It’s difficult to know how to cope with a horrid parent once they become elderly and frail.
Some people become more confused and scared as they age and more frustrated about losing their mobility, memory, and faculties like sight and hearing. It’s a combination that is likely to make them to complain at length and react increasingly negatively.
In addition the challenging characteristics they have are likely to become more pronounced and you may be the one they take it all out on.
Also if they have lost their partner their grief can turn to anger against you.
They might try to make you feel guilty that you are not devoting enough time looking after them and compare you unfavourably with others.
So what can you do?
It’s painful to be talked down to by a parent who makes mountains out of mole hills, is constantly critical, irrational and illogical, but tell yourself it can help you develop a more logical and reasoned way of thinking.
Try not to feel guilty. Instead reassure yourself you're doing your best and that however much you do wouldn’t be enough.
Not being available all the times doesn’t mean you are cruel and heartless. Seek advice from your GP and local services for the elderly.
If your difficult parent is in a nursing home they may:
Insist they don’t need to be there and that you are getting rid of them.
They can also criticise you for choosing the nursing home.
In addition they can accuse you of stealing their money, especially if you have power of attorney.
They may call the bank or the police or/and tell the staff how hateful you are.
Take what your parent says with a spoonful of salt.
Elderly people often make false accusations. It can be a sign of dementia as well as how horrid they are.
They may also complain about a member of staff and how they are being treated. It is hard to know if this is a genuine complaint and whether or not this is justified.
Speak to a senior member of staffand perhaps ask if one of the staff could pop in during your visit so you can both see how your parent behaves.
It might also be a good idea to keep a diary of your visits and anything you have discussed that might become significant.