My grandmother has become very hostile and I'm afraid to even try to bring her to a doctor, is there anything I can do?

2 answers | Last updated: Jun 29, 2012
Kestrelle asked...

We have been living with my grandmother for several years now. She had moved to Florida and down there her health began to deteriorate. We brought her home for care and she began to get better, however there are some key things wrong with her. #1 Loss of memory (squirrels money away and forgets where. She also gives it away randomly and forgets then tries to do so again. She also forgets where things come from, who paid/pays for them, mixes up houses where things have been done. Frequently forgets to take medication.) #2 Delusions (Believes my family is trying to steal her house, that we are "against" her.) #3 Severe aggression ( Has put super glue in doors, said vile horrible things, cut random cables to electricity and T.V. / internet, continuously demanding we leave.) I would take her to a doctor myself, but she is very hostile and I have no idea what to do. Is there anything I can do? At this point we are on the verge of abandoning her to the situation. She is also destroying things in the house in an attempt to get us to leave.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Difficult...but at some point, you might consider guardianship with a nursing care provider. Good luck.

A fellow caregiver answered...

As difficult as this is to see a way through it to a happier arrangement, you have the right idea in asking for ideas from others.

I suspect that as bad as it is now, untreated the situation you described will grow even more difficult. The sooner you are able to get your grandmother evaluated to determine what is back of her behavior, the better.

In many areas of the country, there are centers where patients can be evaluated for dementia. I suggest that you contact the Alzheimer's Association at their 800 phone number to ask them to send you a list of such providers for your locality. Call the center you prefer to use and set an appointment. -- There is an 800 phone number at this site and if you call it, they can tell you how to contact your local alzheimer's association. Call the local group. You will find the person who takes your call to be an understanding heart. Most people who answer the calls have been down the road with their own family members and so they will appreciate what you are dealing with in your grandmother's situation. Be willing to open up about your concerns with them after you have requested they send you a list of evaluation centers for your area. You need an ally and more than one would be even better for your own success in caring for your grandmother now.

Your grandmother may not have Alzheimer's, but until you get her evaluated, you won't know for sure.

Usually, such an evaluation center will have a neurologist, someone trained to evaluate the mental health of the individual, as well as take a case history from you of what the person is able and willing to do for herself and her inappropriate behaviors. You may or may not need a physician's referral to set an appointment for her, but ask them when you first call if it's required and what kinds of additional information you may need to bring with you to the first appointment. If paying for the evaluation is an issue, tell the person you speak with that you need assistance from someone who can guide you through the system to obtain financial aid for your grandmother. The Alzheimer's Association also may have information about how to pay the costs of caring for an elderly family member who is disabled from any cause, not just Alzheimer's.

You need not tell your grandmother that she is going in to see a doctor, but suggest that you are going on a trip to get out of the house. In fact, you may want to make short trips out of the house more often before the trip to the appointment to ease her into enjoying leaving her home if she will co-operate - a drive around the neighborhood to see how things have changed lately, a drive to the closest park and a short walk on a warm day, a trip to see a place of interest to her, a stop at a beauty shop to have her hair done, lunch or breakfast out now and then, etc.

If all else fails and she refuses to do anything enjoyable with you prior to the appointment, you may need to have her transported by those who can do this for you to the evaluation.

If left undiagnosed so that she were to become physically violent, you'd be calling for help from the police to restrain her. She could harm you or family members and you don't want to risk that happening. The police would take her to a hospital, hopefully for both a physical and a psychiatric evaluation; or they might just charge her with a crime of abuse. Your inquiry makes it plain that you are a caring person and that you don't want to let this situation deteriorate to that.

I took my husband to be evaluated several years ago when he was showing unusual behaviors that seemed to me to indicate he may have some form of dementia. It was the smartest thing that could have been done for him and for the rest of the family, too. The evaluation consisted of two sessions on different days, so as not to overwhelm him. The specialists in their fields were gentle and wise as they worked with him.

Be kind to your grandmother as you try to be helpful and show her respect in spite of how she has treated you lately. Whatever is back of her difficult behavior, her words and actions of late are not your grandmother but the result of some process that's happening in her body or mind over which she most likely has little or no control.

My heart goes out to you and my prayers are with you.