people will say she can say whatever she wants she's old. That is not the excuse to think you can just insult and degrade people because you're old. My grandmother's mental health is for the most part good her faculties are still fuctioning. Grandma also likes to play games and lie on people a lot. I let people know that you need to keep meticulous records because seniors who abuse their caregivers will lie saying that people are stealing from them when they're not. People have said how do you maintain your sanity dealing with this and you've had no vacation or a decent break to focus on yourself and your relationship. My boyfriend understands since he too is in the same boat taking care of his mother and it's burning him out. A week ago a friend said I looked worn down and I had a physical and my BP was elevated so they started me on a short dose of medication to get my pressure down. It was then time to address my needs and put grandma on the back burner because my depression of not seeing my significant other and not living is getting to me. I've been calling around to look at caregiver support groups I can attend so I can have an outlet other than dealing with an abusive old goat.
Well you have found out you can;t change her.. she does not want to change. So hard as it is you must change you if you want/need to stay with her. I have found a happy "I;m sure your right", or "Yep,, thats how I am" works very well at shutting down those sorts of comments. No argument,, no fun for the instigator. and no more waiting on her hand and foot if you can avoid it.Then just smile and walk away... She;ll get over it, or let her know you or she will "get gone"
She knows I am no longer engaging in any arguments or listening to negative comments. I took a few hours with a friend to relax and have a life and I am feeling a little better, but I need more moments like these so I can maintain my sanity. My boyfriend is being patient about what I am dealing as I am with his situation. What bothers me still is why people think once you get to a certain age you're entitled to treat people any kind of way and making comments that are inappropriate towards them? I find that anyone who justifies someone's poor behavior because they're a certain age is just as guilty as they are.
You're dealing with a Narcissist. Sounds like the people who excuse her behavior are her enablers. They are not the ones having to live with her nasty attitude - you are. They have no idea what you have to put up with. Call your local Council on Aging and see about their respite programs. I'm guessing that your sister knows how she is also, so at least you have a sibling who understands. You both could use some time off.

When she makes her nasty comments, just leave the room. No matter what is happening, or if you are helping her in some way - tell her that you will come back when she is in a better mood. Don't give her an audience, good luck!
I think you may be overly concerned with what other people think. Who care if they excuse bad behavior because of age? (And who are "they"?)

You and your sister know the reality of the situation. Don't worry about opinions of anyone else ... except maybe medical professionals.

She isn't going to change, except perhaps get worse. Make a conscious decision, not just act by default. Do you want to continue to live with her and care for her?

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