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My mother, (with gen. age decline) starts raising her voice and flailing her arms, sometimes even smacking the counter or desk or whatever is handy at the time. Occassionally stomping her feet. She is covering up her memory loss (aka lying) and when caught in this she then dives head first into drama.... throwing a temper tantrum. It happens usually when no one else is around. My son and I are the only ones that get to see this. If we walk away, she follows and usually makes a personal insult, trying to get a response. We usually ask her if this is what she really wants to do. Or that it is not an appropriate place or time. It is starting to ruin the relationship between her and my son (her grandson). I am usually able to let it roll off my back, but sometimes even I have a hard time with it. This is a fairly new development in our journey. Please, please, please any help would be appreciated!

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What I've found with my Mom is even the "trained experts" cain't handle her!

So far, THEY are more likely to get her riled up and then hand her back off to me! (yeah, thanks a lot!)
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seven4real, thank you for the idea of sam-e400. I will check into that! Also, hank4422 - my mom sounds like a kindred spirit to yours. If we ignore her it will escalate and she will follow us. And some times I just can't leave the room or there are other people just out of hearing distance. So her tempertantrum involves only family! ( myself and my son) she rarely throws her fit when there are outside witnesses. There are times when she pitches a fit and then within a few minutes she behaves like nothing ever happened. Then, for example, like this week, she pitched a fit and now she is pouting and being hateful and rude for days on end. Bless her heart!
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seven4real- I have my mom on most of those too, I added a b-complex. She eats a yoghurt every morning when she gets up and takes them. I then make her a regular breakfast, like 2 scrambled eggs sometimes with cheese, a cinnamon roll and fruit. She has been healthy for the last four years.
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I know this isn't helping you, but my mother does the same exact thing and was just diagnosed 3rd stage dementia.
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It seems that mother's need for attention is escalating, perhaps out of fear and lack of control over life changes. Try giving her small choices over items and situations: ham and cheese or turkey sandwich for lunch...white or blue towels...the pharmacy first or the post office... Then she will be making the decisions, be more in control, all the while getting your undivided focus on her.
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One of my friends suggested distraction or redirection...I now do what she says when I see the temper getting up...I try to distract or redirect the attention to something else going on. It doesn't always work, but it does a lot of the time. I know
this isn't much help, but at least it might work some of the time.
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We have had my mom here for 4 months and I have endured insults, lies, tantrums, no I don't want to do it, I am so sick...can't tell you all but .... I have been working on her nutritional needs and can tell you I give her a great multivitamin with whole food extract, vit D, resveratrol, coq10, probiotics, red krill oil, flax oil and coconut oil. Yes she complains but takes it all after breakfast as we do ours. I just added Sam-e 400 on an empty stomach each morning before her coffee and oh my gosh ... we are living with a different person! She is more focused, less anxiety, hasn't tried to hit me or cuss under her breath. Also she would always tell my hubby we have to get rid of that women that lives here etc. Now she is grateful for all that I do for her and we are all happier. She seems to know more of who she is and where she is as well. It sure can't hurt to try. My mom was absolutly crazy on any of the ALZ meds.
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Hart, If I give Mom the silent treatment or just nod, that just hacks her off even more. You not only have to reply to her endless blathering, but you also have to reply with just the right words and just the right tone of voice.
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After 4 years, this is all too much like my mom. It usually happens when I tell her she has to bathe. The shower is huge and has a sit down seat. She starts yelling "POLICE POLICE". This so rattled me at first, and sometimes she is swinging arms too. But anymore, I stand and ask her if she is done yet? She usually just goes on and takes the shower. I help her with her hair. When the water is turned off and I wrap her in a towel she starts yelling" I'm cold". I usually say, if you sop yelling and dry off you'll be warm. And she does. It is like ritual now. And I really don't let it throw me like I did at first. She acts better after a shower. So I know it is worth it.
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Thank you all for your sharing. It helps so much.
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Sounds like our house four years ago. We would call the behavior 'Rocking and Rolling'. At first, I thought that mom was trying to manipulate us to get her own way and I would engage her. A minor incident would turn into a huge dramatic scene with screaming and head banging and threats of killing herself. I visited some Alzheimer's care units to see how the professionals handle the behavior. They used the quiet room technique and they do not engage. I started keeping a log to figure out what was setting my mother off. One of the biggest triggers turned out to be sugar. She had to go with me to pick up my children and run errands so to keep her happy in the car, I would buy her a bag of Peanut M&M's. Her coordination was starting to slip so it would take her an hour to pick them all out of the bag. She was happy. I was happy.The kids were happy until we arrived home and the 'Rock and Roll' show would begin..... It took me awhile and some help but we figured it out. We did the following:
1) Eliminated all sugar from her diet including some fruits
2) Put her on a regular schedule with fixed meal times, exercise times, mental stimulation times, prayer times and an early bed time.
3) When the behavior started we would bring her to a chair, spray some lavender or calming scent, light the fireplace, draw the drapes, turn off the televisions and radios, send the kids to their rooms and create a quite peaceful place for her to recover.
4) Our rule was do not engage. Just nod your head, quietly agree to the moon being red or blue or whatever and take some really deep breaths. (this was hard for me)
All these things helped. If you would like more ideas send me a message.
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Kydeco, Uh... Welcome to the club? My Mom is the same way and maybe worse.

Only advice I can give you is stock up on Advil and get someone you can tag-team with. If you can be in a position to "get mad and storm off" (i.e., leave the house), that might work the best.

Peace only comes through strength, not weakness. As long as you are in a position where you can't/won't leave when she gets like this, she will clobber you with it.

My Mom has always been a self-appointed dictator and it's like trying to argue with a hurricane. You can either stand on the beach, shake your fist at it and drown, OR you can take cover, hope to survive and clean up the mess afterward.
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I think it goes back to basics. How would you (rationally) react to a six year old doing this? I think the best response is to walk out of the room, remain calm and let her know that you are not going to cater to that behavior. I say this with the experience of having a 78 year old mother who is a huge drama queen who, when not getting attention or her own way, throws fits, stomps out of the house/room, slams doors, etc. She wants attention, even negative attention. She has always been a narcissitic person and although she seems to be forgetting some things, she is also very conniving and plotting, and I don't think her capability to do that would remain intact if she were truly having dementia issues. All her life she's gotten by with "well, that's just how she is" with my dad the worst offender of catering to her. I believe as we age we all become 'more of who we are', which seems evident in her case. If the person you are talking about has had a major personality change, then I would think this is a different case. But if she is acting like a child, unfortunately, you have to treat her like one in some basic ways to model better behavior. No one needs to be someone else's punching bag, no matter what.
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As mentioned by Gemma2, this may well be related to what happens to the brain when someone has dementia. One of the areas of the brain that's typically affected by dementia is the part of the brain that controls impulsive behaviors/words. There's literally a physical deterioration/decline in the brain. It's like someone loses their "filter" and if it's in their head it's out of their mouth.
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There are good answers here. Like others have said, it's the helplessness, losing control, and downright fear that make these elders (who used to tell us what to do) resort to anger, stubborness, and childlike behavior. When you really think about it....it's a horrible scenario to imagine. My mother would mess up her checkbook unbelievably and we'd make trips to the bank to "straighten out the mess the bank made." Fortunately she relinquished those banking and bill paying duties to me, because she said it gave her a headache. (it gave a lot of others headaches too!) She also gave up driving without a fight after a few unsettling incidents. Now, at age 86, she lives with me and my husband in her own separate quarters. I catch her in lies all the time. Like Blue said, I have come to just look the other way, and placate her about it, because trying to reason with her is frustrating and gets nowhere. She insists on her innocence (to the point of "strangers must have come in and done it," etc. It's quite funny at times, and thankfully hasn't resulted in any major damage other than once when she took siccors and cut the blind cord to get it down, ruining the blind, rather than come and ask for help. If I go down the path of trying to make her ackowledge that SHE DID IT, it only leads to a big scene, upsetting us all. Sometimes I really think she isn't lying, but actually forgets she's done the deed. Or she is so horrified to think she'd do something so crazy (like feed the cat a dish of toothpaste) that she can't face the fact. Luckily the cat refuses to eat toothpaste. :) I really hope you can keep yours and your son's relationship with your Mom as good as possible in spite of this behavior by realising that what your Mom is going through is horrifying and frightening, and not to take her insults and behavior personally. The hateful behavior is directed at the loss of control not at you two, who she loves as much as ever. I hope her grandson will forgive her bad behavior. It's tough, though, I know. Best to you on this journey into madness....because that's sort of what it is. (with my Mom there are lots of good times and laughs as well, though.)
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My mom does the same thing....she has always had periods in her life when she does this but in the past year it has become a constant....she gets angry at everything if she is not getting constant attention and even called herself a "b" one day and was screaming and crying because she couldnt work the phone to call my brother----come to find out I couldn't get the call to go through either. She gets all bent out of shape if you are not on a schedule and she has to set waiting for you to let her know what is going on, if I do things without her. etc. So hard to deal with and you have my sympathy.
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I've had similar problems with my 97 yr old father. He's always had a controlling attitude even when younger. I've heard that type of personallity only magnifies as they get older. It's true. If something is said he doesn't like the anger will start.
He's insulting and will say the most insulting things using curse words. He will also throw things, break things and threatens by waving his cane and pounding it on whatever is there. He's very definant. I've caught him in so many lies. He lies to cover up his failings. I called his doctor and told him about his behavoir and he prescribed medication to controll it. He refused to take it! The doctor was angry and disappointed. This doctor since has retired so now we're looking for new one. He does take his usual meds. My question is how can you make someone take medication if they refuse?
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Okay! Very insightful! In my in-law his short term memory is really shot but the long term seems very good still. How else does this relate to the anger feelings?
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It is much more than being angry at "their life changing and their memory getting worse". It is a neurological problem with the brain fading on one side (becoming only a shadow) and the other side of the brain remembering such feelings as anger from life events in their own life in the past. It really has nothing to do with the present. Hope this helps and bless all those who are providing caregiving.
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Boy! Some great answers there! My in-laws are having similar problems. When I visit and he says he is going to work tomorrow I just smile at him knowingly like we have an inside secret. He hasn't driven or worked in a year. He does get violent with the care givers but they give him an anti-anxiety drug and he lies down to rest. Coming face to face with one's new life and memory is hard to deal with
straight on I think. Try to remember the anger is not with you or your son (make sure he understands this) but with their life changing and their memory getting worse. They are upset with the situation but don't know what to do about it. Being as call and soothing as possible may be best. My counselor always says,
"don't show up for the fight."
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I am suffering through this same thing. My mother lives with us and has be diagnoised with Alz or fast moving dementia. She blames me for the whole thing. She pitches fits and gets very aggressive. Currently she is on halopridol and several other mood drugs which have calmed her down quite a bit. Some people say no drugs but when they act like that they are miserable and agiitated. They lash at the ones they love the most and it is hard to handle. You want to treat them with as much dignity as possible. We are taught to obey and honor our parents and when the time comes that the parent becomes like a five or six year old it is hard for our brain to register. I was lucky to find a good support group and senior advisor who had been in my situation. You have to get outside help and believe me. You will have to sort through it because not all is helpful. I wanted to keep my mother at home but I couldn't take the constant fits of violence. She is calmer now. You have my hugs and prayers. It is a hard road.
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This behavior, with dementia, is a normal function of the brain. Speak with her doctor so he can show you the neurological reason for that behavior. The only remedy for you is to meet her in that place in her mind and gently tell her you will check this all out for her. Eventually she will let go of that anger and you can move on. Good luck as I've been there and it's really not easy. At the same time it is really not her fault either as her brain is failing her.
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ladee - my mom has always been self centered. She still lives in the house we grew up in. I live a few miles away. She had done a great job of leading me to believe she is in much better frame of mind that she really is. It has only been in the last few months that I have started spending more time with her..... almost every day, rather than just a day or two a week. Now that I am with her more, she is having a hard time covering up the mistakes she makes and her memory lapses. i.e. balancing check book, paper work for church....etc. I balanced the check book for her when she couldn't find the "mistake the bank made" and when I showed her it was a simple oversight on OUR part. (i made sure to not say her part), she got very angry with me because I found the mistake and she didn't. And then....a temper tantrum. That is just one example. As far as drama.....yes she has always enjoyed being the spectator on the sidelines after she stirs the pot. I call her every morning to see how she is, and then most days I see her face to face. This whole trantrum thing has gotten MUCH worse recently. I know she is worried about her independence, her freedom, and her pride. But I don't know how to help to understand that I am there to help her keep those for as long as possible. The tantrums just drive a wedge farther between us. I will be happy to give more info if you have any more questions. Thanks for the support! :)
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This is a very familiar scene to me. With my mother, it is usually when I don't respond the way she wants me to. She tears up and gets very angry, saying that she is going to die if I don't do something at that very moment. It is a control issue. She wants to control me, but I'm a bit hard to control. So she gets angry. I handle the anger by walking away. She often punishes me for a little while with attitude, but it all straightens out in a few hours.

I don't question my mother on her memory lapses. They happen and I ride with them. Mentioning them would only trouble her without correcting anything. I've learned to substitute for her memory when it comes to important things like medication.
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This does not sound like general age-related decline.

Once you know what the medical problem is, you will be in a better position to cope with it. Please have Mother evaluated.
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Is there anything in particular that sets her off? How long has this been going on...?? Has she always had this 'drama' side to her?
If you could give more information I would like to help, but not knowing the whole situation , I need more info...
Are you living in her house, or her living in yours? How long has ya'll lived together? We'll help if we can if we have a more clear picture of the circumstances... hugs to you...
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Has she been diagnosed with dementia? If she hasn't, then get her to the doctor now, because there are drugs like Aricept or Namenda that will slow the progression down. Even if it's NOT dementia, she still needs to be seen by her doctor to see if those drugs can help anyhow. Her PRIDE is what's going to cause her to slip faster down the memory lane abyss if something isn't done.
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