How do I ask my grandmother to be more flexible?

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So my situation right now is that my grandmother is living with us for a while. For now it's a month or so until my grandpa gets out of the hospital. It may be a permanent arrangement if he is no longer mobile. She is 84 years old and goes to dialysis every other day. My husband has taken on the responsibility of being the driver as he is the only one in our house with a driver's license. Anyway our problem is that she won't budge when it comes to times. If she wants to go to the store or to her house to pick something up and she wants to leave at a certain time it's that time or else she throws a huge fit and gets really angry. She's demanding and right out mean. She even yells at us to wake up if she thinks we've been sleeping too long. Any sort of change in plans makes her really angry. She used to be so carefree and fun. I'm starting to wonder if she has the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's. It's really stressing everyone out and I want to find a way to talk to her but I'm not sure how to do so. Or what to say. I'm afraid she will get angry and say hurtful things or that I will hurt her feelings. But something has to change. My husband and I are ready to pull our hair out!!

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Dementia could be the issue but she has so much going on with her husband's ill health and her own health problems as well as her dependence on others. It's very hard for people when they've reached that stage. If dementia is part of it (or even some medications she's on) that compounds the frustration. You can talk with her doctor in case there is something that can be done to help her with the stress.
Best wishes to all of you. This is tough.
Carol
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Cherrybee, it's not easy to be elderly... one can't hop in the car and drive to the stores.... many of one's friends have either moved away or have died.... there are many aches and pain... hearing and seeing are a problem... and now the elder's spouse is in the hospital and the person doesn't know if he will ever come home again. That isn't how your Grandparents had planned their retirement. I would be grumpy, too.

I remembered when my Dad was living at senior living, I would ask him every now and then what could we do to make it better living that this facility? He really appreciated being asked, and he would smile that everything was fine, he loved living there. By asking such a question gave him a sense that we had cared.

Therefore, ask Grandma how can you help her make her life better living with you all.... see if she would confide in you.
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OK...I will be the Grinch here! Why not simply state the truth ONCE? "Grandma,
You are being rude, impatient and unrealistic. We are trying to help you and want peace in our home. I need you to change you behavior."
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Grandma is angry and depressed about the whole situation. Old age is no picnic and dialysis is sheer hell. I doubt if it is Alzheimer's; kidney failure affects the brain badly. If you have children at home, it might be emotionally healthier for them not to be exposed to her rants. That means getting her to a nursing home.
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Becoming someone's only transportation..even understanding of their frustration of losing their independence..especially when they are so demanding..with an attitude of entitlement ...is very overwhelming..stressful...and a real quilt trip when you become overwhelmed and resentful...I know this first hand. I set my mom up with a transit company...does she like it...not really...but she uses it...it removed some pressure..and a lot of guilt...I've offered her another option...I do still take her to dr appointments...and out to eat sometimes...she was always wanting something from the grocery store...even though she has enough food for a year...lol...so I found out she can call her local grocery store..and they will deliver for free on Wednesdays...she has yet to use it..but it's there..also it is so hard when someone is so nasty to you when you are helping them...I'm learning to jump less quickly..;)
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First of all, my heart goes out to you and your Grandma. Bless you for caring for her. Now the hard part: understanding + boundaries with tough love.

Here's what I have learned: Realizing that she needs to control whatever she can in her life, be aware of that and give her every opportunity that might arise to let her control something: it will be small but every moment counts. Whenever we go out to eat I let her decide where to sit, even if she can't make up her mind, or frustrates the person who tries to seat us. Also, she orders first. I often have to shout to the waitress to state my own needs because my mother takes over!
Know that you'll lose at this game almost every time but I think it helps Mom. Trying to please her is more of an exercise in futility but also compassion and letting go for me. After a while my own frustration and hurt is replaced by humor, which I have to keep bottled up and to myself when with her.

On holidays I ask her for advice: what does she want to do? Every holiday she is like the Scrooge: she hates it and can't wait til it's over. I try to trick her into having a good time!

Yeah, it's an awful struggle but I wouldn't want her living under my roof. That's the worst. Now for the boundaries part. Took me 5 years of agony and counseling to learn how to set boundaries with my Narcissist, Borderline, etc, mother. I had to overcome my infantile allegiance and fears from an abused childhood. Hopefully, your relationship isn't this way, but I can guess it's tough on its own terms. So what do you do?

1. Set up a schedule of when you are available and try to stick to that. She can look forward to that time and can feel like she is partner in controlling that part of her life. If you have to change it, ask her permission, or do something in the interaction that shows you respect this arrangement.
2. Don't let her forget that YOU too have needs and are important in your relationship. Sarcasm, and hurtful ways of getting this across is not the right way, of course, but we all know, it ain't easy to be honest and firm. The more they age the harder it is for everyone.
3. After an established routine that works for you and her, the other huge list of needs should be delegated to others: keep researching to find local helpers, drivers, companions. It took me years to let go of fear & guilt to keep affirming to my mother that other people can be part of her life too. I even deliberately did a lousy job to help her so that she'd rely on others: which she delighted in discovering. This resulted in the Angel someone else / Me the Demon game but at least it gave me part of my life back!!
4. The yelling part: again this took a long time to master but if Mom abuses me verbally or acts over the top I let her know that there will be consequences: right away. One time I was helping her move and she was horrible to me. I said, "I can't take anymore of this behavior. I'm leaving and we'll talk tomorrow."
5. Think love and boundaries, same as you would for a child.
6. Take care of yourself!!!!! Feel good about your efforts to love Granma under the circumstances. I would strongly forget having her under your roof.
Mom lives in a better place at 95, independent senior living: more or less affordable. I also relieved the whole relationship by taking care of myself and moving into affordable senior housing myself!
7. Believe that things will work out OK. We are all struggling for higher moral ground, to learn our lessons, and be as good human beings as possible. This is happening on individual scale, nationally, and globally. Probably even throughout the whole universe!
Have a happy holiday and find joy somewhere in it no matter who and no matter what!

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts. Bless you all.
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Thank you for slapping me down, Ferris1, but please look up the definition of "crankiness" and also read my sentence carefully before you slap me down again. I use my language carefully - it's my profession.
Firstly, being "cranky" does not mean being permanently in a bad mood. It is usually a temporary cross reaction to an immediate disturbance and it can dissipate as quickly as it has arisen. Living with constant pain can make gentle people pretty cranky; my father was war-wounded before I was born, penecillin was not available in the Far East to stop his osteomylitis, and walking was difficult for him for the rest of his life. When pain hit him, he would yell like a sergeant major drilling troops on a huge playground. When the paracetemol kicked in, he went back to his usual loving self. I adored both selves. It was he who introduced me to the word "cranky".

I also said that it is normal to encounter crankiness with old age. You may be too young to notice that becoming old means becoming invisible in society. Old age often get pushed aside, ignored at shop counters, told to hurry up when dealing with cash machines, and yes with aching hips and joints they do have to stand up in buses, metro and trains when fit young people are seated fiddling on their smartphones and studiously ignoring them.
When she was still well enough to converse, my 85 year old friend described to me exactly how she felt when getting herself and her bad back out of bed each morning. But until her accident aged 73 she was doing yoga every day.

Yes, I have found that crankiness tends to increase as people get older, not just because they have more aches and pains but also because the gestures of help (like opening doors, lifting filled shoppers onto buses, getting down packets from high shelves) that used to be encountered as "normal" are often lacking in modern narcissistic society. That sparks irritation, and irritation crankiness. My crankiness has definitely increased over the past decade as I approach 70. Lecture over.
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"Crankiness" DOES NOT increase with age, and is NOT a "normal" process of aging. Do not assign your own beliefs about others in the "aged" category, and I resent you saying that all people of a certain age are cranky. If you had a nasty disposition when you were younger, you will have it in old age.
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So sorry. It would be easier, in a way, if she had dementia. It must be a h3llish thing to have to be old and on dialysis, and all the rest. (When my mother was sliding into dementia she got very stubborn and stood there in a grocery store like a statue. Marvelling at all the cuts of meat and planning grand family dinners ! That was one of the most aggravating things I went through, getting her through and out of the grocery store, and those trips ended after that, I did all the shopping from then on.) I hope your mother still has her wits enough that she can hear you and maybe, possibly, change her ways a little. It must be awful...Good luck, god bless.
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It sounds to me like it's time for tough love, make her learn patience. I had an elderly friend who was ordering people around and I got wise and just didn't do what he was ordering made that time he was ordering me and all he could do was just throw a fit. Yep, he was a big kid throwing a temper tantrum but I wouldn't give in. He was mad but all he could do was get glad later when he realized he was in the wrong.

All I can advise you from my own experience is just don't cater to her demands. Every time she starts acting up like you're describing, just don't take her, just cancel the trip and do something else. Sooner or later she will get the hint
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