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They can carry on a mostly normal conversation with others but as soon as they are alone with their spouse the aggressive behavior starts.

You are talking about 'Showtiming' which is when a dementia/ALZ sufferer acts all sweet & nice & normal to a stranger, then reverts back to confusion & all the same old/same old with their loved one/caregiver.

Now, if your husband is being aggressive and angry, and HITTING you or raising his hand to you, that's something entirely different and it's NOT OKAY. Dementia or no dementia, aggressive violence is NEVER alright.

If your husband is hurting you and hitting you while you are alone, call 911 and have him taken to the ER for a psych evaluation. He may need to be placed in a Memory Care Assisted Living if he's acting that way. Or, at the very least, you would need to contact his PCP for medication to calm him down, and see if that works.

Don't live in fear, ok?

Best of luck!
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BurntCaregiver Dec 28, 2020
That's when it's time for a nursing home. When the aggression and violence start , it's no longer safe for the person to be living outside of a facility and in a controlled environment. Not safe for the person themselves or the one on the receiving end of their aggression and violence.
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Haha, my mom is generally more on her game during doctor appointments so she can usually look very oriented but at home I see more of the forgetfulness, depression and frustration. I think it's because going to the doctor or somewhere outside of the home is out of the ordinary so she's just more alert during those times.
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In general a spouse or significant other is a “safe” person to vent to. It must be exhausting to try to cover up problems in company of others.
If the anger is verbal if you can calmly say don’t talk to me that way, I understand you are frightened, frustrated, angry. Then try to remain calm and don’t get angry in turn. If you can’t, leave the room if it is safe to do so.
If the anger becomes violent that is a completely different thing and you HAVE to protect yourself. If you have to call 911, explain the situation and ask for transport to the hospital.
Do talk to your spouses doctor. Medication for anxiety can help. Also talk to YOUR doctor, dealing with this is stressful and it can and will effect your health.
good luck, hang in there
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It is for ALL OF US easiest to emote in the presence of someone loved and trusted. We are on our best behavior with strangers, those we want to impress. Sadly, that's the human condition.
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I am sorry you are going through this. Mom (with dementia and before dementia) was always hostile toward my dad, blaming him for everything and putting him down, when Dad was as fine a husband and human being as ever lived. She was sweet and charming to everyone outside the family, nasty or neutral to family, and a hellion toward Dad. She took credit for everything, said Dad did nothing (when he was in poorer physical shape than she was) when in fact, Dad was doing most of the housework and taking care of her. (Dad should be declared a saint). When Dad passed away 4 years ago, I became Mom's primary caregiver, still am, and immediately took on the role of scapegoat for Mom's hostilities. At first I was deeply hurt, but now, thanks to this group, I began to understand how common this scenario is with dementia. The one who does the most takes the most heat. Besides, I believe mom had some form of mental illness before dementia began its slow destruction of her brain. That's just how it was and is. I wish I knew then what I know now, and would have spared myself loads of grief.

The best course of action for us both was to turn Mom's day-to-day care to AL memory care, who have done a spankin' good job, I might add! Before Covid, I could visit and leave at will, and just be a daughter to Mom. Now I visit by appt according to memory care rules (mask and distancing). And it's okay.

You will find loads of help here. It's so hard to make the needed changes in our lives and to do the emotional "work." But the payoff is liberating. Wishing a better 2021 to you and everyone!
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disgustedtoo Jan 1, 2021
I'd almost think you might be my long lost sister, except for the part about her taking credit for everything, dad was nothing. ALWAYS harping on him, but as you say, sweet as pie to others, okay most of the time with us, but could turn on you in an instant!

I'm fairly certain she would have been hell to deal with if I could have taken her in. I couldn't, so I found the best place near to where I live, so I could watch over everything and visit. She was never nasty to me, and while she once in a great while would get her dander up with staff, most of the time she was quiet and well-behaved (UTI time excluded!) Like your mom's place, this one was awesome, always took good care of mom, clean, good food, well-fed (a few too many ice cream bars!) and enjoying the activities.

I can't tell you how many times staff would say how much they loved my mother, she was "cute" and "funny" and they enjoyed having her there!!! She did have her feisty moments, but most of the time she was mild-mannered Clark Kent. I wondered who did the body snatching, replacing my mother with someone else! Whoever the body snatcher is, they probably wouldn't show up at our houses, so we get the one and only original model!
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This happens all the time with or without there being dementia. The person will generally be aggressive and abusive to one person close to them. Sometimes it's a spouse, one of their adult children who is their main caregiver, and many times it is their hired main caregiver. It can quickly turn into a dangerous situation for the person on the receiving end of their anger and aggression. The best suggestion I can offer is for the person who is on the receiving end of the anger and aggression to completely ignore the person when it starts up if it is safe for them to do so. I do not mean safe for the person displaying the anger and aggression, but for the person they turn it on. If it is not safe for them to be ignored and left unsupervised, then it is time for the person with dementia to be put into a care facility for safety reasons. A hired caregiver will quit a job when a situation gets like this. Certainly I've walked away from jobs with aggressive clients because I will not risk my own safety regardless of how great their need for care is. A spouse or family caregiver can't. That's when it's time for a long-term care facility because when the aggressive behavior starts it's not safe. It's not safe for the person with the dementia to not be living in a controlled environment either.
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jacobsonbob Dec 28, 2020
We have a family member like this (and as far as we can tell, there is no dementia involved and she is not very old). Without provocation she is nasty to me and to her husband, but whenever she is on the phone or visiting others, she is "oh, so sweet". It's probably a personality or emotional problem, and people of any age can get this way.
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My adult son at 41 has early onset Alzheimer's and the most severe anger issues and threats are directed toward me or about me with other caregivers in our home. I know it is his disease. But I can handle it, the other caregivers are horrified for me. But then, he knows I'm MOM and I make all the hard decisions and it is difficult for him that I am always the one to make sure the routines are appropriate. I have to be sure all the caregivers follow similar routines and ways of dealing with him. The consistency and routines are critical to his care and wellbeing. We are working to continue as much independence, dignity and enjoyable activities as possible as this goes along. But boy, is he angry at me a lot of the time!
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disgustedtoo Jan 1, 2021
Wow! Only 41... How sad. It's bad enough when older people get it and it robs them of their final years, but to have to lose so much of one's future...

It's good that you understand and can "cope" with it, but it has to be heart-wrenching - bad enough knowing his life will spiral ever downward and be cut off too soon, but to have to be the punching bag as well... You're a strong person to be able to carry this burden with such aplomb!

(just to be clear, the burden isn't referring to your son, but rather his condition. sometimes written words can get misconstrued.)
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Yes. My mom acts "normal" around other people, but has hallucinations and anger spells around me.

It sucks.
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My husband gets very angry when I am on the computer. He wants me by his side 24/7. I believe he is jealous of my time away from him. I pray he doesn't get physical. We have no money to be able to afford a nursing home. He is on a list for Hospice but they will not enter him into Hospice until he is incontinent. This is extremely hard as I cannot get away. I think I have a young man who is a neighbor who is willing to come sit with my husband for 2-3 hours twice a month just so I can spend time with my family and/or go shopping, Dr.appt., etc. We caregivers need help. Its very hard when we are living on Social Security and do not have the funds to pay for Memory Care or ???
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BeckyT Jan 1, 2021
Jacilyn, look for a free half hour consult with a Certfied Elder Care Attorney. They can do remarkable things to qualify your husband for Medicaid and protect you and your home at the same time (there are trusts that a be made).

There is no reason why you should be afraid in your own home. Please check into this.
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I did a course with the Alzheimers association where I live and found it extremely helpful and gave me a lot of insights, and one was that it is very common for people with Alzheimers or dementia to feel and express anger towards their primary relationship/carer. The course helped me so much and it helped me to not take things so personally and to be more compassionate and even if that was being difficult, at least I could find more understanding. It also helped me with very practical insights eg people with dementia can see the change from a light to a dark floor as a hole. Wishing you and your parents all the best.
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