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CARENOTES | Past Carenotes | Let's Talk


Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 2/4/14


I work as a caregiver for my 92-year-old great aunt. How can I keep my cool when she snaps at me? I literally take a cry break in the bathroom every couple days because it's hard to handle sometimes. She forgets she was so harsh to me after only 10 minutes, but I remember it for days. I know I shouldn't take it personally, but it's even harder being related to her. Do you have any advice?


Caregivers Reply

Shared by: Alex

Hello, guys. This is my question and I just wanted to say thanks for the replies! I laughed at both the NCIS reference and the growl. Thanks for saying it is healthy to cry, too. It is tough but it's nothing I can't get passed, and I won't be ashamed to take a breather and cry it out. God bless!

Shared by: MJ

If you have watched NCIS I wanted to swat my Mom on the back of the head like Gibs does to his staff. But I took a deep breath, walked out of her room, and sat in the lobby for a 5 minute cry. "Remember crying doesn't get anything done except releases the stress we are under." Another resident walked by and congratulated me with all I do for my Mom and realizes it is hard when they are in this stage of "never never land." I was able to return to her room as if nothing had occurred, but as you said it stays at the back of your mind for a long time. When I relate incidents back to my siblings I end up laughing over the different scenarios I present to them so keep humor/laughter in your life when dealing with your elder Alzheimer family member.

Shared by: HT Daly

I had the same experience and I would feel shocked and so frustrated when my mother would snap at me. While I allowed myself to feel the anger and frustration ( I did a lot of snapping back in my head) I also used a little visualization technique to cope with the outbursts. I imagined the words were a bad cloud (or stink) and I would actually move my head slightly and imagine the words moving past me. I got out of their way.

Since we were also a dog loving family, I used to growl at my mother if she "snapped" at me. No matter how angry she was or I was, my low growl would always make us both laugh and even with dementia, she recognized the joke. As I write this I feel sad that I no longer have anyone to "growl" at.

Saying all that, I think you are a very healthy person to just cry, because any "pent up" emotion would be worse for you in the long run.

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