Advice on an emotional situation for Mom?

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My mom is 89 and for several years has volunteered at a thrift store two times a week. The staff and customers are wonderful and working there means the world to her. She is very well liked by everyone there and they greet her with hugs when she arrives. She feels needed and it keeps her socially & physically active. I drive her to and from the shop and have a good rapport with the manager and staff. This past Wednesday while volunteering she appeared unsteady and at one point seemed to catch herself from falling. Another volunteer spotted her and came to her assistance. These days my mom will often have different recall on events and in this case my mother's version is that she was fine until the woman physically pushed & forcibly restrained her and wanted her to sit in a wheelchair. My mother keeps replaying the events as she sees them over in her mind and alternates between crying and being angry at the woman. I try to acknowledge her feelings by saying I'm sure it was embarrassing, etc. but I am careful not to fan the flames in any way. I am also careful not to say I don't believe events happened as she has described. I remind her that the important thing is she got checked out by her doctor, is feeling well and that everyone involved had the best of intentions. I thought she was feeling better about the situation and we had a plan for her to show up for her next volunteer day, Monday, happy and with a plate of brownies - putting it all behind her. But, she woke up from her nap this afternoon having replayed her version in her mind (again!) and is back to feeling angry. Now she plans to speak with the store manager about the horrible thing that was done to her and she thinks she is owed an apology. I'm afraid that if she does that one of two things could happen. One, she might get terribly upset and offended if the manager and her other friends at the store tell her they saw things differently and say she would say she is quitting her job there. Two being, if she gets very upset they may simply and nicely let her know it is time to retire from her volunteer work with them. She is prone to lashing out at me and tells me all the time she is moving out of our shared family home, but she does not know how others may react to her doing the same type of thing with them. It would be crushing for her to no longer volunteer there. So if you've stayed reading this long I welcome any suggestions on how to deal with this. I can stop by and give the store manager a heads up on Sunday, but I'd really like to work on distracting my mother from her emotions regarding this. I told my daughter we need something really exciting to happen so she will forget she is mad. BTW when I took her to the doctor she felt fine other than a little bit of a dull head and her gait leaned to the right some. She did well on all the mini-stroke tests he did. He felt it may have had to do with her low B12 (she was due for her monthly shot), a mini stroke, or just one of those age related mysteries.

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Its emotionally easier for her to believe she was pushed than she had an actual problem, and maybe with running a little interference so the "offender" has that perspective she will be able to hang on and be OK, as long as things check out OK medically too.

Its hard not to want to run to help someone who falls or looks like they need it! Just happened today in church. The Deacon tripped off the carpeted pulpit onto the carpeted floor and the collective gasp and a couple people ran up though he was obviously OK and getting up on his own...I know I would not want that if it had happened to me.
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Well, as a perfectly able bodied senior who someone recently tried to help get out of a restaurant booth, which could have landed us both on the floor, I can understand some aggravation, but not that that much. Do you think something is happening with your mum mentally or has she always been very touchy? I trust you have spoken to the manager and worked something out. Hopefully she will not keep getting upset about things that happen there, as that may indicate changes that will limit her ability to volunteer, which would be a great shame.
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If I'm not too late, you could ask the Store Manager to speak to the "only trying to help" lady and ask her if she would apologise to your mother. Apologise, that is, not for helping her, but for upsetting her unintentionally. If she is good natured and understanding, she and your mother could become allies once more.

I am assuming, first off, that you are confident that your mother is not having TIAs or any related kind of episode. If there is any reason to suspect that she might be, a) it must be investigated urgently and b) I would have thought the thrift shop's insurers would insist that your mother carry out only sedentary voluntary work. But, so, bear in mind that even if there is something medically wrong it still doesn't have to be the end of everything.

I have seen people swoop on my mother, with the best of intentions, and haul her over the road, into chairs, up steps - for a timid and passive lady she has some remarkably colourful language at her disposal, I can tell you. The thing is, it is entirely natural for decent public-spirited citizens to hover anxiously over elders. What is needed is awareness, information, training and the application of good manners for us all to distinguish between little old ladies who are not as steady on their pins as they used to be but are just fine, and little old ladies who are about to go to ground. I wish it were easy to tell the difference by looking. It isn't, of course; but you can still be ready to catch without manhandling: you can stand very close; you can provide a sturdy chair for her to hold; there are all kinds of things you can do besides the laying on of hands.

So I see why your mother is upset. She feels humiliated and angry because of this woman's unsolicited intervention, which she moreover believes was disproportionate (and it may well have been). Of course that wasn't what the helper intended, and I expect she would feel aggrieved that your mother resented her help, but if she actually wants to help older people she needs to learn some tact. And some better handling techniques, by the sound of it.
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Call her MD Monday morning and insist on further tests. If she loses consciousness or falls, she needs to be taken to the ER to rule out a stroke. It was very foolish of them to just pick her up and not call the EMT's.
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I bet these wonderful people she works with know her behavior better than you think!! Hugs..
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PS to Teaka - I've already spent the last 5 years as full time caregiver for husband who has had brain tumor partially removed, and obviously will never be "my husband" again.
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Teaka, we're in the same boat. My 90 year old Mom is showing more and more signs of aging - long and short term memory loss, iffy driving, getting mad at me a lot, and feeling like she has outlived her usefulness and cannot deal with any technology - not cell, tv, remotes, answering machines, alarm clocks, bills, checking account, leg giving out and falling, diabetes, not eating, not asking for help, etc., and she lives in a mobile home on our 8 acres in the pasture. I never envisioned this. Daddy and only sibling dead and gone. Just me, husband, and Mom. Mom and I also used to volunteer in CAPA Closet and go to our church ladies' circle, but not anymore. I try to get her out of her house, but it is really difficult. I'm praying for you, your mom, and me and my family. There will come a time we both have to face that we have to let professionals take over their care. We might as well start facing it. It won't be easy, but we will learn somehow to deal with it.
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Thank you. I'll stop in today and let the manager what to expect. Sigh.
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Teaka, if your mom is like my dad, whatever version is on her head, will remain there. No matter what reasoning you give. Well, father would have 1 or 2 reasons but it's never the real one. Either this specific caregiver (no longer working with us) was trying to kill him or she was stealing from him. I can reason with him but he just gets so angry that I don't believe him, or siding with her, or I don't know what I'm talking about.

With father, I've had to approach the Home Care store and explain father's road to senility and bro had to speak to the Surveyor's office (dad accusing them of stealing his land) about his senility. No matter what they, and us tell him, He Is Right and we are wrong.

I think it's best if you give the manager the heads up of what is happening, and your mom's version. It's very important that the manager does not tell you to NOT bring your mom in Monday. Your mom will know you went behind her back and she will remember this. If she's to be laid off, bring her in, if she acts up, the manager can then "retire" her.
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