Can we discuss 'manipulation'?

fairegoldMay 30, 2005

Mother does not have AD, but she is 95, and yes, there are some things she gets confused about. Like she thinks that if the doctor says to take Tylenol every 6 hours for pain, that means that she always has to take it, and that acetomenaphen is not the same thing, but I can't get thru to her that she does not need it if she has no pain. Now it's the 81 gr baby aspirin, and it is not the same thing because it's another brand and looks different.

She is not adjusting well to the Assisted Living Services, and is upset when the aides show up to "help her". True, she doesn't need the help to undress for bed, etc, but when she's left to her own devices, she manages to hurt herself by trying to move furniture.

Tonight I got the whining call wherein she says she's like to slit her wrists. And can I come over to lunch tomorrow.

I told her that I will be there tomorrow after lunch to straighten out her medications, no lunch.

How do you deal with manipulation? What's real, and what is true manipulation? Where and when do you turn to outside help? And how can anyone really help?

Jim says that I need to screen the calls (I don't have caller ID) just because she won't leave a message on the machine, so I'll know it's her.

Seriously, tho, I think it's a subject for open discussion (I'm not really asking for help, but you all understand), what is really manipulation, how do you deal with it, and how do you control it?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My Mom was the master-manipulator! I can chuckle now, but I certainly didn't when she was lucid, and in earlier years. My DH always said to let it all roll off my back, but I always felt there was a knife there, suitable for twisting when she felt like it. Guilt was her favourite ploy.

Now, as she's 91, and in the few years past, as her Alz progressed, I see her manipulating like what some children do when they don't get their way: "I'll hold my breath and turn blue if you won't do this for me!" It's their only weapon, now, as they see it. They're helpless to do much else. So....I now understand where it's coming from, and why. (As far as all the other years, growing up.....maybe they felt just as helpless?)

If she calls often, perhaps call screening is a good idea. Pick up the receiver when you feel you can deal with her manipulations or whining about 'the assistance' she's refusing. I'm sure she's also frightened about the changes that are happening to her, and her helplessness in dealing with them, and your reassurance daily should be enough. Ignore her strategies, or just "smile and nod"...she'll eventually understand you have a life, too. I hope.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 8:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A few quick thoughts..

If she's in an assisted living facility, why is she taking her own meds? They should be giving them to her. Why is she on a baby aspirin? At her age, what's the point, and it could be just enough aspirin to cause mini strokes.

Has she been evaluated and treated for depression?

Get a caller ID box (I couldn't live without it), and tell her you'll take one call a day from her, and stick to your gun. Assure her that the staff will call you if there's a serious problem

Have a talk with the nurse manager or social worker, or whoever is in charge. Explain what's going on and your problems with her behavior, and let them do their job, and figure out how to get her to bathe, take her medications, etc. That's why she is there.

Don't start feeling pre-guilty guilt. I mean by that, the feeling that we get when we think that if we don't do it now, we will feel guilty about it later, especially after mom or dad dies.

Don't keep rescuing her!!!

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 9:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I will admit i screen my calls and only 4 people have our cell phone number. al's mother used to phone with the most stupid questions and things, i am not a phone chatter, i think if we didn't need a phone we wouldn't have one. i don't have caller id, i just leave the answering machine on, it seems every charitable organization is looking for some kind of donation, so i just leave it on. if al's mother had a call and she missed it she would call everyone she knew to ask if they called. i also have a note tacked to my front door - because of religious groups that say's "Baby is sleeping - do not knock" everyone knows we don't have a baby, so they know it's ok to knock, just don't want to deal with religous groups or people selling chocolate bars or sponsoring them for one thing or another, i do feel that my privacy is invaded alot and i love my alone time. i used to have 2 friends, notice i used to, they would boss me around with al, did you do this that and the other thing, i figure hey, you are not here don't tell me what to do, when they would almost make me do something, i would say good idea, i'll have to write that down, or hmmmmm, haven't heard from these 2 for a couple of years, infact one of them is mad at me! as ann landers said, you can't let people take advantage of you, which i guess i learnt the hard way, but i did it! ps - i am really a nice person, but sometimes things have to be done! enjoy your day! debbie

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 10:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Barb, Mother lives in a 'blended' community, where 3/4 of the residents are independant. She only has had assisted living for the past month because she pulled something in her back when she tried to move furniture (!). She was in pain, and needed help around her apartment and getting to the dining room. And I want the staff to check on her more often so she doesn't do stupid things like that again. She's perfectly capable of taking her own meds, which is only Miacalcin, Actonel (weekly) and plendil, plus the aspirin, which her doctor has recommended, and tylenol for pain. That's it. Shes healthy.

I plan to talk to her doctor next Monday about either getting mother to see a mental health specialist or putting her on medications. I am leery of having her take an anti-depressant because she's very sensitive to medications, and I also don't want to cause a balance problem. But I'll talk to the doctor. Yes, she is depressed. But medications for that are not for everyone.

Thanks for the ideas, gang. I'll go over this afternoon and see about the pills. And tomorrow I can talk to the assisted living director. I need to really reduce the services that Mother is getting, because she doesn't need them, but I want to keep it because she needs more contact with the staff. Problem is that she is a very private person, and she is upset with the staff being around so much. But there has to be an acceptable level of service, I think.

I hope that this week, with the new walker (whenever it comes), we can lose the wheelchair transport to the diring room. Maybe that will help.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 11:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When there is chronic, on-going pain, tylenol and other medications like that usually work better if they are taken regularly to keep the pain and inflamation down. Once the pain starts, it is not as effective nor is it as easy to control. I wouldn't fret if she wants to take the tylenol every six hours. It may work better for her. Ask her doctor is there any problem with her taking it regularly.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 12:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's not chronic pain. She pulled a muscle, and she's healing.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 12:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, I see....well, in that case, I can understand your not wanting her to take more than she needs. Does she seem to be healing well? At her age, it could take quite a while. And the worse thing is that if she "thinks" she is in enough pain to take it, then you'll never convince her that she doesn't need it. It may be making those stiff joints that come with age, move a little easier.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 4:16PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
trouble getting in and out of bed
My 90 year old 4'10" arthritic Mom is getting...
My Turn for Help
Well this is a bit of a ramble but I'm not up for a...
New to caregivers forum...
Hi, folks... I have been a Gardenweb member for eons,...
Mother-in-law ideas
My mother-in law will be moving in with us in 2 weeks....
Lack of Social Graces
My Mother with middle stages Dementia has developed...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™