Follow
Share

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!!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
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.
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

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..;)
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

She may be very stressed.
She may be very worried about her husband and what is going to happen in the near future.
If Grandpa can not come home...and I mean to their home not yours...I suggest you look for Assisted Living facilities that will take both your Grandma and Grandpa. This way they will be together.
It is possible that your Grandma is showing early(?) signs of dementia but with the stress it may be difficult to tell.
By the way the reason for my ? mark at early is if your Grandma has not lived with you before or spent days with you before it is possible that in a few hours of visiting you may not have noticed some of the same attributes that you are pointing out now.
Placing both Grandma and Grandpa in an AL will allow them both to remain in a familiar location if one or the other needs Memory Care or even more advanced medical care.

If you think having both move in with you would be the "right" thing to do imagine living with what you are living with now but X2 and with the possibility of more medical care needed.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Please be patient. Older people have better moments during the day when they have more physical and emotional energy. It may be hard for her to express this to you and others. So I would be flexible and allow her to do those things when she is best prepared to do so.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Its very very hard when a senior loses his/her independence as well as physical strength and energy. It makes them angry and frustrated. Maybe her doing those things is her way of trying to maintain some level of control over her life by trying to control you? I don't have an answer except perhaps to try and sit down and set some ground rules and what you will and will not do or tolerate. Then again, sometimes it is hard to reason with them. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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."
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

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
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Then both of you sit down and have a talk with her. Tell her she needs to be a little more patient as this is your house and she is living under your roof (your house, your rules). Just because someone yells and uses painful speech does not make them have dementia. However, if she is misplacing items, cannot remember where she put items, and is having other "memory" issues, then you can get her seen by a neurologist. For now, she is missing her husband, is living under a strange roof with strange rules, and cannot drive herself to wherever she wants to go. Put yourself in her shoes. When everything has been taken from you, I'd be angry too - and I don't have dementia. Just talk to her. She is in her eighties so she grew up with different values. Younger people always were to respect their elders. Also, being on dialysis is no picnic, and she will not live forever. One needs their kidneys to survive very long...
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Crankiness becomes increasingly normal in old age, particularly in one's 80's, because stamina is hard to keep up during daylight hours, and stress undermines stamina. Grandma's stubbornness is probably not dementia but the opposite: a desperate wish to cope, so she gets fixed ideas about what needs to be done next, and won't drop that idea until it is done. I fully understand that this can make your family life he**.
Compassionate5 is right: Do not be afraid to have a one-to-one discussion with her when you can nobody is around to interrupt. Be clear, concise and make sure she understands your house rules while she is living with you. There will be shouting, but you can't avoid that.
Also investigate possibilities for Assisted Living and take Grandma to see the nearest facility while your Grandpa is still in hospital. Ask her what she would do if Grandpa came out of hospital in a wheelchair, and she had no transport to her dialysis sessions. Set out for her the different scenarios. If she is likely to stay on with you, she will have to follow your house rules, not you bend to her whims.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

i feel that you should put your foot down and say NO...until she stops being temperamental and abusive!! my father tries making me feel like his slave on occasion...and after i've told him to stop it a million times, i have a good scream at him!!! he stops!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I would be concerned about dementia since this is a serious change in personality. Not all people get grumpy when they get older even if they have ailments. Can you talk to her doctor, or at least document her behaviours and your concerns and give him your documentation. If she is developing dementia it needs to be diagnosed and treated. If not, she may be suffering from depression due to all her life challenges and could benefit from treatment of that. A sit down talk with her and may work if she does not have dementia. You have been given some good ideas about boundaries and control. If she does have dementia it is unlikely to work and you have to look at other methods. Good luck and let us know how you make out.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

"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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

First...you do have to tell her...your behavior..demanding..rude...is not acceptable here...expect tears and guilt placing
Second..boundaries
Then medical evaluation...it's impossible to try get rational results from a mentally incapacitated person...try and you will feel like the crazy one...lol
Get support from this site..these are kind people who are where u are..it's kept me sane!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My parents who are in their seventies argue more and are more cranky than any other time in their lives. I've noticed and it's not fun. They are normally more cranky with each other. I'm planning to say something about it, because it's not nice to listen to. I doubt it'll do much good though. lol
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

oh boy, oh boy! Grandma now has some kind of problem and it is not your fault. Since you never said she was not always this way - the problem would be to discover why it is now!
There are numerous reasons that could be the cause. Finding a solution may be best solved by talking with whatever health care professional she is seeing. Or perhaps help from some kind of a social agency. However I would pursue the answer from her general practioner and them guide you.
Most of all get some professional help and answers so you know how to handle this. It may an unreasonable length of time and you may not agree with the person making any decisions. However, it is a place to start.
Welcome to the world of old age which none of us have really been trained for.

I wish you luck in finding help and then the fortitude and courage to continue this journey. It may be not - that is also a decision.

god bless you,
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Tell her flat out that while she has a lot do deal with with your grandfather and her medical needs, her bad attitude will not be tolerated. At the end of the day, all of you must realize that it is you and your husband's home and the both of you make the rules. I don't know where you live but maybe looking at what kind of senior or public transportation will be helpful because your husband should not be her private chauffeur that is at her beck and call.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I agree with most of what is being said. I think a talk is needed. Tell he you. Understand that all the changes she is going thru is overwhelming. But it's a change for u too. Explain, probably again, that there is only one driver in the house. He can't be at her Beck and call. I'm assuming one or both of u work. Pick a day during the week and make it her day that u run errands. The day of dialisis won't be good. Takes a lot out of them. Wouldn't hurt to get he a check up. I would think twice about her being permanent. It's a lot of work and ur husband may inventually feel put upon. Temporarily is one thing permanent another. Where r her children in all of this?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

The Golden Rule...
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

There's a line missing in my answer above. My 85 year old friend was the meekest and mildest person in the world until she had a fall that left her back with 5 undiscovered hairline fractures that self-healed badly. In the space of one year her vocabulary included swearwords that I had never imagined I would hear from her lips. She lived on painkillers, TV and munching biscuits until finally she moved into a residential home where everything was done for her and she could stay peacefully immobile and painfree for hours. Then her crankiness diminished. A lot.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

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
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Great answers. It may be a search for her need to control in a life where she is losing control over a lot of things. Search for answers, but also tell her how you feel. If it continues, be ready with consequences.

My mother-in-law responded to the calm telling her that when she ...(her behavior), I felt hurt. She wasn't being fair. Of course all are different. Good luck, and be kind to yourself.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I am presently dealing with a man that I care for that has some dementia. I realize it is as much frustrating to him as it is to me. I care for him in my home - we rode the school bus together when we were kids - and - he took me to my junior prom when the navy would not allow my current boyfriend to come home and take me. So we are old old friends. He still wants to do things for me and insists on helping! Of course, his help is more problems for me. I have found activities that he can do so he feels usefull - and he is - however I am like a mother with a child taking their first steps. So allowing him to be helpful is not a help to me - but I allow it and then correct it later without mention. However, I am not perfect and sometimes get really frustrated and forget about the not mention part.
So this is a tight walk to show respect and also protect him while trying to keep myself undestanding. I can only equate it to raising a brain damaged child. They are not bad - they are doing the best they can. Then I get my head on straight - take a deep breath and remember the friend he has always been for me. All I can say is that I understand and hope that you will find a way to handle the situation as it is.
I also go to bed every night thankfull that I do not have that problem - shall I say yet?? Also hoping that my children will have the same patience and understanding if this would happen to me.
I am writing because I hear your frustration and undernderstand. I hope you can find a way of dealing with it. It is not going to change.
Please know that you are not alone in experiencing this
Rosepetal
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter