I am relatively new to this site (so thankful to have found this) I have been caretaking for my elderly Aunt (90+) yers old living in her own home. I have been at her beck and call for over six months, am slowly being eeked out of this caaregiving role by others who never cared for her before (or our other Aunt)
I can deal with being eeked out, so long as she gets food and some help, I have peace fo mind. However today, I was accused of being "nosy" for asking her if she eats, how she's sleeeping (she's not, gets into bed between 9-10 PM, lays there restless until 2-3-4AM, rises around 6-7 AM, only to lay back down and get a cat nap after a small breakfast and coffee. Calling her at any time beofre sundown usually invites a plesant conversation AT FIRST and then it becomes a battle, with her spewing nasy things about me, my family, how we don't listen to her, or do things 'her way' ( I try to follow all directions to the T so as to keep the peace, for me and most especially for her) I have no interest in dirstuption her, or giving her any reason to to be distressed or upset.
She has taken to calling me names, telling me I dont listen, and that I only speak "Gibberish" . Today she insulted me by saying I don't even deserve the husband I have (to be honest, we don't have flashy cars, a mcmansion, or superficial stuff, however we have a loving marriage that has endured for decades and wonderful children, alll very warm and close) I know she is losing it, can't be sure as she refuses to see medical prof. but I have seen another relative with throught the stages of demetia, hallucinations and ultimately psychosis (in their end days)
I know my Aunt is sick, and does not truly mean what she says, but it is SO HARD to let it just roll off your back..
I try to call my Aunt daily or at the very least everyother day. I cannot force her to seek medical treatment, I cannot force her to see my view, I cannot make her pain disapate, but I TRY so hard to be there, to check on her, to help and I feel as though I am banging my heasd against the wall.
She has always been a straight shooter, with a bit of an edge, but I accept that as being one of family's attributes. Stuborness runs rampant within our family...my grandmoter died of gangrene that caused sepcemia from a simple cut that was infected that she REFUSED to have treated/seen by a doctor.
Today, my Auntie and I had a seemilngly pleasant and benighn convo. that turned ugly fast, which ended up with her telling me, I am nosy (when I ask if she slept or ate) and that I don't deserve the husband and children God gave me.
***GASP*** That hit below the belt and I could not contain my tears (did I mention she also said I was rude, and my mouth causes trouble and I talk but make no sense) After her comment I could not contain my tears. She told me to "shut up with the water works or she was hanging up the phone" I meekly tried to say that that comment really hurt and she hung up on me.
I don't know what to do anymore. I feel astho I NEED to help her, I have to do it for my family. I love her and remember the sweetheart she used to be who doled out candy and cream sodas and rocked me in her arms.
Loving her, and letting her barbs fall to the wayside has taken a toll on me and subsequently my family.
Please advise. I know I am doing the right thing, but it hurts in the worst way.
HELP...and THANK YOU!
I hope others have some suggestions for you. Stay strong. I know it's hard.
Sometimes when I am feeling strong I say to my mom, "Boy, when you are on the other side and you see the video of everything that has happened in your life you are going to give me one whopping big apology!" The nurses smile but my mom does not. But it reminds me that I'm doing it because you take care of your parents. Because it's the right thing to do, and even God says so because that is the first commandment that carries a promise with it.
I have responded with rage, tears, etc. I fear for my own mental health and then I feel guilty for wishing her a quick death. But I was raised in a family where we "take care of our own". Your feelings ARE valid and you need to take care of yourself too. I wish I knew the perfect thing to say but I don't have a solution. But from where I sit, the well intentioned advice people give me, such as, "Oh, just remember that she doesn't mean it...or try to remember that that's not really her..."
Blah, Blah, Blah. Well intentioned advice but it pi**es me off!! What about me???
As I said, your feelings are valid too. I've found that support (online or face to face) is very helpful.
I've also discovered that a lot of my anger comes from expecting my aunt to be the person she USED to be; I guess I'm subconsciously angry over it. I need to remind myself that that person is GONE. I've also discovered that engaging the person in an argument ("taking the bait") is NEVER a good option. The good thing about dementias is that the afflicted person is easily distracted. My aunt will say something mean and horrid, and 15 minutes later, her mind is on a different topic. I've found it easy to introduce new topics and distract her from things. I've also found that getting the person to talk about their past experiences is helpful. People with moderate dementias still like to talk about the past. I make sure she thinks it's all about her.
But today, she lit into me again. I got angry and upset, shove a donut (her favorite!) into her face and left the room. I needed some "me" time. If it gets too bad, don't engage, just leave. Do the bare minimum if you have to.
I wish I had a magical cure. But I don't Maybe some of this will help.
Flying over the cuckoo nest here I Maryland
I have since been reading up on the effects of gradual hearing loss and it is linked to depression, confusion, and dementia. The brain essentially has to work harder to process information when the auditory system is not functioning at optimum levels. Please don't get your elderly loved one on meds, or feel hurt by sharp barbs, until you get a hearing eval. It could change your life and that of your family member.
I moved the lady out, which made the family happy, but now I'm mean for making her go back to her own home. I'm a tight wad with his money, he now has a budget and an allowance, and all his accounts are current, he goes to breakfast at Denny's Mon-Fri. and eats at home on Sat. & Sun. I take him down to the bar down the street Tues-Sun., where I buy him drink chips, because he was spending anywhere from $40-$70 a night. These two things are things he doesn't forget, go figure. There again I'm a tight wad with his money. He tells other people that he can't do anything right, but tells my how happy he is that I have come to take care of him. He's very rude to some people and I have to call him out on it, but then He doesn't remember and he won't do it again. I have no problem be "bossy or mean" to the people who say they are watching out for him, but still taking advantage of his memory loss. I'm here for my dad's best interest and to make sure he doesn't loss everything.
My dad's health is good but his memory just isn't there. I have even printed out different pages on what to expect when a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer's to try to educate people so they don't judge so much, but then again I am here to care for my Dad, not make other people happy. Luckily, my dad and I have a great relationship, not only are we father and daughter but we are friends also. I can call him out on things that other family members and friends can't or won't. For some reason, thank heaven, he does listen to me and still thanks me several times a day for being here with him. You have to be like a duck, and let the water flow off your back, don't dwell on yesterday because most likely they don't remember 10 minutes ago, much less yesterday. I live be the Serenity Prayer, which in my mind really helps me stay focused. angie28 you are the good person because you are there. Have you tried a pill organizer to do her meds in so she takes all her pills, maybe you can get the blood pressure meds. in that way. I had to start using one because my dad would try to take too many of one med or the other. I tried the clear zip top bags and marked them by the day and in order of the week,but it was just too much for my dad.
I am also beginig to think that the extreme frugalness of the elderly population is drawn to the people who don't want to drag them to appointments, shell out cash for their new glasses/hearing aids/ etc.
I think my Aunt is aware that her mind is slipping and is also aware that I have noticed a change (b/c I'm the one calling very regularly) but the other who call/visit infrequently are easier to fool.
There is for sure, no bargaining, convincing or persuading my elder. She's not having any of it. I'm sure she want to live in her way and die in her way in that little house. She thinks she knows best. I try to help her maintain her control over things if they are reasonable or safe, but let's call a spade a spade here. A 90+ year old who is incontinent, who has not been to a doctor in 5+ years, who insists she does not need help (when she can't walk or go out to shop, and infact REFUSES to go out) is not exactly an expert on whats best for herself.
It's a fine line to walk between making her happy and doing what's best for her. Having said that I get a lot of "how do you think I managed before you?" or "Don't you remember I'm older" and like comments thrown around me. (and some other choice words for good measure.
Good luck to you! Thanls for responce