Follow
Share

I recently had to place my 95 year old aunt in an assisted living facility. She had fallen & broken her hip in October followed by a hip replacement. It was a full time job researching facilities, calling, visiting, interviewing, you name it. I found a wonderful facility but each time I visit her she says "This place is killing me!" or "Why did you bring me here?" or "You never asked me where I wanted to go! I want to go home! I can take care of myself!". Today was the worst when my 87 year old mother & I tried to pay her a visit & it ended in a shouting match between my mom & aunt, my aunt screaming "You don't want me anymore! My own sister!". When I speak to the staff they all say the same thing: "I'm shocked! Your aunt is adorable! Everyone loves her!". Am I crazy? She keeps saying she's going to walk out the front door someday & find her own place to live. It's just so awful. Christmas Day was by far the most depressing one we've ever spent. My poor 12 year old daughter should not have to experience this sort of behavior at this point in her life on what's to be a joyous holiday. How do I talk to my aunt? How do I respond when she shouts at me & my mother? Any words of advice are greatly appreciated. I cringe each time I'm on my way to visit her then when I come home & get deeply depressed. HELP!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Luvsdogz, this is just the right forum... and it sounds like you've done tons of work, and done it right! I like the idea from Countrymouse about meeting with her with a beloved staff member(s), upon arrival, and all talk. It could be that 'alone' you and your mom represent something to her... could the trick be to get you correlated with the good part there vs. just bringing to her mind the life she used to have. Maybe go and just spend some time with others residents there and not visit her, haha... convey that this is a place you'd go and visit anyway, whether you speak with her is optional? Come to think of it, maybe ask a resident or two (who you think won't tattle) what they recommend. Everyone loves to help others, and some kind people who have their wits may like to share what they know.
Read some other threads on this site if you haven't already, about elders who think their own kids are stealing from them, calling them a dictator, etc. Theres definitely a lot of anger and name calling others are enduring... and figuring out how to work around. I hope your aunt really loves it there, it sounds like she does. So you made a great choice. Also, you could try asking the Dr who advised you to visit her and talk. Good luck! Lisa
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

No frame of reference and doing your best - I do understand how hard you've tried, and how unfair it must feel to get the "thanks" (?!) you're getting. I was in a similar situation - goodness, can it be? - twelve years ago with a maiden great aunt, finding we ended up with a choice of one when it came to nursing homes because she didn't want to move away from her home town. I was not that happy with it, not able to do much about it and had no other volunteers in sight… the difference was that she was always grateful, stoical, sanguine and charming - it was I who felt I hadn't got it right. Hope your aunt comes round. It would be wonderful if she'd calm down enough to tell you what's really bugging her, for a start!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

It's good to have a site like this, then, isn't it -- where other people can help your acquire a frame of reference by sharing their experience.

You are doing what you need to do. You are doing what is best for your aunt. That doesn't mean she'll automatically appreciate it. She resents needing you, and she is taking it out on you. You know it is not your fault. Stay strong!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Yes I am the legal DPOA for my aunt. She never had children of her own. We've always been extremely close. She's a totally different person than who she was just a few months ago. As far as not taking her to view ALF's, I did that under advisement of the doctor and the director of nursing where she was recovering during her time at the skilled nursing facility. I pay for her ALF from her account online (if that's really relevant) along with additional funding she receives from my deceased uncle's VA benefits. From my numerous talks with the staff at her ALF (Director of ALF, Director of Nursing, Director of Administration as well as front desk administrator) they've all said the same exact thing. She is sweet as pie, has her groups of friends & engages in numerous activities on a daily basis. And of course I've asked if she has dementia! They say it's more of typical behavior of a 95+ year old who's whole world has been turned upside down. They've just never really said the word "dementia". Since I've never gone through anything like this before (all my grandparents just died in their sleep, God bless them) it's a new experience for me. None of my deceased family members have ever been in an ALF so I have no frame of reference!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

What is your formal role in your aunt's life? For example, do you have POA for her? Does your mother (her sister)?

Putting curlers in her purse and having no money does seem to indicate some kind of impairment. Do you think she has ever been evaluated for dementia? Are you her health care proxy?

Regardless of the answers to these questions, I agree with those who urge you to leave if she starts screaming at you. Don't do it in anger and be as matter-of-fact as you can, but don't stay around for it. "Auntie, I can see that you are upset right now, and your screaming is upsetting me. I'll be back on Wednesday and I hope we'll both be calm then."
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I don't know the answers to the questions that countrymouse asked and I don't care. The best thing to do when she starts yelling etc when you arrive is to turn on your heel and leave. No one needs that. Plz don't take your daughter there anymore. She is in her childhood and doesn't need this. Then the next time you go visit and she starts yelling etc, turn on your heel and leave.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Perhaps it's time to schedule a 3-month review with the Director who conducted your aunt's pre-admission assessment for the ALF. See how the professionals think she's settling in, and whether there's any kind of "snagging" plan in place to help her feel more at home.

I don't like to add further challenges, but I can't help thinking there are a few puzzles here. How come you suspect dementia but "haven't been told directly"? - haven't you asked? She was in a wheelchair and fragile, so you weren't happy to take her to view ALF's with you - but they were ALF's, not theme parks: was there really no way? And I'm sure you wouldn't dream of taking a penny of your aunt's money, but who is paying for the ALF? Are you? Is your mother?

You seem to be acting with the authority of next of kin for your aunt; but has she in fact authorised you to act on her behalf? I'm just wondering if this is where her otherwise inexplicable resentment of all your hard work might come from.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I agree with what was said above. There's no reason for you to sit and be screamed at and accused of things. Simply get up and leave. If you want to just leave your aunt alone for a few minutes and then go back you can do that or you can just leave, period. That's up to you.

Threatening to leave is very common but if you notice when you visit your aunt, there aren't elders lining up to get out the door. It's a shame that our elderly loved ones continue to live on and on until no one can possibly care for them anymore. Gotta love modern medicine!

But don't subject yourself to your aunt's temper tantrums. That the staff hasn't seen them is no surprise. The bad behavior is usually reserved for family.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thanks for all the responses. They are all very helpful! To answer a few of your questions, she must have some form of dementia but I've not been told directly. For example I gave her a little spending money to have when they go out on outings and she lost the money. Instead she had hair curlers in her wallet. Go figure! She was not too involved in the process of choosing a facility. She broke her hip Oct. 4th, was in the hospital for several days, had to go back to the hospital for a blood transfusion, then transferred to a skilled nursing facility for about a month. She moved into her ALF November 6th. She was still in a wheelchair when she was released so I really could not take her to the countless trips I made, touring/interviewing ALF's (a full time job) during her stay at skilled nursing. She weighs about 90 lbs. soaking wet & was very fragile. I kept her informed but she says she forgets that I told her. The director at her ALF went to speak to her directly also before she moved in. She is usually nasty the minute I show up saying she's going to find a place on her own, I can't keep her there & "that's my money!". Like I'd ever take a penny from her! Yesterday the shouting match occurred OUTSIDE in front of dozens of residents & a few nurses aids. It was just a scene! Well thanks for your feedback & I don't feel so alone. Hugs and gratitude to you all.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Sounds like a toxic family. Visit her without your daughter, mom or aunt. If she is pleasant enjoy her for an hour, and leave. Don't wait for her to get tired and cranky. If she is nasty as soon as you arrive, tell her so. Tell her you'll be back when she is feeling nicer. Grab your coat and go.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Next time you go to visit your aunt, invite one of the staff who has plenty of contact with her into her room and ask your aunt to explain what the problems are. You are calling her bluff, to a point, but I don't mean pay lip service to it: genuinely, give it your best shot to see if there are any peas under her mattresses.

Other than that, normal boundaries apply. You wouldn't sit still as a guest in anybody else's house and allow yourself to be shouted at or abused, so why are you taking it when you're a guest in your aunt's room? You make your polite excuses and leave; nothing terrible will happen; and with luck your mother and daughter will follow your example.

I'm sorry your young daughter's Christmas was spoiled (I hope not entirely); but she's not so young that you can't explain to her that for some people extreme old age is a frightening and upsetting time. All learning experiences have some value.

You have worked very hard to help your aunt find a safe, comfortable place to live. I do wonder how closely you involved her in choices and decisions? Is it possible you're on the receiving end of her resentment, instead of the thanks you (quite understandably) would have expected?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

You don't say whether your aunt has dementia, but most 95 year olds have at least mild mental impairment. Add to that that she has moved, had a fall and surgery and probably plenty of pain meds. All of these things are disorienting. She has probably only been in the ALF for a few weeks, so she probably needs more time to adjust. Since she seems to get along fine with the staff, perhaps you should limit your visits for a while. Shouting matches don't help anyone. Try to remember that you are doing what is best for your aunt, and don't feel guilty about it.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

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