(Closed) My Grandma is losing it and I don't know what to do (Long)

posted 5 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
46680 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

She may have an undiagnosed mental health condition.  Has she seen a specialist? A neroogist? psychiatrist? gerontologist?  Don’t drop a pursuit of a diagnosis just because the family docotor hasn’t come up with anything.

Someone in the family needs to make copies of Grandpa’s keys so the family isn’t locked out of the house begging Grandma to let them in.

Post # 4
1060 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@BakerBee16:  I’m so sorry that your family is going through this. I agree with @julies1949:  that there may be some mental health issue that your grandma has. In the meantime definitely make sure someone in your family has a copy of the house/car keys, and maybe make sure grandpa has a cell phone to call for assistance so he isn’t stuck sitting outside in the cold.

Post # 5
2685 posts
Sugar bee

I would get a second opinion on her mental health.  My grandpa exhibited similar behaviors in his 90’s, but he never actually received an official diagnosis of his illness.  A lot of the doctors said that his symptoms were like dementia, but for whatever reason they couldn’t give it an official diagnosis.  He would make up stories about how he’s having an affair with someone or how employees at the nursing home were cheating on their husbands with him.  He was pretty much in his own little soap opera world.  His wife was not in the picture, so his actions thankfully did not affect his family negatively.  

It would be worth looking into separate housing for them too.  My grandpa was in a nursing home close to our family when he started to deteriorate, but his wife moved to be closer to her family.  Things definitely improved when we put him in the care of professionals, and I think it really prevented a lot of long-term drama.

Post # 6
519 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@BakerBee16:  It can be so much more than just testing for dementia… there are countless things that could cause a change like this. I would reach out for more help than just through the family doctor, see specialists and pay to have her get therapy and talk with someone regularly.

I would look past what she is doing/saying and have your grandfather get some separation by staying with another relative until she gets the help she needs and can move on from this.

Sidenote: I wouldn’t try to think that he couldn’t have had an affair now or 40 years ago… she may have let it go then and now that it has come up again she has snapped. I found out years ago my father had an affair on my mother before I was born and when they fight it comes up – it is something we would swear he’d never do but anyone is capable of it.


@julies1949:  I do see the point of him having his own keys but I would be more concerned with him leaving to find a place to stay. If she’s said that she’ll kill him I personally wouldn’t want him waltzing back into that house when she is fuming.

Post # 7
1475 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@julies1949:  +1 I agree with everything. Make copies of the housekeys and continue to see specialists who may be able to diagnose and help your grandma.

Post # 8
561 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Oy. Yeah, it sure sounds like there is some kind of health issue going on. Don’t quote me on this, but I think some types of dementia manifest like what you’re describing. Maybe another doctor, one with experience with the elderly, might have some ideas.

I’m so sorry. Watching a loved one decline like that is incredibly hard.

Post # 9
1003 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

@BakerBee16:  I am sorry you are going through this.  My grandma recently had a stroke and since then she has really been out of it.  She used to be the life of the party always telling stories and jokes and now she just wants to be alone and barely speaks.  It’s really heard seeing a grandparent deteriorate right before your eyes, it breaks my heart.  As others have suggested I would have your grandma checked out it’s possible she has a mental health problem or maybe even had a small stroke herself.  I hope everything works out for you, I will be sending good thoughts your way.

Post # 10
4431 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

My grandma tested negative for demetia but repeats herself and stories only seconds or minutes after saying them.  She will also act surprised at things she already knew about…like my pregnancy.

I would honestly get a second opinion about her, it’s really sad…I feel so bad for your grandfather and for her as well. 

My dad’s uncle (not realted to me) had the same exact behavior as your grandma, he would storm outside and start yelling for no reason (we lived across the street) and talk and repeat himself.  He would start walking and down the street and my dad’s aunt would have to chase him down.  It was really sad to see, we even heard him yelling at her multiple times.

He was formally diagnosed with alzheimers, but it was already too late.


Post # 11
2707 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@BakerBee16:  she definitely needs to be seen by a specialist. Alzheimer’s and dementia can be very difficult to diagnose. Many elderly people also suffer from secondary, potentially reversible causes of dementia, ie depression. A couple of other things to consider. Is she on any medications that could be effecting her behavior? Is she a heavy drinker? If things don’t improve I agree with previous posters that for your grandpa’s safety and well being it may be necessary for them to live separately. I would also be concerned about your grandmother driving if she has become erratic and unpredictable. And, obviously if they have any firearms in the house, those should also be removed. 

Post # 12
2481 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

My grandmother would not have tested positive for dementia either but in the last few weeks of her life she started coming out with the most bizarre statements. One afternoon she assured me that my aunt (who lived 12,000 away in Australia!) was hiding in the cupboard under the kitchen sink where she was “Doing the Dirty with a Polish Man”. On another occasion, she became convinced that the milkman wanted to have sex with her. “He’s an Absolute Beast”, my dear and won’t be satisfied until he’s had his Wicked, Wicked Way”.

What made these statements all the odder is that my grandmother did not discuss sex! She was the daughter of a Baptist Minister and although well travelled and highly intelligent, she retained aspects of her sheltered upbringing. Neither had she ever suffered from any form of mental illness in the past. 

We spoke to the doctor who diagnosed occasional oxygen deprivation to the brain as a result of her heart condition. There was nothing we could do other than ensure that she took her medication as prescribed – something she wasn’t good at!

There may be all sorts of medical reasons why your Grandma is behaving like this and they may be entirely unrelated to dementia. So I would certainly get a second opinon or a referral to a specialist in geriatric health. In the meantime, your Grandfather needs to be know he has a safe place to go or someone to call if she kicks off again. 

Post # 13
5956 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

@BakerBee16:  Your Grandma sounds like a dead ringer for dementia…old peices of their lives get stuck on a loop, they loose their ability to filter and tend go from being normal, nice and sweet, to someone that is meaner than a damn snake…its very hard to deal with, but you need to remind yourself, this is an illness, not a choice..no different than cancer, parkinsons, or ms.

She cannot control herself and you and your family cannot allow this behavior to upset you in the least.  Consult a physician, have her checked out and then talk about your options as a family, there are resources for all of you to get through this and make things for her, as comfortable and happy as possible.

Post # 14
4431 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@Steampunkbride:  diagnosed occasional oxygen deprivation to the brain


I totally agree with this, not to help diagnose her grandmother, but that’s what my grandmother has… she has COPD, Asthma, and low oxygen.  Under one of her attacks, which she thought was a panic attack, she called me crying, we went to the ER and sure enough her o2 states were in the mid-high 80’s.  She had to get oxygen delivered to the house, which she basically never used and made them come pick it up because she said she was better.

I bought her a pulse oximeter and put it on her finger and it was hovering 89-90…still low…and she had a horrible cough..it was really sad that she didn’t want to do anything about it. 

I think it definitely messed with her, and the ER docs agreed.

Post # 15
7647 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

@BakerBee16:  I wouldn’t rule out dementia as this sounds scarily close to what she is going through even if the doctor couldn’t find anything.

Grandma fell outside, and once the paramedics arrive my grandpa lost it. He held her hostage in the house and threatened to shoot her with his shotgun and kill himself eith ether if anyone came in to the house. He finally ended up giving her to the paramedics so they could fix her hip. He had all sorts of tests run and it went undiagnosed for so long, but yet from that incident it only took a year before my grandpa’s mind deteriorated so much that he passed away. He couldn’t remember who we were, his own kids, and was always stuck back when he was 10 and letting the cows in front the blizzard that was coming.

It’s sad, and it hurts becuase they say and do things that are completely inappropriate, but it’s an illness.

Post # 16
2375 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

 Unfortunately, there’s no easy test for dementia. It’s not like other diseases where they can do a blood test or a scan and diagnose it. If she was lucid when the doc talked to her, that’s all they can really go on. The best thing you can do is document the incidents – time and date, if anything else was going on at the time, etc. and bring that to the doctor. I would also see about getting a full health workup done, a lot of times in the elderly, physical problems can manifest in mental symptoms. My late father did NOT have dementia,  but when he had a severe UTI, he also experienced memory loss and inappropriate anger. The doctor said that was not uncommon in the elderly.

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