Do I address my Mom's rudeness to her caregiver with her?

Follow
Share

Mom is 85, can't do a thing for herself, and refuses to leave her home. I have taken over her household to maintain her ability of living in her own home. I do not care for her 24/7, but visit weekly or at least every other week. I found an ANGEL private caretaker who basically works almost 7 days a week, 8 hours a day, doing everything for my mother. My mother is "healthy" but has severe pain in her musculo-skeletal system, severe scoliosis, torn rotators' cuffs, arthritis. She is a widow since 2012.

My mother is not a sweet, little old lady. She is stubborn, petulant, pouty, senile, and of late, very, very nasty. It's like she's lost her "filter" and thinks she can say whatever she wants. The person receiving the brunt of this is her caretaker, who is an angel from heaven, but who also happens to be sensitive in nature.

I try to keep the caretaker happy. I like her a lot and know I would never find another person to slave away for mom the way she does (strong work ethic). She has her own hard life and problems, and I'd love to pay her more, but I have to watch the funds. So I bring her little gifts and thank her profusely for all she does.

I want to scold my mother for her horrible behavior. Her excuse is she is in pain all the time, but I do not think that gives one a license to verbally abuse those around you. Where have her manners gone?

When my mother demanded something of her caretakerin in front of me, I stopped and looked her right in the eye and asked her, "What happened to 'please'?"

Do I try to have a conversation with my mother about this? With her senility, I think she will only forget whatever I say. Several months ago she was criticizing me for not being a good enough daughter, and I stopped her and reminded her of all I've taken over for her benefit plus running my own life/household! She apologized and said she doesn't know why she says the things she does to me.

Why do the elderly get this way? It is very upsetting. Any advice?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
25

Answers

Show:
Chronic pain sucks, no doubt about it. How is it being managed???

Yes, the filter does seem to go out the door with dementia. I do call my mom on it, however. You and/or the caretaker angel can FAIL TO RESPOND to the rude demand, like you didn't even hear it. In other words, rudeness gets no attention, no response. "Would you like to try asking again, but nicely?" ; ) It's the same behavior modification technique we use with children and dogs. As long as a behavior is not rewarded (unless it's self-rewarding), it will fade.
Helpful Answer (9)
Report

I just want to bring to your attention and it doesn't matter if you have no way of trying it out. BUT when I took over my mother's care, the first thing I did was put her on a gluten free diet and reduced dairy........ after 40 yrs of moaning about her aching joints, she now strides around, and even mentioned a few months ago she didn't know where her sore bones had gone .!!!! She never had the bad affected ones with arthritis etc, just slight deformity. [ just a hint ] meanwhile as stated the dementia does remove the filter, my Pa thought he could flirt with the carers and then next minute refuse to have them in the place. according to my sister.
you can only support your angel carer, and let her know that you don't believe a word your mother sez, that she has always had a Miss Piggy personality Moi Moi, and mee mee mee all the way home. When I worked in the rest homes I was able to make a joke out of it, but there I was caring for 40-80 and moving on, being a one on one is a little harder, esp on the 8th hour.
YOu could pull your mother up by saying using nasty attitudes will mean no home help and the solution will be entering a rest home situation. So she can decide.. and see if that helps.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

I had the experience of caring for a narcissistic MIL until she died a few months ago at the age of 98. Nothing we did helped. It was her nature. She was a complainer in her 40s and she got worse in the end. There were times she forgot why she didn't like me but she never forgot that she didn't like me. Toward the end, she would kick or hit or punch me whenever she could get away with it. I knew she knew better because if her son was in the room with us, she wouldn't do it but the minute her son was gone, she would take aim. If they can remember to whack you this way, they are not senile. They are angry that they got old and the rest of their lives are out of control. Looking back on the absolute non-quality of her life and the hell she wreaked on ours, I wonder why we struggled to keep her alive, make sure she ate and was cleaned, used her meds sparingly so she wouldn't be zonked out. Instead of killing her with kindness, we killed ourselves instead. My own health is very bad now and I have no real relationship with my husband. The ugly, soul searing care of his mother took up all our time and energy. I resent him for the ways he let her hurt me and I resent my own stupidity in putting up with all that hell for the 17 year we did. I should have left a long time ago. She was also jealous of our relationship from day one of our marriage. If her son was visiting her and I called him there, she would hang up and not let me talk to him. Stupid stuff like that. But it escalated. Every time you accept rudeness or hatred or being hit or hurt, you reinforce their desire to do so and their ability to get away with murder. And we call this living? Or even more ridiculous: quality of life?! Stop being an APOCALOPTIMIST: someone who knows it's all going to sh*t but thinks it will turn out all right anyway. It won't.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

Since you probably aren't going to change your mom, you need to keep a spectacular line of communication open with the caregiver. Most likely, she let's your mom's comments roll off of her back.

A couple of things, since I used to own an in-home care company:

There will come a day when she is sick, or her kid is sick, or she just needs a couple of days off. Be sure you have a backup plan. You may want to ask her if she has a family member who can fill in or a friend.

Also, from experience, the gifts are nice. But money would be the best gift. I know you said funds are tight, but if there were a way to just give her a "bonus" and tell her how much you appreciate her, that would be great. Tell her you will be glad to refer her later (after her services are no longer needed.)

Good luck.

Sharon
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

Have a pharmacist check all her medications to check for there are any side effects with the mixture of medications. Another suggestion is have a geriatric physiologist evaluate her, they may be able to adjust some medication, the slighted change can make the world of difference. The caregiver's are angels and deserve to be treated with respect, but they know that when you are working with the elderly with dementia you need to have thick skin.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

At times I have to firmly tell my husband "I love you but I am not your dog. Never bark at your wife". I think the helplessness of being in pain and having to endure it is gut wrenching and politeness goes out the window. Yet, in order to help him I need him calm, which is not easy as he can no longer control his emotions very well. I find it helps me to leave him alone for a few minutes to collect myself and then return calmly to give him his pain medication and reposition him for greater comfort, place a heated bean bag on his arthritic knee etc. and give him some ice cream to soothe the soul, or whatever comes to mind. Once his comfort zone is restored he usually apologizes and tells me the pain made him do it. No matter how often I try to teach him to ask me politely for help right away when he feels discomfort, the pattern repeats. It is the shock of seeing me close the door on him that makes him realize he hurt my feelings.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Surprisingly, I found it works to set limits and boundaries with Mom (95 with dementia). She'll pretend she doesn't understand but then later will change her behavior. Pretend she's a troublesome two-year-old.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Hi MaryAnn - Mom got to be the same way. In fact when I would tell her how much her behavior made me feel and she would mock me. I came on this website and figured out that I could not change her behavior but I could change my reaction to it. When she was in one of her moods and got nasty I would leave the room and go outside where she could not go. She really never learned but I made it tolerable. Yes, like gigi said she was in her terrible two's again. Also, when she was really going on about it I would picture her flying around the house on a broom. LOL It worked a little. My favorite phrase to tell her was, "I am doing the best I can". Take care of YOU!!!!
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

It's the dementia that causes your mom to act like this. You can have all the discussions you want with her but she is not liable to change or be able to change. If her bad behavior hasn't chased away your caregiver yet it probably won't.

It does sound like you have an angel caregiver and I think it's wonderful that you show her how much you appreciate her. She sounds like a true professional in that she doesn't let your mom's nastiness get to her. And when your mom is being nasty to the caregiver you might advise the caregiver to react the same way you did: "Whatever happened to 'please'?" Said with a smile of course.

Not all elderly become this way but the elderly who have dementia do go through a personality change.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I second SharonKay on cash bonus vs. gifts. Even if it's small amounts, it allows your Angel to apply it where most needed. And the backup plan.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions