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Changing behaviour when it suits ?

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by paulineprice, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. paulineprice

    paulineprice Registered User

    Jun 23, 2015
    I have a 91 year old friend Pat who was diagnosed with Alzheimers over 3 years ago. Since then I have spent 2 long days each week helping her with shopping, laundry etc and taking her to the communal lounge for a couple of hours to chat to any one in there. and she has two carers coming in daily. Pat lives alone in her own independent living flat. this is very secure although she thinks someone gets in.
    Pat has no family except in Ireland, One really lovely Niece there calls her daily and visits four times a year. Other friends call regularly and Pat's P. of Attorney Dan visits every Monday to take her out in his car and on to a nice lunch. he calls too during week.
    Pat also has one other really nice neighbour on her small landing (85 years old) and walks in and out to this neighbour whenever she wants to. Another neighbour often has her to Sunday lunch and also takes Pat out for a walk during the week.
    On the 5 days I cannot be there I call her four times a day.(I have known her for 40 years and she has spent a lot of time with my family)
    Pat has the Wiltshire Farm meals except when taken to lunch with Dan and I cook fresh meals on my two days. Everything to her is rubbish.
    We get the usual everything is missing and I search and find whatever it is, we get the no one cares etc. the carers do nothing, and obviously with the Alzheimers we get the forgetting anything over half an hour.
    However things are now getting much worse. Pat will not hear of going into a care home, she has the means to afford the best which is nearby. she has also been very frugal with money and is worse now.
    On the phone I have been getting lots of loud sobbing and suicide threats such as throwing herself under a bus, overdose, knife, , this interfered with my sleeping until I realised that it was not real crying as there were never any tears. We do not leave any medication around.
    What I cannot understand is that a few tomes when I have had this terrible depressive mood and loud sobbing on the phone I will say I have to go but will call back a little later then I will quickly ring Dan and get him to call her and he will call back a few mins later to say that she sounds fine and fairly buoyant. When with Dan she will tell him that she often gets a bit fed up that's all. He never repeats that I tell him she talks to me threatening suicide. The neighbour gets it all day too, yet when the neighbours son visits Pat will act differently while he is there. .
    A couple of Pat's women friends who call have the same as me with Pat and she is terribly rude to the two carers. refuses to wash. insults them, but I have noticed that she can be really stressed but when I take her out she acts different with any neighbours she meets in the lounge, it is as if she can turn on and off so easily. same with Doctor or Social Worker.
    Is this very normal, does anyone know if a person who is well into the middle stages can be so convincing and choose exactly what people they tell what to.
    It is so difficult to explain everything in detail but I would be so grateful if anyone can enlighten me with their experience of any of the above.
    Many Thanks.
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    Would all the people she does not complain to be male by any chance? Because she might regard them as figures of authority who you show your best behaviour to. This may result from how it was when she was young so fairly "normal" behaviour really. A lot of people tell how their loved ones turn on an act for the doctor to show that there is nothing wrong with them, yet rant and rave all the other time.

    I think you shouldn't ignore her low moods and someone should take her to a doctor to see what they could do for her. If you think she'll deny it all again, type up an account of her behaviour and hand it to the doctor. Try to find one with some understanding of dementia.

    Not wanting to go into a care home is also fairly common because insight and logic fail with the disease. Her attorney could nevertheless take her there if it's established that she lacks mental capacity and it's in her best interest.
  3. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    Yes, people with dementia often can and do change their behaviour. It can be very frustrating for carers, when other people see a completely different side, and wonder what on earth you're complaining about, or think you're wildly exaggerating.

    I know even my OH didn't really believe me about my FIL's extreme behaviour until he saw an example for himself. But to be quite fair, I probably wouldn't have believed it either, given the way he would usually behave when anyone else was present - a charming old chap, if a bit vague at times.
  4. paulineprice

    paulineprice Registered User

    Jun 23, 2015
    I did post a reply but it would not take because supposedly I was not locked in so this is testing.
  5. paulineprice

    paulineprice Registered User

    Jun 23, 2015
    I am so sorry but I have posted two replies to your answers and then I submit, then get a reply that I am not logged in, I cannot understand what is happening. Esther (Writer of Changing behaviour when it suits)
  6. Rageddy Anne

    Rageddy Anne Registered User

    Feb 21, 2013
    Well, this one worked Pauline.

    Different faces for different people. That certainly applies to my husband, although now he's some way into his Dementia journey, the mask sometimes slips a bit. I suppose we are all on our best behaviour in some situations, but more relaxed with those closest to us, and they're the ones who get the grumbles.

    You're certainly a very good and patient friend, and she would have appreciated everything once upon a time. But now, she can't help herself.
    It's so sad.

    Warm wishes to you.....
  7. nessy22

    nessy22 Registered User

    Nov 22, 2014
    Yes indeed. My Mum can switch from one extreme to another and at best can would be able to defend a murderer in court!! At worst she is going fling herself under a train. Depends on who is visiting and why. As only daughter I get the worst side.

    The worst day I had was spending 5 hours in a shopping center with her refusing to go back home. However she was unable to get down to the river and throw herself in. If any friend passed she switched in a second to sweetness and roses.:eek:

    I think there is a tremendously strong defense mechanism build around denial, pride and privacy. It locks into place to prevent that anyone Mum knows ( like neighbours ) thinks anything is wrong with her.

    Some of her friends therefore think absolutely nothing is wrong with Mum whilst others know that she just can't look after herself any more etc etc.
  8. paulineprice

    paulineprice Registered User

    Jun 23, 2015
    I am trying again to post a reply to thank you all so much for your answers.
    I might do this reply in two halves in case I lose it again/
    The view that Pat might be different with men seems to be the case.
    Firstly I have mentioned my concerns to Pat's Doctor but as said she puts on an act.
    Dan(Pat's P.of Attn took Pat on a tour of the local Care Home which has excellent ratings, Pat herself even said it looked good and they had nice linen tablecloths on the dining table. residents had own room and they looked nice. She soon forgot she saw it. Later Dan's sister visited Pat with him and on the way to lunch they all stopped outside the Care Home to show his sister, The Head of the home was in the garden and on seeing them invited them all in and suggested a tour of the place. This was great as it was unplanned. Everything was clean and residents all looked fine. Dinner was being served and even Pat could not fault it. However after a couple of days someone told her this and that about it being no good, we get this saying all the time but she does not go out on her own so it is herself saying these things.
    Although she lives on her own and says that she lives in a prison and wants to go home she will not go into a care home.
    will post now just in case I lose this part.
  9. paulineprice

    paulineprice Registered User

    Jun 23, 2015
    2nd half.
    eg. Today the cleaner rang me because Pat was crying that her money was missing, Later the neighbour rang, same thing. she wanted to borrow money from the neighbour for food because she has no money and no food to eat. The neighbour knows that I leave a fridge full of food and told her so. I call her 4 times a day and when I called teatime the carer answered and Pat had refused food, all she wants is cakes. I keep telling Pat that I will look for her money when I come on Friday. I am so fed up keep looking for her different hiding places.
    The morning carer is called a Pig and I hate you, I have gone there on unplanned visits and listened for 10 mins or so at the slightly opened door so know that she is treating Pat ok, she seems to take the insults light heartedly. We have tried different carers but she does not like anyone. If the carer comes at 7.30am Pat will say that is too early so mostly refuses to have help washing. If she then comes at 8.00am then she gets up before the carer calls, sits in her chair and says that she has had a wash, mostly she has not, Even I find it very difficult to get her to change her clothes. Recently the carer managed to get her to have a shower and hair washed after 6 weeks.
    The neighbours in the Independent Living complex where she lives often mention that Pat has always complained about everything. I realise that she is a very kind of private person and also very Victorian in all of her ways and I guess that it has now come out worse with the Alzheimers.
    I have been going there for over three years now, I go two very long days each week and have a walk, train and bus journey each way. However I will always do this as Pat has been a friend for forty years (She has spent a lot of time at my house and seen my family grow up)
    Will post now then write final part just in case I lose this
  10. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Shorthand on here for this is "hostess mode" somehow in-spite of it being theoretically impossible as that part of the brain has gone it somehow manages to pop back up when someone like the doctor turns up, suddenly it's like it's all a dream and there's nothing actually wrong. How this happens defies medical science but too many of us on here have lived with the situation for it to be coincidence.
    The way someone with AZ acts around different people is beyond belief, it's almost like they get better in certain circumstances.
    Everyone concentrates on the medication side of things no one seems to look at the actual reality of what's occurring. But the "professionals" see them for 30 minutes maximum, they don't get under the skin of it the way you do if you're in the 24/7/365 club when you get to see every side of their behaviour.
    The situation you're dealing with sounds pretty rough it does sound like she needs to go into more supported living.
  11. paulineprice

    paulineprice Registered User

    Jun 23, 2015
    Apologies about the part posts but have lost previous posts today.
    Pat is also very depressed about money, although she gets so many calls and visits of course she forgets so thinks that no one cares and says they will soon call when they need money. All of her friends take her out when they visit, bring her gifts and would never take anything from her. Her really lovely Niece comes over 4 times a year and calls her every day from Ireland yet Pat will say that she only comes for a free holiday. The Niece only goes shopping, pays for a lot of the food and also buys Pat presents.
    As Pat has always been very frugal even though she is quite wealthy it seems that all she thinks about is money. Will only use old things , If I throw any outdated fresh food into the bin she will try to retrieve it. She tells the neighbour that she pays me well for what I do, yet to my face she tells me that I am the only one that would rather give her than take from her. (Which is true). She will tell me that the neighbour tells her not to come in anymore, also rubbish. She can get very nasty.
    Whatever she eats when taken to lunch will be trash,
    I do realise that most of this is the Alzheimers but what I was so upset about is the fact that she gets so stressed and then as soon as she sees someone like a neighbour changes instantly.
    Having read your replies has helped me to understand more. I am so sorry for gabbling on with these posts but have got most of the story out now.
    I cannot thank you all enough, It must be so difficult having to live with someone who has this illness. I thank God that my husband and myself are ok. It is a terrible disease.
    I will always be pleased to receive any further advice and will read other cases too as other peoples experiences can help.
  12. paulineprice

    paulineprice Registered User

    Jun 23, 2015
    KEVINI Everything is just like you describe.
    I too am so baffled at how it can be possible to change so rapidly. You would think that someone who has no control over their brain also has the same no control when meeting someone else.
    Thanks again, really appreciate all replies.
  13. paulineprice

    paulineprice Registered User

    Jun 23, 2015
    Latest episode was even more baffling.
    Lady from Memory Clinic called, first time for two years. Was nicely spoken and very kind in her approach. Asked my friend Pat usual questions of how is she etc. Every answer was great, like sleeping, eating well. With the question of is her memory getting any worse. Answer was No because she remembers almost everything. Never gets depressed just a little fed up because she is lonely as no one calls or phones. Has no carers but then when lady had carers down on list Pat said well she said that she does not have them because they do not do anything for her..
    Pat failed all simple tests like day date and year as well as the simplest sums. Said she was not interested when she could not find answer.
    At end of session I mentioned in a calm quiet way that Pat is doing fine except that it is upsetting for her when she has her money and other things missing. I thought that would give the lady a good clue. Pat then became a great actress on how she has never ever had anything missing and even if she did she would know that it was somewhere in the flat because no one could get it.
    I saw the lady out and she said that she realised that Pat was on the defensive .
    Half an hour after lady left back to normal of money gone. it was those people who come in and she hears them saying Take it she wont know.
    Again, I ask myself How on earth can anyone change so rapidly when it suits.
    That evening when calling I got that she is afraid as it is not her flat, she wants to go home ,has no food in the flat and no money. took 45 mins on phone to calm her down and coax her to get in to bed.
  14. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Im afraid that everything that you are describing is typical of dementia, Pauline. The way they will tell people in authority that they are fine and nothing is wrong, they way that their personalities seem to constantly flip, delusions that there are people coming into the home, difficulties with money (over-spending or giving it away, or conversely being afraid to spend any money and hiding it), not recognising their own home - it is all so, so common and very difficult to deal with.
  15. Clemmy

    Clemmy Registered User

    Aug 14, 2015
    That made me laugh!

    Kevini - your description of Hostess Mode made me laugh. Thanks for a good post - it really does sum up a really interesting phenomena that anyone who helps care for someone with dementia will recognise.


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