When Elderly Parent Becomes Abusive – What to Do

Being a caregiver for Mom or Dad is hard enough, but it makes the role more difficult when they verbally or physically abuse you. You can deal with the situation and plan for your future needs in the years to come.

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When Elderly Parent Becomes Abusive – What to Do
4 Min Read March 8th, 2021 Updated:October 19th, 2021

You or a sibling might be one of the thousands who provide hands-on caregiving or managing paid care for an elderly or disabled parent. Being a caregiver – or handling the situation – is a stressful job. It is probably not the role you wanted to have as your relationship changes dramatically. Often this relationship can become abusive.

People require long-term care services for many reasons, and not all of them are related to getting old. The advances in medical science allow us to survive many health events and accidents that we would not have survived years ago. We either recover and continue to get older, or we need long-term health care.  

However, with aging, our need for extended care increases. People require extended health care either due to an illness, an accident (like a fall), or the consequences of longevity. Once we hit age milestones such as 70, 75, 80, 85, and so on, we face a more significant risk of needing physical help with normal living activities or supervision due to cognitive decline.  

Abuse Makes Role as Caregiver More Difficult

Verbal abuse and sometimes physical abuse make being a caregiver a difficult job. When you are a son or daughter, and you receive that abuse, it becomes more emotional and hurtful.

Personality changes can occur, especially when a person has Alzheimer's and other dementia. Even without a cognitive component, your loved one may lash out. They are often scared because of the changes in their life. They are losing their control and independence, and they don't feel well. Often their reaction is to lash out at those they love.

Understanding you are not alone, and this type of personality change is common may make it easier. When you understand this is not rare, you can, perhaps, better understand that it's not you; it's them.

Don't Take the Abuse Personally

You also should understand that you have the right to be respected. Experts say being treated cruelly or unfairly is not something you can just ignore. You can get 'upset,' but how you deal and react to your anger is important. Don't take it personally, or your own emotions can lead to anxiety and depression.

You should try to seek help from your parent's doctor. Some medications can cause this type of personality change. If that is the case, a change in medication can result in a return to your parent's normal personality.

AARP says a geriatric psychiatrist or another healthcare professional who has specific training in both mental health and neurocognitive disorders can help identify the reason for the abusive behavior. The likely causes are denial, depression, delusions, and disinhibition.

Read more from AARP by clicking here.

Caregivers Should Monitor Their Own Health

If you have taken on the role of caregiver, be sure to monitor your own health and well-being. Be sure to take time off. Another family member or other respite care from a home health agency or adult day care can give you the time to relax and spend time with your family.

Sometimes you need to walk away. Aging expert Carol Bradley Bursack says in a recent article on AGING CARE that sometimes "no amount of counseling, boundary-setting, detachment or respite care will change an elder's abusive behavior." She says sometimes having professionals either at home or in a facility like assisted living might be the best answer.

You can take action now to avoid the stress and burden of caregiving being placed on your children in the future. At some point, you will also likely need some type of long-term health care. Don't put the full responsibility of your future care on your family. The solution for many families is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance.

LTC Insurance Gives Your Family the Time to Be Family

The best time to purchase a policy is when you still enjoy good health. Generally, that will be in your 40s or 50s before you retire. LTC Insurance is custom-designed to fit your needs and budget. You can prepare your family and finances from the costs and burdens of aging, but you can't delay until your health changes or you get too old.

LTC policies are very affordable for most people, but premiums can vary over 100% for the same benefits. Couples can get shared spousal benefits as well. In 45 states, Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance offers additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection.

Longevity is a major concern and should be considered in your retirement plans. The consequences of long-term care are both a cash flow issue and a family issue. Give your family the time to be family and not suffer from the role of caregiver.

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About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

Getting older can be tricky, not just on you - but your family too. The consequences of longevity are numerous, and we experience changes in health, body, and mind. Often these changes mean we need help, but few of us want to be dependent on anyone, especially our families. 

The cost of long-term health care services gets more costly every year and adversely affects your income, assets, lifestyle, and legacy. Many times adult children must step in to provide care which places a burden on them.

There is a solution - affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. You will have the guaranteed tax-free resources to pay for your choice of quality care, including at home. When you own a solution, your loved ones will have the time to be family instead of being caregivers. 

The time to obtain coverage is before retirement, ideally in your 40s or 50s. 

Available Resources on LTC NEWS

The resources on LTC NEWS will help you learn about your options to plan for aging's financial costs and burdens. As you prepare for your future retirement, better consider the physical, emotional, and financial burdens that get placed on you and your loved ones. 

You can compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.

The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area. There are also available tax incentives, and see if these tax incentives are helpful by reviewing the tax guide - Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Use the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator and find both the current and future cost of care services where you live. Click here and see the financial impact. 

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Be sure to seek professional help when you plan. Experts say to avoid using a financial advisor or general insurance agent as they often lack the experience and knowledge in policy features, underwriting, tax advantages, and other factors. Since premiums can vary by over 100% between insurance companies, you need a skilled and trusted professional.

A qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will help you navigate the options and find the best coverage at the best value. Discover your trusted pro by clicking here.

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

There are many people today that have much of their savings invested in their home. With today's reverse mortgages, you can use the money in your home to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, add retirement income, or even pay for in-home care if you need care now. 

Learn more now - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News. You can also help find caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not.

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