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Old 08-13-2009, 11:55 AM
 
66 posts, read 290,533 times
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Don't know where else to post this but my issue is not about being a parent/grandparent but dealing with an aging parent who is living with an illness. My mother just turned 70 and is living with an illness that is slowly but progressively worsening. Her conduct and behavior have been drivng everyone away including her longtime friends.

What are some ways to handle a parent who is clearly in need of help and support but refuses to accept it? Instead, the response is belligerence, defiance and (gulp!) verbal attacks. Please do not blame the treatment/medication - it's no excuse for her to use that to justify her behavior.

This is extremely wearing on us family members who don't know how to tolerate this situation while fumbling to accept it. We often have to leave after getting chewed out by her.
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Old 08-13-2009, 12:08 PM
 
1,831 posts, read 3,732,411 times
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If the combative behavior continues, or is accompanied by physical threats or attacks or other dangerous behavior, you may need to consider medication for your mother. Generally speaking, the meds used to control such behavior are antidepressants and/or anti-psychotics. While therapy may also be helpful, she may refuse to go, and it won't really alleviate the behavior (not on its own). If she refuses to take the meds, you may have to consider slipping them in to her food and/or drinks.

Also, make sure you all get some respite away from her. You definitely have my sympathy and understanding.
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Old 08-13-2009, 12:43 PM
 
66 posts, read 290,533 times
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No, no, no...it's nothing even close to dangerous. She hasn't started throwing things at us or lunging out at us yet...

Besides she's too physically weak from biweekly treatments - yet she is strong enough to turn everyone away.
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:16 PM
 
Location: SATX
305 posts, read 1,125,025 times
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Wow, reading your posts I am reminded of both of my grandmothers who are in their mid 80s. I am very close to my parents and they are the ones to deal with each of their mothers. While it is trying, there is not much you can do, but to try and retain your compusure.

A few years ago I was actually in the situation of running my grandmother's business when she verbally attacked me. I, unfortunately did not keep my cool, and flew off the handle with her because she basically called me a liar. She went around telling everyone in the family that I caused her to have a stroke. It is frustrating and you don't want to feel like the punching bag, but it is best to bow out of arguments. My mom reasons that she has to remind herself that the moms (hers and my dads) are just not the same in their minds anymore, and you cannot let it get to you.
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Orlando
8,181 posts, read 16,153,579 times
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I'm really sorry you're having to go thru with this but if this behavior in not "normal" for her then it probably IS a result of her illness.

My grandmother was as sweet as a person could get, but when she got sick, we saw a side to her that no one, including her husband of 60 years, ever expected.

So I gonna guess that it's both part of her illness and her frustration of not being about to be in total control of herself anymore.

Make sure her doctors know of this.

I'm sure you're going to have to take a gazillion deeps breaths and count to ten just as many times.
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH
753 posts, read 2,164,376 times
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You should definitely discuss the behaviors with her Dr. It may be dementia related, they have a harder time with impulse control. He may be able to prescribe something to help.

Maybe you could search out for "support for caregivers" groups. Check with local hospitals, community centers, and senior centers. Lots of people are going through this.
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:34 PM
 
4,218 posts, read 7,849,480 times
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:34 AM
 
3,566 posts, read 4,489,505 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxiecat View Post
Don't know where else to post this but my issue is not about being a parent/grandparent but dealing with an aging parent who is living with an illness. My mother just turned 70 and is living with an illness that is slowly but progressively worsening. Her conduct and behavior have been drivng everyone away including her longtime friends.

What are some ways to handle a parent who is clearly in need of help and support but refuses to accept it? Instead, the response is belligerence, defiance and (gulp!) verbal attacks. Please do not blame the treatment/medication - it's no excuse for her to use that to justify her behavior.

This is extremely wearing on us family members who don't know how to tolerate this situation while fumbling to accept it. We often have to leave after getting chewed out by her.
What is her illness? Further, is there anything that she has had to stop doing that she used to be able to do all the time? Does she feel useless or that she is being treated as a child? Is she trying to face her mortality?

I have a grandfather that got up one morning and got in his car and drove from Tucson to New York and only stopped for gas. He did not eat or drink anything. He showed up at the door of his son's house. He spent the night and got up in the morning and drove back. He was found with a parked car back in Tucson on a highway. An officer approached his car and asked him if he knew where he was. He said, and with indignation, that he was in the parking lot of the Tucson mall. He was taken to the hospital and his only recollection is the "cool little window" in the "cool little truck".

The family decided he was no longer allowed to drive. I think he was 80 that year. He had been mobile his entire life and it was a devestating blow. He was watching others make his most basic decisions and he is facing his own mortality.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:22 AM
 
4,218 posts, read 7,849,480 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandamonium View Post
What is her illness?
I think there is not necessarily has to be an illness. Some very small "mini-strokes", or breaking of small vessels/transmitters in the brain, would still be sub-clinical, but affecting a person's behavior.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:58 AM
 
66 posts, read 290,533 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1phwalls View Post
Maybe you could search out for "support for caregivers" groups. Check with local hospitals, community centers, and senior centers. Lots of people are going through this.
She's in the 4th year of a serious disease with a very low 5-year survival rate but has somehow managed to slow down its spread thanks to regular medical treatments. She's always been fiercely independent and energetic and for the most part can function quite well when she's off the treatment. However, she's not respecting/acknowledging her own limits (especially now when she really needs to) and instead keeps pushing herself to function like a 40 year old: carrying heavy grocery bags, long travel and excursions outside the house, and there's no way any of us (with our own lives to live) can supervise things that she insists on doing herself as she now lives alone.

Yes she is fully aware of her mortality but we can't understand why she chooses to seal herself off from her friends, family offers of help, peer group therapy sessions as recommended by the hospital staff, etc. She refuses to discuss anything with us: her feelings, reactions, etc. so we have no idea what's making her tick except to read her body language and the tone of her voice.

She can be downright infantile when it comes to responding to all the open arms of help by insisting that she doesn't NEED any help. One of our fears is that if she's feeling physically weak and happens to be taking a bath/shower or is going down some steps, she might fall down but refuse to get to a phone and would instead talk herslf into thinking she's ok, fine, and will get through this, etc. and for us that's the dangerous part of her situation. I agree: I think my family and I are the ones who need the support and therapy sessions

Without a doubt, her sense of losing control must be overwhelming her in more ways than we're realizing. But the part about shutting out help from her friends and family??? Baffling...
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