My mother, who has dementia, is verbally abusive to her husband. Is this a hallmark of dementia? - AgingCare.com

My mother, who has dementia, is verbally abusive to her husband. Is this a hallmark of dementia?

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I am wondering if this is a hallmark of dementia? My mother, who is 80 with advancing dementia, has become terribly abusive, both verbally and emotionally, toward my father. He's constantly walking on eggshells around her, hoping to keep her from going on one of her 'rampages'. But she goes off on him several times a week now, almost daily, saying the most terrible things to him, going into emotional rages. Is this something related to dementia? Her outbursts are so extreme and inappropriate I'm starting to wonder if she's just plain going crazy?

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My husband gets nasty with me, especially in the evenings, sundowning. He sleeps most of the day unless we have an appointment, then likes to stay up until the early hours of the morning. He is exceedingly paranoid about anything that has to do with money, insurance, and whether or not we'll be "fired" (meaning evicted from our senior HUD apartment). Often he will be demanding to see financial documents (which I have to explain to him, only for him to forget everything he reads shortly afterward). He will accuse me of "taking" or "stealing" "his" money (by state law the money belongs to both spouses). I'm the one who manages all the family business matters and he is not able to do so now. After the bills are paid for the month (all on the same day) there is a "safety cushion" left in all the accounts. Despite my best efforts, even showing him the daily balance e-mails from the banks, he still thinks there's "nothing" there and we must owe somebody something, I'm hiding something from him, etc., etc., etc. He will start this accusation and interrogation as if I were a criminal. Then, since he doesn't believe me, he'll start cursing at me in his native language and in English. This happens at least two or three times a week. I avoid mentioning anything that has to do with money or insurance whenever possible. Just letting you know that you're not alone.
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My mother was a narcissistic mother and when her dementia hit it was full force. She said the most horrible things and wished us dead. She went into the hospital and they even had to restrain her but once she went on Seroquel and we placed her in a memory care AL she is a sweet old lady now. I hope things work out for you.
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I went through this with my mom. After a while she went to a different stage of her dementia and became much nicer just more confused. As far as getting them to take their prescription medicine to calm them down, make sure it’s crushable and put it in their deserts or other camouflage types of food.
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My Mom is going through the same outbursts and rages right now. It seems to come and go every few months, and then she will settle down, but lately she hasn't settled down. In person I can usually distract her and redirect her attention, but over the phone she is awful to me. Yesterday she called me an A$$hole, and I calmly told her that I was not an A$$hole. Earlier in the day she called wanting to go to the library, and when I told her it was closed she erupted into a screaming rage and I hung up. The memory care facility has permission to give her Ativan if she's really acting up, but they gave it to her one morning before her gym session and she was quite unsteady and almost fell down. We see the neurologist in a couple weeks and I am hopeful that the doc can tweak her medicine so that we can once again have a relatively calm and content phase. I hate seeing her so unhappy, but I know there's not much more I can do. She loves going on outings to the library and gym and movies, but she's starting to completely forget that she's gone to any of her beloved activities, so the only time she seems content is during the outings, and she can't be on outings 24/7. It is not a realistic solution.
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If the Aricept is in pill form, possibly you can crush it and mix it into something she is going to eat. You have to be sneaky sometimes!
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Oh my! I'm overwhelmed and grateful for the support and compassion in everyone's answers - thank you! I had heard that those with dementia can get mean sometimes, but when it happens to you, it can feel so personal and isolated. It's such a help to know we're not alone in this. Like others have echoed here, my mom will not take the Aricept medication she had been prescribed. One of the quirks she's developed in the last year or two is reading all the fine print and warning labels on everything from pills to harmless household items, and then getting very scared and upset by it. I hope and pray that this phase she's going through, with the outbursts and meanness, will let up at some point, as one person pointed out (thank you!). In the meantime I will do what I can to support my dad (and also my mom, although she's refusing to talk to me right now after having a blow-up at me) and will keep reminding myself that these ugly episodes are hallmarks of the disease and not reflective of the mother I remember prior to all of this. Thank you.
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Hopeless...that must've been tough. I'm sorry. It's so extremely difficult to have the ones we love (and who have loved us) say mean things. I find it hard to not get into an arguing match, but I am learning to walk away until my mom calms down.

Praying we can all get through this with grace, perserverence and a whole lot of love.
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Dementia robs everyone: the person who has it, the person taking care of them, and all of those who come in contact. Once dementia takes hold, you are no longer dealing with the parent you have always known. When dementia becomes abusive, it may be best to be in a facility that can be the “bad guy”. Of course, then they will try to guilt you to take them home. But, at least it limits the time you are being abused.
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Yes, this is typical dementia. The person is not who they once were at all. My own late mother called me the most horrible of names-"Hitler" because I had to move in with her from another state and take care of her. I dismissed it, else I would have gone crazy.
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Alderroost, I'm reluctant to share personal stuff, but just want to say that it's uncanny how your situation is so similar to mine. This book helped me a lot:
"Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters" by Susan Forward PhD
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