I have a very close friend who has dementia . She is angry all of the time. She never really had a good sense of self worth and this has made 100 times worse. Said she's stupid all the time and that she doesn't want to live. She acts okay with everyone else, including her son who stays with her at nights sometimes, but when I go over or I take her out, she is always angry and when we're home she acts out and throws tantrums - crying and banging her fists on her legs, etc. When I tell her friends or family about this, I look like a nut because she doesn't act like that around them. I don't know what to do - I know it's the disease and not her - she has not smiled in almost a year now. This leaves me feeling awful for days and I dread going over there. Any suggestions - I have guilt because I don't want to abandon her, but I truly don't think my visit are doing either one of us any good -

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Do you have a smart phone? When we had little children, I remember an expert speaking to our church about childhood discipline. She said the fastest way she'd found to stop a tantrum was to whip out your phone and record it with something of a smile on your face. Now this was entirely because the little kid had become a master of manipulation.

I wonder if you whipped out your smart phone and started recording the adult tantrum if you would also have it stop? At the very least, you could show the son that you really are not making up your stories. It would not be illegal because you would be doing this in a public place, openly.

Not wanting to live is also a concern. You can write her doc a letter *use her DOB!* and let them know about that and the tantrums. They can put it in her file but won't talk to you.

And there is nothing wrong with letting go. This is not the person you were friends with, but increasingly that person is gone and a shell of that person remains. You can tell the son to let you know when she is on anti-depressants and you will be happy to visit again then.
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She may be "faking it" with everyone but you. My mom is like this with me. No one else knows how bad it is. It's because she trusts me enough to "let go" of the pretense of being "perfect."  

Not saying you need to stick around for it. But knowing that she trusts you enough to be this way around you might help some.

Also it might help to know that people with dementia often forget their acting out episodes. My mom can get pretty nasty, but then she honestly has no clue later on that she's been that way. Meanwhile I am left with the negative feelings all day! But I am learning to let it go. I think the key (for me anyway) is to treat each encounter like a fresh start.
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Is she living alone? Does her family know that shes been diagnosed with dementia? What are their plans for her care, going forward?

She sounds as though she's scared and depressed. Depression is often seen in dementia patients, and unlike dementia, for which there is no effective treatment, depression can usually be helped by meds.
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