I've not really seen this question but somebody might have already asked so if they did and I didn't see it, I'm sorry.

How do y'all deal in situations where your elderly relatives just say really mean things to people? Like for example if they tell the cancer center staff that they're fat or people in the store that they're ugly or other just mean/rude things?

I feel like I have to explain the whole situation every time, but I don't know that it does anything and it's really embarrassing. The medical staff has probably heard worse but the average people are really offended, like anyone would be when someone says something offensive to them out of the blue.

Sometimes the anxiety from the embarrassment is that, "just crawl in a hole and die," level and it's just... I don't know, it's a really bad feeling, but I feel like this has to be a pretty common thing, so if anyone has advice for how to handle it I would really appreciate it.

Often strangers can't tell that there's anything wrong with her mind so they just take it at face value.

You might have business size cards printed to hand out that say something person has Dementia and sometimes is rude and unkind. Please excuse the demonstration of this broken mind and I apologize for his/her behaviour.
Helpful Answer (27)
Reply to vegaslady

My mother is famous for these types of comments. She has said things about weight, ethnicity, sexual preference and everything else that is not just embarrassing but I believe to be racist or derogatory.

I know that she doesn't understand but I also know that her comments are based on what she truly thinks. I came to the point where I couldn't explain away her comments and stopped taking her out. I took the decision to stop taking her out. It was too hard for me to try and explain why she said the things she said. Many people won't understand why someone is saying the things they say, even with dementia. She only was saying what she thought to be true, and it was all based on very outdated opinions.

Personally, I have learned to never take her out. There is no amount of explanation I could ever make that would make her comments acceptable. She may be from a different time but that doesn't mean her comments are in any way acceptable.
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Reply to Mountaingyrl
iameli Nov 19, 2022
I think this is what often happens, except for medical appointments and the like. My FIL would say really inappropriate things to strangers that could have gotten him into trouble. And my MIL had serious social anxiety anyway. When it got bad they quit going out.
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The Alzheimer's Association has business size cards which say, Please pardon my companion who has Dementia." A short explanation follows and a longer one on the back with the Alzheimer's Association website listed. You can carry some in your pocket and discreetly hand one to the person you feel needs an explanation. They will be sent to you, no charge if you visit the website.
Good luck.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to Justmythoughts
tituswife63 Nov 19, 2022
I recently purchased them. They weren't free, but they weren't expensive either ($16 for 100?). When my husband's diseases progresses, I'm going to put one in his wallet with my name and address on it.
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apparently, like me (70 and not demented yet) I don't want to even be there, out there. Nothing OUT THERE is a comfort to me. Its loud and busy.
I talk to my self, inside my head (mind talk) 24 hrs a day. I don't even like riding around with you and "the gang". Too loud, too much mental congestion. I feel like a captive audience, to endure your complaints about your life. Sorry, can't help it, been there done that, got the tee shirt, using it to scrub windows. Our filters have disintegrated. The truths we were raised with have been destroyed. Our foundation is crumbling beneath our feet. We see it, you dont. We're tired of pretending..All is well in the world...its not and we DON'T WANT to be out there in Your World. If you don't like what we've got to say, leave us home. We're happier there anyway
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Reply to Mobleymoon
eat-pray-love Nov 20, 2022
@ "Mobleymoon"...Can you pls explain? I am not understanding. Are you speaking re: a difficult time you are having with a Parent or a sig other...or are you speaking about yourself? Who is "you & the gang?" You are only 70. I take it you have the ability to drive & be active & have hobbies, friends, etc.. I am trying to understand what you wrote & who it is directed at...?
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I would say, "I am sorry. My mom suffers from age related dementia". And yes, I would say it in front of her as the one thing she now understands is a full lack of inhibition. People will understand.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
TouchMatters Nov 19, 2022
Saying this in front of her mother may open another can of worms. The mother might say / inquire "What do you mean, dementia?" And continue on, creating more of a scene in a public setting.

If the writer here wants to curb (cease) her embarrassment, she needs to withdraw from setting up these situations to potentially occur.
Here is a link to a site where you can purchase the cards to hand out when grandma is saying rude & hurtful things to others:

I think it would be a lot easier to hand out one of these cards than to explain the situation to each person she offends. God help us all with dementia and trying to have patience caring for our loved ones suffering with it.

There is a FB page of a woman named Betty Pettit; her son Joshua runs it and posts the cutest videos of her for Alzheimer's awareness. Betty is one of the few people I've ever run across who's suffering from AD who's 'cute' and 'sweet'. My mother was anything but. My aunt was a raging lunatic and the residents who lived in the Memory Care ALF I worked at a while back were basically all VERY difficult to deal with. One woman treated her husband SO horribly that we all cringed every time he walked in the front door to visit her. Sad but true. Betty is the exception to the rule. Her fan base loves her so much that she receives TONS of gifts in the mail daily. She's too confused to realize what they are or what to do with them, but she smiles nicely for the camera and thanks everyone for their thoughtfulness. It's too bad everyone suffering from AD and dementia can't be like Betty. Here is a link in case you're interested in seeing some of the videos of Betty he posts:
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to lealonnie1
anonymous1582493 Nov 13, 2022
Those cards are a really good idea!

I kind of feel weird about stuff like that channel you've described. I'm sure Josh is great, just because of my day job (I'm a psychologist) I feel really weird documenting people who can't consent even if it's for awareness and even if it's wholesome and they get presents just because it's considered really unethical in my career and I don't know that it can be done in a way that's not exploitive, even if it's not the intent. Like if I was to do something like that with a patient it would be a huge legal thing that would need a lot of oversight and I'm pretty sure it would never get approved just because it's so hard to know for sure they'd consent to showing themselves not in their right mind. I just have a really hard time with stuff like that, even if the intentions are good.

It's the same reason I don't like seeing channels about kids on the internet, even if it's just, "look how cute my baby is," because I don't know that that kid wants to be on the internet. Even really wholesome intentions make me really nervous.

Especially if it's not anonymous. If this message board wasn't anonymous I would never post about my granny on here. And I'll never use her name. It just hits me as wrong. It makes me really nervous.
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I had to stop taking my husband to the stores with me. He would start fights with anyone that he felt was in his way. He wouldn’t move out of anyones way with out yelling or swearing at them. I had to always apologize and tell them what was wrong with him. It is very hard and grows weary on you. I will be praying for you and this whole situation. My God got me through all this and I will be praying God will do the same for you. Take care and be blessed.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Conniechen25

I work in Healthcare for a Neurology group. I have patient's caregivers or significant others who have had business type cards made. For example some say..."The person with me has dementia. Please be patient & kind" or "The person with me has dementia please forgive them if they say something inappropriate"
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to AnnFontana
TouchMatters Nov 19, 2022
* This could work in some situations although
- Some clerks may not read English well if foreign born and/or.
- Some/many won't know the word DEMENTIA regardless if English is a second or first language.

The bottom line is that everyone needs to do what they feel is appropriate for them, their loved one, and the public (person/people) on the receiving end.

Gena / Touch Matters
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Give it right back. No one would tolerate abusive language from a child, and no one should tolerate it from an elderly person either.
I've been in many situations with clients when they would see someone and remark on how fat they were or some other insult. I would tell them plainly and clearly that no one cares about their opinion and no one wants it. If someone actually does they will ask for it. I would also go on to tell them that if they cannot behave in public that I would not take them out anymore.
I worked for one old lady who always had something to say. One time we went into a restaurant and there was a bi-racial couple having lunch. The guy was black and the woman was white. Well, my client proceeded to start carrying on about it. Then the couple came over to our table and asked what her problem was. My client got all flustered and was acting shocked like she couldn't believe what was happening. Then she insisted we leave immediately. Nope. I told her I wasn't finished eating yet and that we'd leave when I was done so I ordered dessert and coffee.
ALWAYS call out a person's behavior when they're being offensive in public.
Sometimes seniors need to be embarrassed a bit to remind them about basic human respect and appropriateness. If they are so far gone with dementia that they can't understand anymore, they don't belong out in public places other than the doctor's office or an adult day care center. People who work in hospitals and clinics understand about elderly people, their "views", and the no-filter.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
Isthisrealyreal Nov 19, 2022
No one should accept abusive language and ugly insults from anyone.

My husband's granny was completely there mentally and had the opinion that she had lived long enough to say whatever she wanted. She was a mean, nasty battle ax.
My Neighbor said to me " how do you deal with your Dad he is so nasty and mean . " I didn't say anything ... Most of the time he is Ok But he will Boss the CNA and she Jokes " ok Boss man " Overall he is Polite except to me . I dont say anything any More except " he is Old " and I leave it at that .
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Reply to KNance72

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