How do you take care of a person with Alzheimer's when the spouse is verbally abusive to the caregiver?

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If you are an agency caregiver, perhaps you can talk to your supervisor about this. Your supervisor may be able to caution the abusive spouse about treating you badly.
If you are on your own (an independent contractor), then you'll have to give notice and tell the abusive spouse that you expect to be treated with respect or they can find someone else.

There's another way to read this question - that you are married to the person with Alzheimer's - and that you are being abused by your spouse. If that's the case, you will be in good company, because AD makes many people aggressive. You can find a lot of support at the National Alzheimer's Association website at www.alz.org.

Good luck. None of this is easy,
Carol
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If you are a family caregiver and your elder is verbally abusive, I offer action steps as a way to to help end the vicious cycle of being on the receiving end of mean and nasty comments. Integrating self-respecting strategies in the family caregiving process starts right now.

Get angry.

Self-respecting family caregivers get angry. They admit to themselves that they are angry. And they acknowledge the right to be angry. Self-respecting caregivers express their anger in the moment and do so in a way that teaches others how to treat them. Suffering in silence implies consent for others to treat us badly.

Practice the following statements in front of the mirror. The more you say them, the more you’ll believe that what you are saying is true. Next time you are angry with your elder say these words to them:

“What you just did (said) makes me angry. I do not deserve that.”

“It makes me angry when you… Please stop it now.”

“My bedroom is private, and it makes me angry when you walk in without knocking.” “We’re all adults here, and your criticism is not appropriate.”

Don’t take it personally.

Self-respecting caregivers allow care receivers to be angry and they don’t take what is being said personally (this takes practice). When our elders are lashing out at us, more often than not underlying issues are at work: elders may be in pain (physically and emotionally); elders may be frustrated (their bodies are failing them); elders may be depressed (losses of all kinds surround them); and elders are acting out (long-time family conflicts remain unresolved).

The next time your elders start complaining; look them straight in the eye. Allow them a few moments for them to express their anger. Don’t defend; don’t interrupt; let them vent. When they are finished, you can help to defuse their highly charged emotions by saying something like, “I’m sorry this is making you so angry.”

If they say they are angry about something you said or did, you can defuse that situation too by asking for forgiveness. I know this suggestion sounds strange; but keep in mind their anger is not really about you. Asking for forgiveness is not an admission of guilt; it can be an effective way to calm the waters in the moment. “I’m really sorry I disappointed you.” “I know you’re upset (angry), and I’m sorry.”

Set boundaries.

Self-respecting caregivers set boundaries. Verbally abusive people pick on certain people because they are easy targets. Don’t make yourself available. There is no disgrace in walking out of a situation that is intolerable or beyond your power to handle; in fact, it is the smart thing to do when you recognize your own limitations. Simply say, “I’m leaving now,” and walk out of the room. Nothing more needs to be said.

Ultimately, we cannot change the basic personalities of people who are mean and nasty. We can only make our best attempts to manage ourselves in the moment. Never ever forget that family caregivers are special and you deserve to be treated as such.

I hope that you have found some of these tips to be helpful. I wish you well.
Ask your mother if she wants your help or not, no if's or but's just straight yes or no. Give her sometime to think about it and maybe just maybe she will change her tune. Remind her of everything that is invoved in your father's care and take things from there. Best of luck to you the abuse stops here.
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Twinlaura-Yes, you have got a reason to go on. YOU! As far as your mother being verbally abusive, it sounds like she also has a dementia in the making and/or a mental illness. In any event, talk to your dad's doctor and see if he will see your mother. You don't say if she has had a neurological workup yet, but one is needed. Being overweight, diabetic and mentally out-of-control is a good reason to call adult protective services to get her some help. If you are the only caregiver, you have no where else to go, and are feeling suicidally depressed, you can get help yourself. In talking to APS, ask them to recommend a respite care organization (they usually do not charge), a mental health hospital and get some needed help yourself. No one should feel like they do not deserve to live, nor should anyone tell you your ex should have murdered you. At the very least, you can charge her with assault (the threatening words meant to harm you) or if she strikes you, battery. I will pray you have the strength to get yourself some needed help, and let us know what happens. God be with you and your family!
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twinlaura, tell mom that you're putting her in a nursing home if she doesn't stop the yelling, lying etc towards you and your family. Then when she keeps on screaming, put her in a nursing home. She needs YOU. You DO NOT NEED HER. She NEEDS to keep remembering who needs who in my opinion.
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You are not there to be abused you are there to care for your client. The wife probably figures that she knows him best and feels that you are over stepping your boundaries. If there is a personality clash either have your supervisor intervene or maybe it is best to hand it over to someone else. But do not continue being abused by her. Best of luck
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You agree with everything they say, smile and know its their disease not them. When you get a chance, compliment them on their beautiful eyes or how smart they are. When they are sundowning which can happen any time of the day, you ignore them, there is no reasoning with them and that will pass in about 10-20 minutes. The sooner you learn this, the better because I went through it for a year and it was not my Mom, she was a peach before, (and after) this stage. Dont take it personally and good luck.
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i take care of my dad with AD and my mother is abusing me verbally. What can I do? I have no where else to go.
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Pearl33-Are you the caregiver? Whose spouse is being abusive? I need more information. Your profile says you are caring for your mother in your home. Is it your spouse who is abusive to you? Please clarify...
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ferris, I am the daughter, my dad has AD and my mom is being abusive to me and my father, I am the caregiver. I not only take care of dad but also of mom, she is recliner bound, and I do everything for her. She can't wipe herself because she is too heavy, she is diabetic, and refuses to give dad his ativan so dad walks all night and she doesn't sleep. She now turned my one daughter against me last night by telling her lies, she is constantly yelling at my dad, and he doesn't realize what is wrong with him. I told her to stop yelling at him, and all hell broke loose. She now will not speak to me and if she does, she yells at me and says bad things about me. My chest pains are worsening, I would leave but I have no where to go, no money, due to taking care of them for 7 years, and I wouldn't leave my dad. He was my rock, my best friend. Now he is just a shell. How and why is she so mean to me and dad? I am 48 and my health is failing each day, and my mind due to her. My ex husband put a shot gun in my mouth and threatened to kill me many years ago and I got out of that situation, she said yesterday, I deserved it, he should of pulled the trigger. What mother says that to a daughter who gives her all the help she needs or wants? I am adopted, I now think I should of been aborted, I really have no reason to go on
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I appreciate all the help and concern for myself and my family, but bringing in adult protective services is not the answer.......god bless you all... love laura
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