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I'm a caregiver. The elder I care for has dementia and gets abusive at times. Their son knows that they get this way. His solution is to give them space. This sometimes doesn't work; the elder has threatened to slap me and bucked up to me several times before. One time they raised their walker to me. I really need this job, so I can get a vehicle. What am I to do?

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To me, being “somewhat abusive” is like being “a little bit pregnant”. No such thing. If this elder has tried to slap you or “bucked up” to you (not sure what that means) and tried to clobber you with their walker, I’d have to say you aren’t very safe there. No job is worth the threat of physical harm and chances are this family has been through this before with other caregivers who most likely quit. Quite frankly, you could make just as much (or more) at a Big Box store, especially now when stores are gearing up for the Holidays. You could even get some benefits to boot.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Are you through an agency or are they paying you privately? If through an agency you need to talk with your manager.

if hired privately? You need to talk to you employer and make sure they have liability insurance to cover any injuries you may get.

The family should be taking this seriously and talking to her doctor about possible interventions.
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Reply to Tothill
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Have you tried working for an agency? Please do not stay with an abusive elder because you may get blamed for anything he does. You are not being paid to be abused. You may even get injured by him...then what.
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gdaughter Nov 3, 2019
Safer, but probably pays considerably less. Without benefits.
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Yes, I agree, the family should take this seriously. A Dementia/ALZ people have extraordinary strength. There are meds that may help.
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gdaughter Nov 3, 2019
Yep. My little mama who could be easily knocked off balance is very strong when she uses her arms and wants to push me away or dig her nails into me!
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You might want to go on YouTube and look at the videos posted by Teepa Snow on handling people with Alz/dementia. You must have training in techniques for working with them. Her videos are invaluable
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Reply to Harpcat
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Talk with son about how dad's behavior is probably a result of frustration - not getting his way or not understanding what is happening. Ask son to talk to dad's doctor about anti-anxiety medications. You'll need to explain things very simply to dad and use lots of diversion to help him control his frustration/anger. Also allow twice as much time to accomplish tasks: bathing, eating, dressing, toileting... Yes, less tasks will get done in the course of the day. If dad is clean, fed, and dressed... you're doing a great job!
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Reply to Taarna
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There's no 'reasoning' with dementia, so don't bother trying to apply logic to an illogical disease. Who knows what 'triggers' aggressive behavior, either? It can literally be ANYTHING!

When I was a caregiver for an elder with Alzheimer's about 15 years ago, he'd go off on tirades about anything and everything. The eggs I cooked him were not like the ones he was served on The QE II. Never mind that we weren't ON The QE II, huh? The cookies I bought him weren't the cookies he WANTED even though they were the ones he asked me to buy, etc. He'd raise his walker up over his head & come charging at me like a bull. After about the 3rd time he'd done this to me, I called the Agency & QUIT. Why on earth would I expose myself to potential danger? It's quite easy to get another job in this type of field, so don't put up with any dangerous behavior for any reason. Don't risk life or limb for a job.........disease or no disease...............it ain't worth it.

Good luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 6, 2019
Certainly not worth it!
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Another vote that, in the meantime, you request that they be evaluated for increased medication. And do consider the box-store advice as a backup, love that. It doesn’t make you any less professional and you can get back following your dream career after the holidays.
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Reply to Zdarov
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I'd start looking for another job while you still have this one...I'm guessing you are not the only caregiver? Do you communicate with anyone else, or is it family on the scene when you're not there? It must be scary not knowing when you'll be confronted with the behavior. I so feel for you...needing the $$ to get to the point of having more control and having the car...of course the car will come with payments and insurance and gas needs as well...hopefully another job will open up with the same arrangements you can handle as far as being there but for someone less problematic. good luck...
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Reply to gdaughter
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Find out about their core beliefs structure. How they were raised. Then pull concepts from that.

Use a soft but firm voice.
"You know not to treat a lady ...your wife...one of God's Children... like that".
"I need you to act like your Mama taught you"
"Would you let your Nana see you act like this? Think about her. Remember her and make her proud!"

These are examples. Remember the illness makes a person have a short fuse, feel like a cornered animal, and almost no impulse control. So help them, I a gentle voice, find their inner calm. Find memories and behavior habits they can still link into and feel secure.

I was often called when a LO living across the street got threatening to his wife, or others. This worked..very powerful!
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