Can their mood flip on a dime?

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Mom gets restless, agitated, then settles down, then angry, then nice, then angry again all in 5 minutes? I have noticed lately that she is becoming more resistant than normal. She is also wandering around the house, backtracking her steps, opening her wallet, counting her money, then turning on the kitchen light, walking around the house, going back into the kitchen, shutting the light,etc... she repeats this behavior sporadically. Also she can be critical and screaming mad, then she will be diverted to looking at her fake flowers, and saying how nice they are, then she will get on another tangent. Her mood can do a flip in literally the time it takes to blink so we never know when it will change.
Is this a common problem with Alzheimer's or dementia mid-stage?

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Absolutely! My dad's dementia was caused by a surgery gone wrong that included fluid on his brain. He could change before our eyes. However, I've seen the same thing happen with my uncle's vascular dementia as well as others with Alzheimer's. Precious moments of clarity can descend immediately after an episode of anxiety or anger. We never know. This makes it very hard on the caregiver but it's part of dementia. We have to expect the unexpected and know that these changes aren't our fault.

It doesn't hurt to keep a journal, however. You or the doctor may spot patterns that can help with decisions on care routines and/or medications.

Please update us when you can,
Carol
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From my experience with my Mother-in-law, yes. She does that often. She's around stage 4, vascular dementia. She moves around more when we are discussing something that confuses her or if I ask her a question and she can't remember the answer. She will just randomly walk to the kitchen or her bedroom and back. I think it's just anxiety. She also changes subjects and moods very quickly. Just today my husband was trying to tell her that the doctor said she can't drive anymore and she was angry and repeating "I just don't understand". Then all of a sudden said "have you seen how big the trees have grown in front of Grandma's house?" Totally random! It freaked me out and she does it all the time. It helps if I hold her hands and speak directly to her. She seems to stay more focused that way.
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Discuss her bipolar behavior with the MD. Lamictal (lamotrigine) may help. Plus as Lesanne said, hold hands. When I visit nursing homes, as an Ombudsman, the residents are starving for a hand to hold.
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Thank you for this message. I am caring for my mom with vascular dementia for about 8 months now. Everyday is different it's like a roller-coaster. We recently moved from one state to another. There has been a little change. I try to pull out the best in her but it drains me. She is often very stubborn and answers back in a very rude way. I am some trying to anticipate but so far that hasn't worked. I like the idea of keeping a journal as we are getting ready to embark on a new series of doctors and new insurance. It so surreal pray for me as I will pray for all of you. Peace and patience to all.
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From my experiences with my surrogate dad and my elderly friend, Moodswings sounds kind of familiar. In fact, with my surrogate dad I've actually had to just leave on a few different occasions despite him suddenly begging me not to. I knew it was for my own good and I had to assure him of this because I just couldn't handle it at the time. I assured him I would see him another time. There were times he would call and apologize, which I definitely accepted. Dad soon started realizing that I just wasn't going to put up with what he was dishing out. I can only wonder if he knew he was getting bad and realized that he really didn't want to be alone in his old age since I was the closest to family he had since his wife and daughter long since died of illness. Dad was more careful around me whereas my elderly friend though rather similar started doing the same similar thing. Both of these individuals would pace the floor, my elderly friend more so since he had the advantage of a power chair that could handle constant pacing. Unless my elderly friend was asleep, he would constantly pace around in his power chair. Dad would pace when he was upset around about misplacing an item and he was the only one who had that item. Items would get lost when I was not around, and he would pace the floor trying to think where it may be. He always found those items and he was glad afterward. I'm not sure though what caused my elderly friend to constantly pace around in his power chair, but the only clue I really have is that he said he used to be a truck driver always on the go. He was actually very used to being active, which may explain why he couldn't sit still.
You may look into your loved ones past and try to discover what they used to enjoy doing, because you never know when some of them may have actually used to be service members. Service members are very active as we all know. However, when something hinders physical activity, life changes for the worst when physical activity is actually limited. In other cases, money may be an issue restricting activities the loved one used to enjoy. This may actually contribute to pacing. Another thing to consider is if they are actually longing for a loved one who may have since moved on or even died. You may get your love one into some kind of activity to help reduce or eliminate pacing. In the case of my elderly friend who's past careers involved being very active or on the road, it was probably very foreign to him to suddenly not have anything to do anymore. I'm guessing he was probably very bored, which would've contributed to why he was always pacing the floor in his power chair. Since he didn't drive truck anymore, the power chair gave him a sense of freedom to always be moving just like the truck did, except it was slower and had a much shorter range. This is about the only clue why her about my elderly friend. In your case, definitely dig into your loved ones past to see what they used to do for work, and I'll bet you there was something that them moving an awful lot, whether it be a career or recreation. Pacing can be a direct clue into their past from what I observed with my loved ones. When they're used to constantly being on the move and somehow circumstances change that way of life, it can be detrimental to that person, which in the end can very likely cause pacing. This is why you want to delve into your loved ones past as deep as possible and gather as many clues into their physical activity and try to find positive ways to help them out and restore some kind of activity back into their lives. If you find that someone traveled a lot or had a high physical demand job or even some hobby that required lots of physical activity, there's your clue right there. That pacing is not just a habit, it's a clue that something is missing from their life and that they need activity restored back into their lives. Pacing is a sure sign of the need for something to actually do more than just around the house. They need something bigger than they may be able to get on their own. We need not make our aging loved ones closet individuals to be pushed aside and stuffed away from society just because they're up in years. If you have delve into history itself you'll find that the elderly were actually very useful on the farm when farms were more common. Not being useful anymore is definitely not natural for our elders who just want to be useful and to feel needed. Though nursing homes may be needed in some cases, they're not always needed in all cases. There was a day back in history where nursing homes were nearly unheard of because the elderly stayed busy on the farm. Again, they were very helpful and useful on the farm back in history. If we could delve into the secret of our forefathers, perhaps we could learn a thing or two from them to help keep our elders going longer than we can now.
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Thomas I couldn't agree more. thank you!
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Nikki: I didn't know that.
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This sounds like dementia at its worst. How can she continue to live wirh you?
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She lives across the street from me, Llama... in her own house with a caregiver. With meds, she is more stable. But I find it amazing how fast she can turn her mood.
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Is she bipolar? Certainly sounds like it.
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