Ask Brenda

brenda“Ask Brenda” is written by Brenda Enright, owner of Home Instead Senior Care Etobicoke.  Home Instead is the leading home care provider for seniors, with over 1000 offices internationally.  Their services allow seniors to remain in their homes, maintain their independence, and preserve their quality of life.

Each month, Brenda will draw from her experiences to provide answers to questions regarding care and available resources in the community.  If you have a question for Brenda, please forward it to:

Dear Brenda I am moved back home to take care of my mom who is 86 years old.  Unfortunately, she has lots of mood swings, and I often find myself the target of insults.   She tries to make me feel as if she doesn’t need my help, when it is obvious that she does. What do you think?

ANSWER:    I’m sorry to hear that this, it can be emotionally distressing to be insulted by a loved one.  Sometimes mood swings can be a sign of early dementia or a mental health issue. Has your mom always been like this?  If this is a new behavior, it’s a good idea to have your mother assessed by a medical doctor.

If this is not the result of dementia or some other medical condition, it might be time to have a conversation with her about what’s going on.  Remind yourself, that although it is challenging to be a family caregiver, that there may be a great deal of sadness and anxiety associated with losing her independence. This in turn can show up as irritability or crankiness.

You might open the conversation by saying that it must be hard not being able to do things for herself. Listen sympathetically. Let her know that your goal is to do everything you can to help her live independently for as long as possible. You might also remind her that she took care of you when you were younger and that you are grateful now to have the opportunity to repay her for everything she has given you.

Discuss how and when your mom would like you to offer help and when she would prefer to do things for herself. Talk about how you would like to speak to each other. Tell her how you would like to remember this period of your life. Share your feelings about how it feels to be treated with respect. Try to avoid saying anything that could make your mom feel defensive. By the end of the conversation, the goal is for the two of you to feel that you are a team.

Helping your mother to get in touch with the emotions that lie beneath the rudeness that’s on the surface may bring you both closer.   It’s possible that one conversation may bring about a noticeable change. It is also possible that there might be some backsliding. Be prepared for this. Gently remind your mom about the talk you had, and try not to react emotionally.  Good luck.

Home Care Hamilton helping older adults and elderly live independently and safely at home.

Please call 905-521-5500.

Call for a free personalized Care Consultation 905-521-5500”  Don’t forget to like us on facebook! th


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