For 10 months (January 2019-October 2019), I was a live-in caregiver to an 80-year-old elderly man who had Alzheimer's and dementia. His wife did not tell me how aggressive he was prior to our arrival. On four occasions, he had accosted me with a steak knife, and on one occasion, he had put me in a choke hold when I went to take the mail off of the dining room table and move it to another location in the home. Due to his physical aggressiveness, I have to take a mild muscle relaxer for tendinitis on my entire right side of my body. He was sundowning, and I had to sleep on the couch in the living room, nightly, to tell him to go back to sleep.
By the end of month six, he started to have seizures. He was transferred between two hospitals and was eventually put into a nursing home. While he was in one of the hospitals, in front of my twin daughters and his wife, I told him that I forgave him what he had done to me and his wife (we had discovered some items that were hidden in the house which his illness was revealing had been there for 13 years of their marriage).
During this entire time, his wife became verbally abusive to us. She would leave around 7:00 a.m. and would not return until 11:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (the next day). She left us in the house over 18+ hours a day, and would not give us any time to ourselves. On three different Sundays within this time, when we did leave, she came to the house early and had an attitude when we came into the house. She encouraged one of her 15-year-old granddaughters to try to instigate a fight with me in front of my daughters over why I did not pick up her dog's feces while three of them were in the house. I was called the "n" word by her since we did not eat her wheat bread (we had our own food). She began to throw that word around, on a regular basis, in my presence.
The wife decided to bring her husband back to the home before he was able to get better. He had lost so much weight. He was on a liquid diet. On two occasions, she was force feeding him mashed potatoes and chicken noodle soup which he could not hold down. She was cursing at him and even told him that he "will not stop her life." However, when I fed him, chicken or beef broth with thickener, he always kept his food down, and I never had a problem.
She became upset when I kept turning the heat on in the house due to it being 59 degrees. I knew his body could not endure that temperature. She even put a heated blanket on him, but did not turn on the heat. She started telling me that she "doesn't wan the heat on until it gets colder." I could not do that to him so I used the key to the lock box that was around the thermostat to turn on the heat when she left. On a Saturday, one of her brothers came into the home and said it was "too cold." She did not care.
An RN and physical therapist started to see him. I told them of my concerns for him and that we needed to leave. Her husband looked so emaciated. I was able to gather enough money to get a small Uhaul truck. The plan was to leave before she arrived at the home. Unfortunately, people drove by the house to inform her of the Uhaul truck sitting in the driveway that she came to the home before or by 6:30 p.m.
She came into the room we were packing things up in, and, with an attitude, asked, "When were you going to tell me that you were leaving?"
I kept packing and cleaning up, and said, "Today."
My daughters would load the Uhaul truck while I packed. She then began to get upset that my daughters were loading the truck and came into the room to tell me that the door needed to be closed. I did not say a word to her and told my daughters to keep loading.
She called her daughter on the phone to tell her that we were leaving (she had her on her cellphone speakerphone). She was walking around the home with the speakerphone on high while her 15-year-old granddaughter was on the phone calling me a "b*t**h."
Around 10:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m., we were done. She had parked her Ram 1500 truck extremely close to the Uhaul truck we had. We had to wait for her to move her truck, and her daughter's vehicle (the same daughter she invited on the phone to come and help her move things around the house the same night we were leaving), in order to leave. I handed her the house keys through the Uhaul window and drove off...into safety.
The Irony: The wife is an assistant pastor to a church.