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susanc's avatar

Why do some people get furious and nasty when they get old, and others don't?

Asked by susanc (15669 points ) September 24th, 2008

Following up on a question about taking care of elderly parents.
One flutherer’s old mama is hard to be around. Others have been gentle.

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33 Answers

robmandu's avatar

[ Removed by myself ]

loser's avatar

I think it’s hormones.

Response moderated
Zaku's avatar

Like all adults but sometimes more so, mainly from the kinds of meanings they built about their stories and views of life, people, etc.

andrew's avatar

[mod says]: Now now, no name-calling folks.

deaddolly's avatar

YES!!!!!!!! I’VE BEEN REMOVED!!!!!! I now feel like a part of the team….

Divalicious's avatar

I think with old age comes ailments that aren’t visible or easily diagnosed. Chronic aches and pains will wear a person down. Also, I’ve seen some older people with hardening of the arteries or newly found brain tumors that have (understandably) more negative outlooks.

My dad has a lot of pain from arthritis. He keeps his spirits up, but some days I can tell it’s an effort for him.

loser's avatar

Removal is a goal?!!

deaddolly's avatar

Some of us have different aspirations…and my goal is too irritate as many ppl as I can.
lol just kidding.
The older I get, the more cranky, I become. and I love it. I can’t wait till I am able to shit my pants with no remorse!!

k, I’ll stop.

Serioulsy, the older you get; the less you care who you offend or embarass. I think some old ppl feel entitled to be nasty, for whatever reason.

Judi's avatar

They are scared. Mortality is hitting them in the face and they are loosing control of their body. Heck, I get ticked off because I now have to use reading glasses!!! Imagine if I couldn’t control by bodily functions or couldn’t move without assistance. They have reason to be angry and scared. It takes a lot of patience to deal with it. Add pain to the mix! There are only 4 times in my adult life I can (or really can’t I was told by others later) remember cussing like a salor. In labor with my 3 children and calling my husband from walking mile 22 of a marathon. Pain can make you crankier than you even realize you are.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Here’s my take (as I have had LOTS of expereience w/elderly relatives——I’m the youngest in my family):

As people age their personailty gets more concentrated (think of wine of or a good balsamic!). If the person was a real shit in their youth, they’re nearly impossible in their old age.

If they were the type that just let things roll off their back, they ENCOURAGE everyone around them to do the same in their elder years.

I could name so many examples. My great aunt is a TERRIBLE person to be around. In her youth, she had 2 friends, never married, didn’tt move out on her own forever, couldn’t ever keep it together financially-etc. She is HORRIFIC to be around now. None of her siblings visit her. We are left paying her bills, and doing all the grudge work for her (yes, we love her). When I think of how her funeral will be (which isn’t long away) I shudder!

deaddolly's avatar

@ judi…yes, it sucks to get old. We treat our old ppl like crap…no respect. Bad
nursing homes, unaffordable drugs. Plus the fact thay your life is nearly over…and it’s not gonna be a smooth, pleasant exit.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

It, in my opinion, boils down to this: People are different. Which means there are going to be some nice old people, some mean old people, and some in between old people. We’re all individuals and age doesn’t change that.

deaddolly's avatar

No, i do think ppl get more cantankerious as they age.

Harp's avatar

In some cases, the crankiness may be a result of perceptions of loss of control over one’s destiny. In latter years options get increasingly scarce; other people often end up making decisions for you; you become increasingly dependent on circumstances beyond your control; and what plans you do make can be derailed from one day to the next by health issues. You no longer have that youthful assurance that “anything is possible if you set your mind to it”. Doors seem to be closing, one after another.

I would guess that people who had positions of considerable control and influence would take this especially hard. And, perhaps, there are a fair number who’s dreams were never realized, and then are embittered by the realization that they never will be.

Seesul's avatar

Dementia factors into it as well. People can do a complete 180 when the brain isn’t right.

And no, dd, my great aunt never got cranky, and she had a very hard life that we didn’t really find out about until after she passed. She was just an optimist. We were all she had left (never married because she was taking care of her siblings) and she saw the glass half full no matter what. She also was the greatest storyteller that I’ve ever met (so much so, that I felt I was actually in the places she took me to). Her humor was wonderful and had been from her youngest days. Dreamer has a better synopsis of it all, except dementia can change that and change that drastically.

sarapnsc's avatar

There are people at every age level who are furious and nasty…it’s not just older people. Just take a look around on the internet and people just in general where you live. My grandmother on one side of my family was mean, furious and nasty. My grandmother on another side of my family who was about the same age, was sweet and gentle. I think everyone can be nasty and furious, regardless of age.

bodyhead's avatar

The older I get, the more my body hurts. The more my body hurts, the shorter my fuse gets. Your threshold for the pain doesn’t seem to keep up with your pain as it increases.

Plus, a lot of old people (in my area) are ugly sexist, racist people. I guess it’s because of the type of place Memphis use to be. It’s not even worth arguing with them when they can’t hear anymore.

Here in Memphis the stereotypes are a little weird. The old white guys are usually racist. The old black guys usually aren’t. I’m not sure why that is.

My crazy old stepgrandfather who died at the ripe old age of 102 couldn’t see or hear but he’d still insist that the black nurse was stealing from him. Crazy old coot. I hope she did take something extra for putting up with his nonsense.

Seesul's avatar

The stealing thing can also come along with dementia. My mom was convinced at first someone was stealing her underwear (very common, worldwide. according to discussions I’ve had with people). Then she thought it was her shoes. It finally progressed to her mattress, which she was sitting on at the time.

Celeste00's avatar

I think it depends greatly on how satisfied they are with their previous achievements, and how much they are surrounded by positive, loving people. I see a great difference in the way my dad is, and the way my uncle is. They’re both over 75. I can directly relate the way they are now, with what they achieved in their lives.

tinyfaery's avatar

Bitter person = bitter old person
Mellow person = mellow old person

CelticsFan's avatar

it could be that some old people have alot of regrets in life that they could have corrected but they just let it fly by, thinking that one day they’ll do something to fix it, but then too much time elapsed and now it’s too late…iono…just my thought…

Nimis's avatar

They were probably furious and nasty when they were younger.
They’re just louder about it now.

augustlan's avatar

Yeah, I’m with a few others here…I think your general personality just intensifies when you get older. I sure hope that’s the case, because I’d hate to be a nasty old bitch someday!

SuperMouse's avatar

My grandparents are both in their 90’s. My grandmother is one angry broad. She says what is on her mind, doesn’t try to be nice to anyone, and doesn’t really care what comes out of her mouth. My grandfather on the other hand, spent his career as a high powered executive and I was terrified of him all through childhood. Now he is the sweetest, most loving, kindest man I know. Age has taken the edge off and he is wonderful to spend time with. Grandmother on the other hand is extremely cranky and very trying.

My friends and I have discussed this and we came to the conclusion that age makes people who they really are. They no longer care what others think, they don’t feel the need to censor what they say, and who they truly are, the person they may have been hiding from the world, is free to show through. In some cases that person is nasty, in others that person is really quite sweet and gentle.

Deaddolly, I like your moxie, celebrating having a post removed – you go.

scamp's avatar

I think it has something to do with a rite of passage. They can let loose because no one holds them to the same expectations as when they were younger. They can ‘get away with more”. Read this, and get a glimpse of what I am talking about.

My old aunt Fanny at the age of 96 had to be put in constraints at night in the nursing home. She’d set off the fire alarms and laugh when she saw everyone scurry for the exits!

tWrex's avatar

They’ve gone through too many times and seen too many changes and I think they just get tired of dealing with all the ignorant shit that they’ve seen throughout their life and so they say damn it all, get off my lawn or I’ll chase you with a gardening tool.

@scamp You’re old aunt Fanny is the type of lady I wanna be in a nursing home with!

deaddolly's avatar

tWrex: great answer!!!!

scamp's avatar

Thanks tWrex! She was a spunky one, that’s for sure!!

rickpoll's avatar

I guess we just run out of patience with stupid childish inane people

garydale's avatar

Actually, you should get a copy of the book Get Anyone to Do Anything by Dr. David J. Lieberman. In one part of this book he explains that people who are immobile tend to be set in their ways and grumpy so if you can get them to change position and move around they are normally nicer people who are more open to what you are trying to get them to do or to convince them of. He went on to say that this is the reason many people become grumpier and set in their ways when they get older. It is an interesting link. Plus, they do have more ailments and less they are able to do physically. Just my idea.

majorrich's avatar

I firmly believe the aging process has two components. One is Mandatory, that you must age and grow old. The second component, is if or if not you decide to grow up. Those who chose option b retain some of their youth and find happiness even as they move inexorably towards death. Others, who chose to grow up, no longer remember the wonder of life and no longer see it as a great adventure, even in old age adventure. These are the grumpy ones. They can be turned, but it takes a great deal of work and persistence.

cyn_u_nique's avatar

I have been dealing with an older couple for several years now who live with me. I believe who they truly are comes out in old age. If they were rude, nasty, mean, didn’t care about anyone but themselves, didn’t care what they said to people, were sarcastic and demanding and wanted everything handed to them as if they were entitled then that is how they will act in their final years. They they will use there aches and pains that are a normal part of the aging proceess to use as an excuse to maltreat people and wittle them down.

They are rude and inconsiderate, has always been and aint about to change now. No matter how much you try to apease them, pleast them, love them, ignore their cantackerous ways they always respond by treating you like shit. Even when you are the one whiping the poop off their ass, cleaning up the spilled coffee, coffee grounds, bread crumbs, shit from their toilets, doing all their wash, cooking their meals….it does not matter, even when you are the one putting your arm around them every day of the week and giving them love and attention…NOPE STILL not enough. You are shit to them. Someone to cling to until they leave this world. You are the doormat and the whipping post. YOU MEAN NOTHING…... absolutely nothing to them. And when it is all said and done, you try to resolve the problem…then you are even more SHIT to them. Caring for elderly parents sucks the big one and espeically when it is elderly in-laws. I want to run away right now… raise the white flag and say F u all. But….here i am an obidient wife and a loving person who can only hold all of this in and smile sweetly…. I HATE MY LIFE…...

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