How long will this angry phase last?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by bobblehat, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. bobblehat

    bobblehat Registered User

    Aug 16, 2015
    Ok, so this is an impossible question to answer! But maybe someone who's been through this can offer some experience?

    Mum has just gone into a home (2 weeks now) and she's convinced we've shoved her there to get rid of her. She keeps saying she wants to go home and for the first time she's getting quite angry and (in her way) aggressive. (We daren't let her go home because she's already wandered off without knowing where she's gone, etc, etc and this time of year we're seriously worried because she can't dress herself for the weather.)

    We're prob going to add some calming meds (Lorezapam) and she's just started on Donepezil as well.

    Million dollar question now: how long before she settles down without the aggression?

    Could be weeks, could be months I guess. But what have other people experienced here? Just listening out for some similar experiences I guess! ;)
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    Wandering was a serious problem with my husband for most of the last year and we came within a hairs bridth of a care home. However there was no aggression just determination. We're over that hateful phase now with a lot of help from Trazadone. He is currently in hospital and quietly wanders the corridors of the dementia unit leaving a trail of his belongings wherever he fancies. The plus for a wanderer is that everyone knows them by name as they are constantly on the go.

    Give your Mum a chance to adjust to the medication and new surroundings. It will change eventually.
  3. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Hi, bobblehat, you know the answer: it's an impossible thing to predict without a crystal ball (mine's not working right now).

    If it makes you feel better, I went through this with my mother, both when she was sectioned in January and then when she moved to the care home two weeks later.

    In hospital, she was incredibly enraged with me and delivered blistering diatribes, whenever she thought nobody else was in earshot. The rest of the time, she was sweet and smiling and charming. Truly an amazing performance. I was evil, I had kidnapped her and forced her into hospital against her will, there was nothing wrong, clearly I was out to steal all her money and ruin her life and on and on and on. After a couple of days she either settled, they got the right combination of drugs, or something, because then she become much more tractable. She still wanted to spend a huge amount of time talking to me (about every real and imagined slight and trauma and upset that had ever happened in her entire life, oy), but she was no longer angry at me.

    The day we moved her to the care home (we had to drive her ourselves, long story about the ambulance being too expensive), she revered to enraged. That was not a great day. After blasting me for some time (mercifully in front of the nurse manager), I finally made my escape. On the advice of the geriatric social worker at the hospital, several of the nurses, and the staff at the care home, I did not visit, at all, for ?6-8 weeks. My husband visited and she was happy to see him.

    When I did begin to visit, I kept it very short and didn't go more often than one day in three weeks. Gradually I have increased the frequency and duration of the visits. Also, I never visit her alone and make sure I'm never alone with her for longer than a few minutes. If she starts on a topic I don't want to hear, I excuse myself to use the toilet (sometimes I go a lot, but she can't remember, so it doesn't matter). This gives me a private place to take a deep breath and usually by the time I come back, my husband has changed the subject and she's fine.

    So I would say it took her 3-4 months to settle to the point where I was willing to be in her company at all.

    She has now been in the care home for ten months and I could probably turn up by myself and be fine. We do have to be careful to let her know we are coming; if we turn up when she's not expecting us, it makes her anxious and upset, and often means unpleasant conversation.

    When I wasn't visiting, my husband would give me information about how she was doing, and I would also call and talk to (or email) the staff for updates, which are MUCH more accurate than my mother's version of her life.

    Please hang in there as it's early days yet. If you get a chance, come back and let us know how you get on.
  4. chrisdee

    chrisdee Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
    Hi bobblehat [what an original name]! I can well understand why you are asking this.
    Sadly, dementia is the disease with no prognosis or roadmap. In my Mum's case, her angry phase lasted for a few months on and off, supported eventually by lorazepam which made a big difference. It was the reason that we had to get her into care, and she went into a specialist home, which despite being not her eventual 'home' did a good job in managing the outbursts - she then went into a mixed home with a more luxurious environment. Chin up, you have done the best you can for her, and many of us have been there, feeling like the cruellest child on earth. It will get better, it will.
  5. bobblehat

    bobblehat Registered User

    Aug 16, 2015
    Thank you for letting me hear your experiences; it's good to know I'm not alone!

    I guess it's a matter of waiting and seeing now. I have a feeling that us children (there are 3 of us) might be telephoning/visiting too often and this could lead to upsetting mum. Perhaps we should let off a bit on this and let her settle. Hopefully as well the meds will help.

    Again, thank you!
  6. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Registered User

    Sep 13, 2013
    I have been asking myself the very same question for nearly two years now - which is how long mum's angry phase has been going on for. The nicer care homes won't take her cos they can't cope with that type of behaviour (and we can??). Reluctant to put her into one of the "requires improvement" ones.
  7. joanna89

    joanna89 Registered User

    Nov 27, 2015
    I don't think there are any rules, Bobblehat. Anger/outrage/violence are normal.

    Sometimes you have to be able to take a huge deep breath and remember that dementia affects different parts of the brain at different times. I have known people who never stopped being furious with everybody. People not going through this will find it impossible to comprehend. I think the correct meds will definitely help. Don 't beat yourselves up about visiting/not visiting. For some people, nothing you do or don't do makes any difference. Usually though, there is an improvement after a period of settling in - but there might not be.Please don't blame yourselves.
  8. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    From what i have read, advice i have been given and myself. I would say don't visit too often..when i visited 2 times a day i coped it all.
    I reduced it down till recently it was once a week and mum.was lovely to visit. She is however absolutely abysmal to the staff. They are trialling her on Risperidone but i am currently on holidays so expecting an earful when I get back
    I get accused of
    Theft (big one)
    Not letting her out
    Plain old mean
    So unfortunately you are in a huge group of family members who get abused :(
  9. keegan2

    keegan2 Registered User

    Jan 11, 2015
    Hope your mum settles soon.........

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