Mum is abusive to carers and family

Hi, this is my first post.
I’ve been caring for my parents for several years, my mum has community carers who visit day and night to take care of toileting, washing and dressing.
I wonder if anyone has experience of a mother who is abusive to carers (and family) but has no other obvious signs of dementia?
My mum doesn’t seem to have memory problems but she is certainly displaying behavioural problems. She is horrible to pretty much everyone. My dad gets constantly corrected by her even though I’ve told her that he forgets things due to vascular dementia. She wants dad to make her meals and has refused for me or the carers to do it even though he has said he is finding it a struggle. She hates him going anywhere; in the past when I’ve taken him shopping she will get really annoyed if we were slightly longer because I got him a coffee. She never wants to go out herself and when I have taken her she wants to get back after half an hour in case she misses her care visit.
She is totally averse to change of any kind and has literally screamed at both my sister and I for doing things which keep her clean and safe, like washing her sheets without asking her first. She has a history of being verbally abusive to her carers but has begun, on occasion to get physically abusive too. Her doctor suspects some form of dementia but the tests are slow to be done (understandably due to Covid)
She will sometimes apologise a day or so after an outburst but doesn’t seem upset that she acted badly, she just wants to be excused.
I used to struggle with her behaviour a lot more but recently decided to just be as kind and calm as I could no matter what she throws at me and though it hasn’t changed her behaviour, changing my mindset has definitely been beneficial to me.
I’ve been told that if she continues to abuse her carers then they can refuse care and I really don’t know where that would leave us.
I’m basically just reaching out to ask for any advice and to see if anyone has experienced something similar.
Thanks. X

“Dementia” apparently comes in many forms.
If things get too bad, and carers refuse to come, then the only solution then is an EMI home, Elderly Mentally Infirm.

You and mum have the right to have trained staff attend and not be threatened into a care home unless it is necessary.

Hi Bluesky

Welcome to the forum, sorry to hear about your difficult situation. I hope you get an assessment/diagnosis for your Mum soon. I’m sure people with more experience in this will be along to offer advice and support.

Meanwhile, If you’d like to chat to other carers online we run weekly sessions for carers to take some time for themselves and meet others in a similar situation. Do join us if you’d like to, sign up is here:

Best wishes


I agree entirely that there should be carers who can cope, but such experienced carers are very hard to find under any circumstances, in a pandemic even more so.
I’m always on the side of the family carer. No one has the right to abuse anyone else, under any circumstances.
It will continue until the family carer puts a stop to it.
Other family members will turn a blind eye as they don’t want to do the caring either.
Caring is, as we all know, very tiring.
In a pandemic, many of the support services aren’t working as they should, there is no hope of respite care. No looking forward to a holiday when you can recharge your physical and emotional batteries.
It is ultimately up to the family carer to say “I just can’t do this any more”.
That’s not that you don’t want to do it, just that you’ve given so much for so long that there’s nothing left to give.
I’ve been in this situation myself. Ultimately my mum went into residential care for the last year of her life. She said to me that without me, it would have happened many years earlier.
I feel glad that I was able to help her stay in her own home as long as I did.
Mum needed more than I could give.
Residential care is sometimes the only option left.
Carers should not feel guilty that their relative NEEDED residential care, because the carers didn’t make the person ill, but tried their very best to help, rather than turn a blind eye or walk away.

My lovely late husband spent the last few years in a nursing home. My daughter’s and myself certainly didn’t want that.However,he had complex needs, including vascular dementia. His consultant said he would not be safe at home, and I just wouldn’t cope with all of his needs. Wasn’t what we wanted. He was very much loved. His NEEDS, took over our wants. Yes, the guilt monster kicked me many times.
I certainly understand the heartbreak of a loved one needed care, and nursing away from the family home, as many on this forum do. Threats have not been been in the equasion.

Hello Bluesky

Thanks for posting about your situation in the Forum. We were sorry to read that you’ve been having a tough time with looking after your parents.

I discussed your post with our helpline manager and he suggested that you contact your mother’s GP again to follow up on the tests and also to update them on your concerns about your mother’s behaviour. You could also speak with your mother’s social worker if one is in place.

As your mother’s doctor suspects some kind of dementia, you might also find it helpful to speak with the Admiral Nurse team at Dementia UK for some further advice. Their contact details are at:

Wishing you well