She's driving us crazy! Does everyone deal with this?


I'm 28, my boyfriend is 30. We're looking after his 89 year old grandmother, and I feel like she's killing us.
She has colon cancer, and had radiation treatment about two months ago. Reforming her diet has been our goal, since she was living off microwave dinners and packaged food for god knows how long. Without going into too many details, I'm positive that her poor diet and sedentary lifestyle was a huge part of the cancer she developed.
Food is a constant battle. Our love of food and cooking is being destroyed. We barely eat anymore. Spending anytime in the kitchen just opens a huge door for her to let the insults fly, and I'm not even sure if she understands how mean she is. It doesn't help to try to talk to her, she immediately checks out and goes blank. Much in the same way she treats her doctors when they discuss her diet.
We've been making compromises, trying any avenue to find nutritious food that resembles the food products she used to eat. We make meals interesting and colorful without going overboard on exotic flavors. We try to include as many freshly prepared vegetables and fruits as we can, since that's one of he greatest things you can do for her cancer.
Most of what we make for dinner she deams inedible, and will angrily put herself to bed around 730 on an empty stomach. She throws temper tantrums about not having " any food in the house" or "everything here is crap".
Despite all this, she's still recovering and getting stronger. Which is directly correlated to the level of complaining. Up and up.
It's been going on like this for months. She doesn't seem to understand that her diet is the only thing helping her frail body heal.
I'd feel like a criminal if I were to feed her all the products she wants. And even when we do cave, and give her the occasional TV dinner that she demands, she gets horrible diarrhea all over the house. And proceeds to complain about dinner. But she doesn't seem to be able to put the pieces together in her mind.
We are miserable here. We don't smile around here anymore. We can't talk to her anymore. She doesn't have conversations, just lists of demands and complaints. She needs full time care, so we can barely get an afternoon to ourselves to go grocery shopping.
I literally cannot feed her the things she's demanding in good consience. If she doesn't care enough about her health to even try eating better, why are we here? Why should we care? Nothing we do everything feels appreciated, the occasional compliment from her even feels like a lie.
This whole scenario has evolved from helping her survive radiation ( which almost didn't happen) to some kind of ritual punishment. I dread waking up in the mornings, because I know what I'll have to face. And her own grandson isn't taking it any better than I am. We try so hard to stay positive, for her sake and our own. But we're failing.
We came here to grant her her last wish to get to die in her own home, and gave up a truly wonderful life to do so. And I can't help but feeling that all our efforts are wasted. And she'd be happier in some hospital doped up beyond all comprehension. She's a very miserable person inside her head, and doesn't want to be any differnt. I'm at a loss here.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing


Thank you so much for listening to me. I truley appreciate all the advice. Im definitely going to read up on dementia, im really thinking thats where most of our trubles come from.
Hospice already comes by a few times a week, they were all she had before we got here from the other side of the country. Theres one nurse she genuinely likes and socializes with. She gives the aides a pretty terrible time. But i love them, and let them know it. They break up the monotony, and give grandma some kind of a sheduel to look forward to. All the doctors are completely on the same page as us about diet. Weve discussed everythig at length, she just tunes them out. And us. Incontinence seems to be completely diet related. Especially when she was super sick with radiation, but as long as she eats fresh prepared organic stuff, her bowles are all totally normal.
Were totally burnt, but the hospice doesnt have a service to give us a real break. Best we can get is a volunteer for a few hours at a time. She just needs too much "hands on" attention that the volunteers arent legally allowed to do. Unless we hired a live in nurse. Which is what it might be time for.
Helpful Answer (1)

Amastae, there's tons of info on this site about how to recognise and deal with dementia. It helps to understand how it affects people. Meanwhile don't argue with her, let her think what she wants and eat what she wants, within reason. Everyone understands that we all want to end our days at home but it can't be done if it destroys people's lives. At some point you may have no choice but to place her in care.
Helpful Answer (1)

OK, that clarifies things. You need a break, and she needs more care. With a terminal diagnosis she can get hospice care. That would bring in aides during the week as well as skilled medical care. If you/she are resistant to that then you need to use her money to pay for additional help, even if it is just someone to care for her while you go out. And it sure sounds as though she has some dementia if you have to keep repeating yourself. Read, read, read about coping with dementia, this site is a good place to start.
Are you not getting any support from her oncologist? What are they suggesting in regards to her diet and continence issues?
Helpful Answer (3)

I agree about the real nursing care. But shes lived in this house for 50 years. Her daughter and grandson were raised here, her husband died here. She refuses even to go in for observation to work out here medications, shes convinced that she wont make it back. We are indeed to young for this, but her daughter is permanently overseas caring for her husband, and the nearset other realative is 10 hours away. Theres only us standing between her geting to die in this house like she wants. I think shes forgotten that. I dont have any idea how to cope with dementia. I try to stay calm and positive in my talkings to her, no matter how many times i have to repeat, or how mean she gets.
Helpful Answer (2)

The only resolution is for her to be in skilled nursing care. You guys are awful young to be taking on such a care commitment. You will be better and she wil be better. Read up on dementia and hospice care. She may have one and need the other.
Helpful Answer (3)

Havent checked for dementia, but i wonder if that isnt the case. Weve tried giving her what she wants, it doesnt help either. She tells us how awful it is, and the i end up cleaning diarehha out of the floors, and clothes, and bed for he next few hours. There just isnt any winning, she physically CANT eat it. Her body immediately pushes it out. Not the case at alk with our choices.
Nearly 4 months ago, they gave her 2 months to live. And it would have been true if we let them keep her on the oxy's ( which was a whole nother awful story, they didnt help, only hurt, we arent being cruel about it).
Were not trying to develop a healthy lifestyle, just give here enough quality to be able to remain in her home. Not be in a hospital with a tube for food, and one for crap.
Helpful Answer (0)

If you didn't realize it yet , she IS killing you. Read your own words.Is she worth dying for? And if you do drop dead who will take care of her then? You really need a Plan B now! You made a good effort but it's time for a new game plan.She IS 89! At that age I would eat what I d*mn well pleased. You are banging your head on a wall.Have you had her tested for dementia? You can't make her young again.If she has dementia you aren't going to "fix" her behavior.Are you managing her meds? There is more going on here than food wars.
Helpful Answer (1)

She's 89 and is being treated for colon cancer. Let her be!!! You aren't going to be able to correct a lifetime of bad choices, and honestly, even without a diagnosis of cancer how much time does she really have left? Offer some healthy food you enjoy along with the crap she will eat, maybe if you back off a little she will allow herself to try it. If you find your conscience won't allow you to flex that much then maybe you all would be better off with different living arrangements.
Helpful Answer (4)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.