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Are my feelings normal?? - Carers UK Forum

Are my feelings normal??

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I’m new to Carers UK and this forum. A brief background, my Nan is 96 nearly 97 and lives with my mum (mum is on her own). Both mum and I are only children and are the only people that care for my Nan. Up until November when we moved house Nan was talkative, text on her mobile, did crosswords everyday and read everyday, made her own lunch, dinner and tea during the day whilst mum was working and was fairly self sufficient. Whilst the ,I’ve was happening Nan went into respite care as the property needed lots of work, she was only in there 6 weeks but you would have thought you had put her in prison!! Everyday she was calling my mum or I, running her ragged that she wanted things or she had had to wait 10 mins for her lunch or tea! We visited everyday between us which wasn’t easy on top of doing all the work on the house. She was texting us both, extremely long messages day and night. But she stopped doing crosswords, reading and watching tv because she kept saying she didn’t want to be there. We kept constantly explaining but she said she just wanted to be with mum. (They had previously lived together for 10 years).
Nan has been out of the home since Christmas and seems to have gone downhill ever since, she’s not stepped into the kitchen, she literally walks from her room to the living room and just sits. Doesn’t make any conversation, hasn’t been getting dressed or just sitting in bed all day. She’s now stopped even eating her lunch or drinking at lunchtimes which mum leashes out for her at work and when you speak to her she swears blind she’s eaten in it!!
As you can imagine this is becoming extremely stressful and frustrating. I’m always honest with her and said she would end up in hospital if she continues to not eat or drink but she didn’t say anything, I also said mum needed support from carers and she turned to me and told me I had upset her!! She’s asked my mum to retire but I think that’s the worst idea as mum is already snapping at her through sheer frustration.
We’ve been to the doctors but as she’s not ill or showing any signs of dementia there’s nothing that can be done. When my mum had her carers assessment the guy was lovely and he said he thinks she’s manipulating us as a punishment for putting her into the home.

I’m literally at the end of my tether with her, I don’t want to go round and see her which I feel awful about. We just don’t know which way to turn. I wandered if anyone else had experienced this? I look forward to any responses, thank you s much for reading this xx
Who actually owns the house? Nan has no right to live their if it's mum's. Stop running round her and start laying down the rules. You've both made a rod for your own backs I'm afraid. It does sound like she is going down the slippery slope towards dementia. There is a phrase used here, which I don't really like, but can't think of a better one, of "elderly toddler". Isn't that how nan is behaving?
Thank you so much for your reply, I really appreciate it. Mum owned the house but Nan contributed to the last housewhen she sold hers.
That’s exactly how she is behaving!! There’s moments when she will have conversations with outsiders, doctors, opticians etc when mum takes her yet when I or mum try and start a conversation with her she just blanks us and ignores us.
I’ve said to mum we need to step back and allow her to do what she wants to do, if she chooses not to eat or drink then so be it. She’s more than capable of drinking the drinks that are left next to her!
Mum feels guilt that she can’t just leave her but it’s just stopping mum from living her life and it just feels like she’s punishing us for her being in the home for that short period.

You really feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall every day!! I really appreciate your reply, it just confirms exactly what I was thinking!!
You've said what your nan can do but not what she can't. There must be reasons why she had to go into respite care rather than (say) staying with someone else or having an extended holiday in a hotel. She presumably she had fairly extensive needs prior to the house purchase.

It sounds fairly similar to my father, who refused to collaborate with being in hospital and always complained of being bored though he wouldn't watch TV or read. Eventually he even stopped the crosswords. He just wanted to concentrate on getting out, he'd say. It's a form of self-focussing that seems to be easily carried back into normal life. However, my father has never indulged in the tantrum behaviour of your nan. And it does sound like a tantrum. I suspect you're going to have to tell her that you and your mum will have to have time out from this, if it continues.
It sounds like in her mind she's 'punishing' you for putting her in respite. My mother does this to me - recently I had a really bad cold virus so kept to myself upstairs so she wouldnt catch it as she recently was hospitalised with pneumonia....that evening I got the full sulks and tantrum - worse than a kid.

Why not call your Nan's bluff? Suggest calmly that as she is so miserable at home. perhaps the care home would be a far better solution after all? Ignore the fireworks. Its really hard for your mum, I know but try not to let your Nan become a 'button presser' - they take great delight in seeing folk fly off the handle....its whats stimulating her mentally xx
My 95 year old Mum no longer reads or does crosswords. She says it's her eyes and she can't see well enough any more. However the opticians tests show she can see quite well I think somehow she's lost the ability to put several letters or words together so its a loss of cognitive ability BUT of course theres no way she'd ever admit to it. Once they have lost abilities to do much of anything at all , all they can do is sit and think or ruminate.
I'm dreading getting old :(
Oh my goodness thank you so much for your replies, you don’t know how much I appreciate it. Nan had to go into the home purely because the flat they were moving into was being completely renovated so even mum couldn’t stay, she came and lived with us for the 6 weeks. Between mum, my husband and I we did all the work, all for nans benefit!!

You’re so right when you say she’s punishing us, that’s exactly how it feels like. I’ve just popped round today, went in and she didn’t even acknowledge me, I asked if she wanted anything, she wouldn’t even look at me so I went into the kitchen and did my bits and she suddenly shouted out, you can bring me my tea and crackers!! Well that’s the most she’s spoken to me in weeks!!! I went in and spoke to her - I thought perfect opportunity as she’s suddenly speaking to me so I asked her what was wrong and she ignored me. I told her how stressed my mum was and at 65 what was it she (nan) did in her retirement, she was out everyday doing her own thing with not a care in the world, again she said nothing. I said if you don’t start eating ad drinking you will end back in the home you hated, then out of no where said I’m just being lazy aren’t I because I should make myself do it and make lunch!! Well yes!!!

I’ve just spoken to my mum and we’ve agreed we are both stepping back, Nan knows exactly what she is doing and even when mum had her carers assessment they said the elderly become manipulative and it’s exactly what she is doing!! I feel so much happier now that not only you lovely people have responded to me and just reiterated what I was thinking but that I now know she really is trying to punish us for that 6 weeks, she is more than capable to do things herself. I can’t bear the woe is me all the time, she is so lucky she lives with her daughter and is in close proximity to her granddaughter and family and we all go to see her, she has few health problems so has nothing to moan about!! Thank you so much lovely people xx
It's so frustrating when she is in such a wonderful position, not old and alone with family all the other side of the world.
When my mother was suffering from delirium last autumn, she said a great many very hurtful things to me - and I've tried to bury them & blame the infection etc. But the one thing that has stayed with me, is when she tore me off a strip at 3 am one day for 'letting myself go' and 'had I looked at myself in the mirror recently'? When I replied my caring role had taken so much out of me she retorted 'you always were a bl*y fool'

I now have carer help with her as I just can't physically or emotionally bear the load alone anymore. Give your Nan all the support you can Kelly, but do please make sure both you and your mum keep sight of your own 'needs' too. That way, you will always be 'there' for her, ....but not at the cost of being burned out/stressed out, which ultimately is of no good to any of you.

Good luck & god bless xx
Stepping back sounds exactly the right thing to do. We are all responsible for our own happiness, and if we can't appreciate the good things we've got, we don't deserve them.

If she wants to sulk like a toddler, let her. Her problem. Not yours.

How about planning some nice treats with your mum? She must be very frazzled, and needs to escape her own mum I shouldn't wonder, given all this pointless selfish and cruel carry on by your nan.

Remember, YOUR role is to protect your MUM, not your Nan. Grandchildren are nearly always less 'sentimental' about their grans than they are their mums, and I'm sure you'll champion your mum over your grant. Your role is NOT to enable your gran to tyrannise your mum, but to protect your mum from her.

What was your gran like before she needed care? What would you say her relationship with your mum was? Was she demanding, bossy and thinking of herself first, or has old age/dementia caused this unpleasant side of her to emerge?