How should we respond to abusive grandma refusing help?


Hello, my grandmother (80) has always been manipulative and capricious, when something doesn't go her way, she would make a big scene, stop talking to us, stay in her bed for days... but lately it is getting worse. She seems to be filled with resentment and anger towards everything and everyone. We think that her character is probably worsened by some sort of dementia. She has become abusive, especially with my granfather (88), but also to her kids (60, 58, 57, 56). She went to see a psychiatrist but told him a beautiful story about everything being perfect in life just being a bit down. She does not allow anyone to go with her and she refuses to get any other sort of help. She is tearing our family apart and nobody knows what to do. We don't know how to respond to her attacks (obviously not respond in the same way, but should we try to make her see or just ignore?), what do we do when she is being abusive to my grandfather (stop her? confront her? ignore it?)... we really are lost and would love to have some advice.



Thank you all for you kind comments and support. Your suggestions are very helpful, at least to help us prioritise and start seeing a way forward. Thank you!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to emymtzm

Dear emymtzm,

I'm very sorry to hear about your grandmother's behaviour and how it is affecting your grandfather and your whole family. It is so hard to know what to do in such a situation.

I wonder if a social worker or family therapist can mediate this. If a social worker shows up maybe this will let your grandmother know she cannot continue you like this. It could be like you said she has dementia and this is making her behaviours worse.

The most important thing is that your grandfather is safe from any abuse. I would like with Adult Protective Services and see what options are available.
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Reply to cdnreader

You won't be able to change your grandmother's behavior. She's getting some kind of a pay-off by behaving this way. Attention? Getting what she ultimately wants, whatever that is? Who knows?

Trying to "make her see" will be futile I'm afraid.

However, if she is abusing your grandfather in some way, that needs to be stopped so yes, when you witness it, jump in and do what you can to stop it. Otherwise, let her spin around like a top and try to ignore her. If this amps up her abuse leave the house (with your grandfather). No one should be allowed to become accustomed to being treated badly.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Eyerishlass

What are your GF health issues? Is he considered competent?
Has GM been checked for a UTI? You can buy testing supplies at the drug store. If she has an infection she will need an antibiotic. A UTI in the elderly gives dementia like symptoms.
Who prepares food and takes care of things in their home?
As Glad said if GM hasnt signed a HIPPA release the doctor may not be able to discuss her care with you but do try to get her tested for a UTI and be your GP’s advocate.
If this is typical behavior for her, he is probably accustomed to it.
If GM does have dementia you need to learn to distract her from whatever is distressing her. Go on YouTube and watch Teepa Snow videos and see if what she says sounds like GM. She will give you some good ideas. It sounds like you have a large family. Hopefully GF can be protected and you can get GM settled down.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to 97yroldmom

You need to get grandpa safe. Call Adult Protective Services. Call doctor and tell him about grandma's behavior. Doc won't be able to tell you anything unless grandma has signed a HIPPA release. But you can still call and tell doc anything you think important. Maybe psych has prescribed meds for grandma that she is not taking. Psychiatrists are used for med prescriptions, not counseling.

Trying to explain to grandma will not work nor get you anywhere other than increased frustration.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to gladimhere