Watching some tenants deteriorate with Dementia or Alzheimer's in front of me, getting very volatile or screaming is very hard to watch and my stress level goes beyond or gets the better of me. I also just lost my sister to this illness last year so I am having a hard time dealing with my neighbors and need a little advice on how to deal with it.

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How very difficult for you! It is hard to see people deteriorate from any disease, and the fact that this reminds you of the recent loss of your sister must be especially painful.

Eyerishlass's suggestion of talking to a professional listener about your concerns is a good one. Another candidate for listener is the facility's chaplain, or your own religious leader, if you have one.

Many residents in an assisted living facility will retain their health for many years, but there will also be many who gradually or quickly go downhill, from whatever conditions caused them to need assistance in the first place. This is a sad reality. It is good that there are good places for these people to reside.

If it is the same people getting very volatile or screaming repeatedly, I wonder if they might be ready for another level of care. Have a conversation with the social worker about the facility's general policy about this. Perhaps you will discover that they are just waiting for an opening in their memory care wing to move the screamer.

Here is another approach to consider: Befriend a person who appears to have mild dementia. Have coffee with him or her once in a while. Sit next to them at some activity, and chat a bit. Compliment them on the color of their shirt, or their voice during sing-along activities. Listen to them closely, even if they are hard to understand. Think of how you would like your sister to have been treated. It will make their day a little brighter, and I think it might help your mood, too.

I hope you find some peace on this difficult issue.

Feel welcome to come back here to discuss this, to let us know if you are seeing any improvements, and to just vent about how hard this is. We care!
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to jeannegibbs


I would imagine it would be difficult to see neighbors and people you've known for years succumb to dementia. Living in assisted living means you're on the front lines.

I wonder if your facility has a social worker? A social worker is someone you can talk with, unburden yourself with. And if there is a social worker within your facility it would probably not cost anything to consult with him/her.

Another option is therapy outside of your assisted living. This would be a service you'd pay for.

One last suggestion is a support group for loved ones of dementia. Google your zip code and "support group for loved ones with dementia" or something of the sort.

The go-to book is "The 36 Hour Day" but this is more for caregivers of people with dementia.

And you can always come here and vent.
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Reply to Eyerishlass

Lainemsr70, sounds like the facility where you live doesn't have a separate Memory Care section for those who have Alzheimer's/Dementia. I know I wouldn't be a happy camper if I was in Assisted Living for mobility issues and the facility was mixed.

My Dad had lived in Independent Living in a facility and this was a separate building from Assisted Living. Dad needed help during the day so he was able to purchase another level of care. Eventually due to Dad's memory, he did move to the next building where they had a separate Memory Care floor. I was amazed at how quiet that floor was.

Would it be possible to move to another senior living facility which does have separation, or are you in an area where the choices are far and few between?
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Reply to freqflyer
jeannegibbs Jun 26, 2018
Ff, virtually all assisted living facilities are "mixed" -- in most 50 to 60% of their residents have dementia. If any of them start wandering or develop behaviors disturbing to other residents they typically are moved to memory care. But simply "deteriorating" may not be grounds for moving them. I doubt you could find a senior facility that does not have demented residents.
Many people in Independent Living are living with dementia. Unless someone is exhibiting behaviors that are a danger to themselves or others, they generally aren't asked to move into Assisted Living or Memory Care. However, very unsocial behaviors, like screaming and loud cursing or unhygienic behaviors, like spitting, urinating in public, etc. are also a reason for a resident to be moved straight to MC. It's not uncommon for residents' families to resist the move and sometimes there's no apartment available, so the move may be a slow process.
But, you moved to AL for a higher quality of life, not a lesser one. So, speak up! Having neighbors who are confused, repetitive, forgetful is one thing. Having neighbors who scream, rant, and fight is quite another. You're entitled to hear from management how they are addressing the issue.
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Reply to IsntEasy

You’re right, Jeanne. In my mom’s facility when she was on the regular floor, there was a man, “Mr. R.” who was very volatile. He had episodes where he became absolutely enraged, cursing, slamming doors, and if staff tried to subdue him, he had the potential to become physical. There were others there who were more calm.but also were deteriorating with dementia.

I would suggest Lainemsr not focus on the people who are almost at the end of their journey. There are people there who do have dementia, but in mom’s facility there were also people there who didn’t have it. Mom was a recluse who refused to engage with anyone there, but I formed some wonderful friendships with some of the residents there. Facilities also have activities and they will assist her in getting to them. One facility nearby has a pub, a chef on staff, a hair salon and at least one field trip a week. I want to live there!
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Reply to Ahmijoy

laine, folks here have covered the practical aspects well! I find being around one patient (my mother, in her own home) is raising surprising feelings and effects on my own brain. You may be a highly empathetic person, and must keep your space ‘clean’ as you can.

Along with talking to the social worker, staff, or chaplain about this - and do! - you might want to seek out a book or lecture on graceful ways to watch decline in others - I’m always searching for such things. It’s nature’s way (at least in this day and age) and there MUST be a more spiritual and/or peaceful way to go with the flow. (Not that you should just stay where you are if someone nearby is having a fit.) I just got a book, “My Mother Your Mother: Slow Medicine,” haven’t started it yet. I read a bunch of articles by Deepak Chopra online, making sense of the predicament of decline, and they were good!

I’m so pleased you started this thread. Please keep coming here and posting. I’m mid 50s and plan to do what you did in my 60s and am interested in your journey.  Best wishes. 💐
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Reply to Zdarov

My heart goes out to you.

Did you have any support during your sister's illness and end of life? I'm just wondering if that time, and eventually losing her, has left you understandably even more sensitive to the condition of other people around you.

I mean, if you were a caregiver or family member rather than a resident, I'm sure we'd all be urging you to take a break. Get some respite from the constant reminders.

But as Isn'tEasy points out so aptly, that would rather defeat the original object. I like her suggestion of approaching the facility's managers and asking for their active ideas. Maybe there's something they can do to give more able residents like yourself separate shared spaces and a rest from the one-size-fits-all environment.
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Reply to Countrymouse

So sorry to hear about you circumstances. Does your facility offer day trips and activities to keep you focused on your own well being?
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Reply to GAinPA

Although I am not in your exact situation, I understand it. AL is a stepping stone, if you will, as dementia or other mental or physical illnesses progress. A friend went from Independent living to AL, and told me there is a huge difference. Prayers for you
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Reply to c47090

Your grief on the loss of your sister is probably making your own situation more uneasy - it might be a good idea to seek grief councelling to fully accepting her passing & how it is now affecting your life now

While moving might be a possibllity don't go that route too fast because of the upheaval in your life that is involved - if you are able, you might get out to a class like art or writing etc that expands your interests because this will make your personal horizon expand to beyond your 4 walls & it is simpler than doing an actual move which could be exhausting to you
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Reply to moecam

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