I am not a carer as such, I help my Nan by going shopping for her a couple of times a week and taking her to appointments etc. when I can. She is 82 and unfortunately deteriorating in health - As far as I can tell from various doctors appointments etc. there is nothing physically wrong with her, aside from ailments she already had, but it seems to be down to lack of mobility and socialisation.
I went to the shops for her on Wednesday and when I got back she was having a panic attack because I'd taken longer than she had anticipated. Also she had pressed a button on the remote that had turned the TV to radio and she couldn't work out how to put it back. I fixed the TV and managed to calm her down by concentrating on her breathing but I found that afterwards she prolonged the attack. I think this may have been because of the attention she received as a result.
It sounds fairly horrible to say that about a person, particularly a loved relative, but my Nan can be quite emotionally manipulative (even when I was young and she was in good health).
I could tell that she was no longer having a real panic attack but, possibly for the first time, I chose not to let my emotions change my reaction to the situation (usually I would start to get cross). Instead I decided that I wouldn't pander but would be pragmatic. I found that she couldn't continue to pretend anymore because it wasn't having the desired effect so she just stopped. Upon reflection it made me feel quite sad that she does these things, although I'm not sure I understand her motive. I feel I would react much better to her saying 'can you stay with me a little longer, I feel a bit lonely' - or something of a similar nature. I would appreciate the honesty of that approach. I try to speak to her about it, as this is not the first time, but she denies that she gets like that at all. I know she remembers and I'm not sure if it is embarrassment/pride that causes her to deny it but it seems like it cant be resolved.
I have no issue with the panic attack itself - they are quite a common thing that can be resolved quite quickly and I think it is understandable that an elderly lady, in a helpless situation, would get frustrated that they couldn't reach a solution themselves, when in the past they may have been able to. In isolation the feelings about these things are magnified and I get that... its the self constructed drama afterwards that I struggle with.
Does anyone else find that their relatives do this kind of thing? Do you know why? What do you do in these situations?