My mother is living in a nursing home. She is treating everyone poorly, arguing and throwing temper tantrums, and refusing care. I am doing the best I can with this behavior, but I'm finding it harder and harder to cope. Any suggestions?

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My mother has severe COPD, a Stage IV pressure ulcer, CHF, and depression (for which she will not take any meds). She is a retired RN (former assistant charge nurse at a nursing home) is in a nursing home which she hates (although the care she is receiving there is the best of any she has been in recently) and has recently thrown a temper tantrum (kicking, screaming, hitting the bed) when she found out she could not change to a different facility because they lacked the ability to care for her wound. This is because no one at that facility has any training using a wound vac. I visit every other day, do her laundry and do my best to listen to her. She is making very poor health decisions (refusing treatment and refusing drugs) but her doctor informed me that getting HCPOA invoked will be difficult at best since she is still cognizant of her surroundings. Just last night she accused us of all being in a coalition against her. I only want what is best for her and her own doctor told her it is best that she stay in the nursing home she is in as family is close. She refuses to listen to reason and only keeps saying "no one listens to me, no one cares about me, etc." My sister tries her best to help and be there when I need to vent (she lives 2 hours away). I also work full-time. My job requires a 45 minute commute (one way) each day. I am becoming more and more stressed each day and even broke down in tears yesterday. I know she is afraid and in pain and I have told her I understand all those things, but I am doing the best I can and only want what is best for her. She tells everyone she wants me to stop running her life but yet I don't come to visit often enough. I am doing the best I can but am finding it harder and harder to cope. Any suggestions?

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Sorry you're caught between a rock & a hard place.
There is such a thing as "situational dementia" and unless your mom has always been unreasonable....this may now be the case.
I find it odd that she has been involved with nursing homes in her line of work & now is so intollerant of them. I can only imagine that she is afraid she will reap what she has sown, but if that's not the case then you will need a deeper evaluation. I would insist that the doctor be of more help to you if he wants to keep her as a patient and a cooperative one. If he wants her to stay then he wants the money!
You can attend the meeting the NH has that plans the course of action for your mom (care planning meeting). They also have family groups "family council" to discuss care.
I wish you the best.
You are doing great but since she is in a very good home and they let her act that way you can relax a little. A lot of homes will not put up with your love one acting like that. So let them take care of it. And you still come when you can but don't wear yourself out. She needs you to be healthy . And you can tell her that you love her and do what you can while your there but take care of your self and let the home care for her and do what they suggest for you to do if you believe they are doing a good job.
I'd try an "intervention" like they do for alcoholics. Sounds like she is in control of her emotions, not like some chemical imbalance. Sometimes there is NOTHING that can be done, and you are reaching that point. She was a nurse, get her into that mode. good luck
It's very difficult and stressful! I'll just share how I hap-hazardly dealt with my Dad's unusual rants and sometimes physical outbursts.
After sweet talking, hard talking and even saying Dad if you don't stop you could end up in a State Home! Even that didn't stop his insistance that he may as well be in one anyway. Our family loved the 1st NH he was in, the staff the care, and the 6 min drive. Dad on the other hand refused everything they tried to do for him.
Dad was ultimately was placed at another NH this time under Hospice Care. I even told him that I could not come see him act and talk like he had been doing ( he had a stroke but he played us pretty good too!) my visits came once a week instead of every other day.
He would still try to say they weren't doing anything for him, he may as well be home, but I would put it right back on him saying be careful what you ask for, you told everybody to leave you alone! So now, that's what they are doing, just enough to keep you clean, feed, medicated and comfortable...WHEN YOU LET THEM!
Now visits are much more easy to do, he's appreciative of my visits, talks nice about the staff and the care
I guess it's true that the sick or disabled tend to take out their anger on the ones closest to them. You will have to find and use your survival skills to protect your physical and mental well being.
If your gut feeling tells you that your Mom is getting the help and care that she needs, you'll have to learn to let go, she'll come around.
Take care of yourself and I wish you well.
Top Answer
You poor dear. First of all, as an RN myself, your mom is angry and upset and just feeling out of control of her situation, so she is acting out. Nurses can be some of the worst patients. YOu have no control over your mom or her behaviors. So take a deep breathe and be kind to yourself.

IT is apparent that you cannot make your mom happy. She is angry at her present situation and her present health. SHe is taking it out on those she knows will not reject her- this is so common. You are the one that is most loyal and tolerable of her behaviors, so you are the object of her negativity and anger.
You need to learn not to take anything your mom says personally. Easier said than done. But, she is just angry and you are her safest target.

Since your mom is in her "right" mind and is able to make decisions for herself, you can do nothing but sit back and support her the best way you know how.

The next thing you need to do is to take yourself. She is in a home and receiving good care. She is able to voice her opinion and displeasure. She has a right to refuse meds and treatment.
Hopefully the facilty will refer her to a psychiatrist that will give her some meds that she will willing take to calm her down. Otherwise the facilty needs to find her anther home that will take her that does handle wound vacs.

You do not deserve the abuse from your mom and if it having such a negative affect on you, then make more visits by phone and less in person to decrease your stress. On go to visit in person when you feel as if you can handle it. Visiting her and putting up with her bad behavior is rewarding her.


Man the same old thing over and over again in these posts......just got done watching one of my favorite sci-fi movies Soylent Green.....remember the scene when Sol WENT HOME....too bad they don't have places like that for real! LOL
Mkennedy, I sympathize with you. You're doing the best you can, and it's not easy to hear our elderly parents say that we're trying to run their life, and so on. ( I've been there.) There are some good suggestions already on this thread....I echo what they have said. And just know that I support you, as do many others here. Hang in there and keep the faith.
My heart goes out to you but believe me, there is light at the end of the tunnel. My dad was recently placed in a nursing home because I just couldn't do it myself anymore (even though I have a brother and sister that don't put as much into his care as they should). My dad is now doing so well that he cannot understand why he cannot come home. I told him the doctor and I agreed that he is safer there than at home. I cannot take care of him in my apartment because I am not well and I have a very sick husband to take care of. When my dad started getting angry at me at the NH I decided to visit him only once a week. This worked because he was very happy to see me when I did show up. He started not eating there and getting very nasty about the kind of food being served. The doctor suggested giving him a mild anti-depressant and it worked. He now is starting to associate with others, finally after six months, and they love him there. Please don't make yourself sick over this. I did and I am paying a price for it now. My dad is currently doing better than me. Hang in there and have the doctor talk to her rather than you and space your visits so that she will look forward to seeing you. At one point I had to tell my dad that if he didn't calm down they were going to put him somewhere that I couldn't visit and he didn't want that. At times when he argued with me I would interrupt him and say, "If you are going to keep talking to me like that I am leaving the facility." He stopped. You have to keep in mind that they are scared and feel lonely because you are taking the life they knew away from them but you simply have no choice. Hang in there, it will get better.
Why don't you ask the staff at the nursing home for some medication for your mother.
Have you tried to get her out of the nursing home and hire someone to stay with her at home? I would try that. If she is in her right mind and able to get to the bathroom and bathe on her own, she probably just wants to hold on to her independence.

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