I’m living with and caring for my elderly grandmother who is in her late 90’s. This evening she really became angry and was crying the moment I walked in the door. She was critical of me because I didn’t immediately take her where she wanted ( I had just walked in the door from work and hadn’t even sat my purse down!) and she began crying and carrying on that I treat her ‘so bad’. This was after I came home during my lunch hour to bring her newspapers and to check on her. THEN I was the sweetest granddaughter (her words). But for the life of me I can’t do enough for her! I cook, clean, shop, garden, make sure she has everything she needs, and run the household. She can be so kind and considerate at times and then just turn on me and I feel like a little girl again and get my feelings hurt. I have a serious health issue (heart related) that I have worked hard to overcome and don’t want my heath to suffer again. I just want some advice as to how to avoid the emotional fallout that I experience when she gets mean and ugly with me. Thank you in advance.

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I dont know what time you come home but she could be in the sundowners period. That usually has some mild to drastic effects on elderly . Its going to be a roller coaster for both of you .. My mom says dont hurt me and im just shocked when seh does. Id never hurt her and never have. She just gets confused and scared. esp if i walk to her too fast or yell . (which im working on ..but one can only be woke up in the middle of the night for bs so often and still be sunshine and roses .. ) Try to just leave the room for a few and catch your breath .
Helpful Answer (16)

On your profile you mention a heart condition for your GM.
The sundowners is usually considered to be a sign of dementia. Sometimes symptoms of dementia come from a UTI. If you can get her tested for that, you might find that’s the problem. It’s a simple pee test. Ask that it be cultured so that you get the correct antibiotic. Get her a probiotic, Vit D and make sure her Bs are tested. Dehydration can also cause mood problems.
About yourself. Your GM Is in her late 90s. Many live to 100 these days. Not too many make it to 110 but some do. I have an aunt who is 104 and still doing quite well. Her daughter, not so much.
So take extreme care of yourself. Maybe you don’t come straight home from work. Maybe you take a walk first. Maybe a mindful meditation class right after work. A swim or just a few minutes sitting in your car listening to a little music or relaxing your body.
Give yourself a few instructions on how to respond to whatever you find when you walk in the door.
If you are like most of us, you plan to see it through.
Give yourself some checkpoints on when and under what circumstances you might decide to bring in extra help or hospice or long term care. It’s a measure of comfort to know that when we get to a certain. Juncture we have a plan.
You sound like you are doing a great job.
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Remember that Grandma’s brain, as we say, is broken. In addition, she is living in a delusional world this broken brain has created for her. Because you are her caregiver, all her delusions involve you. You’re the “target” so to speak. Or the you she deludes herself you are. For some reason Ive never understood, people with dementia see themselves as some sort of warriors who must defend themselves against the world. At least that’s how my mom acted. Everyone was out to hurt her, spy on her and steal from her. I never figured that out. It was very real to her and it took me months before I learned just to roll with it. Apologizing did work on occasion with her. But I apologized for the situation, not for anything she blamed me for. Come back here often. There are wonderful people here!
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Bless you for your caregiving...My advice is contrary to human nature.... When she jumps on you, just say, "Let me understand you, Grandmother. You feel I have done something wrong, is that right?" She will respond of course with a "yes" and likely another tirade of words. When she is finished, say, "I understand now..Thank you for pointing that out to me." DO NOT defend yourself. If/when (likely when) she responds with more verbal abuse, smile and say nothing. This is very hard to do, but with repeated practicing, it can be done... (What others think of us is none of our business.) When she responds again, do not say anything more about it. Go to the bathroom. Take the dog for a walk...Get dinner started.

You will not ever understand her nor will you ever change her...You have a choice.
You can decline to play the game.
Let her rant and carry one as long a she wants...It will be unpleasant for you, yet what you have been doing has not worked for you and this may not change her at all, but it sure can change you.. Bottom line: You will not change her...You can change you...

Grace + Peace,

Helpful Answer (12)

Gbprincess… I can empathize. My honey does this with me though it is not only at night. I have learned to put a barrier up after determining he can only hurt me and make me angry if I allow him to. I have the luxury of telling him to knock it off which I am not sure you have with your grandmother. My honey can act like a 5 yr old throwing a temper tantrum. He tried the guilt trip on me but found it would not work when I told him to knock it off, I have had guilt trips used on me by the best (my mother) and he is not it. Stopped them. As I said, you are in what seems to be a different situation, but you have to learn to be able to block it out when hurtful things are said. As Baskethill1 said she may be going through sundowning which is different from what my honey is doing. Hang in there and though it is easier said than done try not to take what she says personally.
Helpful Answer (11)

Thank you baskethill1.
I do try and leave the room and that seems to help. She often gets over it. But not tonight. When I returned she starts in again and I want to plead my side of the story to her! I need to stop this behavior on my part of engaging her.
I’m sorry about your mom. It is shocking to hear these things. We do everything we can for them and we do it with love and kindness so when it isn’t returned it’s hurtful.
Helpful Answer (9)

Gbprincess, I am in the same situation as you are. The minute I walk in the door, my mother launches into a list of complaints. Yes, I don't even have my coat off yet. It is very disconcerting because if I was in a good mood before I came home now I am annoyed and feel the need to explain. I don't like to have to defend myself because it feels childish. I have to remember that when she starts in with her complaints I should just say, "I'll get back to you in a minute but let me get changed first." Then leave the room. There is no reasoning with a person with dementia; it will just make you sick. As 97yearoldmom said, plan on how you will respond when you walk in the door. It really does help. I know it is hard because I catch myself off guard at times. It sounds like you are very caring person and want to do the best for your grandmother. That is why it hurts. Just try a new strategy and see how it goes. Peace be with you.
Helpful Answer (9)

I pray in advance and think about mature ways to respond. That means you have to become clever and sometimes bite your tongue, so to speak. Try these 5 tips:
1 Respond positive and calmly.
2 Be neutral or vague even though you may have a good strong point to make.
3 Act as though you are considering things she says, but respond with a kind voice of reason.
4 WALK AWAY calmly when needed.
5 Don't use your words as weapons or daggers to inflict pain or to get a reaction. Use your words as tools to keep peace for yourself if nothing else.

This is all easier said than done I know, but with time you will master this. You may fail at times, but start over.
Helpful Answer (9)

GBprincess, I have this exact situation going on. I live with my 87-year-old mother full time and she can be fine one minute and accusing me of everything under the sun the next. She complains about things that have been changed (not), things that have been stolen (not), and so on. My sister, her family, and I are the targets. I've been dealing with this for a year and there are still times I can't keep my mouth shut. It is so hard to hear such hateful things from your mother about things that aren't true. It's also really hard to see her so upset about things that have not happened. I have also tried apologizing and that seems to shut her up. Other than that, about the only thing you can do is develop elephant skin or visualize a force field around yourself that her words can't penetrate. Lots of good coping ideas in this thread that will help you, and they will help me, too.
Helpful Answer (9)

I think it can be helpful to try to remove yourself emotionally. You 'don't have a dog in the fight' so to speak. I tell myself that when I am with my mom or my aunt that they are no longer really here. I am now dealing with someone else. That helps me to sort of step away from them when they are not rational. There was a book out there when I was raising my children (One two three magic, I think was the title) that was the same sort of concept. Really helped to not be pulled in emotionally.
That said, it helps to step away, have a big cry and pitty moment, and then get back in the game. Good luck and hugs, this is really hard stuff!
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