For example I walk to the secondhand shop to find her a lounge chair. I put the photograph on my phone and show her. She likes it I arrange with the shop to bring her down in two days time and I will go with her so she can try the chair and see if its ok. In the meantime, she goes to her church, exicited about and they arrange to bring it back for her. I call in the same after and she is sitting on it. I say "great it saved you delivery money", " You like it". "yes she says but its too low and the back is too high".I EXPLAIN that if she would have waited 24 hrs we could have gone together as arranged and if it was too low, she didn't have to take it. She explains it needs 'raisers' or cushions. I ring around and look on the internet and my expense and my time. I give her my findings , prices etc and she argues with me that when she bought the "others" they were $45" I ask her how long ago and she states 7years when our upstairs neighbour died. The neighbour died 2 years ago and again she starts yelling and banging her fists. I leave it, The next day I get the funeral service notice and show her "oh" she says is that all"!! In short this is an daily occurance, arguing, not getting her way and throwing a tantrum. But, nobody else looks after her and I feel guilty if I don't. She will not go into nursing home, is definitely losing her short term memory and is very obstinant. I have recently had a Ligament-Tendon_repairon my hand and several other minor problems. I am 70. She is aware I cannot lift but then manipulates others to do things for her after I have told her these people have health problems. Apart from her age and memory lose, a little bit of arthritis - she is in good health for 92. Its almost like dealing with two people - one who is excited, happy and very kind and the other personality, controlling, angry, unreasonable and more or less states you are lying. She is also deaf with hearing aids. She often does not hear what is said. When I say the information she gives me ( which I know is i ncorrect) - she argues and starts shouting. Is normal behaviour? Or is this the start of dementia/alheismers
But for now anyone can include where they live in their brief text.
If I had to guess, I'd say that your neighbor is beginning dementia. And it most likely will reach a point where she'll need a lot more help. Don't feel guilty if you cannot provide it. If there were family in the background trying to get her to accept a placement or more home help, (or if her church took on that role) I'd say looloo has a valid point about not doing so much it interfere's with the carer's plans. But under the circumstances I think it is a true kindness you are performing. Don't expect much in return, though, like appreciation or even understanding of what you provide. She may no longer have enough reasoning power to respond appropriately, even if she did that in her prime.
As for the little tests that are given, if someone fails those it is very clear they need a lot of help. But passing them does not prove much. I have seen both my husband and my mother pass short memory tests with flying colors, but be unable to function on their own because of dementia.
Don't feel personally responsible for her happiness. If there is something you're able and willing to do that increases her safety and/or well-being, by all means do it (I am very appreciative of my neighbor's efforts with this), but anything more than that is a recipe for disappointment, and wasted time and money.
Also, ask yourself why you feel the NEED to go to -- I'll say it bluntly -- rather unreasonable lengths for this woman. It's foolish to work yourself into a tizzy over the examples you mention. My mother's neighbor, although very thoughtful and helpful, also works herself into such a panic over minor or non-urgent things. I get phone calls, messages, emails, on and on, and before I handle anything, I have to calm her down first. I also am beginning to resent her 'enabling' my mother too much (I WANT my mother to go to Assisted Living, which is where she should be, rather than mistakenly believing that she's independent.)
Anyway, I went off on a tangent with my own stuff. Sorry! Just back off on most of what you're doing, and if she's not happy, it's because she's incapable of it.
Do what you can to help her, and keep reminding yourself you are 70 and not 35 even though your neighbor might think differently because you are much younger then she is. If she gets other to do her heavy lifting, even if you know the others shouldn't, that is their choice.
As for her outbursts, it could be memory lost, or just the fact that she herself doesn't like or is afraid of getting older.
I notice that this webpage is American - I'm actually in Queensland Australia, therefore our procedures are a little different.
My neighbour does have homehelp (government) once every fortnight (so do I). She also has Anglicare who take her in their car to do her shopping (once a fortnight). She goes to Church twice a week and is their prayer warrior. She also prays to G-d to take her home. She is definitely not depressed. probably lonely, but demands attention when she has her 'audience.' Don't get me wrong, she is a kind and caring person- but unpredicable - maybe not so true as now it is predictable.
Ladee she doesn't like wearing her hearing aids - I now indicate for her to put them in as I am not going to shout at her. She now knows to do that and you can see from my previous comment the help she has.
Jeanne, I believe she is in cogitive decline - she is an ex-maths and R I Teacher - where her memory long term is good and repetitive. It starts with "have I told you this story"....yes you have - but she continues from that to another -which can last for 1/2 hour. Your right it doesn't matter if our neighbour died 7 or 2 years ago, but its her constant control and agitation that becomes a massive problem of wanting with everything I say in conversation- not a single item. Its akin to bullying. I look at the clock and say I must go. I am now not going in to her unit everyday, perhaps just every third day might be better. Its just she sits there and really has no concept of time and how much time entails of helping her in many things she wants - then she changes her mind or complains. Is that aging or dementia because she can't remember or just bullying when she has the chance to to get her on way. Remember I am not her carer and I can walk out and do, but go back because she may fall. She has falling several times, quite badly. She insists to call the doctor. I call the ambulance because after a fall, the doctor will do the same - because of her age. We are talking about falling head first into shower glass etc, saying she cannot more her hip etc... and waiting. Everything has to be on her terms - sometimes that is just not possible and gentle I explain when she has a fall, I WILL call the ambulance and she can deal with the hospital as she feels it. Her attittude is unreasonable in those circumstances -especially when the fall is 2am. She won't use her walker or stick in the unit - puts chairs as a chain to get around, then turns around quickly and loses her balance.
Jessie I now stand up and ask if she wants something and say I can't sit down because I am busy...and leave the sitting down to once a week.
Countrymouse when she fell head first into the shower screen and only by the grace of G-d she didn't cut her throat, I rang the hospital and explained she had been sick and her capabilities of looking after herself were diminishing. I explained I was a neighbour, she didn't have a carer, her relations do not visit her, she has her Church. They tried to keep her in because she had pneumonia and she signed herself out, got the priest to pick her up and told the hospital "she knew her rights" - which she does. Then gloated over it when she got home. I didn't tell her our concern and I rang the hospital - short of getting a tongue lashing - now is that aging, unreasonable behaviour or what? As for taking the test, she has methods of remembering by association, she is not a stupid woman and trains her mind to do this when they come to do the test. The test is for somebody who is not competant in memory. It is not for somebody who likes to outwit her apponent by using her guile. But, she falls, she doesn't eat properly, sometimes smells (not bathing) and her cups are black with tanin. I give her a clean mug, white inside, she says its too heavy - it is the same as the one she uses - but the one she uses needs throwing out. What do you do with a older person like that. As I said before, I can accept if it is dementia, alsheimer, but not pigheadedness.
All your comments are helpful and thankyou. In the end, if I didn't go in and she fell, I would feel guilty and I think she knows that. All I can say is I hope I never become that difficult when and if I get to her age:)
I'm so glad that you are there for the woman. Maybe you can just smile and not worry about making her happy. She might not ever let you know. :)
To the extent that you want to continue being the Good Samaritan, please try not to take her outbursts personally. I don't know if she is beginning some cognitive decline, but let's assume the kind, excited woman is the real neighbor, and the unreasonable child is beyond her control. Try to minimize the opportunities for argument. Does it really matter whether her neighbor died 2 years ago or 7? Let go of being "right" and stick to being helpful. Sometimes you really need to correct her, of course, but probably not nearly as often as she is wrong! She says you are lying? How about, "I'm just telling it the way I remember it, but I could be wrong, of course."
If you can make allowances for her hearing loss, her level of frustration, and her lapses into unreasonableness, and if you can minimize the opportunities for arguments, you can be a great friend to this needy woman. But if you need to back away for your own sanity that is perfectly acceptable. I hope you can get someone else involved before you back away.