Follow
Share

The past few months my Grandma has been sick. She has Alzheimer's and I know it's getting worse. She sees people who died over 10 years ago, and when she realizes they aren't really here, she starts yelling at me to get them on the phone so she can yell at them for leaving without saying goodbye. I've been looking into moving her into NH or AL, I'm just waiting to hear by from my Uncle who's her POA. However, since getting sick he has been becoming more and more irritable when she's awake. Today alone she started yelling at me that her cheerios were too sweet. Then when I tried to take them because she wasn't eating them, she hit me telling me that I didn't have the right to take her food from her. I tried to explain that I was going to get her something different, that she might eat, and she threw the bowl full of milk and cheerios on the floor. She just yells and complains about everything. Yesterday she yelled at me for taking a shower, because she needed to do laundry. Even though I had just done ALL of her laundry yesterday morning, and it was 11 at night. I explained to her that I did all of her laundry already, and showed her the empty hamper. After that she took a handful of clothes, threw them in her laundry hamper and then accused me of lying about doing the laundry. I tried to hang them back up, and she got mad at me about that because she wanted to hang them up in my bedroom. Why, I will never understand. I am really on my last nerve with her. Does anyone have any tips for dealing with behavioral problems?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Yes, take care of yourself! So sorry you are experiencing this kind of behavior. I hope you can be relieved of your grandmother's care and that she is relocated so that professional staff can attend to her needs and you can visit. Do not let her situation take you down. You've been a wonderful granddaughter.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I'm with JessieBelle on this one. Be patient, be gentle, be caring, and recognize it is the disease causing this ... but absolutely do not allow abuse.

I often tell posters "Don't take it personally. It is the disease." And I really think knowing this helps us to cope with the disease. BUT there are limits to what caregivers should put up with.

Jessie shares another truth that caregivers should keep in mind: you are as important as the person you are caring for. You deserve a decent life as much as they do.

When there is abuse (physical or psychological) caregivers must protect themselves. It is true the loved one can't help the behaviors. Don't punish them for what they can't control. But stop them. That may take a change in the living situation. Placing them in an appropriate care center is not punishment. It is often the best resolution for all concerned.

Having GM checked out medically, as the other posters have suggested, is also a good first approach. If there is an underlying illness it can be treated. And it may be that treating the agitation or anxiety will help.

Grandma isn't in control of her behaviors. Don't hate her or punish her for them. Your life is as important and as valuable as hers. Don't allow yourself to be abused.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

KayKay, I, too, struggle with anger issues with my mother, who is 94 and in the moderate bordering on advanced stages of Alzheimer's. In fact, this evening she was so derisive of me for taking her to the Urgent Care Center for an ongoing eye infection. She becomes belligerent with me in public, and literally has temper tantrums in which she becomes red in the face and grunts/screams. Then she will get physically overwhelmed and look like she is about to collapse, but never quite reaches that point. She will bang cupboard doors, put the chain on the door so I can't get in, become sarcastic and accusatory/paranoid. Similar to LittleMissKitty, mom was always stubborn, extremely independent and foolishly proud to the point of not being able to ask for help. Conversely, she has become extremely dependent on me, and will call excessively if I have to go out for a couple of hours that is unrelated to work. She will hang up, yell at me or leave angry messages on my cell phone. At the same time, the panic, confusion and disorientation come through loud and clear. However, I have not yet experienced physical abuse as you have. That is a safety issue for you, and I am glad to hear that you are exploring the option of long term care with your uncle.

In terms of tips on handling aggressive behavior, I have found that in my situation agreeing, apologizing or trying to divert mom's attention does not work. One of her pet peeves is interacting with her on a child-like level. So when I've reached my limit of tolerance I will confront her on an adult level and tell her that her behavior is unacceptable and if she does not stop there will be consequences. I tell her how her words are hurtful to me, even though she will deny that she has said anything of the sort. So, in essence, I set limits. Depending on the situation, I will either try to get her to make eye contact with me so that she will listen, or will not engage in eye contact/distance myself from her by either not responding to her words or leaving the room. Unfortunately, I still have trouble breaking the ingrained habit of arguing with her (I grew up in a very argumentative family). However, as stated in other posts, abuse hurts, no matter what the source. I usually escalates and you need to have strategies in place to protect yourself. For example, do you know the areas of entrapment in the home such as enclosed spaces with no escape such as basements or rooms/hallways with no exits or where there are instruments like knives or hammers that could be used as weapons. Do you have a quick access place where you can store emergency cash/important documents and things you would need if you had to leave your home in a hurry? While these are typically emergency measures you would plan for in abusive spousal relationships, it might not hurt to have something in place should your grandmother's behavior gets out of control. People in such states can have tremendous physical strength. One of the respite relief staff was amazingly skillful. When mom became uncontrollably angry and told her to leave, the worker stayed downstairs in the lobby, contacted me to let me know what was happening, and went up to the apartment door periodically to listen in to make sure she was okay. So in your situation, when your grandmother becomes physically aggressive, you can leave the immediate area and periodically check to see when it is safe to go back.

A very difficult situation to go through. I think the most important thing for all of us as caregivers is not to feel as if we have failed if we cannot manage these difficult behaviors or if we feel angry in the face of abuse.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

KayKay, my answer to you is different than the others. You have to take care of yourself. You are as important as your grandmother and have the right to be treated well. The disease can go on for years and so can the abuse. If it gets to the point where it is making your life miserable, then look for a way to take care of both you and her at the same time. You have the right to a decent life. You do not owe anyone your health and happiness.

Sometimes when I hear of someone being abused and read that it is only the disease causing it, I think of an extreme. What if we were being hit by a baseball bat, and someone tells us not to take it personally because it is only the disease? They may be right, but that bat still hurts. Most of us are not going through anything that extreme, but the point is that we shouldn't tolerate being abused. KayKay, what you are going through sounds very bad to me. I hope that if it doesn't get better that you will find a way to get away from it. There are other options that are available that would be so much healthier for you and maybe for her.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My grandma recently has gotten like this. She was always independent, stubborn and always in charge and right. When she was healthier it wasn't so noticeable as everyone always said, "It will keep her alive and healthy." They made it seem like it was a good thing.

Well now she has severe dementia and depends on me, her granddaughter, for everything so I'm definitely noticing it. She will refuse to go to the bathroom even going so far as to have an accident then throw things at me when I ask her to go with me to the bathroom. When offering her food if she has decided not to eat, she will throw her food around. When it's time for a bath (I actually use my respite care from the company to give her a bath each day so I don't have to deal with it), she will refuse to get up then scream the entire bath time. She will hit and kick and throw things especially a night. It's hard. I have found standing behind her chair when settling her into it works wonders as she can't reach or see me.

When she has a UTI or pneumonia like she has right now, it's more frequent and worse. Have you gotten her checked out by a doctor as suggested before to make sure there isn't an underlining infection brewing making her act this way? Is there anyway you can come up with a schedule that might help with her anger? I have my grandma on a schedule as much as possible which seems to help so she knows what to expect. I also find myself repeating encouraging sayings. I have to admit lately when my grandma gets upset at me and yells at me (I don't plan to use a NH unless absolutely having to) I have replied that no matter how angry she gets or how unhappy she gets, I'll always stay and take care of her so she won't ever have to be alone. I think it's finally setting into her long term memory as she's now snapping out of her angry and responding better within minutes of hearing that statement again and again.

I think sometimes their angry is seriously frustration and fear. They have lost control of everything that once were in control of. They no longer get to pick out their meals and cook them the way they want, do their own laundry and pick their clothing, choose whether or not they shower, choose their daily activities, take a drive when they want, and other things that were once important to them are now something they are told they can't do. They have to depend on us and wait until our time and not do it on their time and their way. I constantly remind myself this so that I am gentler on her which is not easy. Hang in there. It's not easy but it sounds like in your case it's only for a short period of time.

Best advice I can give you is this: Sometimes I have found when she gets angry the best thing I can do is just walk away and try again in 20 minutes after she calms down and does what I call a 'reset'. It's like giving myself and her a time out.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I'm sorry she's like that. My 88 year old father is the same way. He was never a nice man but the dementia has now manifested itself and I get hit on a daily basis. It's not nice and although it's made me extremely angry at times, it's also not his fault. It's the disease. 
Can you take your Grandma to the doctor and have her evaluated? Sometimes an underlying illness also makes them irritable and unhappy. Or maybe there can be some medication. Each person is different. But be patient. Easier said than done. And also, take care of yourself. Give yourself a break.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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