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Question
Posted by: Lebo | 2005/11/29

Problems with abusive Granny - What to do?

Hi all

my mum who was staying with my granny and my 19 year old sister passed away about a year ago.I then took my sister to come stay with me and found a relative to come stay with my granny. this lasted for about 3 months and the person resigned saying my granny was verbally abusing her. I went and secured two more people and the same thing happened again.

when my sister finished studying she had to go back home to take care of the granny since I did not have the energy to find another person to look after the grany. Now the abuse is aimed at my sister and she herself has had enough.

my granny who is 80 is telling everyone that my sister hits her and wants to chase her out of the house, which is a blantant lie.

we tried getting her to an old age home but all of them in our area In soweto are full with a long waiting list. Also there is the issue from the other family members( neither of which wants to help with this issue) who are saying that we can not take the granny to an old age home as it simply not an african thing to do so. we are also painted as people who just want to get rid of the granny. The granny herself is bad mouthing us to all and sundry saying we want to take her to an old age home so that we can sell the house, etc.

The granny is saying she does not need us and we must just leave her alone in the house and she will take her of herself. she cant walk properly since she has arthistis and her eye sight is not good. but otherwise she is relativley healthy.

the last straw was yesterday, when my sister woke up, she found that the granny was gone, she apprently argained a lift from a neighbour to take her to one of our relative and obviously when she got there, she repeated the same lies about my sister hiting her etc, They phoned yesterday for me to come and fetch her. They themselves cant stand her and want her out of their space asap.

I said I will come get her today but I now feel otherwise. I think I will leave her there until they do something, they will probably hire a car and bring her back. But then what? I am serioulsy thinking of leaving her alone in the house as she wants - she can go to hell. I have had it with her. she soes not appreciate anything we do for her.

any advise?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Surprised nobody else has responded yet, Lebo.
Sadly, it sounds as though your granny may have Dementia, like alzheimer's Disease ---which can make a person terribly hard to live with. Their memory gets poorer, they are easily mistaken and suspicious about everything, they lose their inhibitions, and can become highly aggressive. They need to see a good local doctor or shrink if possible , for a proper assessment. Sometimes an added physical illness may be making all of this worse, and treating that may make a major improvement possible. Otherwise, their are medicines they can take which can make them less aggressive and more comfortable with other people, less confused.
And something like her worsening eyesight makes it easier for her to get confused --- she may forget where she put something, or not be able to see it, and accuse someone of stealing it, for instance.
Sadly again, our Government has never yet povided enough old age facilties ANYWHERE for ANY community, to deal with what is needed. I don't know if there is any facility nearer where she lives , if there is no room at Soweto homes --- check with the social workers at the Welfare Dept about what might be available.
It's plain stupid for your relatives to complain that you are being un-African to think of putting her somewhere where she can be properly looked after --- surely the African way is to care enough about our elders to be sure that they get the care they need, wherever that can be, rather than to allow them to be neglected at home. If these relatives are so sure you're wrong --- let them take granny for a month or two, and see what they think then ! And of course old African traditions were forms in days when very very few people ever lived to be 80, unlike now.
I understand how discouraging this is, and have experienced it myself. Their poor memory and confusion does not allow them to feel or express gratitude, and they can be terribly annoying. They may have delusions of independence and insist that they can care for themselves, even when it's totally obvious to everyone else that they can'. She needs proper care --- ask the MEC for health in the area where she lives, what facilities that Dept of Health has provided for her and others like her.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Buzz | 2005/11/30

What a difficult situation to be in. Lebo, I really have no advice for you, but I hope you can sort things out to the benefit of all of you. Good luck!

Reply to Buzz

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