Nursing Home/Long Term Care/Home Care/Difficult Senior

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Question
Hello Ginelle:  I have an elderly family member who is in his eighties.  I help with his home care (house cleaning and I often bring him home made meals that I make myself).  He is extremely angry and hateful, and has nonstop unprovoked temper tantrums.

For example, he says to me "I have a question that I would like to ask you."  Then, instead of asking the question, he says "You don't want to answer my question!  Just get out of here!"

On another occasion, a faucet was still leaking after a repair.  When I kindly offered to call the repair company and tell them what happened, he screamed and swore at me, and held out his fist and made punching motions in the air.

I always remain calm, and never say or do anything to provoke this irrational behavior.  It is so disturbing to me that I have trouble sleeping on the days that I visit him. He regularly goes to a doctor, and has not been diagnosed with any disorder that would affect his behavior. I'd greatly appreciate any advice that you may have.  Thanks.

Answer
Alicia,
I am sorry to hear of the challenging situation that you are in!  

First, I will say that we find that many seniors if they were mean and hateful most of their adult lives,  they remain the same or even intensify those behaviors as they become elderly.  So, if your family member was mean and hateful his whole life, he will probably be so as he ages.  If this is not the case with your family member, then he is definately displaying a personality change. A behavior change or personality change is cause for concern.  Whether it is the same behavior his whole life or new behavior, can you and other family members intervene for him and get him medical help?  A physician can evaluate if there are any medical reasons that he is so prone to anger and so anti-social.  He may be going to a physician regularly but the physician is completely unaware of this issue.  There may be an underlying cause that could be treated.

While you are exploring if your family can work together to seek help for your aging family member, please do consider yourself!  You may want to help, but you have to recognize that his behavior towards you is distructive to you.  Because of the emotional stress that this is causing you, consider how you can help at a distance until his behavior has changed.  Could you cook meals and have someone else deliver them?  

You did not mention whether this family member is this way to others or just to you.  Regardless, his behavior is unacceptable!  I doubt whether anyone will be able to reason with him.  Even if family members try to talk to him to insist that he change his behavior, I doubt this will be successful.  It sounds as if professionl help is needed at this time.  Additionally, it may speak volumes to your family if you state that you can no longer be around his behavior and that you will only help if you can keep your distance.  You must think of your health and well-being!  Please consider trying to get your family to seek help for this loved one and keep your distance until his behavior is changed.  You can help and save your sanity at the same time.  

I hope that this guidance is helpful to you in someway.  Please do not hesitate to contact me back if I may be of further assistance.  

Nursing Home/Long Term Care/Home Care

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Ginelle LeBlanc, CSA

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding home care solutions for seniors, in home care scheduling and care giver solutions, funding sources for home care, how to find a quality Care Giver, what questions to ask when interviewing a caregiver for home care, how to solve home care problems. All things related to caring for a senior at home, and the caregivers taking care of a senior. Additionally for those who own a home care business, I can help answer questions regarding the start up and operations of a home care business for seniors.

Experience

I am a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) accreditied to help seniors and thier families to find the best solutions for their needs. I owned and operated a Home Care service for Seniors for 6 years and was able to help nearly 1,000 families find the best caregiver match for their parents, or senior loved one. I have supervised a staff of caregivers providing care in private homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals and nursing homes. I continued in the Senior Care/Home Care Industry as Regional Director of Training for Comfort Keepers providing training and operational support to 10 offices in the Gulf South Region. I now have 12 years in this field. I now own and operate my own Senior Care Consulting business, GL Consulting, LLC (www.GLconsultingLLC.com)

Education/Credentials
Graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana. I am a CSA (Certified Senior Advisor).

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