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It finally happened. After weeks of being called a pain in the you-know-what, yelled at over things that are not my fault, ignoring a nasty attitude and patiently trying to solve problems (that aren't really problems), I lost my cool and snapped. I yelled back at my grandma after being called names and screamed at.


I'm not really proud, but there's only so much a person can take. I feel so embarrassed and even ashamed of myself. I know I should have just walked away once she got started, but that is easier said than done, and I was handling the situation well until... I didn't. I'm just so tired of being put down while stopping my own life to care for someone who doesn't want to be cared for, who calls me mean names, tells me I'm wrong and stupid. My life has taken a backseat and all I do is worry about her well-being. And my life certainly isn't a walk in the park right now (I work in health care administration and found out I narrowly avoided furlough just yesterday). I'm just so tired and frustrated and need to take a step back. I've already got 3 missed calls from her today alone as if nothing happened (well, one voicemail was a weak apology for yelling) and I'm just ignoring for now. Anyway, sorry for venting, this situation is just so hard and I'm tired of feeling like this.


On to the real issue... my grandma seems to think her HHAs are housekeepers/maids. She's picking a fight with one HHA who she used to love, saying she doesn't listen and doesn't ever clean her house (which is untrue, her place has been spotless since this particular HHA joined her case). My solution was to put up a chore chart, to make sure things get done (the HHAs can "check off" the tasks they've completed) and I want to also include cooking and bathing as my grandma refuses help with either. She has help in her home 4 hours a day, 7 days a week. The chore chart was a no-go with my grandma. I am thinking that my grandma THINKS she tells her HHAs what to do, but in reality she tells them not to do anything and therefore thinks it doesn't get done. Does anyone have any other creative ideas on to how to combat this?

I am sure I will be in the minority here but I am a firm believer that sometimes you need to get mad and yell back. Obviously your grandmother got the message.

You need to take a step back. She doesn't seem to want or appreciate your help. So please back off for your own well being. Take a break from taking her calls. Maybe giving her a few days on her own will cause her to appreciate what you are trying to do for her.
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ellbee May 13, 2020
Thank you for this, I really needed to hear it
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Please forgive yourself. My Mom was pretty much into her Dementia when I would lose my cool. TG she didn't it. I am not a caregiver. Just when I sat down she would need something. Being there 24/7 for someone is hard.

With Dementia your Grandma is not going to remember what she did or said. She can't be reasoned with, process or comprehend. You may be able to set Boundries, maybe not. Her telephoning you at work needs to stop. She has aides that can solve her problems. Tell them that while they r there any calls from Gma will go in answered. That they r to call u in an emergency only. Please, do not give up your job to care for her. It will jeopardize ur future earnings with SS. There will come a time Mom is going to have to make a decision concerning gma going into a facility.
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ellbee May 13, 2020
Thanks JoAnn. You are very kind to send this thoughtful message. To be clear I would never give up my job, and it's not a performance thing for me, large scale budget cuts are happening at my employer. I was lucky, but probably won't be next round. TY again :)
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Yeah well, the only time my mother 'hears' me is when I'm losing my cool. Yelling or raising my voice or saying something she doesn't want to hear. Which is necessary, in her case, as it probably is in your grandmother's case too.

Welcome to being human. It's a condition we're all afflicted with, yet we never seem to allow ourselves the luxury of acting human, do we? We need to be perfect, even in the face of a demented elder acting totally out of control! Why is it THEY get to act like lunatics and it's okay, yet WE have to act like angels 24/7? How does that make sense?

Demented elders want what they want exactly how and when they want it. Your grandmother is living at home, being waited on hand and foot (sounds like) with helpers and cleaners and her granddaughter there at every turn. Never mind that grandma was a drug abuser and as a result is now paying the piper at YOUR expense. Right?

Give yourself some grace. Cut yourself some slack. Allow yourself to be human. And allow grandma to rail at someone ELSE for a change. You are not a doormat, my dear. And disease or no disease, grandma needs to relax and calm down. Perhaps you losing your cool will help her see the light a bit.
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ellbee May 14, 2020
Thank you. Hugs
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I love my mom dearly, but she was the victim of extreme child abuse and has had borderline personality, and probably narcissistic personality order, too, all her life. She comes by it honestly. She is now 98 and lives with me, as she has for many years. Finally, after 64 years, I figured out how to deal with her nasty spells, which come in cycles like clockwork. I just say, nope, I'm not spending the day like this, and I either leave the room or go for a ride or to the store. When I return, she is much better. Took me a long time to figure this out because I have a lot of compassion for her and I would sit and listen to her abuse me and endure her extreme self pity. I now know that walking away IS compassionate, to her and to me. Invariably, she's smiling the next day. She knows I love her and am not going to desert her. She also now knows I'm not putting up with the stuff anymore.
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Absolutely nothing to feel ashamed about. The experts say you cant hold someone who has dementia responsible for things they say, and they're right. In my opinion, holding them responsible would be if you walked off this job of care giving over the comments. Telling someone, even someone with dementia, that you won't be spoken to like you're a misbehaving toddler is perfectly ok. If you're willing to go back into the minefield of care giving, you have nothing to feel guilty about! You're allowed to be human!
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ellbee May 14, 2020
Thank you so much.
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ellbee, you are under a lot of pressures and frustrations so it's certainly not a crime to lose your cool...once. If you keep losing your cool it may mean you don't understand people with dementia and should maybe find a support group and watch very helpful Tippa Snow videos on YouTube.

Are you her durable PoA? If so you have the authority to tell the HHAs to do what needs to be done. Can you keep the chore chart online so your grandma can't see it? Yes, ignoring her or redirecting the conversation can work, even walking out of the room if necessary. But don't go down the angry bunny trails she starts on about. The HHAs must do the same.

Can you tell us why, at such a young age, you seem to be her main caregiver/manager? She is only 71, which is young for dementia, and her behaviors will just deteriorate month by month, and her daily needs grow with equal speed. With dementia one is losing their self and forgetting short-term things, and very unable to learn new things -- even really simple things. And this can be incredibly frustrating for all involved. This is what happened with me and my MIL. I wanted to throttle her on several occasions. I also did not answer every call from her and suggest you become comfortable with doing the same. More info would really be helpful for the forum to provide creative ideas for you, so thanks for anything you can tell us.
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ellbee May 13, 2020
Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I am not her POA, my mom is, but she lives out of state and I live closer to my grandma. We split caregiving in many ways but I'm usually more "boots on the ground" given that my mom lives farther away. Without going into too much detail, she is only 71, but she has had a rough life with many years of drug abuse and was a victim of domestic abuse as well. Though she's "only" 71 I'd tack on several years to that tally. Coupled with low education, living in poverty, likely undiagnosed mental health issues... it is more like taking care of someone in their 80s. Not very fun
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The chore chart was a no-go with your grandma?

I don't understand. The HHAs should be documenting what they do every visit in any case, chart or no chart; so there will be a record of what has actually taken place. If you were hoping the chart would "prove" to your grandmother that the various chores are being done, so that she'd think "oh I see, that's great then!" - you do know that was never, ever going to happen, right?

There isn't a creative way to combat the negativity and broken filters that are part of your grandmother's disease. Sorry. But your grandmother has trained people taking care of her four hours a day, seven days a week; and there are lots of ways to combat the stress that her behaviour causes you. #1 - Stop hoping you can make her think differently.

Why's she calling you so often?
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ellbee May 13, 2020
Not necessarily to prove, but to give the HHAs something to point to and say oh, it's Tuesday, today is the day we vacuum! So that she doesn't tell them not to. She calls so often because there's no one else in her life. My mom and I are all she's got. She is estranged from other family and has got 1 friend left that's still alive.
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I re-read your question, and you don’t say that your grandma has dementia. If her brain is still working, there are other strategies besides just sucking it up. They include simply walking out if she is unpleasant, and also making sure that she is doing every single task that she is capable of. Age 71 is very young to be dependent on ‘maids’. Stop feeling ashamed of yourself – you aren’t her maid either.
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ellbee May 13, 2020
Thanks, Margaret. She does have vascular dementia, recently diagnosed. We are all navigating the beginnings of this together.
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I don’t know how old you are, but, caring for someone who has dementia, as your profile states, is a huge responsibility. The person with dementia has brain damage that causes them to act the way they do, repeat things, act nasty, tell lies, and act unappreciative. Some of these traits do fade as they progress. Resistance to care is another trait that is common. When it becomes impossible to care for them in the home, with professional help, placement may be required. If your mother is the POA, I’d consider telling her that it’s too much for you. Dealing with this daily is extremely stressful. To maintain your relationship, I’d ask your mom to figure it out. There are home care coordinators, who handle things for a fee. Getting frustrated is understandable, but, it doesn’t help the matter. I’d take it as a sign you need help.
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ellbee May 13, 2020
Thanks for your kind words. It's not possible for us to do anything that involves a fee. My mother and I both share this burden, so it's not like I'm doing it all on my own, and she also deals with her own frustration around my grandma.
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I agree with Elbe
this person needs an al facility before the caregiver gives out.
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