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Many of you have suggested not arguing with the dementia patient. But what do you do when your mother calls people fat, idiotic, or other demeaning adjectives?


What do you do when your mother burps then follows it up with a very loud comment: "Pigs out walking!" I know some of you must have laughed at this, but she never in her life would have spoken like this and now she is inappropriate quite often.


It's annoying in private, but embarrassing in public.


Aside from the verbal issues, there are physical annoyances to deal with. She constantly drums her fingers, then touches her mouth/nose in a circular motion, then flicks her nose and scratches her head. Repeat ad infinitum. I know it sounds crazy, but this is my reality when I'm caring for my mother.


She is driving me and my sister crazy and I feel both guilty and angry about the whole thing. My father died of colon cancer, and as tough as it was dealing with and caring for him, I believe dealing with an Alzheimer's patient is even more difficult. It has been helpful to read other's comments and know what I'm feeling is not unusual. So...your suggestions on the next time she calls someone an idiot?

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I know you realize that moms brain is broken and she can't help what comes out of her mouth.

The thing that got me through was standing a bit behind her and mouthing "dementia" while pointing to my head. It takes a couple seconds but most people caught on. If not, I'd say something in a low voice, since my mom is hard of hearing.

I've found 98% of people to be understanding and not hold it against her. The other 2% are really undereducated and don't know what dementia is. Sometimes another word works better....senile, lost her mind, etc.

Someone on this board suggested making up little business type cards that explain the situation. That would work if you could slip it to them.

I'm sorry.  We've all been highly embarrassed by our demented loved ones. Explain to her visitors beforehand if you can.
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I used to work at a Catholic LTC facility and some of the Sisters with dementia could out-swear a sailor any day :)

We all feel angry, embarrassed , etc. when our loved one acts inappropriately. Unfortunately it is part of the disease.

SueC has some good suggestions. I agree that once people realize that dementia or Alzheimer's is causing your Mom to act out, they usually understand and "forgive" that person.
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Personally I would not take them out to eat or to the store. I realize they may need to go to a health appointment but that’s enough torture. I’ve heard of the little cards to hand out which are brilliant.
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Teepa Snow does a talk about the area of the brain that houses social chit chat, rhythmic speech (poetry, music) and insulting talk is often left operational when the areas of the brain for other speech are deteriorating. There are cards you can have printed that quietly alert waitresses, salespeople and others that your companion suffers from dementia. I don't think you can discipline this issue away. I hope others will chime in with how to cope. But it is apparently part of this horrible disease.
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My grandmother had Alzheimer's and she would say the most inappropriate things in public about other people, especially about their race. And God help me if I took her to brunch and we had a waiter or waitress of another race. I love the idea of making up little cards that say something like, "My mother suffers from Alzheimer's. Please forgive her." Like a business card but more attractive.

I would try to keep my grandma distracted when we went out. I didn't know at the time that this was "diversion". I had to practically put on a skit at brunch to keep her attention on me and not the other customers or staff.

And what's tragic is that my grandma would never, ever say cruel things about anyone. She was a genteel southern lady and would be mortified if she knew what she was saying.
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My father was a nightmare and then they put him on Risperdal and it helped a lot. When he would "start up" I would remind him of going back to the memory care facility and that tamed him. So he does, to some small extent, have ability of self-control of outbursts and rude behavior even if he cannot find the coffee cups anymore.

Talk to your doctor about medication as many do have side effects and some are very dangerous. Risperdal is one that many avoid for this purpose but without it he would not have been able to come home as he was unbearable and even dangerous. IMO it was and still is worth the risk as if he were in his right mind he would accept this risk gladly.

Now I do not buy into this idea of them not having any idea of what they are doing bs - many do to so SOME extent. If she chooses to act like a spoiled child then treat her as such and see what happens. Pull up some nursing homes and memory care facilitates and show her and then start talking as if she WILL be going into one "if she is too much for you to handle -- it is for her own good you will claim". You might notice she will get a hold of herself and behave for a while which would prove that she has some control at this time.

I have done things like this with my father and notice that he IS manipulative to some point... It is a game you must play to ascertain where they are and it is not easy to play.
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Checkout Teppa Snows care for the caregiver it's on you tube . She has help me feel grounded and offers great advice .
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My father has been embarrassing and inappropriate as long as I can remember. Now with vascular dementia it is not that much different. I decided a long time ago I don’t have to apologize for his behavior. When he makes his flirtatious remarks to people, I ignore it-it doesn’t take them long to figure out what is going on. He really thinks he is funny (like Dean Martin and Bob Hope in the 50’s and 60’s). I feel like it is up to others to react however they react. We stopped taking him out because he lost his filter.

I agree with the other answers, those nervous fidgeting things that are getting on your nerves should be brought up with the doctor.
I also treated a pastor’s wife once that swore like a sailor also. Her husband did not know she even knew those words. It is something you will see in people that have had strokes and can’t even talk-but they can sure swear. Different part of the brain, and inhibitions are brain damaged also. Makes for the perfect storm.
Punishing them or threatening them sounds like elder abuse to me. This is not an intentional behavioral disorder-it is brain damage behavioral disorder.
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I tell people that DH gets confused easily and I also tend to start with, he's 96-1/2 (or whatever age he is/was at the time).

Just starting with his age, most people just nod their heads in understanding. Following this with he gets confused and no one has gotten ugly with him.

I don't even whisper anymore - not only is he deaf as a doorpost - he won't remember in 30 minutes.

However, tell his physician about it as possibly something like Zoloft might help. It doesn't have to dope him up - DH gets 1/2 pill daily and it just takes the edge off for him so he has quit worrying all the time.

And always check for UTI's.
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The idea of the business cards is sheer genius!!!! I wish I would have been that clever. My father was so bad and so loud in waiting rooms, I would have needed to pass out full size sheets of paper by the ream ...... It is a miracle nobody punched him...(or me!)
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