I stayed at evening church program today:) Eleven-year-old cousin was home with Aunty. She has not stayed in her own bedroom since her stroke last year (she has been sleeping on the downstairs couch). When I came home she screamed at me because she asked cousin to take photos of her room because she wanted to know how clean it was. She was unhappy over the way it looks: The laundry basket is sloppy (I was in a hurry this morning when I dressed her and didn't have time to fix it back neatly).There are too many things on the dresser ( I never moved anything from the way she left it when she moved downstairs because I didn't want to be accused of taking or losing something.)There is dust in the room. I never swept the floor. (I clean the entire upstairs weekly.) In the past, there were always certain things that I never touched while cleaning because that's what I was told to do. Now I am wrong about everything and the 11-year-old "angel" is being used as a spy to check behind me when I'm not home. I don't appreciate being yelled at ; when I asked her if she was mad she said, no, I'm upset.Isn't that the same thing? ??? I never know what to do because I'm always wrong.If I said the sky is blue, she would probably insist it was purple! So now I am going to spend this entire week deep cleaning her room instead of searching for a new orthopedic doctor for myself (another long story: old doctor left to go to another hospital, and I don't like his replacement. )She is supposed to restart home therapy either this week or next (I am waiting for them to call us).She said that the first thing she wants to learn is how to go upstairs.
It sounds like your aunt is used to being in control and still sees you as one of the kids. Our elders don't see us as grown, no matter how old we get. We're always the willful kids who need to be told what to do. Gosh, it gets irritating. What we have to do is ignore it and don't say anything back, because it just starts an argument. BUT you don't have to clean her room. She can hire a maid to do it just the way she likes it.
I wondered if your aunt is paying the bills, so thinks she has a right to boss you around. Living in someone else's house is very tough, because to them it is their house, their rules. I'm in the same position, so know how it is. Even if we pay our own bills, there is always the house ownership thing.
First, re-read what vstefans wrote. She is correct. You cannot let someone with dementia set priorities for you.
I'd also suggest TRYING to get into Aunty's world. Not easy, and no guarantee you can do it every time, but worth thinking about.
"Oh Aunty! You must feel so bad that you can't even go to your own room. Sleeping on the couch downstairs is not what any of us wanted for your golden years. I hope the therapist can help you learn to get upstairs, and also help you strengthen your body. I know you would do better with your room than I can, because you know how you want everything. I'm doing the best I can. My most important job for you right now is helping you be comfortable and safe down here."
And give some thought to your young cousin. At 11 it must be thrilling to be entrusted with "spying" tasks by an older relative. But is must be kind of creepy, too. Maybe it would help her if you took her under your wing a bit, and let her do things for a mentally healthy adult. I certainly wouldn't scold her for doing as Aunty asks, or even bring that up. Just let her feel she is your partner (junior partner, of course) in caring for Aunty. Tell her how much you appreciate it that she can stay with A while you are at church, etc. Let her know how serious you are about providing good care to this sometimes-aggravating old lady.
Is Cousin only there when you are not? It might be good to have some "family time" with the three of you.
Don't let Aunty's crabbiness get you down. It is about her and her lack of independence and powerlessness to even go to her own room. She shouldn't take that out on you, but, hey, she has dementia!
If you can't tell Aunty that there is no yelling needed, and ask her to tell you what you want done first and I will get to it when I can, you need some assertiveness training. Do you think it is good for the 11 year old to regard Aunty with dementia as the head of household, or you?