Mother with Alzheimer's cries when she doesn't get her way in public.

Started by

What do you do when your mother uses crying as a weapon.... She's an Alzeimer's patient that knows exactly what she's doing, this is something that's been going on for years. People look at me like I'm a beast by "making my mother cry". People think she is the sweetest little thing, but behind closed doors she is a bitch. I hate to feel this way, but I resent her. I gave up my home in another state to take care of her and I get nothing but hate from this woman.


read the posts under How do I deal with a mother that is not senile, but is just plain mean? although she is an alzhiemers patient, the advice may help you. I know I deal with tears everyday over nothing.
Hi weedwitch 1, that is a tough one. As a mom to a girl with special needs I know how hard it can be to not let strangers' reactions get you down. She has tantrums and tics and inappropriate behaviors but people can tell she has special needs so that helps but it can still be hard. I have learned to just not give a crap about what others think. Really. You kinda have to just let it go. You need to know you are doing all you can and you know what your mother is really like and just smile at the people who stare. Just smile and wave. If they see you are calm they often realize more is going on then they can see. When people stare at me and my daughter and I catch them I give them a smile and they so often smile back and I realize they get it. The few who don't get it and glare at us is usually when I wave.

I have heard of people who have printed cards, like business cards, that explain the situation-in your case they could say something like -" my mom, who is very loved and well taken care of, has Alzheimer's. She often cries in public and displays emotions that are not warranted for the situation. Please have patience and understanding" -or something like that. And then you can give it to people who question you. -on the sly-so Mom doesn't see. I have never done this but I have heard of Moms who have a child with autism doing this. Just a thought.

weedwitch1, what have you been doing for years when this has happened? What did you try before she developed dementia? What worked best, if anything?

It seems highly unlikely that she will change this behavior. It has been going on a long time, she apparently gets something out of it, and it is hard for dementia patients to learn new behaviors.

If at all possible, I think I would leave the situation. "You must be tired and upset now, Mother, and we'll go home now and rest." I don't suppose she will be more pleasant when she gets home, but at least it may be less stressful for you at home than in public.

In spite of how it feels, looks really can't kill. The people who look at you critically are just ignorant -- try not to give them the power to ruin your day. If there are people you see repeatedly, such as a cashier or the bank teller or the grocer, you may want to offer a brief explanation, "I'm sorry for the disturbance. My mother has Alzheimer's and she is sometimes easily upset." Most people are really kind and patient when they know what is going on, but you are not obligated to spend your time explaining to total strangers you won't even see again.

As for the resentment, I don't blame you. You are making huge sacrifices and you aren't getting appreciation. Was your mother always a bitch, or is this new with the dementia? Did you know what you were getting into when you moved in? For your sake I hope you can at least reduce the resentment. An adult day program is a great way to get some respite for you and for Mother have the stimulation of interacting with other people. She may not like it, but you have to do many things you don't like; she can do some things too.

I printed up cards like MishkaM describes when our daughter and I took my husband on a cruise. They said "My husband (or father) has dementia. Thank you for your patience." This was in case he behaved strangely off the ship. (The crew and passengers on the small ship quickly learned the situation and there were no problems.) Neither of us handed out cards. In my caregiver group another person had cards like that when traveling with her husband. She used only one. Since your mother has these public outbursts frequently the card idea may be helpful in your case.

I hope you get some relief from this stressful situation.
Thanks to all for the advice. My mother has always been a drama queen. But she is not so far into Alzheimers that she doesn't know what she's doing. If she doesn't get the results she wants, she just pours on more drama. I am an only child and have no one else to take on the responsibility. She has this guy in her life that adds to the horrible situation. It's all about Vic, "Vic says.....", "Vic does...." His influence is only making things worse and I can't get him to stop. My lawyer says he is a predator. Unfortunealy the predator laws in Florida protect the predator and not the victim or victim's families. She refuses to wear her patch anymore because Vic says she doesn't have Alzheimers. Her doctor says I can't force her. She will continue to fail but now at a faster rate. My POA, Health surrogate, and Physicians affidavite don't have any power, What good are they? It all falls on my shoulders, I cry myself to sleep every night.
Hi , again, weedwitch1,
I am sorry you are so sad. I hope you have someone to lean on. If your Mom is refusing to take care of herself ( take her meds) then maybe you can get her declared incompetent and get guardianship. I don't know all the ins and outs of this but I think that would help. It sounds like you know what you are doing - and are on the right path. You are doing so much and trying so hard - I am so sorry you are so sad. I wish I could help more! (((((hugs)))))

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support