Follow
Share

My mother no longer has a filter. Recently, she has started making racist comments about various caretakers in her AL facility. Yesterday, I told her that it was unkind, and reminded her that she has two black grandchildren. I don't even think it registered with her. To my knowledge, she has only made these comments to me. I don't want her spewing this crap to the staff. Have you ever had to deal with this issue, and if so, how did you handle it? The hits just keep on coming when you're a caregiver, don't they? :(

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Racism wasn't that unusual when our parents were growing up. It wasn't until decades later, especially after the tragedies of racial prejudice, and especially after Johnson was able to get the Civil Rights Act passed, that people began to be more racially sensitive. But there were a lot of other factors as well.

Some of our parents who were raised in an environment that wasn't cognizant of racial differences have ingrained attitudes that probably will never change, especially if some dementia is involved. It's probably past the time when they could change their opinions if they wanted to. That's not an excuse, just an observation of the reality of ingrained prejudice.

But it's not just in America, nor are whites prejudiced only against blacks. I watched a documentary titled "Sherpa" last week, addressing the catastrophic disaster on Mt. Everest in 2014. One of the issues raised as part of exploration of various factors arising from the death of the Sherpas was the attitude of the climbers toward the Sherpas. They recognized that some of the white climbers were prejudiced against them, anticipating that they were the human beasts of burden, putting themselves in much more danger than the climbers.

What was also shocking were the financial disparities - climbers paid $100K to climb to Everest while Sherpas were paid $5K for their roles. Talk about financial exploitation!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I wouldn't go so far as to say it was perfectly acceptable back in the day but unfortunately it was common especially in Midwest and southern states. These days it seems l don't have much positive to say about my mother - but I am proud to say that from being a minor level bigot in my childhood my mother evolved quite quickly into a more open minded, accepting person when it came to others of a different race. Thank God at least this seems to have stuck. Personally, if my mom did say something along that line - I would get up, say "you know that language is unacceptable to me" and leave - exactly in the same way I do when she is personally mean and/or demeaning to me. It worked in correcting her nastiness towards me and I believe it would work to correct her behavior in this regard - at least when I'm around.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My Grandmother did it and and now so does my mother.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I found this very helpful article here on Aging Care... scroll down to #4. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/bad-behavior-by-elderly-parents-138673.htm

Back when my Mom was in long-term-care, she would tell the nurses/Aides to "speak English" even when they were speaking English, Mom had issues with accents.... she even couldn't understand a heavy southern accent nor a Boston accent.... [sigh]. It didn't make sense, as my Mom's own parents were immigrants from eastern Europe and had a heavy accent.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

CWillie is right people with dementia have no control of their behaviour and in their day it was perfectly acceptable to call people by words that we may not even utter today. I have heard it numerous times and the staff just ignore it (as long as it is only the person with dementia who says it!)

My mother always calls me fat ugly and when I was with my last boyfriend who was Jamaican he smiled when she called him by the N word and just said yes Ma'am I am indeedy and proud to be one. She wasn't offended and he wasn't either. Did I cringe - oh hell yes but he understood and said he had been called a lot worse during his time in the military.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I never knew my father to be a racist man. In his last two years on earth, though, he used the worst racist word several times. Fortunately, we were in our home. Still I felt that the words came up from a well of evil that he had kept the lid on before. I was shocked and lost a bit of respect for him as a Christian man.

My mother went through a stage where she embarrassed me talking about if someone was retarded or if women were fat or ugly. Those are hurtful words. When she called women ugly, I would just look and comment that they looked better than we did. This was my way of bouncing her words back to her. My mother has never been a beauty and has always been overweight. It seems weird that she should be criticizing others for things that she could say about herself.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You can't expect people out in public to be cool when confronted with this kind of behaviour, but in AL staff will have seen and heard it all many times before. You can try to modify her comments, but they will continue to come out when you are not there. Make sure the staff understands you do not share her views and make a point to treat them all with respect... treats are always good too lol!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Becky,

I went through the same thing with my grandmother who had Alzheimer's. When we'd be out in public my grandma would whisper (and when I say "whisper" I mean talk in a normal tone but with her head bent close to mine) about people she'd see. We'd go into a restaurant and I'd quickly scan the workers and patrons for anyone my grandma could comment about and I'd spend the entire meal entertaining her somehow so she wouldn't notice who was around her. It was exhausting.

I felt bad admonishing my grandma so my mom or my aunt would have to do it. They'd tell her that she can't say things like that but it went in one ear and out the other as things do in someone with Alzheimer's.

My grandma enjoyed our lunches so much (as did I) that I didn't want to stop taking her out but I learned to leave a big tip with a note of apology if it was appropriate. I actually carried around little decorative cards in which I had written something like, "Please excuse my grandmother, she has Alzheimer's. Thank you for your service" and I'd slip a 25% tip in with the note.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

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