1. Our next Q&A session is on the topic of Christmas and dementia.This time we want our Q&A to involve our resident experts, you! Share tips and advice on navigating Christmas here in this thread.

    Pop by and post your questions or if you prefer you can email your question to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

I’m really struggling with unreasonable behavior

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Kennyboy, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. Kennyboy

    Kennyboy Registered User

    Oct 31, 2019
    my husband and myself are caring for my sons Nan ( my previous partners mother) I never married my sons farther and my son lived with me, and didn’t have contact with his biological father and the family until he was 14 his father died a few years ago. My son is now 41 and for the last 25 years worked with his grandad in the business along with his half brother. His grandfather died 2 months ago and his Nan was diagnosed 6 months ago with Alzheimer’s, she has always been a volatile aggressive person, my husband and myself said we would help initially to get them over the difficult period. I have a number of health issues, Rheumatoid Arthritis, fibromyalgia, asthma, high blood pressure. The problem I have is that his Nan is so aggressive she speaks to me like s- -t really horrible, we had a nightmare week with her last week, and she has been in a bad mood all day today, she is so unreasonable and selfish she wants the Christmas decorations up I’ve tried to explain that it’s weeks away yet but she goes on and on, my husband is about to explode, she has no appreciation that we have put our lives on hold while looking after her we are doing 7 days and 5 nights. Home instead have been here and I’ve told my son he needs to get them in as we desperately needs help, for our own sanity more than anything and my health. Are all Alzheimer’s sufferers this aggressive and unreasonable or is it because my sons Nan has always been a difficult woman, I would like to know your thoughts on this thanks
  2. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    Sometimes people who have always been unreasonable stay the same or get worse with dementia.
    As much as you love your son,it might be time to step back and let your son deal with it.
    You have a lot of health issues and I certainly wouldn’t be looking after someone like your sons nan (especially no relation).
    If he can’t or won’t then you need to call SS in.
    It sounds like you are on the verge of a breakdown...Plus you need time with your husband which I know you are not getting..As much as we feel responsible for PWD we aren’t. Take care((((hugs))
  3. Kennyboy

    Kennyboy Registered User

    Oct 31, 2019
    Thank you for your response, my son and his brother are lovely boys who both have young families and demanding jobs, we have been doing this for 5 weeks now and it’s hard really hard, my sons Nan has plenty of money so I’ve told my son to start the carers they can come twice a week to start so his Nan gets used to them and then they will have to increase the hours so my husband and myself can step back, which we need to do, my sons Nan is not just rude to me it’s others too, she is so impatient and wants everything she wants now, I told her off last week for screaming rudely into my face, I told her not to speak to me like that, she did the same again tonight so I had to tell her again. She is still physically strong and I’m afraid if she lashes out at me I could be hurt as I am not very strong due to illness. She is a wealthy woman who always treated her employees badly as the money has given her an arrogance and an attitude that she can do as she pleases, it’s a very difficult situation and I feel so sorry for my son and his brother as I said they are so lovely, in fact they are the only two in the entire family who are decent human beings, what a mess and I’m so tired because she keeps coming into our room to get us up at 4.30- 5.00 every morning she has not got any concept of time, sorry for the moan but I nearly walked out tonight
  4. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    I can understand that.I told my dad the same thing when he shouted at me.I even remind him of his “please”and “thank you”.Just because someone has money does not give them the right to treat people like this. My dad is quite manipulative too as he ever was..
    Make sure you do get the carers in..You need it.
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Im afraid all this is really common.

    The thing is that most people with dementia do not have any, or very little, insight into their own problems. They are aware that Something Is Not Right, but they cannot comprehend that this Something is actually them. They realise that things are going wrong, but are not aware that it is because of them, so they think other people are causing it. My gentle and compassionate mum thought her cleaner was coming in at night and stealing things; she thought the neighbours were delivering rubbish to her (it was actually her own rubbish left for the dustmen, but she had forgotten that), she thought that her husband had gone off with a "fancy woman" (in reality he had died 30 years previously), but mostly she thought that a very old and dear friend of hers and I were the main culprits, so she saved up mouthfuls of vitriol for us. She could not remember everything that we had done for her and, as she did not understand that she needed things doing for her, she did not believe that we did anything. She was also frightened because she didnt understand what was happening, so she lashed out at everybody. Her ability to think and reason was damaged, so it became impossible to reason with her and it just made her angry, Her world became smaller and smaller and she was unable to see anything beyond her own needs, wants and comforts.

    Trying to argue and reason with your sons gran will get you nowhere except a mouthful of abuse, because she doent understand. It is hard not to take it personally, but it is the dementia talking.
    You might find this link helpful in knowing how to communicate with her
  6. Andrew_McP

    Andrew_McP Registered User

    Mar 2, 2016
    South Northwest
    #6 Andrew_McP, Nov 12, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
    Dementia tends to strip civilising influences from folk and emphasise their true nature. So if you're very lucky a kind, gentle personality can become gently bewildered. But most folk are on a spectrum of niceness, and if they could be rude and manipulative beforehand, they may be far, far worse after.

    But all dementias can be made worse by carers who don't adjust their whole way of thinking and acting to become dementia-friendly. It is hard. For many it is impossible, and there's no shame in admitting defeat, because dementia can be infinitely cruel and we have finite energy, patience, and time.

    You are still early in learning to adjust. The compassionate communication guide can accelerate that adjustment, but it's still a tough guide to live by even if you care deeply for the person struggling with dementia.

    It may not seem like it, but your son's nan is struggling too, and her vitriol is a measure of how hard she's finding it to work out what's going on in a world where nothing makes sense any more.

    It took me a long time to get used to the fact my mother didn't hate me, even on the days she knew me properly. Her rage and frustrating behaviour was just her tough, determined, stubborn core trying to survive. Those qualities helped her survive life as a self-employed single parent in the sexist 60s & 70s, but after dementia developed they just made her... well, bloody hard work every single minute of every single day. She still can be... which is why I'm awake now! But my life got significantly easier after I learned that my mother was always right. Always. ALWAYS.

    You have to enter their world, see it through their warped gaze. Agree with them about everything. If you're lucky they'll start to see you as someone who understands their problems and they'll allow you to lead them through the dementia fog. Sometimes anyway. Often you have to chase after them, deeper into their nightmares, and they think you're one of the monsters.

    But it's hard. It's bloody hard. I rely on reserves of empathy and compassion to get me past the bad times, but even after five years of being mum's guide, and even though she's a lot calmer than she was, I still get it spectacularly wrong far too often and struggle to face the next day knowing that I've briefly become one of the monsters in her fog.

    This is caring for someone with dementia. And this is why most, sooner or later, have to hand over that care to professionals who get to go home and have a break after a shift at the dementia coalface.

    Get help. Get it soon. You are struggling and dementia can smell struggle a mile off. It will find your weakness, gnaw away at it, and leave you raw and in perpetual pain. Which is when we tend to come here to share our troubles and to draw a little strength from each other and our experiences.

    We can't tell you exactly how best to care for your son's nan; all dementias are similar but unique. But we can tell you when you're struggling, because we've all been there. (The clue, I suppose, is in the thread title. :))

    Good luck.
  7. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    I cannot see that this is ever going to work out for anybody. It is only five weeks in but it is all falling apart.

    I am not sure why you ended up being the ones who had to put your hands up for this role but I think you must rethink where you and your family are going from here. You say she is wealthy so I think she needs to be in care, paid for by herself. Nobody deserves what you are going through.

    One hint, put a lock on your door and keep her out until it is a reasonable time to get up.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.