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When constant anger and berating are directed at only one person (who happens to be the one who has been most involved with her care overseeing household bills, care arrangements by outside home caretakers (trying to insure that they follow protocol and skilled nursing release instruction, is this dementia or a response to release frustration at the easiest and most vulnerable target.


Yes, it is dementia and it is a response to release frustration at the easiest target. Also a safe target -- someone whose love and patience can be taken for granted.

Many of us want to lash out when we are frustrated. Most of us have social filters in place that keep up from lashing out at people who are not responsible for our frustration. Or if we do, we recognize our error and apologize. Unfortunately persons with dementia are losing or have entirely lost their social filters. They say things like "My, isn't that man fat!" while standing in a check-out line, something they may have thought but certainly not said in a loud voice in the past. No wonder they also lash out in frustration at people who did not cause the frustration!

Nothing makes this easy to accept. This points might make it a little less awful.

1) Realize that this is Not Your Fault. No matter what the person with dementia says, you know in your own mind the truth.
2) Don't take it personally. Yes, it sounds very personal. It isn't. It is about the state of mind of the person who has dementia.
3) Over time you may be able to recognize what triggers the worst outbursts and try to minimize them.
4) Validate the person's feelings, without agreeing that they should be directed at you. "Oh, isn't it so frustrating when that happens! I hate things like that. I don't blame you for being mad."
5) Try to redirect after validating feelings. "I don't blame you for being mad. ... I'd feel better if I had a nice root beer float now. How about you?"

Anger is very, very hard to deal with as a caregiver. The period that my husband was paranoid and accused me of things was among the worst in the ten years he had dementia.

Yes to both. Both dementia and resentment target the closest person.
All I'd like to add is ouch. Poor you. This is extremely painful and you are entitled to feel sorry for yourself, as well as working on Jeanne Gibbs's excellent, experience-based suggestions. It isn't fair.
We are in the same boat. I am my
Mothers least favorite person. I am the POA, and she can't stand the fact I actually have to watch how $$ is spent, etc. Its the worst. I feel, after much contemplation, it is a combination (in my case) of me being the "face of reality" in her world...a reality she does not want to face or well as the dementia.
I'm a nurse for over 25 years taking care of patients with all types of dementia. I decided to move closer (5 states away) to my mom six months ago, to help her. She is 86. She is very paranoid and always accusing me of stealing her things. Makes mean comments and has short term memory loss. Doesn't like me to go to apts with her, because the doctor asks questions and she doesn't answer correctly or denies symptoms that she has to the doctor. Therefor she can not be treated properly. I'm very frustrated. Most recently she told me not to come to her house. She took something I said and completely heard something different. Very hard of hearing, always misplaces her hearing aids or refuses to wear them, falls often, her vision isn't good, is very confused about her medicine, misses doctor apts. Has had a few TIA's. And still refuses to stop driving. She belittles me every chance she gets. It's very hurtful, but I am just stepping back and hopefully she will be getting past this stage soon. She won't talk to me at all. She is nice to my three brothers. She is making me second guess all the years I was a nurse to others with dementia. When it's your mother it's a whole different ball game.
Neisab, my sympathies! The first symptom i noticed in my mom, before she was dxed with MCI and then Vascular Dementia, was misunderstanding of what was being said to her. She was not hard of hearing, it was her inability to comprehend. If she's pushing back, talk to your brothers about what you're seeing. And send them material about MCI. If you get them on board, they will be invaluable allies.

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