Is there a medical reason an elderly person could become extremely petulant and stubborn?

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As my mother ages, she is pushing more and more people away because she gets angry at everyone, takes offense at the slightest perceived slight, and things have to be 100% her way. She doesn't have dementia in as far as her mind seems fine. She just requires everyone conform to what she wants. If you don't, you get ignored for weeks or months at a time. She won't call, or accept your call. But if you call her bluff, nothing is wrong. I love my mom, but I really don't know how to handle her and keep her part of the larger family group when she is constantly upsetting them. I live 5 hours away. She has a full life where she is and is not ready to leave it. She has an active social life, a wonderful circle of friends, and there is some family that live closer than I do that she visits regularly to see her grand kids. She has an open invitation to move in with me at any time she feels she needs to but I don't see her leaving her life where she is and I would never force her to. But how do I handle the petulance and anger? And could this be caused from something medical?

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The way you handle the hissy fits is to ignore them. Eventually she will call you. Do NOT move her in with you; throw away that guilt. After a month of 24/7 wheedling and whining with her you'll want to run away.
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If you have any ability to suggest this to her, get her to a geriatric psychiatrist. Antidepressants and antianxiety meds made all the difference in the world to my mom.
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Just a bit of unsolicited advice from the trenches - your mom is living on her own, has an active social life, friends and family nearby. She can come and go as she pleases. This is a pretty good life for most people, especially an elderly person. Despite the full life, she's lashing out and unhappy. I know you've told her she can come live with you at any time, but I suggest that you and your husband (if you're married) have a candid discussion about life with your mother living with you. Many of us go into reactive mode when a parent either needs more help or is suddenly alone, without giving a bit of thought to whether our attitudes and personalities will be able to coexist. Living with a difficult parent is, well, difficult - but as the parent develops health issues and more physical limitations, the stress on people and marriages increases.
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It could also be that she's angry she's getting old (not an uncommon reaction) and taking it out on others.
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Sounds like a mental illness/personality disorder. Many people wouldn't consider this a medical issue...but it is an illness.From the information you provide it could be Narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder. I urge you to read up on both of these to see if they apply. You won't be able to fix her...you will need to learn just to protect yourself.

Angel
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