1. Natashalou

    Natashalou Registered User

    Mar 22, 2007
    #1 Natashalou, Nov 29, 2007
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
    are dementia sufferers always, or almost always, nasty rude and aggressive, or am I just un lucky? Ive seen from other threads this does seem to be a trait but I wonder how common it is.
    Ive already cut my visits to my mother down to weekly and my sons have stopped visiting all together due to her attitude, but I am wondering just how long I can sustain even a weekly visit as I find myself dreading it for the three days before and upset over what has happened the three days after!!
    I do feel very selfish writing this as I know so many of you care day in and day out and I dont even seem to be able to handle two hours visiting a week...but two hours of almost non stop criticism and abuse punctuated with unfounded allegations and tears over how badly she has been treated is just so draining!
    After yesterdays visit at lunch tinme I was in tears at work and got NO sleep at all.
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Natashalou

    I believe that people with dementia are no different from people generally - some are nice, some are surly, some outright aggressive. Some are sometimes nice, but occasionally something else.

    People who have dementia are simply less predictably all of those, and their appearance depends on all sorts of things - their deteriorating condition, their medication, what has happened during the day, what is going on in themselves.

    It is difficult for us, but I always think how difficult it must be for them.

    We can walk away from it; they cannot.

    We need to learn something valuable from them.

    We know that they quickly forget anything we might have said in haste. We need to do that after each visit, and just hope that things will be better next time.

    ... what else CAN we do?

    Keep the faith and take care.
  3. mollie1

    mollie1 Registered User

    Nov 20, 2007

    Oh dear poor you, I have a freind whose mum has been aggresive and her children are frightened of her so dont visit either, so it can be a problem. My own mum was starting to get very agitated and agressive and the consultant altered her medication which has definitle helped, maybe this is something you could get advice about. Take care
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Hi Natasha

    I hesitated to post because honestly, I didn't find this to be the case with my mother (or perhaps I've blocked out small episodes). What I did find though, was that she became more so, if you know what I mean. If she had a particular negative personality trait, that trait was magnified. In her case, she was always a bit inclined to see a slight when there was none (or none that I could see) and that came to the fore, and she would worry at it. Particularly strange as her short-term memory was non existant, except for these perceived slights.

    She didn't have AD though - her dementia was due to strokes, and that might make a difference.

    The problem you are having is one that I would have, an inability to "switch off". If you're worrying about it for several days beforehand, and then dealing with the fall-out afterwards, no wonder you dread the visits. It's all very well for someone else to say to you "try not to think about it" but I know it doesn't work like that. Have you, forgive me if this is intrusive, spoken to your own GP about this? It strikes me that this constant state of anxiety is not good for you.

    Take care
  5. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    I was fortunate enough some years ago to attend a lecture by Dr. Graham Stokes. He has studied behaviour problems, and has written books on this subject.

    He maintained that dementia sufferers do not have personality changes, i.e. if you were short tempered before, dementi will not alter you.

    So why do our nearest and dearest exhibit traits hitherto unknown.
    Lack of understanding, either of what you are communicating to them, or what they need to say to you.

    they cannot understand our raised voices, and we raise our voices because we are trying to get them to understand.
    Anxiety, because in their heads they would never wet or soil their knickers, so what is a strange person doing trying to change undergarments.

    To understand their behaviour we have to try and live in their world. Yet they now live in a world that they do not understand or recognise.
  6. paris07

    paris07 Registered User

    Jul 11, 2007
    Dear Natasha,
    I am sorry you are finding it upsetting to visit your mum, I have times at home here when I find I need to invite a friend to give me support with mum, she seems to be a lot quieter when there is someone else with me.
    I was wondering if you could take a friend with you when you visit your mum to give you support as well.
    Best wishes,
  7. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    Hi Natashalou

    I would agree with what Connie writes.

    I would add that I found the whole process of dealing with mum and her Alzheimer’s disease much easier once I had read about other people’s experiences on this site, and by learning as much as I could about how people react when they suffer from this illness.

    AD meant that my old mum’s brain was seriously ill, even if the outer body still looked similar to what it had before. I convinced myself that the new mum had a serious illness and needed a lot of tender care. (I would have given her tender care if she had cancer so why not similar tender care if she had AD)

    The only way to carry this out was to adopt a nurse and patient relationship in my head. Anything that I saw or heard that my old mum would not have done went straight to the Nurse part of my brain. It helped me not take things (too) personally.

    It was not easy, even though my cold placid personality made it much easier for me to adopt this strategy than would be possible for someone who is hot blooded to start with.

    All the best for the future.


    PS Yes mum was always much better behaved when a none family member was present.
  8. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Dear Natasha,

    I was told by one of my mother`s nurses that the basic personality is always there, it just becomes either exaggerated or perhaps distorted with dementia.

    Was your mother always dominant or demanding pre-dementia?

    Dhiren`s strengths and weaknesses are still there, they are just different in themselves. I found the same with my mother. I just wondered....

    I know it`s the illness, I know to some extent they can`t help it, but I also know there`s only so much an individual can tolerate.

    There is no rule to say that because your mother has dementia you should be expected to tolerate abuse and aggression.

    If Dhiren reduces me to tears, I walk away and refuse to speak to him. I sometimes feel sorry for him as I know he probably forgets how offensive he`s been, almost as soon as the incident is over, but I have to walk away to safeguard myself. I do not want to become resentful.

    Love xx
  9. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Sylvia, you posted:
    Excellent advice for anyone. You do have to safeguard your own feelings in order to 'carry on caring' It would be so easy to allow resentment to build up.

    Take care, love
  10. Grommit

    Grommit Registered User

    Apr 26, 2006
    I'm afraid I treat rudeness and agreesion form Jean the same way as I would treat a child who was rude and agreesive.

    I speak to her in an uncompromising manner which leaves her in no doubt that I am upset and hurt.

    She does not realise why i am upset and hurt but she does, from the tone of my voice and general body language, discern that something is amiss and generally quietens down.

    I do not rant and rave at her or use language which could be regarded as obscene, well you would not use that language to a child anyway, but just point out, firmly, that what is taking place is not to my liking.

    If the point is not accepted, I do as Grannieg says, walk away.
  11. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    Hi Natasha,

    My mum has FTD rather than AZ so I think that has slight differences but my mum has turned into someone I just don't recognise at all. She was a dominant woman pre dementia and I think it's just taken an unpleasant turn.

    She is very aggressive and because she can't speak unfortunately it all comes out as physical aggression - throwing/ slamming/ hysterical crying. She does hit and kick my dad but she doesn't with my sister or me which does make me wonder whether she does have a level of control over it?

    We taught my dad a technique we use with our girls when they're tantruming (they're both in the terrible two's!) although it takes nerves of steel to sit it out but it is a fast method and it had worked with my mum.

    When she starts (before we reach the hitting stage - just at random throwing stage usually) we told dad to utterly ignore her - don't look at her, don't speak to her, don't try to placate her - pretend you're in a little bubble. Given about ten minutes she sits down and given another five minutes she stops.

    As I say it does require good nerves because you've got to really keep your cool and pretend they don't exist which is so diffcult if you're angry.

    Of course if she reaches hitting point it's not worth even trying - then it's time to walk away.

    There's only so long that you can continue raging if no one takes any notice - again though the fact that mum responds to these techniques does make me wonder whether she does have an element of control over her behaviour?
  12. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    When I worked with children with language and communication problems [aphasia] they demonstrated behaviour problems similar to those being discussed here.

    These behaviours were mostly due to frustration, fear, over stimulation, something going wrong, or loss of control.

    There was no point in reasoned discussion, but if a child showed aggression to another, they had to hold my hand. Whether it was in the playground or the classroom, I held the hand of the child, performed any tasks with the other hand, avoided eye contact and completely ignored them.

    Funnily, no child ever resisted, not even juniors and those in secondary education.

    Now I don`t hold Dhiren`s hand when he loses it, ;) but I do tell him, I`m not accepting his behaviour and when he comes out of his strop, he knows where to find me. Nine times out of ten, it works.
  13. gigi

    gigi Registered User

    Nov 16, 2007
    East Midlands
    Is it ok if I chip in here? Going back to what Connie said about the person with AD suffering from lack of understanding/fear/anxiety-Ido believe that's so true. I've known for some time that this was Eric's problem but every time I tried to talk with him about it he would shut down and say" I don't want to talk about it anymore -let's watch telly"-which i found so frustrating. In the short time since I've discovered TP -boy-have I learned a lot. Now realise that E won't talk about it because he CAN'T-he doesn't know how. So I've calmed down,am not so uptight(apart from when I throw spaghetti everywhere!) and am treating him differently, I think. with more love and respect, I think-because the penny is finally dropping and I'm understanding what he's going through as well as what I'm going through-I'm the lucky one and will stay strong for him(with a bit of help from my friends!!) Thanks all of you out there:)
  14. JMW

    JMW Registered User

    Jun 14, 2007
    Hi there,

    Can completely relate to the aggressiveness and rudeness you are experiencing. My mum became both of these before she went into the home and i found this really hard to cope with and like yourself i did pull away for a short period for my own sanity!! I did find that she was less aggressive when i went with my husband or maybe he just dealt with her better as being a bit removed. I know in the home where she is now they have to adjust her medication sometimes but she is far more settled and only occasionally gets aggressive. i think it stems from the frustration of not being able to do things or not being able to remember things. I do look back and think maybe for those few weeks i pulled away i was wrong but hey you have to do what you thinks right at the time. Probably if i hadn't i may not be coping as well now, who knows?

    Take care,

    JMW xx
  15. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    For what it`s worth, I don`t believe you were wrong, because you did what you thought was right at the time. You can do no more.

    Love xx
  16. cariad

    cariad Registered User

    Sep 29, 2007
    Hello! Personality changes are definately part of SOME types oy dementia. My mam has FTD and personality changes were noticable way before cognitive changes. People with this type of dementia are often rude (as they become socially uninhibited). Again, with this type of dementia, those who were once introvert and calm can become extrovert and manic in their personality and behaviour.

    I know it's difficult (I am a full time carer for my mam), but the best advice I can give is to detach yourself emotionally. If you mum says nice things treasure them. If she says nasty/ rude things ignore them. It's pointless trying to argue with someone who no longer has the luxury of logical thinking. The worst times I've had with my mam have been when I have taken things personally and retaliated and got involved in arguments. It's not worth the stress (and I have no chance of getting her to see things from my perspective). If she is unbearable, then leave and visit again. Distraction works wonders too. Have some tricks up your sleeve (like a favourite food or a photo album filled with favourite photos).Good luck with your next visit.
  17. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    John has PPA, which is a form of FTD, but he has had no personality change at all.

    He has been amazing. For years it has been difficult for him to communicate, and for the last two years, almost impossible. And yet he has never been impatient or aggressive, until he started with the UTIs.

    If it had been me, I wouldn't have reacted as well. So I do think that basic nature has a lot to do with how people react.

    I've been so lucky!
  18. Natashalou

    Natashalou Registered User

    Mar 22, 2007
    thank you for all your responses. Ive been thinking a lot about what mum WAS like before all this happened. I now realise mainly from this forum that her illness started a long time ago and at first did manifest itself in her being rude nasty and suspicious of people far too much of the time.
    Going back even before that...I cant really say she was "dominant" but she was certainly the decision maker in her marriage and controlled all the finances so I suppose she was forced to adopt traits which might have actually been quite alien to her!
    Even when I was a child, she wasnt a particularly "nice" person in my view and we never enjoyed a close mother/daughter relationship. I am thinking maybe she has other mental health problems as well as dementia. She had haliperidodal prescribed which seems to be for schizophrenia and similar conditions..perhaps the dose needs to be increased to improve things..or perhaps they just arent going to improve.
    thanks to everyone who has contributed to my questions. Best wishes to all
  19. ChrisD

    ChrisD Registered User

    Jul 22, 2007
    Hi Natashalou
    I haven't posted on here for quite a while but having read your recent postings it prompted me to write again. I do sympathise with you. I also have a mother who is verbally very aggressive to me, and has been since my father died in June. I haven't actually see her for about 2 months now although have wanted to, to try and keep some communication going. I visited with my husband a month ago but let him go in first to break the ice. I didn't actually get to see her as I was the last person she wanted to see. She was extremely rude to my husband about me and said the most incredibly hurtful things. I am not sure when I will see her again. It all stems back to the gas cooker which she is convinced I had disconnected and also to the decision about not having it reconnected. She has been told by several people, including the Social Workers (including having it in writing) that I had nothing to do with either decision but will not have it. As a result she has supposedly written me out of her Will and is refusing to see me ever again.

    I have been advised by my Solicitor to register the EPA with the Court of Protection, which I have now done. I know this is going to make things even worse, if that is possible, and it is possible she will get it revoked. I have a legal responsibility to do it though.

    I was reading the comments about personality and think that my mum probably was the dominant personality in the relationship. She was certainly the decision maker and had control of the finances. I was talking to a cousin of mine recently who lived with mum and dad for 3 years before I was born. She felt she was definitely a force to be reckoned with. I was surprised to hear that. She was always strict with me but I never felt scared of her.

    I really wish I knew where this hatred has come from. I have a feeling that a cousin of hers has been feeding her mis-information and probably continues to do so. I know the Social Workers are concerned but it is very difficult to prove. It is him that she has supposedly left all her money to. I have spoken to a Litigation Solicitor who has been very helpful.

    I am concerned for Mum's safety and well-being, but someone asked me recently whether she was happy and I had to say yes I thought she was. There is therefore little else I can do.
  20. JMW

    JMW Registered User

    Jun 14, 2007

    Thank you so much for your kind words it means a lot. All through this illness unless you've been through it before, as you say you can only do what you think is right at the time. It's a learning curve.


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