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Dad diagnosed with Early Stage Alzheimers, Mum not at all sympathetic!

queenie64

Registered User
Aug 12, 2020
16
Hello everyone, i have just joined this forum as yesterday my dad was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimers.
He is 86, and has been steadily declining over the last couple of years. I took him to the GP as i was concerned he seemed unable to make decisions, was confused outside of the home and appeared a bit withdrawn. He had a brain scan and has been assessed with the Memory Assessment people, yesterday they put all the tests he's had together and made the diagnosis.
I am at a loss as to what to do, my mum, who has a few health conditions of her own, doesnt seem in the slightest bit empathetic towards my dad. She constantly shouts at him all the time, tells him he is lazy and there is nothing wrong with him, threatens to throw herself into the sea, talks about nothing but how much he gets on her nerves and how she has to do everything!! i tell her he cannot help it, but she doesnt appear to have the tiniest bit of empathy for him. It was his birthday a few weeks ago, and when i went round with a card and present, she was just shouting at him, saying how she hopes he drops dead!!! poor man was trying to repair a chair she had been complaining about, totally ignoring her vile outburst at him!! she just kept repeating she would just burn the house down and she wished he would drop dead. Yesterday after his diagnosis, i went round to take his blood pressure as the lady from the centre had asked me, mum just kept going on about her own blood pressure, and her back ache!! didnt ask me about what had been said in the assessment with dad!!! i just ignored her, and then she stormed off in a huff saying "its always dad, never me"!! this is not true!! she gets alot of attention about her complaints, and my dad just stands by quietly!!! i realised yesterday, my mother is a narcissist, with zero empathy, everything has to be about her, or she has a meltdown, she doesnt care about anyone really. My daughters dont really like going round there as she always slags off their other grandma, and their father!!!!! she has always been nasty at times, but am wondering if anyone else has experience of this dreadful behaviour? its really making me feel quite low. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!! i hope it makes sense!!! xxx:rolleyes::)
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,716
Hi @Queenie21 , that sounds like a difficult situation for all concerned. Living day in and day out with someone with dementia is tough, so your mum is probably lashing out at lots of small things that are niggling her. Not wanting to sound like a complete gloomster but I was just wondering if your mum had been assessed too? My mother has vascular dementia, which doesn't always affect memory at first but does lead to personality changes. Your mum's behaviour sounds rather like my mother's in the early stages, but it was me she used to have a go at. I didn't live with her, so I could manage just about. Maybe contact your mum's GP with your concerns and ask him/her to investigate. Your mum could be called in for a 'well-woman' check or something so that the GP can see what he thinks. It sounds like your mum would like some attention paid to her anyway.
This thread Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired might be worth discussing with her if you think your mum might take the ideas on board. It's not easy to do, and I failed miserably, but the suggestions are good.
Do you have Lasting Power of Attorney sorted, as that will be useful sorting out things for your father (and your mother) as time goes on. Find out more here Lasting Power of Attorney.
I'm sure others will be along shortly with more ideas and suggestions. You'll find this a very supportive community
 

queenie64

Registered User
Aug 12, 2020
16
hi sarasa, thank you so much for your very kind reply. You are right about getting my mum assessed too, it has been suggested to me already by friends, but i havent done it yet....when i mention my dad's dementia, she just says awful things like "if he's lost his mind, then he should be in a loony bin"!! its all so very cruel. I have difficulty feeling sympathy towards her when she doesn't have any for anyone else. She has always been a difficult woman. Luckily i dont live with them, or i would be pulling my hair out!
like you, my mother also has a go a me. Strange that my brother doesnt get the same treatment. He lives in Italy, and came over for a few days recently, she was as nice as pie!!! although he does see a low key version of the abuse she gives my dad.
I read the Compassionate Communication thread you sent me, was so touching to read, thank you!!! Its alot easier to understand my own situation, now that i've put it in type and can read back!! also, reading everyone else's situations and experiences is comforting in a sad kind of way! i dont feel so alone in my current pit of misery lol,
i am now going to take your advise and email the GP, hopefully this will be a positive step forward at least as far as my mother is concerned.
Thanks again!! have a peaceful day 🌻🌞
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
593
Hello @queenie64 . I agree with @Sarasa, who has given you good advice already, that your mum may also need assessing, although I doubt she would agree! My mum was shockingly awful to my dad, even when he was dying of cancer, with seemingly no understanding of how he was feeling. I now realise that she was in the early stages of vascular dementia, and probably had been for some time. It's a horrible situation for you and I hope that the forum can help you along with advice and support. My mum lashes out when she is frightened and it's generally those closest that get the worst of it. Your mum may be aware that something is not quite right, which might be scaring her. It's still hard to take the behaviour but may make it less hurtful for you and your dad when she is being spiteful. There may be other conditions making your mum like this, so it is not necessarily dementia related, but a check up would be a good idea.
 

Veritas

Registered User
Jun 15, 2020
62
@queenie64 My first thought when I read your initial post was also that your mother needs assessment too. It is hard to take on board that the PWD is not forgetting things through laziness or whatever and if she is herself struggling it's not surprising that she's lashing out like this.
 

queenie64

Registered User
Aug 12, 2020
16
thankyou @Veritas @canary and @lemonbalm !! much appreciated. I have just sent an email to the GP. Guess i hadnt done it earlier as i was already dealing with my dad, and mum's behaviour has been so awful that im afraid of making her more angry by getting her assessed too. Hopefully they will tactful :rolleyes:
 
Last edited:

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
2,602
Essex
Dear @queenie64 ,

I thought the same as the others and I feel so sorry for you and your poor dad, also not forgetting your mum. I'm glad you sent that email but I urge you to check up on it if you haven't heard within a week. I sent a letter to the GP about dad and they never chased it up.

Good luck

MaNaAk
 

queenie64

Registered User
Aug 12, 2020
16
thank you @MaNaAk and i will chase it up if they don't respond by the end of this week. I also passed by to visit my parents, and my mother was much the same as yesterday, shouting and being generally unpleasant, not understanding my father's condition. He even sticks up for her when she is being so nasty!!! she constantly brings up things that happened in the past, not even bad things, just silly things. She has always done this though not sure it is a sign of anything untoward. Did you manage to get in touch with the GP about your dad??
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
2,602
Essex
Dear @queenie64,

It's always as well to investigate these just in case. Sadly dad passed away last year he was diagnosed with Alzheimers in January 2016 but noticed the symptoms a year earlier. At first I tried to encourage him to go to the doctors but he was adamant about not going and having no idea what I was dealing with I decided to write to the surgery. I expected at least an acknowledgement but they never wrote back.

Eventually I ended up making an appointment just for myself and things got going from there. I think it was partly embarrassment on dad's side and nervousness. However I couldn't understand how they didn't reply to that letter because dad came back from an appointment for something else and said he had a row with her doctor!

Once he was diagnosed all the help was brilliant but he could have been diagnosed earlier and the progression would have been slowed down earlier. That said he passed away from haemorrhagic stroke in hospital but he was still able to recognise us when we last saw him in the care home.

MaNaAk
 

queenie64

Registered User
Aug 12, 2020
16
thats so sad :( very sorry to hear you lost your father. I didnt realise quite how devastating alzheimers is for the patient and also their families. Have friends who have been/are going through the same thing, but they always look positive and like they are coping so well. At this moment, i am feeling very bereft, like the man i once knew is slowly slipping away, which in effect is exactly what happens with this illness. Its all very very sad, and puts us in touch with our own mortality. Guess this is the cycle of life and we can nothing other than just accept it. Anyway, thank you and wishing you many happy things!! 🌻
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
2,742
Hello everyone, i have just joined this forum as yesterday my dad was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimers.
He is 86, and has been steadily declining over the last couple of years. I took him to the GP as i was concerned he seemed unable to make decisions, was confused outside of the home and appeared a bit withdrawn. He had a brain scan and has been assessed with the Memory Assessment people, yesterday they put all the tests he's had together and made the diagnosis.
I am at a loss as to what to do, my mum, who has a few health conditions of her own, doesnt seem in the slightest bit empathetic towards my dad. She constantly shouts at him all the time, tells him he is lazy and there is nothing wrong with him, threatens to throw herself into the sea, talks about nothing but how much he gets on her nerves and how she has to do everything!! i tell her he cannot help it, but she doesnt appear to have the tiniest bit of empathy for him. It was his birthday a few weeks ago, and when i went round with a card and present, she was just shouting at him, saying how she hopes he drops dead!!! poor man was trying to repair a chair she had been complaining about, totally ignoring her vile outburst at him!! she just kept repeating she would just burn the house down and she wished he would drop dead. Yesterday after his diagnosis, i went round to take his blood pressure as the lady from the centre had asked me, mum just kept going on about her own blood pressure, and her back ache!! didnt ask me about what had been said in the assessment with dad!!! i just ignored her, and then she stormed off in a huff saying "its always dad, never me"!! this is not true!! she gets alot of attention about her complaints, and my dad just stands by quietly!!! i realised yesterday, my mother is a narcissist, with zero empathy, everything has to be about her, or she has a meltdown, she doesnt care about anyone really. My daughters dont really like going round there as she always slags off their other grandma, and their father!!!!! she has always been nasty at times, but am wondering if anyone else has experience of this dreadful behaviour? its really making me feel quite low. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!! i hope it makes sense!!! xxx:rolleyes::)
Same experience with Aged Mother towards Dad.
Make sure the PCT are aware of any issues & don't allow your Mother to dictate care etc.
Go with your Dad to any appointments & get LPA sorted out asap
My Aged mother was diagnosed in 2014 with onset of dementia unknown to anyone but her & the GP.
2016 Dad diagnosed late stage dementia
catalogue of horror stories later - all documented on forum pages !
2018 Aged Mother documented with end stage dementia!
Dad ended up in care home in 2018 as Aged Mother wouldn't let anyone in the house!
I had to self refer aged mother against her wishes - slightly easier as she'd already been to the memory clinic unknown to us!
Don't be afraid to contact the memory clinic-
your the advocate for your Dad firstly as he has a diagnosis
Please make sure you email / letter concerns & keep copies

i wish you didn't have to go through this but hope mine & others advice might help
💕
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
2,742
thankyou @Veritas @canary and @lemonbalm !! much appreciated. I have just sent an email to the GP. Guess i hadnt done it earlier as i was already dealing with my dad, and mum's behaviour has been so awful that im afraid of making her more angry by getting her assessed too. Hopefully they will tactful :rolleyes:
Tact with anyone lacking empathy is like banging your head against a brick wall sadly
Glad you emailed the GP

There are many types of dementia & loss of empathy & aggression is a marker for some
Aged Mothers always been a cold fish & now we understand why ...... the self absorption displayed & lack of empathy for my Dads predicament caused serious issues
I hope my experience can help others avoid this
💕
 

queenie64

Registered User
Aug 12, 2020
16
thanks @DesperateofDevon all sounds so awful!! not sure how you managed to cope with it all. My mother was slightly better today, but only because i told her off yesterday and she's not used to anyone telling her off!! she is small but can be very scary!!! not yet heard from the GP, i will give them a few day and then chase them up. Even more scary is that this is only the beginning of a long road. Hope all is well with you now, thanks again :)🌞
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
2,602
Essex
thanks @DesperateofDevon all sounds so awful!! not sure how you managed to cope with it all. My mother was slightly better today, but only because i told her off yesterday and she's not used to anyone telling her off!! she is small but can be very scary!!! not yet heard from the GP, i will give them a few day and then chase them up. Even more scary is that this is only the beginning of a long road. Hope all is well with you now, thanks again :)🌞
It's like the long goodbye but on a more positive note you can make good memories and after the inevitable these are what you will remember more than the bad times.

MaNaAk
 

queenie64

Registered User
Aug 12, 2020
16
It's like the long goodbye but on a more positive note you can make good memories and after the inevitable these are what you will remember more than the bad times.

MaNaAk
😢 thank you @MaNaAk i am learning more patience, as you say, good memories need to be made 🌻
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
2,602
Essex
Sometimes patience will be a struggle but you will get used to love lies in distractions. Your dad must be such a lovely man to put up with your mum's treatment.

MaNaAk
 

queenie64

Registered User
Aug 12, 2020
16
yes he is! he has always been very patient and kind. She said today she is like the way she is with him, in an attempt to get him out of himself!! maybe she is grieving about it in her own way, or thats just me making excuses!! thats what we do as sons and daughters isnt it? :)
 

mickeyplum

Registered User
Feb 22, 2018
142
I agree with other people on here that your mum needs a dementia assessment though if she's spent her life being hurtful it may be just her personality, or as you say, narsisism. Old age, and illness can magnify the flaws we'd had all our lives, I think.
My husband has vascular dementia, and so far, is happy and willingly does as I tell him, even thugh in an earlier life he had a responsible managerial job. I think it helps that me and his family (not always me, cos I'm no angel ) try not to contradict him or go against his 'reality'.
I know this sounds awful but in time, your dad won't be as hurt by her remarks as they stop making sense to him. For your own sanity, try not to rise to the bait when she goads you or him. When she leaves the room give him a hug and tell him she doesn't mean it , it's cos she's not feeling well.
I wish you all the best. it's a tough job, but you will find foks on here who understand
 

Champers

Registered User
Jan 3, 2019
234
Some excellent advice here.

I was also going to add that my mother always had an irrational fear of ‘mental illness’ throughout her life - almost as though she thought it was catching. She dropped two of her closest friends when they were diagnosed with dementia for that very reason.

Maybe it’s a bit of a generational thing too? Many people from that age group were brought up on the “pull yourself together” philosophy so there was little patience with anyone struggling with capacity.
 

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