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My grandmother is completely unruly. In her younger years, she was abusive, and violent. The object of her aggression was always my mother, but since then, they had buried the hatchet...or so we thought.
2 years ago, my grandmother had broken her hip and gotten C-DIF. My mother helped her, got her therapy, cooked for her, cleaned for her, until she got better. Problem is that she still isn't better. We have taken her to Doctors, Neurologists, had blood work done, MRI's, Catscan's, Physical Therapy, etc...She refuses to help herself. The physical theraist actually quit because he saw such great progress when working with her, then caught her "faking it", when other people came into the room. She literally acted like she couldn't walk, yet when it was just her and the therapist, she was walking over hurdles. Every morning it is a fight to get her to take a shower. When we get her in there, and we leave her unattended, she only lets the water hit her, and usually lets the shower run and gets out and sits on the toilet until we come back in. She refuses to change her adult diapers. She urinates in them until they leak all over her clothes, and onto furniture. Sometimes she defecates in them. When she does that, she locks herself in the bathroom and tries to hide it. Obviously we find out, and when confronted she says, "It isn't that much," or "I don't know who did that." Recently, after she defecated all over the bathroom, I had gotten upset and hollered at her. "Why would you put your hand in a dirty diaper and touch everything around you!" She smiled at me and told me to clean it. I told her she was crazy and if it was so funny, she can clean it herself. She then attempted to swing punch me in the face, missed and instead made 2 claw marks on my face from the start of my jawline, to my chin. In doing so, she almost fell backwards. I grabbed her so she didn't fall, and began to dig her nails into my wrists until she broke the skin. All the while she said, "You'll see. You'll see." I immediately called my mother, uncle and her sister to help me. When she saw my uncle he asked her, "What are you going to do if we call the police on you?" She said, "That will be fine. I will just say she hit me first and they will believe me because I am old." When her sister walked into the room, unaware that she was eavesdropping by the door, my grandmother began acting confused and said, "Oh. What are you doing here. I don't know what is going on? Are you gonna take me home."
If I didn't know any better, I would think she was doing this on purpose. She also refuses to eat unless she is served. She tells others that she can't get to the food. She can't reach. She cant work the stove or the microwave. Meanwhile, just last week, when her son (the Golden Child) arived for a visit, she got up, went into the fridge and started cooking him pasta and shrimp. Here is the kicker, SHE IS ONLY 78. HELP!!!!

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Get a nanny cam. Film her, then find a good therapist who will advise you how to handle her, and keep you sane.
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Dear Brnt: First, who has legal and medical authority over your Gma? If it is you, you call the shots - no questions. If it is your Mom, I would turn her over to her and tell her to deal with your Gma. Secondly, you are so young - why should you be tying up your life with this (self-imposed?) responsibility. Third, why are you so opposed to a NH facility? Your Gma is clearly demented, whether due to age, drug interaction, undetected infection (like UTI), not receiving the right medications, who knows! This is a huge burden for you to deal with. I understand you love her, but sometimes the best love is getting her the 24/7 care by professionals that can deal with every situation that arises. Stop putting yourself in jeopardy with her. Sooner or later someone will get seriously hurt or worse. Next time the situation escalates, call 911 and your Gma will get physical and psch eval before they make a diagnosis, and you could always refuse to take her home due to your concerns for your physical safety.
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Here goes ... it seems to me that if she has dementia it is only mild. She is apparently cognizant enough to get herself out of any situation that she doesn't like based on the information in your post. That she threatened you concerning a call to the police says she has enough of her faculties to deliberately try to cause you harm.

Not knowing how or why she came to live with you, it definitely sounds like she is taking advantage of a good, kind person. The clawing, scratching is dangerous for you.

While I'm all for helping the helpless, this woman does not sound helpless. She is doing the things she is doing because she's getting away with it and apparently has most of her life. The feces thing is demented. This may sound harsh to some but I would tell her that if she doesn't straighten up and cooperate with you including toileting that she will be institutionalized and follow through if she fails to comply. If your family doesn't want to support you, then you should tell them to take her off your hands. I really don't think that you should subject yourself or your household to that kind of abuse. You should print out your post and show it to the doctor, maybe he can recommend a psychiatrist.
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There are assisted livings that have dementia units. They take people with incontinence and do the care like a nursing home. It costs more. Why are you so opposed to a nursing home? Some are very good and it sounds like it would be the best situation. Mild dementia can come with periods of lucidity. And yes they try to hold it together better around doctors and strangers. They only have to maintain for an hour or so and it makes you look like you are exagerating. I doubt she is incontinent for attention. The advice you are getting about treating her poorly or threatening her won't work and is only going to cause her to act out more. You really do need to decide what setting is best. Unfortunately, with dementia this is only going to get worse. If her edema is such that she could use a hospital stay, and stays for 3 nights, she could get placed in a "rehab" nursing facility. You can choose not to take her home at that point and the facility needs to keep her or find her a safe place to stay. I know that is working the system, but sometimes it is what you have to do. Talk to a an elder law attorney about your options. This situation is coming to a head and sounds like it could end in abuse on either or both your parts. Ask her doctor about a psyche admission. The hospitals have geri-psyche facilities attached to them. They specialize in exactly this kind of behavior. EMPHASIZE to the MD that she does get abusive physically with care and that you are afraid of where this is leading. Let the professionals decide what level of care she needs and what help!! If he/she understands what level of difficulty you are really having, they will act. Also, if she does hit or hurt you, you can call an ambulance and have her transported to the ER for psyche issues. When you call 911 you say she is acting psychotic and has hurt someone. This doesn't get her arrested, it gets her to a specialist immediately at a hospital. Most people don't know that. However, you do it, you need her in a safe setting and evaluated.
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You wrote that your grandmother was abusive when she was younger. The behavior you describe in her now sounds sadistic to me. I do not know what she seeks to gain by hurting you emotionally and physically, but often there is no real logic to a sadistic personality other than gaining some satisfaction at the pain they cause.

In your situation I would be heading for the door. If it is sadism, her behavior will not change. There is no reason that you have to put up with being used and tormented.

If you think it is dementia instead, insist she see someone about it. If she is unwilling to work with you to make life tolerable, you aren't obligated to continue to be her caregiver anymore. You are as important as she is.
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Sounds like you need to videotape her acting out for evidence and then get legal help to have her put in an appropriate facility.
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Can you, at this stage of things, take GM into PCP or psych for evaluation and come out with some meds... namely, sedatives/tranquilizer type meds... for now. You will have to figure out the "long term" because at 78, your GM can live 20+ more years.

My father is also a charmer to his doctors. Its frustrating to me to see him take no accountability/responsibility for his hateful actions, his lack of self care... and then go into doctors' appointment and it seems like he is SUCH a good guy... lol... I can completely relate to this one. But maybe talking to doctor before or after appointment, away from GM, and explaining your side of the story... and like I said, getting her some medication that will drastically calm her and reduce the chaos she is causing.

This is what came to my mind after reading your post. I certainly wish you the best in dealing with the situation. Good luck!
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It sounds like she does have early dementia along with a behavior issue. Getting angry and yelling at her will never EVER help the situation. If you can no longer care for her at home, there are several options. Of course a lot of this does depend on finances. High end - assisted living facility that has a dementia floor. - They have their own "apartment" but without a working stove. They are attended by aides as much as needed for cleanliness eating etc but have some privacy too. This is much less cost than private pay for a nursing home and is usually in a smaller setting and much more home like. A hired caregiver for blocks of time at home to help with the care - Adult foster care if she is income eligible. this will give finances, nursing and case management support to the designated caregiver in the home. Caregiver Homes is a good one. They can also try to match her with a non family caregiver in your community to go live with. Again in a home in the community but not your headache when it comes to care. Rest homes and nursing homes are also options. It sounds like you desperately need some help. Also let her MD know about the aggression and problems. He may prescribe something that will help her not be so angry and anxious. Hope this helps!
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Why are you stuck being the primary caregiver? Some of her behavior can be blamed on the dementia; however, it sounds like your grandmother has gotten away with manipulating people her entire life, and continues to do so. She learned early on that poor behavior gives her the attention she craves.

Oh, and don't leave her to take her shower on her own. Get a hand-held shower head and hose her down herself. If you don't want to do it, then TELL your mother it is HER responsibility to make sure her own mother is clean and you really don't care when that happens. Figure out what you can offload others and delegate, delegate, delegate whatever you can.

JessieBelle said it best - "you are as important as she is". That is something we all seem to forget as caregivers.
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I have also suggested nanny cams before in other circumstances and this situation seems like the perfect time to use one. Gma could get you in a lot of trouble, on the one hand intentionally and on the other hand not meaning to because she doesn't understand the difference. I believe she is in a stage they call ego-centric.

With a nanny cam, you set it up so she doesn't know she's being recorded, she thinks it's just the two of you alone and you can have a conversation with her that you miss this behavior. So now you have proof of her behavior that you can show to family, to doctors, to Adult Protective Services or to police as required.

Then, as already suggested, the very next time after that her behavior excelerates to unacceptable, its 911, to the hospital for physical and psych evaluation and do not accept your back into your home, with peace of mind for you that you have proof to keep her from your home with cause.

No when and your family including your very own mother is doing what they are to do to protect you. As difficult as it is, you're going to have to protect yourself. Once Gma is properly placed in a facility adequate for her needs, evaluated by professionals, not by you, you can continue visiting her and managing her case. Believe me, there is enough to do to manage someone in an outsourced living situation without the physical demands required of 24 /7 caretaking.
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