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I just returned from a 2-week visit with my DF and his wife. She has had Alzheimers for ~8 years. I believe she's in the middle stage right now and starting to experience behaviors that are more difficult for my dad to handle. One of those is the inappropriate touching of strangers. They are a very social couple and still enjoy going out. About half-way through a meal, show, etc...she will get up and start conversing with strangers. She's very effusive and then she starts touching them. Most people pick up on what's going on and humor her. However, some people are clearly bothered and irritated. I made it very clear to her that she has to respect my personal space and I always remove her hands when she starts on me. I think my father is at the point of just giving in to her because she gets very crude, nasty and loud when he tells her to stop bothering others. Any advice?

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If going out to eat is something she still enjoys, it would be a shame to remove that from her experience. But the public must be protected, too.

Some restaurants and some locations within restaurants present less opportunity for spontaneous socializing than others. Select those with tall booths and a few blind corners where other patrons are not so visible. Have Wife slide into booth first and Dad sit on the outside so she can't get out without him moving.

Dad gets up every time Wife does, and accompanies her when she approaches a stranger. He intervenes before she can touch someone.

Dad carries business-card size messages that say, "Thank you for your patience. My wife has Alzheimer's and she is very friendly." He hands one to each stranger she approaches. (You are right that most people figure this out very quickly, but it doesn't hurt to acknowledge it.)

Dad gets her back to their table without scolding or causing a fuss. "Our food is getting cold, dear." "Oh look, the waitress brought our salads." etc.

Dad signals a waitress when Wife seems to be getting restless. If they are eating at a familiar place and not at peak times, the waitresses may become familiar with this and just chat for a moment. How do you like the pot pie? Have you ever made them yourself? etc. Excellent tips are appropriate!

Give up trying to teach her acceptable behavior. You take her hands off of you, but notice that doesn't prevent her from doing it again. Her brain is broken. Learning appropriate behavior is not likely to happen. Instead Dad has to subtly intervene to minimize the opportunity for inappropriate behavior. That may be expecting way too much of dear Father. But I'd give it an earnest try before eliminating this source of pleasure for her.
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Actually, it's usually when they are out to dinner. And, I agree that it's not acceptable. I told my father that one of these days, someone is going to haul off and strike her.
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I'd be concerned about her touching strangers, because their response could be unpredictable and not everyone is understanding. Plus, to me, it's not fair to others who have paid to see a show or movie to get accosted or interrupted. Personally, I wouldn't find that acceptable and she might not either, if she were thinking clearly. Out of respect for my loved one, I'd keep her away from those kind of public spectacles. What about switching to a drive-in or watching the movie at home? Or, what about going out in the morning instead of at night? Does she act out as much in the early part of the day?

I'd give up trying to make her understand personal space, rules of etiquette, etc. People with dementia have brain damage. They aren't able to exercise control or conform to someone's rules. I'd try to keep her as content as possible and distract her when she acts out. I'm not sure that kind of behavior is addressed with meds, but, they may discuss it with her doctor.
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