Exhausted! How do you deal with the irrational behavior?

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I am a caregiver for my father who moved in with my aunt two years ago. I have someone come into the house and help my father with his daily activities, medication and feeding tube five days a week. I have been going in twice a day on the weekends. It has gotten to be too much for me. I never feel like I have had any rest. I am single and MUST work full time. I have no life just for me.


My aunt who has always been the "special" one in the family is a difficult person. She clearly has severe cognitive issues and is unable to control her emotions. She refuses to accept help with housework and medical care. Other family members find her exhausting and therefore stay away.


Two weeks ago, she verbally ripped me apart. I was already at the point of exhaustion and responded back by telling her to back off. Typically, I would just get out of the house or hang up the phone when she gets into her tirades. She pushes arguments to the point that the other person is so mad and beside themselves that she starts to laugh and smile. I find it disgusting.


Now, a days I feel a literal knot in my stomach going to my aunt's house to take care of my father. There is minimal family support. Any support has to be purchased (i.e., health assistant).


Last night, I was offering the health aid additional hours on the weekend. During the conversation, I learned that my aunt went off on her and even threatened her with bodily harm. I was horrified to learn my aunt was talking like that to a worker. This aid does a good job of working with the family. I will need to hire more help. I am just not confident that others will be able to stomach my aunt's stuff.


How do you deal with verbal attacks from your loved ones?

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You say this situation came about because Dad had made no plans for his old age. For heavens sakes! Don't find yourself in that situation by taking out a loan to pay for his old age care. Who is going to take care of yours?

Help Dad apply for Medicaid. Get him into an appropriate care environment. You can visit him as often as you like.
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From my totally unqualified point of view your aunt sounds like she has a personality disorder. She sounds like the kind of person who enjoys manipulating other people's emotions just for her amusement. I have had a couple of those in my life and the only consistent thing with them is their vanity. Is there someone she admires who has a housekeeper? Wouldn't she like to be more like that person? Wow what a great idea she had to hire a housekeeper! The house looks and smells wonderful.

Physically threatening an aide is out of line, though, and you should let the aide know that she does not have to put up with it. Or ask the agency to send an aide that is more intimidating.
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Yes, caregiving comes at a very great cost. You have spent a lot of years caring for family. Please don't jeopardize your financial future as well. Call the local branch of the Area Agency on Aging and talk with them about your options for your Dad's future and perhaps your Aunt's future as well.
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JoAnn29, NO ONE is dumping my father on my aunt. So let’s cool it with that type of talk. Throughout their lives, my mother and father supported my aunt emotionally and financially at various points in time. Furthermore, in our cultural it is not unusually for family members to live together. She never got married or had children. My father is widowed.

It is not my style nor personality to just have people in and out of her house without asking her. I am extremely sensitive to my aunt's needs and space. It is not my house. I thank her all the time. I have offered to pay out of my pocket to get her help. I have offered to take off time from work to go to the doctors with her. I have cleaned up her house while mine remained a pig sty. She refuses any assistance from anyone. My aunt is not being held back from doing anything because dad lives with her. In fact, it is clear to all that she benefits from having his company and interacting with others. The lingering question is “what will happen to my aunt when dad leaves?”

I have spent my 30s and 40s caring for my sick, elderly parents. Many of my life decisions have centered around taking care of my parents. Now I realize that those decisions made out of love and compassion came at a cost to me. I love my father and care very deeply about his well being.
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Do not take out a loan. Stop paying for aides. This living situation is not good for dad. Find a nursing home, get him to apply for Medicaid and do all of this tomorrow.
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Your aunt's behaviour sounds irrational. Is there are chance she is developing dementia? You say she has cognitive impairment. Are there family members or friend who look after her? With her problems it is not a suitable place for your dad, nor is it suitable for her to have anyone who needs care in her home.

Contact your local agency for aging and also social services regarding your dad and possibly also your aunt. The first priority is to get your dad situated in a better place and supported by medicaid. You need your money for your future. Medicaid is there for people like him.

I agree keep your relationship with your aunt as good as possible while you work something else out for your dad and let her know you appreciate that she took him in. From what you write, I think she needs an assessment and treatment. If she has always been difficult she may have a personality disorder and be developing dementia as well. Threatening bodily harm to an aide is way out of the normal range of behaviour. Likely it will get worse. She needs help too.
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One more thing...you needvto appreciate what your Aunt is doing for YOU. As the child, he is really ur responsibility. My brothers both have two children so I don't plan on caring for either of them but then I am the oldest. I wouldn't expect them to take me in either. I have two kids too. Thevone thing my brother said to me was thank you for doing this. He also supports me in decisions I make. When u make a decision for Dad do u include your Aunt. Do u thank her for having Dad so u can continue to work. Do give her money to spend on somethingvshe wants or ask her if she needs something. She is doing you a BIG favor.
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BarbBrooklyn is correct. If he has a shortfall in assets/income to pay for his care, that is what Medicaid is for. You do not need to take on financial responsibility for him. The Area Agency on Aging is a federal program in every state and it's purpose is to help people in your situation to navigate the red tape. Google 'Area Agency on Aging' and your state. Call them tomorrow.
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Look at this from Aunts point of view. I am assuming she has never been easy to deal with. She may have felt obligated to take her brother in. Even though he has help, she still has some responsibility towards him. She just can't do what she wants when she wants. She has strangers coming into her home and you. Believe me, I went thru this, she is overwhelmed. 67 is not old but old enough to be set in her ways. Whose is paying for Dads caregivers? If that is Dad than maybe that money can go to his care in a home. And why wouldbu have to suppliment? An AL will not except him with a feeding tube, I doubt. So ur choice is longterm. He could pay privately until his money runs out and transition into Medicaid. Medicaid will take his SS and pension to offset the cost of the home. All his needs will be met and he gets a small allowance. Moms is $35. Get all his finances together and talk to Medicaid.

I agree that some of the problem maybe your Aunt not wanting any help. But, this is a personality thing and has to do when she was raised. Oh yeah, who has POA and is Dad incompetent. If he isn't, maybe u should talk to him. Maybe living with her is not all that great for him. Sit down and make a list of things you can do for the Aunt. Ask her to make a list of things you could do to help make life easier. Also, have her list her complaints. People usually lash out when they are overwhelmed and have a hard time expressing what they need. Maybe hiring a sitter for her so she can go outvin the evening. It really isn't fair to Dad for u to and Aunt to be at each other. Just makes him feel more of a burden.
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YOU do not pay for dad's nursing home fees. You apply for Medicaid on his behalf.

Do it tomorrow.
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