Mom is attacking me when I visit. How do I handle it?

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I'm looking for advice. My mom and dad were place in a nursing home a year ago. Dad is 92 and mom is 94. They are in a room together. They both experience dementia--mom more than dad.


Mom has had days when she would verbally attack me. Saying that I stole all of her things. She also has moments when she would very angry about me bringing candy to dad. Dad loves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Sometimes she is ok with him eating them and other times she pitches a fit saying they give him cancer. In the past it has been a day of this and then she'd be ok for a few day.


The last 3 times I have went, she has verbally attacked me. One time she hit me. One time she threw things at me. Again she is saying I stole things. One of the items I stole was her glasses which I showed her were laying on her table. I have not been back in a few days because it is upsetting and I do not want to be attacked again.


Has anyone else experienced this and how did you handle it?

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I too. Am not dealing well with the attacks. I get beaten down so hard I want to run away. Now I try to change subject but often loose it and fight back. That makes it worse. So I listen and don't answer and some times he stops.
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srgdean Oct 12, 2018
It is very hard. I have spoken with the nursing staff and they are going to give mom some medicine to help. I have found to also be quiet. However, lately when I say nothing, mom gets in my face and screams at me. So I just leave. I cause her so much stress and it upset me so much that I think it is best not to visit. At least to limit visits substantially.
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Gerip, check out Black Hole's post above yours....
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Reply to mally1
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Another thing you might need to consider is having your parents in separate rooms. That way they can visit each other, but staff can separate them when necessary. It may cut way back on the agitation.
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Reply to PrairieLake
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I have the same issue, it can start off great, " so glad to see you", but then the repetitive questions start and if I say something she does not want to hear, the attacks start along with the tears. It is making me not want to visit, but I have to do the right thing.... I know you mentioned your dad and Reese's, but does Mom have a favorite? Maybe that would help? Believe me you are not alone and good luck.
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srgdean Oct 8, 2018
It's sad. Mom does have a favorite candy, Mounds. She won't eat them most of the time because she thinks they cause cancer.
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When your parents lived in their own home and everyone had all their buttons, did you see them Every Single Day??

Your daily visits to the nursing home are in direct conflict with self-preservation. Could you consider dialing it back to 1x or 2x or 3x per week?

Declining parents can and will suck the life right out of you. It’s time to make self-care a priority.

Less “face time” does not mean you love your parents any less. It means that you are an adult with your own life and your own needs. There’s nothing wrong with honoring that.
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rocketjcat Oct 7, 2018
I don’t have any advice, but just wanted to thank you for the chuckle...I haven’t heard about anyone’s “buttons” in a long time. One of grans expressions.
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From reading your previous posts, it surely sounds like this situation has deteriorated markedly over the past year of posts I re-read. My mother became combative when she suffered from UTIs and in the hospital for a severe one, she attacked the nurses and wound up tied to the bed rails. She got it together, but I know she was “this close” to a Geri Psych facility. We wound up deciding Mom should be tested monthly for UTIs for everyone’s protection. Has the staff mentioned to you that she attacks them as well? People with dementia often target one person.

When you visit Mom, it goes without saying that you need to be cautious and very aware of her mood. If it’s continually a bad one, ask the staff if they can bring your father to the common room for a visit, and bring him all the Reese’s you can carry. (Those are my favorites too!) Have you reported these attacks to the staff? They need to know so they can supervise Mom around Dad.

I’m sure you’ve considered having Mom re-evaluated and having her meds adjusted.
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srgdean Oct 7, 2018
They know she is combative. She has hit dad before. I report it each time. They adjusted her medicine about a month ago but I will mention it again. And thank you for the suggestion about dad coming to the commons area. I had not thought of that.
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I would ask for a consult with a geriatric psychiatrist for meds to help with her anxiety and paranoia.

How often do you visit? Can you say "mom, I need to leave now; I'll come back when you're feeling better".

Her brain is broken but it's hard not to take her verbal attacks personally. Protect yourself from her when you need to .
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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srgdean Oct 7, 2018
I was visiting daily until the last attack which was on Thursday. And I do leave when she starts. I'm going to mention a medications change. Thank you.
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