Grandma always acted like an old lady, so what's due to age, and what's her personality?

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My grandma has acted like an old lady her whole life. (Cheapness, not trusting strangers, OCD cleaning, fear of wetness and baths, lying to outsiders that she's ok when she's not.) She always bossed her family around and they did everything she wanted. Now she is 95, and wants 24/7 care, hardly sleeps. She doesn't trust doctors and ESPECIALLY not the hospital because she thinks that "when people go to the hospital/nursing home, they die." She wants to die at home.

She has an infected cut on her leg and when I touch 2 inches away from it gently she screams. She won't see a doctor even though she was recommended. I mentioned "If your leg hurts that much, you have to go to the hospital." She SPIT FIRE, talking about how she's not wanted, how she is going to die at home, etc.

She has a dropped cervix so she has to go to the bathroom all the time, but she also won't let the pads get wet fully. She is deathly afraid of water, and she is always trying to clean herself up. BUt she can't so we have to help her. We tell her she worries too much, but she doesn't listen.

Everything we do, like tucking her into bed, has to be done "just right." She gets mad when we don't read her mind as to what she wants us to do.

She also makes REALLY bad financial decisions. She won't put her money in my mother's name. We're afraid she'll change her will if she gets really mad at us. (We get the co-op right now.) When she was young, she advised Grandpa to make bad financial decisions and she was beyond rationalizing.

She doesn't trust outsiders to help her, because she treats them like guests when they come over. She doesn't tell them to do anything, and she just lets them talk to her. They are generally lazy too, and don't object. I don't work either so I am just staying home and doing it myself, and I don't mind. I would like to sleep though. Her behavior seems to get exponentially worse each day. Also it's Christmas so it's not feeling too good.

I haven't reached out for help until now. I would just like some outside perspective on this. And some support from people who understand. Also I'm afraid she'll say we're abusing her and we'll get in trouble.

Just now I told her I didn't need to move a glass on the table 2 inches, and now she's saying I don't deserve a bedroom and she's moving my books off "her" end table because she says it's going to break the table. Do all old people do this? How do I deal?

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well, she sounds a little kooky alright. but this....."She doesn't trust doctors and ESPECIALLY not the hospital because she thinks that when people go to the hospital/nursing home, they die" ......that is very intuitive. the hospital part, I mean. she is right. now, home care, with a REAL doctor? that's different kettle of fish, and she is wrong about that. it doesn't sound like dementia, so much as it does bloody mindedness. is she of Scotch heritage?
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Like others said, the wound is something that cannot be ignored. Wounds take a long time to heal in elderly people. My grandfather put off having his tended to until it was too late. They amputated his leg, trying to save his life, but he went into shock and died. So ask your grandmother which she would prefer: go to the doctor with the wound or have her leg amputated.
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Thanks, Madge.

Most of personality disorders are generally thought to have to do with childhood or even a later trauma someone experiences. Different people response to things differently. Even if similar things happen to two different people they can be affected totally differently. Even bullies are thought to be a product of the way they have been treated.

I did not interpret what bookworm shared about her grandmother as being a mean person. May be a bit contrary like my dad was, but definitely not mean and nothing hoarding an inheritance.

Best to everyone.
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Kitty, what a lovely comments. I talked to my Mom all the time about her "terrible" upbringing, how she was so deprived and how terrible my Dad treated her (he actually did) but what I have come to know and understand the last few years is she has either a personality disorder or mental illness.

She is very much like bookworm's grandma and this is not from the way she was raised. Bookworm, grandma is the way she is because of her personality problems, narcissistic behavoir, being a bully or many other possibilities.

I had a grandmother, one of 13 children, married at 14, a Mom at 15, divorced at 25 and the sweetest, kindest, most unselfish woman on earth. Loved her dearly. My Mom, her daughter, is nothing like her. She is like her father. The same controlling, narcissistic behavior he had. So you are dealing with a mean old lady (sorry) who is holding an inheritance over you.

She needs to go to a nursing home. And the leg could have become septic and killed her.

I do have a question about nursing homes. If you don't have a POA and want to place a parent in a nursing home, can you? What if they don't want to go? Are you bound forever under their insanity? Just a few questions for anyone who will answer?
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Some of your grandmother traits are part of her generation. I remember my mother telling me about my grandmother who was born in 1900 and died in 1949 of cancer (my dad's mother was born in 1886) who only bathed once a week. Her generation, influenced by the Victorian ideals, had been taught that water was bad for you and not to bath too much. This generation did not tell really how things were because there was a lot of gossip that could get started and people could be quite harsh and not very understanding. People had to appear tough and resilient. Also this generation went through the Great Depression which greatly influenced their attitude towards money and to be frugal. Her fear of hospitals and doctors could also be influenced by what she has seen over the years. The way children were treated by their parents and elders probably had some influence on how she is, too. She feels independence and more in control of her life if she can do her housework and have the order that is familiar to her. Going blind is not fun - I have had optic neuritis that was temporary and it is scary. As everyone ages we all hang on to what control and dignity we can as we loose more of the ability to what we once did without much effort.

I realize that what you are going through is not easy and I do not mean to seem unsympathetic, but I agree with your mother about your grandmother making her own decisions. I would take this time to get to know as much about your grandmother's life as you can. Ask her about her life - that is if she will talk - sometimes there are round about ways that might get her to talk. Ask your mom about your grandmother. This is a time you will never get back. All of my grandparents were deceased by the time I was born and I would love to have known them and of had the opportunity to learn more about their lives.
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Update: Grandma asked me to call the doctor because "She's dying." When she spoke to the secretary on the phone, she said she's dying because she has to go to the bathroom all the time. She also said to me (at least) that she feels tired, or something like "I feel like I"m not in my body anymore. I have no control over my body." The doctor called back and she said over the phone "Can you give me something so that I can die?" He told her to make an appointment, so I think we may be going Thursday, hopefully. He also talked to my mother, and said that she should go to the hospital if she becomes delirious. (RIght now she's ok.) I hope everything works out with her, it was really sad to see her in such a desperate condition. She feels miserable, it made me feel very bad for complaining about taking care of her, even though it has been difficult at times.
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Yeah I"m going to take your advice and start writing things down. She doesn't hear well so we may not have to go behind closed doors.
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Good idea to go to the doctor with her ... and it would be helpful if in advance you send to the doctor your main concerns, and details of her behavior. It might be hard to say these things while in the room with her.
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She certainly has a talent and love for housekeeping. Maybe she assumes that everyone else does too. I think any effort to change my grandma is not worth it. She was very unchangeable as a young person from what I hear, so it certainly will not happen now. She actually tells me sometimes "I'm teaching you how to run a house" already. I think her "teaching" is really what she's doing already. The journal is a good idea, but I don't know if I'm motivated to keep it up. We commit things to memory at this point, so to speak. I don't know. We're going to go to the doctor with her next time (instead of her 85-year old friend/chauffeur). So we will speak with him about these things and see what he says. We also want to mention the extreme paranoia. I think the doctor will be the catalyst.
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I can tell you love her very much. She also sounds like my mother who makes everyone feel like she is a charming person who is in control even though she is not. I wonder if things would be easier if you asked her to share her housekeeping tips with you so you can save them to share with others. She sounds like she has a talent in that area. Even if you just spent a small amount of time each day you may be viewed as someone who cares about her house if you write them down or keep them on the computer. I would also suggest keeping a brief journal of what you do or say when you try to help her with issues like her wound. You are a obviously a loving and caring granddaughter. Share that love with her, ask for her help whenever you can because she seems to have the need to be in control, and vent with us when you need to do so. Eventually, some catalyst will occur that will change things. If you have fostered a good relationship with your grandmother, she may listen to you when she will not listen to others. Do try to get a good night's sleep. It is a gift you can give yourself. Take care. Rebecca
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