A longtime friend of mine moved her mother across country to live with her due to her advancing age (87)and the fact that she lived alone. That was three years ago. I visit her house frequently and am appalled at how she talks to her mom. My friend has two rather large dogs, which her mom is not very fond of. My friend treats the dogs with the utmost care and compassion, sometimes being up all night because the dogs are crying or are having digestive upsets, and when her mother complains about them, she threatens her, saying: don't you dare touch them. She devotes the largest part of her day to those dogs, taking them to the park, to doggie daycare, to the groomers or to the vet. The mom is getting quite forgetful and tends to repeat herself, which prompts my friend to raise her voice and angrily tell her that she needs to stop talking because she repeats herself all day. It is extremely painful to watch their interactions, and when I try to say things to calm her down and make her see how she really shouldn't expect so much from her mom, she gets very angry and basically says that she is tired of putting up with it and shouldn't have to.
I believe that when someone reaches the ripe old age of 87 and becomes repetitive, family members should do their best to give that person the best remaining years they can muster. Her mom's bedroom is upstairs, and she spends at least 16 hours a day in her room. Whenever she is downstairs, my friend antagonizes her to the point where she gets so frustrated that she returns to her room and stays there until the next day, when it all starts over again. My friend has a son and a daughter, ages 22 and 17 respectively, and they pay no attention to their grandmother because my friend's behavior has taught them that she is an old fool and deserves no attention. They shake their heads and snicker at her when she says things that don't make sense.
I am absolutely heartbroken about this situation. Her mom is well fed and clean, it is not physical neglect, but rather psychological intimidation and control. Is there any thing I can do? As I mentioned before, I have tried to say things, but she gets very angry. I have taken her mom out to lunch, but she always praises her daughter as if all the abuse does not affect her and never says anything about what goes on at home. It makes me think of battered wives who will not admit that there is anything wrong.
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I'm glad you're there to take her out to eat sometimes. Your friend's mother needs her, but she also needs people who are fun to be with. If living with her daughter and grandkids becomes too hard, maybe she would like AL or a retirement community.
One thing to consider is that often things on the inside of the family are not the same as they appear on the outside. For example, people besides myself think of my mother as sweet and demure. Behind closed doors, though, she often becomes a she-devil. People outside the family would have a hard time believing the hurtful things she says and does. It may be that your friend is tolerating more than you know about. Still, acting out at her mother is not a good solution.