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Undiagnosed + aggressive behaviour

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Hamfox, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. Hamfox

    Hamfox Registered User

    Apr 6, 2015
    Hi there,

    I'm new to the forum, and looking for ideas and advice. My apologies for the length of this post and thank you in advance to anyone who has time to read it!

    My 75 year old Mum has dementia though she is completely unaware and when the slightest suggestion of memory issues is hinted at she gets incredibly angry. She has lived with her devoted partner, my Stepdad, for 27 years but she has no recollection of how long they've been together. My Stepdad was the perfect match for her, he would stand up to her strong personality and they complemented each other really well. Now he is on the receiving end of some horrible, potentially dangerous behaviour.

    She is still able to recognise family members including my kids and contact with family lifts her mood. With me present, at worst she dismisses my Stepdad coldly at the most innocuous comments; she is very suspicious of him. On the other hand she depends on him completely and looks to him for reassurance and information about what’s going on. When I phone – every day – she is always there of course and I can’t talk to my Stepdad properly. So I have pieced together what is really going on in snatched conversations (during which my Stepdad keeps checking if she’s coming) when they visit or when I go there at the weekends (which I’ve committed to keeping up since I realised how difficult things were getting in January).

    My Mum has a few specific delusions. She thinks the house belongs to my Dad (it’s not, she and my Stepdad bought it together) and when the “cloud” comes as my Stepdad calls it, she tells him he can’t stay there, she thinks he’s ruined her family. She yells, swears, slams doors…and I have just learned that she’s threatened to kill him, says she wants to kill herself and has even punched him on the arm. (He is slightly smaller than her and getting a little frail; he certainly can’t run.)

    They are quite isolated, living in a village in a quiet cul-de-sac, no friends really apart from a few family members who live 1-2 hours away. They’ve always been an independent unit, doing their own thing, which is now a disadvantage for my Stepdad. I live about 1¼ hours away with my partner and two young children while my brother lives 3.5 hours away. Since January I have committed to visiting them for one day every weekend, unless they come to visit us. My Stepdad is still fine to drive, but if he were to be injured or get ill scarily my Mum is certain she can still drive. I realise I may have to start staying overnight at some point.

    My Mum refuses to go back to the memory clinic, insisting there’s nothing wrong with her. It took my Stepdad several months to get her to agree to – and then go to – the first appointment, with a lot of help and subterfuge from the staff, eg calling it a health check, blood test etc. She’s been on some tablets to help her memory which she refused to take every day and often hid. The clinic has rung a couple of times to see how things are going, but my Stepdad can’t be truthful with them as it would set my Mum off, and when they speak to her she simply says she is fine, nothing wrong with her. They don’t appear to have made any further efforts. They have been unaware therefore of her aggressive behaviour.

    I have now spoken to one of the doctors at the medical practice who now understands what has been going on ‘behind the scenes’ and therefore the urgent need to get my Mum back there – she needs to get registered so they are on their ‘radar’. They’re supposed to be arranging a home visit. However, they must be very careful as if my Mum suspects my Stepdad has put them up to it, she will turn on him in a nasty way. I spoke to them last Wednesday and apparently they haven’t called yet.

    I’ve started taking my Mum out for walks at the weekend to give my Stepdad the chance to make phone calls...after speaking to the Alzheimer’s Society helpline (which he found really helpful) apparently he now has emergency numbers to call (I don’t know what they are). He has also finally gone round to a neighbour to give them my phone number in case of emergency and it turned out she was sympathetic as her mother had Alzheimer’s. So that is something at least.

    I feel pretty powerless to get things moving forward to get some support for my Stepdad...I'm just waiting for that emergency call. I have phone the wonderful A.S. helpline as well as Age UK and could try to arrange for someone to visit to cut the grass etc but it is my Mum’s aggressive behaviour, suspicious that my Stepdad is plotting against her, that would get in the way of this – with potentially dangerous consequences.

    Thanks for opportunity to ‘brain dump’! I’m sure there are others out there with similar situations. I have been reading around a little bit and unfortunately right now don’t feel hugely optimistic that there’s much support out there for patients who refuse to go to the drs – and their carers…until something serious happens and the police have to be called. It is very frustrating and more than a little scary – and I’m not the one living with my Mum!
  2. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    Hi, this is such a sad state of affairs. My only suggestion is that your Stepdad writes all these things down and posts it to the memory clinic. They need to be informed of the situation before they make a visit. I used to write an update and hand it in when we booked in for an appointment, otherwise Mum used to just say that everything was fine and she could cook/clean/shop for herself.....NOT!:eek::rolleyes: The other thing is that whoever accompanies Mum to her appointment should either sit behind her so that they can signal to the Dr. or be prepared to speak up and take the consequences!:rolleyes:
    There may be other meds they can try, but they won't if they don't know they are needed.
  3. patsy56

    patsy56 Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    Fife Scotland
    I am so sorry that everything is suddenly coming to a head. Sounds a bit like my mum......nothing wrong with me, it is you who have memory issues.
  4. Hamfox

    Hamfox Registered User

    Apr 6, 2015
    Thank you for your ideas! I will suggest to my Stepdad to write things down himself - I could take his notes and post them on his behalf to the clinic. I will have to wait till next Saturday now to make this suggestion as we have no opportunity to talk during the week.

    Sitting behind her at the appointment is a good idea although she constantly refers to him (ie literally looks at him) to check if what's being said is correct. It's like he has to ratify everything (and therefore gets the blame for anything perceived as bad).
  5. patsy56

    patsy56 Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    Fife Scotland
    actually my mother is forever asking, if you stop to talk to someone......you're talking about me aren't you?
  6. reedysue

    reedysue Registered User

    Nov 4, 2014
    Where have I heard that before :rolleyes:
  7. Hamfox

    Hamfox Registered User

    Apr 6, 2015
    Thanks for all your thoughts - it is helpful but also sad to hear that others are experiencing the same thing :(

    Another thing my Stepdad describes is when the 'cloud' comes, it's like my Mum leaves the room/car/shop and another person enters. Apart from the rage and obstinacy (eg refusing to go into a shop or cafe originally agreed on, and storming off down the path at a speed he can't match), this 'other' person has hidden the phone, door keys, car keys, even his wallet. In between times, my Mum has no idea where these things could have got to, then eventually either my Stepdad will find them secreted away in some strange corner - obviously hidden with purpose - or they'll just suddenly turn up. It must be a very weird and stressful world to live in.
  8. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    If Step-dad feels he is in real danger from her, he is to dial 999 for the police.
    They have the powers and contacts to get her the help they both need.
    Hopefully now the GP is in the know, other agencies can be brought in.
    "Sectioning" of mother is not the end of the world, it forces the help on her that she doesn't acknowledge that she needs.
    When the medication is at the correct level, she may be able to return home, or into an appropriate care home. (Step-dad may be able to join her there)

    You will have to be very strong, to do the right thing for her, she'll never see it!

    Good luck

  9. Hamfox

    Hamfox Registered User

    Apr 6, 2015
    Bod, thank you, I know I need to be aware of the 'worst case scenario' and as you say it would alert the relevant parties/authorities that help is needed.
  10. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    Hamfox-so sorry you and your family are going through this. Your Stepdad must be very grateful for your support. May I also add that your SD needs to identify a 'safe room' in case your Mum gets violent. He must always carry a charged phone on him and go to a room with a lock on the door. He must know it is ok to phone the Police. They won't harm your Mum but they will either set the ball in motion to get her sectioned or alert the authorities (Adult Services) as to what is happening.

    Good luck

    Lyn T XX

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