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I moved my Mother from her apartment in late April. We had built an apartment for her, independent of our living space, so she could have her own place. She is 96 and has been diagnosed with dementia. I cook for her for safety reasons, but she does her own housekeeping and her place is immaculate. I have to keep a close eye on her money as she had lost nine hundred dollars just before I moved her to our place.We have been doing fine, the only problem is she has lost one hearing aid and the other is outdated (we have an appointment for new aids) She sometimes misunderstands and I go through a lot of repeating....however, today she told me she was growing some geranium cuttings and I told her I thought that was wonderful and my husband would be excited about it because he has a green house etc. Mother swore at me and said she might as well go pay the high price at the nursery. I tried to start over and explain, but she became very agitated and raised a fist. She started toward me, and I thought she was going to strike me....she didn't even look like the same person....her eyes were filled with hate. I yelled her name, and it was like a shock to her and she calmed down for a minute. Then she grabbed her neck and it scared me and I asked her what was wrong....she said "YOU YELLED AT ME AND NOW MY NECK HURTS!!" I am not physically afraid of her, but I do wonder what my status is if she goes to the doctor for her appointment and says that I yelled at her.....I do not want to go through the rest of my life known as one who mistreated an elder. I am 72 years old and I have cared for more than one elder in their final days and I have never mistreated or harmed a single one of them...I love my Mother, and would never harm her in any way, but how do I handle this...can you help me? I will appreciate any help you can give to me....With Thanks
Mary

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Had another appointment with the doctor...while Mom was having tests, I had the opportunity to speak with her doctor...told her about the aggression and she said I didn't have to put up with that and if she showed any aggression again, I was to call her immediately... She said not to worry about false accusations. It takes proof if abuse is suspected. Mother has changed tactics lately...now she accuses me of stealing....her scrub brush, hair curlers, mattress pad, and best of all a dish of mixed vegetables that she had in her frig......she said "You were the only one in here, and now the vegetables are missing!" had to chuckle (in private) at that one....oh, and I stole her scissors.....I can handle most of this because I just say to her...let's go look ....and usually find the item, except for the veggies.....thank you all again. I have an old saying that I have tried to live by for my 72 years, and that is that when you ask someone for advice, they are allowed to give it. You must take the good that you find and with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away. In your comments I have found support and help and I thank you all.....
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Fortunately you were able to take her to the doctor. Many people with dementia refuse to go. Some of the advice given was alarming. Ignore it, roll with it. Really? Aggressive behavior is nothing to ignore or roll with. Should she strike you and you put your hand up to break the blow, or she falls down trying to hit you and gets hurt, you will go to jai. You will be charged with "elderly abuse". A FELONY! People should not be giving advice if they do not know the laws. Bad advice could cost a person their freedom. Educate yourselves, learn the laws.
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There's a book, Elder Rage: Take My Father ... Please!, written by Jacqueline Marcell. It's well written and very funny at some points, sometimes sad at others. But the author describes her situation with an abusive father. The book may give you some ideas and may just let you know you're not the only one experiencing aggressiveness. I wish you well!
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Hi Mary,
I know exactly what you are going through, my Mom has dementia and she lives in our garage apartment.

Before she was diagnosed with dementia two years ago, she would have a temper tantrum if she didn't get her way throw things stomp and yell. She also is hard of hearing but won't wear hearing aids. She still to this day takes your words and turn them into negative, and it is always about me being mean to you. I try to tell her that I didn't say that to her. You have to bite your tongue, don't argue and walk away, hoping that it won't take long for her to forget. I change the subject and that will most times end the negativity. That is really hard to do because you are trying to get a point across to her.

At first when she would say that I was a bully, mean to her and etc., I was so afraid that every one would believe her and turn me in for elderly abuse.

She is currently on Lorazepam for mood swings and Donepezil for memory. The Lorazepam helps, but she stills turns your words into a negative. With the temper tantrums not much anymore as long as you don't yell at her, change the subject or just walk away.

The meds will at first make her sleepy and you will think that you have turned her into a zombie, don't give up on the meds, it takes time for the sleepyness to somewhat disappear, and the bad behavior.

I feel for you.
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Thank you all for your enlightening answers. Took Mom for her hearing test with high hopes that they would suggest new aids for both ears...the audiologist gave her the full test and said her hearing loss was severe and there was nothing more to be done to help her. He cleaned her one aid and sent us home.....the cleaning helped, but not much. When difficult times are reaching a crescendo, I am trying to give her a little quiet time so she can "regroup" before I say or do anything. Sometimes it works and sometimes I get an ear full! But I can live with it. We have a doctors appt. coming up so perhaps we can get some progress there...The last trip to the doctor Mom played her little game...on the way there, I said to her that we had to ask the doctor about her dizziness every morning and how it takes until noon before it subsides. When we were at her appointment, I mentioned it to the doctor and she asked Mom if she had been dizzy....Mom threw her head back and she said "Heck no, never!" She likes to pull a shocker now and then. I felt like the doctor was seeing me as a proxy hypochondriac.
I took her to the new Mental Health building that is being built next to the clinic and will be opening in our area this fall. It is a huge building with an inside walking track, and private rooms for clients who can still manage the basics. She seemed very impressed with the look of the place, and I plan to take her there when it opens so she can see the inside. We have her name on a list for occupancy if a room opens up. As of right now, they are all filled....I very gently suggested that if she should find she isn't happy in her apartment, perhaps this would be a good change of pace for her and that she could come visit with us any time....she seemed to think that sounded good...at least at that moment.....I just love her so much and I want the best for her...I set up a sewing machine for her and she has been a lamb for the past week...she needed a purpose...don't we all...thanks again, and I am so glad you are all here...... Mary
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I am experiencing the same and have learnt from your answers. Thank you! But I would like to add one more thing, that prayers works miracles. It may seem helpless and overwhelming, but prayers have established peace and still keep praying while you are caring at home!
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Agressive behavior is a very common parta of Dementia, it happens to almost all Alz. patients. It is very sad for the caregiver to see this person we love so much act in such a way against us. But we need to realize that is not them is the illness that is really cruel. Medication can make a great difference. You need to explain to your Dr. so he can prescribe the best for her. Please be patient you need lots of patience, now patience is the best form of love.
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Regarding your concern of being accused of elder abuse, I suggest you start a log book and document what care you give her and any incidents out of the ordinary. If you have witnesses, have them document their experience in the same log. Begin every entry with the date and time. Don't leave spaces between entries, so that it is clear that nothing can be added later. If you think of something later, put it in on date and time you think of it and make it clear it's a late entry. This isn't legal advice, just common practice in all senior foster care homes in my state. You may also want to seek legal advice.
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I just want to comment about the poster here who feels that she and her dad and doing a good thing by having discussions in front of mom, or on the speaker phone, so that she can hear. Patients with dementia cannot process complex language or follow cause and effect (often). So while it feels to you (and this would be true of a disabled, but not demented patient) that you are being open and above board, all SHE's getting is that the conversation is ABOUT her (which it is) and she can't follow it, so it's a secret. At least in my mother's case, it's better when we siblings discuss her care out of her earshot and tell her what she can understand. Right now she's in the hospital and she becomes unglued about all sorts of things that she is overhearing.
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We bring in our hound to visit my elderly parents (Mom with dementia) daily and it really brightens her up as she loves dogs and remembers the dogs from her childhood.
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Therapy pets are great and I agree that your mother would benefit from being visited by one. I would not buy her her own dog. My neighbor has put her dog through all the training to be a certified therapy dog. He's calm and best of all he goes home to be taken care of by someone else. A 96 year old woman with dementia should not be given a pet. Your local church, hospital or even Craigslist will have info about people willing to bring their therapy pets for visits. Good luck.
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Mary, I have experienced this painful kind of experience with my mother as well. Her dementia slowly worsened over the last few years, to the point where she often loses complete touch with reality. A bad fall & broken hip finally forced a move to a dementia ward in our local assisted living facility, where she is finally doing well with excellent care and medication. The source of her agitation and physical violence is has always been traceable to depression and anxiety. Celexa for the depression (fewer side effects than Zoloft) and Xanax for the anxiety, as well as a calm, caring atmosphere are key to her comfort and well-being. We arrived at this only after several adjustment to her care & medication. Please arrange a private chat before or after each visit with your mother's doctor for your peace of mind and your mother's! Most importantly, take good care of yourself, physically and spiritually!!
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Check out Doctors etc. from all other posts. Just keep in mind it is just going to get worse and never going to get better. They live in the moment and do not mean to be mean and don't ever remember their bad behavior. You can not ever win an argument so don't even try..just try to redirect their thoughts with a new task..try to let her feel validated and of some worth and that does seem to help..
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Hello....I just read what problems you are having ...I know dealing with someone with Alzheimers or dementia is so frustrating and stressful....I always worry too that someone is going to say I am being 'mean' when I try to be firm in speaking with my Mom...then I feel guilty because we all have to remember, it is not YOU...it is the loss of their cognitive abilities , medications, progression of the disease that is causing it...and, maybe too when they have a 'clear' moment, I am sure to say they have the same frustration, fear, sadness and depression knowing this is happening to them...and will eventually not end well for all...in a quiet moment I look at my Mom and I feel tremendous sadness and then I usually just bend over and kiss her on the cheek and tell her I love her...she smiles and just doesn't know the depth of how much I love her and will miss her when she isn't here anymore...I am crying while I write this because this week the dr confirmed she is progressing rapidly and put on further meds to try and slow it down...I get so frustrated sometimes and angry because this happened but there's just no way to stop it...only slow it down...sometimes when my Mom has a bad day she thinks I have secrets, or doesn't believe me when I tell her things...this hurts so much when that happens. My dad, who is a heart patient that almost died from heart failure 3 yrs ago, and I talk alot about finances, dr appts, meds, she thinks it's about her but we talk about these things right in front of her and when I leave them for the day, my Mom says to my Dad that "our daughter has secrets about me"...my Dad tells her 'no, we just talked in front of you' but in her mind she thinks I have talked bad about her...her dr explained it as 'confobulation', and also that her cognitive skills are not good...but it still hurts....even when I call there on the phone we keep it on speakerphone so the conversation is for her to hear also....I will miss her so much it hurts now but I have to spend time with her now because I want to as long as she remembers me....and keep the good memories in my mind, and know that she is a very good person who loved her family so much...thank you for reading this-this was my therapy for the moment....have a nice day people, and remember you are not alone in this losing fight with a mean disease...this is the 'new cancer' that is robbing people of their loved ones.....
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Although I emphatically agree about checking for the UTI (my mom has had several which put her in the hospital), Zoloft is hardly considered a "mind-altering" drug. One of the symptoms of dementia can definitely be depression and Zoloft can contribute to the quality of life by "taking the edge off" so that the person has the capacity to enjoy life again. My mother took up crocheting and was able to enjoy going out to dinner and cultural events instead of stewing in paranoia and periodically bursting into tears. She is hardly a drugged up zombie but more herself again.
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The urinary tract infection is the first place to look. My mother, who is not demented, just challenged with memory due to a stroke, had some aggression to me when she had the infection. Get that checked out first thing, it would be more simple than jumping to the conclusion that she needs mind altering drugs.
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Definitely have her checked for a UTI and check out side effects of her meds. If that's all fine, I would do what OldBob suggested, just go along with her and agree, or walk away. Chances are that in a very short time she won't even remember it happening, and its bothering you more than her. I know that was how it was with my Dad, he would lose his temper. We tried different meds, nothing worked I found out the best thing was to change the subject and get him side tracked.
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I agree that the wrong chemical reaction can make an elder worse. My dad becomes a monster when he has caffeine.
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Please let me follow this question. Thanks!!
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A neurologist putting my mother with dementia on Zoloft made a big difference in her behavior- she was paranoid and depressed and became more pleasant and happier overnight.
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Sad to say, it seems to me that mom has lost much of her cognitive ability and thus in effect "does not know" what she is saying. Thus there is no being logical with her.....Perhaps a good thing to say when she gets aggressive is "you may be right" and just roll with it...(I see folks with dementia daily at the nursing home where I visit my loved one and they truly do not know what they are doing for the most part..)
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Agree with all the postings so far. In our experience, we took MIL off of all her prescriptions which she didn't like to take anyway. Her behaviors became much less violent and her hostile outbursts reduced as well. UTIs would make her behavior worse. We also found that there are specific triggers for her hostility. We had to take her cane away during a doctor visit because she was talking about striking the doctor with it!

As the first step, always look for the underlying medical condition first. A UTI or other medical issue may be the root of the problem. Plus the hearing issue...the faster you get those replaced the better. Less frustration on her part could well result in less expressed frustration, hostility, and violence.

However, there is a point in which she may need medication to help calm her. This is tricky in terms of finding what works if you have to go this route. Also be aware that if you (or somone else reading this post) need to add a drug or a drug regime to address psychotic or violent behaviors, many of those psychotropic drugs have black box warnings for elderly patients with dementia or Alzheimer's. There's not a lot that works safely or necessarily all that well, depending on the patient. Experts in the field have told us that in only a few more years, there should be more options for dementia/Alzheimer's treatment. Most of us need help today and cannot wait!
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Mary, Mary YOU are not the problem here! Your mother is just losing more cognitive connections and will experience outrage at any given moment. Walk away. Walk away unless she is needing assistance. Do not try and understand what is going on in her brain. But, I do know health professionals are trained (like me) to recognize when statements said by dementia patients are untrue. Do not let it worry you. Unless she has cuts and bruising, it is not a big deal when doctors question events. Just calmly explain what happened and forget it. I know it is hurtful for her to be aggressive with you and say mean things, but know that this is not your mother now. She has crossed over into another person none of us want to know. My husband is aggressive sometimes too, and I just let him rant and rave, and go do yard work or take the dogs for a walk. Maybe your mother would benefit from having a tiny dog she can cuddle and pet. It does wonders for their (dementia patients) blood pressure and will give her a reason to get up in the morning and care for another living thing. Don't fall for the "blame game" either. They are good at giving us a guilt trip, just because they can. Do not let her. Know that at 96 yrs. she will not live forever since dementia is a terminal illness, and God bless you for building her an apartment so you will have her in her last days! My hat is off to you and your husband. And keep gardening! Best wishes...
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No way to edit response Yes UTI are a real problem. I bought a test kit from Amazon and when behavior changes of urine burns I do a home test and call PCP for Rx and UTI goes away and good behavior returns
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a urinary tract infection could be a problem. They are very common in elderly people, especially women and can cause mental deterioration.
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Mary my heart goes out to you & your family. I had the same problem with my dad. It became worse by the day. I took him to see a neurologist & that was a blessing. He put my dad on two different medications. That was over two years ago and he has changed his aggressive behavior and many threats to a happier and more passive man. My advice to you is have her be seen by a doctor. There are so many medications that can stop the irrational thinking and behavior. I wish you the best.
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Hi Mary,
I agree with the others who have answered your questions. First of all, her mishearing is likely a huge issue. She doesn't hear right and her mind fills in the blanks - negatively.

Next, a urinary tract infection could be a problem. They are very common in elderly people, especially women and can cause mental deterioration.

Medications can be another issue. As people age they become much more sensitive to medications and what worked for awhile may or may not be working, or could even be causing personality changes. A friend of mine told me her mother's "Alzheimer's" turned out to be caused by her incontinence medication.

A trip to the doctor is in order with a full physical. Also, her hearing aids need to be replaced. I know that this is expensive, but it could be essential to how she behaves.

Take care of yourself the best you can and please let us know how you're doing.
Carol
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Mary, ba8 has given you valuable advice. The doctor needs to be told this recent information. This sort of behavior can be caused by a urinary ytavt infection, or another infection in the body. For some reason the elderly, especially those with dementia are unable to process the pain and discomfort of many infections and injuries. Something in the brain is damaged by the tangles an plaques that stop efficient and accurate information. Get her to the doctor and request medication to help with Ber behavior issues.also mom telling the doctor that you yell at her is going to help him to diagnose her.

How long las Mom been with you?
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Mary: I'm so very sorry that you're going through this. This must be so tough for you, like me, you're no spring chicken yourself! From what I understand, in addition to the hearing issue, this sort of agitation, not processing language is part of her worsening dementia; her doctor needs to be made aware of it. Is she on any meds for mood/behavior etc? Not processing pain correctly, not processing how one event leads to another, this is all dementia related.

she needs to be seen by her doctor and these events reported to her/him beforehand. She may need a higher level of care than you have so lovingly provided up until this point.
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