Since my uncle died after a short bout in the hospital due to a fall, I have been taking care of my aunt becasue her son lives and works in another state. She is as cantankerous as they come but really hasn't anyone to check in on her except her sister. They fight, and physically fight, at that. he aunt is 81. She tells people she is older than she is and that nobody loves her. There is a reason for that. I didn't understand why everyone has been commending me for watching after her. We have only been in this area for 6 yrs and actively dealing with her for 1 year. Now, she is accusing me of stealing from her and calling me names, and telling me to stay out of her business. I have been bullied off and on my entire life and at 57 I do not want to accept this behavior. he sits sullen in a dark house, takes her meds when she wants to, eats when she wants to (which isn't often) I keep going back every other day to check on her, for my cousin's sake. But it is taking it's toll, especially since she is starting to accuse me of stealing. I'm a wreck and a sad one at that. By the way, she is NOT even MY aunt, but my husband's (by marriage). I married him so I married his whole family. My mamma taught me that. Right now I just want to vomit and never go back, but I know I will.............

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You are doing a fine thing to check in on this cantankerous old woman because she is extended family and for the sake of your husband's cousin.

Surprisingly, the accusations of stealing are common. Typically the person has dementia or some other mental impairment. She misplaces something, or can't understand her bank statement, and since she "knows" that she is all right, the only explanation she can come up with is that somebody took her things. Who could take her things? Why, the person who is in her house most often, of course!

What are this woman's impairments? Does she see a doctor regularly? I don't think it is your responsibility to get her to go, but you should report to her son what you observe so he can make some decisions.

I remember how hard I took it when my husband began accusing me of stealing. That might have been the hardest part (for me) of the dementia to date. Fortunately it didn't last long -- I don't know if I could have taken it for years!

Maybe it would help to know that this isn't about your personally, and it isn't even about a cantankerous old lady getting meaner. It is probably about a defect in her brain that she has no control over.

Especially with your history of being bullied, I can see why you find this extremely stressful. You can call the cousin and bail. Let him find someone else to check on her, or make some other arrangements. Or you could detach from the situation emotionally, tell yourself she is not your relative (which is true) and you are just doing this as a favor to a friend, and do your tasks as a hired stranger would. Another option is to set boundaries with her, insist on respect, etc. -- but if I'm right about the defect in her brain, that might not change things much.

She'd getting nasty and accusatory. NOT YOUR FAULT.

She needs to have a thorough medical evaluation. NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

Please try to hang in there until her son can take some action. But don't let it drag on forever. She maybe cannot help her behavior. Presumably her son can, so hold him accountable for dealing with this promptly.

Good luck to you, and to your cousin. This is far, far from easy or pleasant!

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