My mother is in another state under the conservatorship of a professional fiduciary who has alienated her sisters and myself. I recently was able to find out that she had a fall and can no longer walk and friends donated funds for me to fly across the ocean and see her after approximately 9 months. My mother growled and bit at my face quite often. Recently her conservator removed her dog she had as a constant companion for 13 years. Could her behavior be because she misses her dog? Does anyone else have experience of odd behavior like this? Thank you.

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Dementia is such a heart-breaking disease and its strange behaviors are not easily predictable. It is hard to know what role, if any, removing the dog may have had. It could have been necessary if your mother was behaving this way toward the dog and they got into "fights."

I don't know in what way the professional fiduciary has alienated you, but if at all possible I suggest you set that aside and have serious discussions with this person. He/she should know a lot about your mother's behavior, the progression of her disease, what kind of help she has/needs, etc. This would be very useful to you.

Also, if you can find out more specifics about Mother's diagnosis (Alzheimer's? Lewy Bodies? etc.) and then read up on the disease you'll be in a better position to know roughly what to expect and what the fiduciary is dealing with.

Did your mother know who you were? Were there any other signs of hostility, aggression or fear? I don't know if it could be because she misses the dog, because many people with dementia have progressed to a stage where they wouldn't remember there was a dog. Let us know a little more and someone may be able to help.

Growling and biting at you are indeed odd behaviors. They are very primitive behaviors that would normally be suppressed in humans by higher brain functions. I suspect it is just the brain damage that has been caused by the disease. I hope that you take comfort in knowing that it is not her, but the disease causing the behavior. It is hard to predict what courses dementia will take.

Since she is in the hospital, I imagine they have checked her for urinary tract infection. This can cause falling and psychotic behaviors in elders. You may want to check to make sure someone has looked.

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