How to deal with a grandmother with Alzheimer’s who doesn’t like me anymore?


My grandma was the type of person who always liked having people around and would cook lunch or dinner for her guests. Now I come around and the best response I get is a grunt and she usually retreats to her room. It’s not just me she does this too now. Mostly females in the family. I keep my horses at their place and so am around a fair bit, my grandpa just had a knee surgery as well so I come to help. Any ideas how to deal with this behaviour?



1) Don't take it personally. It is the Alzheimer's, not your grandma.
2) Continue to be kind and pleasant.
3) Avoid conflicts if at all possible.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to jeannegibbs

Jeanne is on target. If you are going to continue to help out, you might want to look up Teepa Snow and Naomi Feil. They give great tips for communication and dealing with behaviors. Remember, your grandma loves you deep inside.
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Reply to Grammyteacher

Who knows what perception your grandmother is dealing with when you come to visit? My mother thought that I was the "other woman" and that I was "after" my dad! (It still makes me shudder and ache to think of it...) Perhaps it is just the simple fact that having another person to interact with is too much for grandma. It could be so many things. I think the important thing is to keep remembering the love you and your grandmother have shared and to keep treating her the way you have all your life...with tenderness, affection and respect. You be the one to carry the love forward and never forget that it is not your fault, or your grandmother's fault, it is the disease. It is unforgiving and cruel but your love for your grandmother is strong enough to withstand it. My prayers are with you...
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Reply to Bbtwinks

Jayman, I can tell from your question and comment that you are kind and thoughtful. You sound like a grandchild any grandma would be thrilled to have. Despite her disease, I am sure your grandma loved you deeply and loves you still!
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Reply to SnoopyLove

Thanks very much. I will have a look at the suggestions. I don’t want to make it stressful for her either!
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Reply to jayman403

Bbtwins is right. When I visited my mom, she would tell me she recognized me as a co-star when she was an actress on Broadway. She also thought one of the aides on her floor was her daughter.

There is no rhyme or reason to Alzheimer’s disease. You can’t figure out or make sense of why the one who has it says or does what they do. And you can’t take it personally. As we always say, “their brains are broken”. To them, how they feel is very real and makes sense. They don’t understand about delusions or hallucinations, and we only make it more difficult on ourselves if we try to rationalize what they say and how they act and compare it to how they were in the past. Don’t patronize Grandma. Be yourself. Down deep, she loves you and somewhere inside her heart and soul she knows who you are.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

I worked at an assisted living/memory care facility for 5 years. Between my mom having Alzheimers and dying in 2014, I didn't realize how uninformed I was about this disease. I learned a great deal and eventually helped relatives visit their loved ones. I taught them "the dance". One moment they can be lucid and nice and the next (or due to sundowning), they can be rude and make their visiting loved one stress out. So, although this sounds crazy, it worked for many. The "dance" is going with their flow at the moment. One relative had just gotten her hair cut and loved it but dreaded going to see her mom because she knew mom was going to make some hurtful remark about it. She really had anxiety before the visit. I told her that if mom had negative remarks about her haircut, to say "I know mom! Isn't it awful?!!! My regular stylist was out sick so this other girl cut it and look what she did to me?!" That seemed to ease mom's anger and no anxiety ensued. The next moment, you're dancing the other way because mom is complimenting you on your outfit. It's something to get you through and rid some of the stress and anxiety. One time her mom said "Look at all of the monkeys on the ledge." The daughter's dance response was to seriously say "I didn't know monkeys came to visit you. How nice! Do you have a favorite one?! They then had a nice conversation about that. It takes a lot of practice and willpower since our natural instinct when insulted or someone is being rude (and we can't walk away) is to get hurt and/or argue. That is the worst thing you can do. Sometimes you just have to take a short walk if the resident/loved one's behavior is more than you can take at the moment. Come back after a short walk and start over. I know. It's easier said than done but so worth a try. I am now doing this with my dad. Blessings, peace, patience, and understanding to all dealing with this issue.
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Reply to joeycat10ST

You'll have to continue to remember that grandma's brain is broken. Avoid confrontation and listen to what JeanneGibbs wrote.
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Reply to Llamalover47

Put a smile on your face when you walk in, tell her how beautiful she looks, or how nice her hair looks, tell you love her so much that you are always happy to see her. Bring her flowers or some special treat or snack she likes to have. Don't give her a chance to be negative, then turn around and go do something else while you are their. Maybe she resents you taking care of her husband. lol even though he is grandpa. SO make sure you go out of your way to get her a drink, or ask her if there is anything she needs. Do not take it personal, sometimes people with this disease begin to distrust the people that are around with them the most. If you bring in your sunshine, her sunshine might come back.
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Reply to wicked2018

2 things could be in action here:
1 - she is confusing you & others with someone she doesn't like so is snarky towards all females [does this include young girls?]
2 - you & others in your family are being good people, so you are helping out with things that she used to do easily but can't any longer so she is jealous of that ability - the reason it is only females is that WOMEN HELP WITHOUT BEING ASKED especially within a family - so she sees it as interloping on her turf - guys need to be asked most of the time so she is conveying permission to do the chore as it is done each & every time - small stuff to you but not to her

Or it could a combination of both - observe her by also try by asking 'permission' to help - say things like 'do you want me to do ....?' or 'can I do anything else for you?' - hope this helps
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Reply to moecam

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