Concerns over sudden changes in behaviour

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by Pootle23, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Pootle23

    Pootle23 Registered User

    Oct 21, 2019
    Hi I’m new to this, and crying for advice. My Dad has Dementia and has been in a care home since March this year. He initially went on respite as Mum who was taking care of him was admitted to hospital herself. To cut a long story short Mum sadly passed away 3 weeks ago (cancer). So Dad normally mild mannered gentle quiet person, in the last week has become aggressive agitated with the staff in the care home. We have been called to help calm him twice in the last four days. We have of course talked to Dad about Mum’s death and he did visit her with us the day before she passed away. We think he has understood, but how do you really know?? We took him to the funeral again so as to help him understand. He doesn’t communicate well. But has become very withdrawn. Hasn’t mentioned Mum since. Do we continue to talk to him about it. We are very worried about him and at a loss to know what to do to help him. The care home are not being very helpful either I supporting him just seam to treat him as an inconvenience. Both the GP and Social Services are aware and we are getting some support from them. We are grieving ourselves at loosing our Mum but finding this almost worse. Does anyone have any experience or advise please.
  2. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
    Hello @Pootle23 you are welcome here and I hope you find the forum to be a friendly and supportive place.

    It is generally thought that it's best not to continue to mention a bereavement to a person with dementia as, due to inherent memory issues, that will only perpetuate a grief cycle.

    With regard to the agitation, that could be an expression of pain or some such discomfort so it's good that the GP is involved.

    I hope you have time to take a good look around the site as it is a goldmine for information. When I first joined I read old threads for information but then found the AS Publications list. If you are interested in this, clicking the following link will take you there

    You will see that there are Factsheets that will help with all aspects of dementia, including changes in behaviour, bereavement etc. There is also a Dementia Guide in the list.

    Now that you have found us I hope you will keep posting as the membership has vast collective knowledge and experience.
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello @Pootle23

    I`m sorry you have had to manage the death of your mum and now a change in your dad`s behaviours at the same time coping with grief.

    Your dad sounds as if he knows something is wrong but doesn`t know what. Even so I agree it`s best not to continue referring to the death of your mum unless he asks.

    Perhaps his doctor might agree to a short course of antidepressants to see if they will help him a little.
  4. Pootle23

    Pootle23 Registered User

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thank you reassuring that our instinct to not continue to discuss Mums passing with Dad is probably for the best. Unless he brings it up of course. Will take a look at factsheets and read up what I can.
  5. Kay111

    Kay111 Registered User

    Sep 19, 2019
    It sounds like you've been through a lot in the past few weeks @Pootle23 - I'm very sorry for your loss. Sending you support and strength.
  6. Pootle23

    Pootle23 Registered User

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thank you it has been a tough time for sure. Just want to try and do the best by our Dad to get him the support he needs not treated by the care home as being difficult and aggressive try and deal with the cause of this sudden change. It is so heartbreaking we feel very helpless.
  7. Loisand

    Loisand Registered User

    Dec 25, 2017
    Hi and welcome, I care for mom and have done so since dad passed away 2 years ago. I find that even though I haven't really grieved for dad, that's on the back burner, that as long as I don't take mom to see the grave she carries on as normal, I don't mention dad which is very hard, she does occasionally ask if it was her fault that dad died, with reassurance she soon gets over that topic, I have found however that in the last few months my younger brother is now dad in moms eyes, another thing of dementia that is hard to understand for me. Keep smiling, even though you probably don't feel like it, hugs across the airwaves x
  8. JoannePat

    JoannePat Registered User

    Jan 24, 2019
    Hi @Pootle23, I am so sorry for your loss. I agree with not talking about your mum.

    Before my mum went into care she kept talking about her dead sister and her dead BIL. We went along with it, mum even went as far as saying she had been out to lunch with them. She kept on and on, until my dad snapped and told her that they had both passed away. She didn't understand, wanted to know why we hadn't told her etc. She grieved for about two days and hasn't mentioned them since. We don't know how their brains work and your dad will deal with things as only he can. Sometimes we put our hopes on to them and they just can't deal with the emotions.

    I hope everything goes well for you,

  9. nae sporran

    nae sporran Volunteer Host

    Oct 29, 2014
    Welcome to the forums @Pootle23 and condolences on the loss of your mum. I can't really add anything to the good advice already given.
  10. Pootle23

    Pootle23 Registered User

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thank you all for you messages of support. Gp has prescribed rispierdone and checking for UTI Social Services have arrange a urgent IOPS visit too. We just feel he needs a bit more nurturing than he is perhaps getting within the care home. As strangely he has been calm with family members just rather withdrawn. But basically it’s such a difficult disease to understand.
  11. myss

    myss Registered User

    Jan 14, 2018
    Hello @Pootle23 Welcome to the foum. I'm sorry to hear that you're experiencing this change in behaviour with your dad as such a sad time. My condolences for the loss of your mum.

    I had a similar-ish situation with my dad when my mum (who had been caring for dad) suffered badly from an aneurysm four years ago and has been unable to return home since.
    Dad's behaviour did change in that he didn't become more aggressive but his dementia did take a deeper decline. We all agreed that he understood at the time that my mum was ill but I know I did underestimate the effect it had on his health.

    We had continued taking him to see her but after a short while it became apparent that he didn't realise where he was or even interract with her but at times spoke of her fondly when he was back at home. Now those verbal moments have gone too. This is all down to the dementia and we only bring the subject of mum up if he does (which is very rare).
  12. Rosserk

    Rosserk Registered User

    Jul 9, 2019
    Really sorry you’re going through all this at a time when you’re grieving that must be incredibly hard.

    My mum constantly cry’s for her mum whose been dead 25 years. When I told her don’t be silly she died my mum went hysterical! It was like she’d just heard of her death. Now when she mentions her I just say perhaps we’ll go see her tomorrow knowing she will forget. Otherwise she will relive her death over and over and that is cruel beyond words. Try and distract your dad when he mentions your mum. X
  13. Pootle23

    Pootle23 Registered User

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thank you every one who has replied we had made the decision not to mention Mum’s passing to Dad and your advice makes us feel perhaps we are doing the right thing. but I am more concerned about the agitation and aggression with the staff at the care home....any thoughts or experience on this under the circumstances
  14. Rosserk

    Rosserk Registered User

    Jul 9, 2019

    My mum goes through stages of aggression when she’s anxious or upset about something. It’s almost like an event triggers a chemical release that makes her more aggressive. Each time the mental health team have tweaked her medication and she’s improved.

    Speak to your dads doctor about a change in medication. I have never been reluctant to give my mum medication to stop her distress. One of her tablets is lorazepam and I can increase her dose on bad days and lower it back down when she’s settled.

    Also is he having any pain relief he could have pain he’s unable to tell you about. I was told the other day that there’s no harm giving a dementia patient a couple of paracetamol every day to help with any pain they may have that they can’t tell you about. My mum always suffered with bad headaches and wouldn’t be able to tell me now. So if she’s agitated I give her a couple of those just to help with any pain she might have.

    The care home will have seen it all before and should be trying to help you figure out the cause.

    Sending you big hug! You’re doing brilliantly!
  15. Pootle23

    Pootle23 Registered User

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thank you @Rosserk will mention Paracetamol to Gp when I speak to him As you say guess it won’t do any harm and at times may do some good. The Care home are sadly not filling us with confidence at the moment I hear too much “we don’t know” from them. But every day I take a deep breath and start again as I’m sure you well know!

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