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My aunt who is being cared for at home by her unmarried Son is having bouts of being really verbally horrible , this is the first time I have seen her like this and its been a shock. She seems to have taken a dislike to my 7 year old daughter and continually snipes at her and also me, yet is.so loving, overly to my 2 yr old son. She and my cousin come to dinner at mine on Sundays and I am dreading it, I think I handled it wrong as I kind of berated her for this. I feel as though she is jealous of ny daughters time with me as she is like this to my mum also when she stays with me and is at my home. This is an early diagnosis of dementia and my aunt has only her son and myself in her family. I feel selfish not being understanding straight away . I spend every wednesday at hers with her, I take her shopping which is a nightmare, she keeps asking when I leave Will I be comin tomorrow and then I end up saying yes as feel guilty. Yesterday she said no one loves or does anything for her and got so nasty to me and her son and said so many spiteful untrue things, when I left I was in tears I feel so sorry for my cousin as he said she is like this to him often, it's just the first time I have seen for myself, I almost felt like my presence is making her worse but she always wants me there. Then turns on me. Sorry for long post, trying to get it all out.anyhow any advice will be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.

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No one gets to abuse me or my children... no matter how pitiful they act. Nope.
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I think .. hmm .. I think it's complicated.

I remember thinking, when I was much younger, that I didn't want to grow old and look like all those grumpy looking old people I'd see around. You know the type. They wear their unhappiness in their lines and wrinkles. As I'm growing older (61 in a few days), and as I caregive for a 91yo, I realize more than ever, that we CREATE the world in which we live. If our mother, father, aunt, grand have no one who cares about them, whose responsibility is that? I have a huge heart and give it out where and when I see it's needed .. and .. I'll be damned if I'm going to be walked on, trod on, stepped on, misused. Many have similar words, "We teach people how much they can abuse us."

We ~can~ retrain the dementia brain. Edna was raised in the deep south and used the 'n' word without thinking about it. (Imagine her response to Obama .. oy!) I was insistent every time she used it, "Edna! Stop. (explanation ensued) You can't use that word. Ever" Took almost a year, but I haven't heard it, since. Yes, their brains are miswired, now, but that doesn't mean they can't learn. They can and do. They learn new routines.

Tell her, as often as you must, "Treat my child with care, or I won't be back." And stick to it. No guilt is worth having your child feel hurt.
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Your first responsibility is to your children! Visit your aunt in her home but I would not allow her to be around the kiddos. I fully understand this is a disease and I am sorry your family is going through this; however, little children cannot process what is happening other than it makes them feel bad and at fault.

Good luck!
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Why put up with this? To support her cousin, that's why. And to be kind to a sick elderly lady, that's another why.

I wouldn't let the aunt within a mile of my 7 year old daughter, though, not until there's a change and either this phase passes or you find a way to deflect her. If it's hard for an adult to learn not to take undeserved insults to heart, how's a small girl going to manage that?
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If my mom won't co-operate with eating of bathing I sing a country song
and won't stop until she a.takes a bite of food or assists w bathing .It works every time! Do you think maybe my singing is that good or just maybe that bad?
Linda in Ca.
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Just on way to school run, just read this and will reply in full later, in the mean time, thank you so so much what great advice, makes perfect sense and I am so grateful for you taking time to reply x
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My first piece of advice is almost impossible to follow: Don't take it personally. And don't try to figure it out. Dementia is not logical.

Your aunt has something seriously wrong in her brain. If she died tomorrow and they did an autopsy they would find tangles or plaques or bodies of protein or clumps or ... something that does not belong in a healthy brain. What they find would identify what kind of dementia she had.

She did nothing to deserve having this happen to her brain. You did not cause it nor did your cousin. Her behavior is caused by problems in her brain. She can't help it. It is not about you or your cousin. When she says mean things to you it is not your dear aunt talking, it is the dementia.

My next advice is to learn as much as you can about dementia. It will help you feel better, and it will be helpful in dealing with your aunt. Also I highly recommend that both you and your cousin join a caregivers' support group, and if you can, one specifically for persons caring for loved ones with dementia.

Guilt, although totally unearned and irrational, pretty much goes with the territory when you are a caregiver. My next advice is try to push the guilt to the background and make decisions not driven by it. If once a week is how much you can/want to visit her at her home, then don't let guilt lead you to promise more.

My last advice is about how she treats your children. You need to explain to your daughter about the dementia and that great-aunt doesn't really know what she is saying sometimes. And you also need to protect your children from her outbursts and inappropriate behaviors. Do you have anyone who can take the children on Sundays when Aunt visits? Could your mom help out? Could you rent a special video for them to watch in a separate room most of the time she is there? It is kind of you to include your Aunt in your life, and I admire your connection to your cousin. But your first responsibility is to your own children. To a certain extent this can be a learning situation for your older child. But they should not be subjected week after week to this unhappy situation, in my opinion.

Do keep us informed about how this is working out as you go along. We learn from each other.
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