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I have read here a lot about patients being negative, and my Dad, 80, whom I believe has alcohol dementia, has become so negative its just unbelievable. He lives in the past and wallows in resentment. Is there something about dementia that causes more negativity? Why doesn't it go the other way, with positively?

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Mood swings are frequent for my mom who is Stage 6. Especially if it deals with money or her house (which is in foreclosure). She is right and everyone else is wrong or they are a crook and trying to steal from her. Paranoia is a daily characteristic that rears it's ugly head. I saw it with her sister and now with her.
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I'm thinking that maybe this desease amplifies the person's general personality. My mom can get agitated and stubborn, but mostly she is very sweet and appreciative. She's a lot like she was before we realized she had dementia or Alzheimer's, but now she's easily confused and forgets things quickly. In alot of ways she's much more affectionate, although she always made me feel loved. I guess she's less inhibited in that regard. So maybe the same thing happens with people who have been irritable, demanding, etc., in the past. It's still there, just worse. Of course, there are always exceptions.
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Well I have to agree with sumlerc! My mum has always been a very negative person thats why my dad left her. he told me once that she spent so much time telling him what she didnt like that he never really found out what she did like!!! I think this has now escalated with her dementia shes worse than before.
Maybe because she is remebering the past alot now and talks about nothing else and its usually the bad times?? I always try and talk to her about her childhood and better times which works.
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Momsy,
It has been a while since my post about the Xanax and the Geriatric PH has put him on Serequil. (sp)
He does OK with it but is still awfully negative. But he always was even when he had all of his mind. I am always amazed at how this man can think of only himself and how he has no regard for anyone else but himself. He rarely thanks anyone for acts of kindness towards him. But looking back at the past 40 yrs of knowing him....I realize this is nothing new. So we just grin and bear it. No fun but nothing else we can do. I wish all of you peace in these difficult times.
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My FIL has always been negative. Now, since he has been in a nursing home, it is magnified times 1000. Any tiny happy moment is GREATLY appreciated and even celebrated. We had one of those moments just last week. The care center he lives in - is WONDERFUL. They plan outings and activities all the time. He NEVER wants to do those things. They are dumb. Why would he do that. and negative negative negative. I said -- SHOOT -- they are part of the bill -- you are paying for them -- you SHOULD go -- at least to get out of here for a bit if nothing else. That evening -- they went to a parade. He didn't want to go - but, maybe what I said had sunk in. Because HE WENT. And turns out -- they didn't just sit and watch the parade -- THEY WERE IN THE PARADE!! They got to throw barrels and barrels of candy down the long winding parade. Wave at people. See people. And Have a sack lunch on the bus. He had a WONDERFUL TIME!! And it was GREAT to see him smile. Just for a moment. It will be a moment we will treasure for a long long time. Now, maybe when the negativity strikes again (and it will) we can think back to this moment. and find a little peace.
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I've wondered that myself. My mom is super negative, but she has bouts of depression among other things, which definitely make her view of the world less rosy.
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I am trying to deal with my mother's extreme negativity. She was always a positive person, but now, everything is doom and gloom. She won't let me help her solve one problem because she keeps finding more and more problems. I know a part of her behavior is probably due to losses (the loss of my sister five years ago only added to the string of losses that she has experienced in her 76 years) and then when she became ill, no one helped, but me.
I am a licensed therapist so I thought I would be able to help her more than anyone, so here we are. I want her to see a therapist since I have been unable to help, but she refuses.
Her negativity is taking a toll on me, my family and my practice. I remain prayerful. If anyone has any suggestions, I would definitely appreciate it.
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I posted this in another forum on this site (but have not yet figured out how to ever find my way back to things on this site without bookmarking them, or even to find them in a search of the site!)... anyway, see this very interesting Newsweek article (from Sep 2008) in which a woman recounts her experience with her mother's case of "pleasant dementia". (A woman who was unpleasant/unhappy before dementia goes the other way.) I found it fascinating, as it does seem true that the opposite is the norm. (Even sweet and kind folks before dementia seem to typically become wretched to live with.)
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My grandmother died of Alzheimers, and although she had a period of hand-wringing anxiety (this was before any of the Alz. treatment drugs), she mostly got happy. Gone was her OCD tendencies and over-concern about "what people would think". Now her daughter, my mother, is deep into Alzheimers, and the worrying about "worst case scenarios" that drove me crazy years ago is now gone; she can no longer remember cause & effect. I think the various drugs, e.g. Galantamine (Reminyl) & Citalopram (antidepressant), that she's taking helps her to not be anxious (one day when she missed them I seemed to notice). However, my mother and grandmother are quite different from many dementia patients I've seen. It's true that you're a lot more likely to keep them home if they're easy & happy--when they're belligerent or downright aggressive they tend to get sent to someone who "knows what to do with them". After many discussions with many people about it, I think it's true that your deeply ingrained habits--like blaming others--tend to get accented as you have fewer filters to rely on.
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Xanax is a slippery slope for the elderly, especially for people with a history of alcohol addiction. Be careful with this medication. It is only for short term use - no more than a few weeks, and withdrawal symptoms can plague for months. It is a depressant
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I have a 96 yr old patient whom I love dearly. He is in the beginning stages of dementia and is having panic attacks. That's when he gets negative and actually creates situations to get upset about. He now takes a Xanax when he feels panicky and it is helping.
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I have met many people lately who have alz. Each one of them have been very positive -- smiling and happy. They drive their families crazy with their loss of reasoning and wandering, but no one complains of negativity. Maybe, as said before, the negative people stay home or are placed when cgs reach their wit's end.
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If as they say anger is a secondary emotion and that it covers fear, I would bet they are negative. Angry and afraid of losing their minds. And knowing the burden they are becoming and fearing the inevitable. That it is chemical I don't know.
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I'm not sure but I'm told that if negativity was apart of their personality, it greatly magnifies with dementia. I have certainly seen this in my Mom. As soon as I say HI MOM! :)) she starts up with woes and complaints and down right witchyness! Just makes my shoulders drop, wishing I had just kept driving by. At 87 she's not going to change, therefore I'm working on changing me and how I deal with her and dementia. I have a long way to go, sometimes I drive by but 99% of the time, I go and depending on my day, I stay a while or I hug, kiss, redirect, redirect then say, Okay Mom and Dad...I'll see you next time...I love you!
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I have a background in geriatric psychiatry, and subjectively, I've noticed that people really don't change much as they grow older -- instead, they intensify. I've also found that almost everyone has a sense of humor, and respectful treatment works faster than medicine when it comes to calming agitated dementia patients.
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I took care of my mother in law and she had a period of extreme negativity. She had a depression problem before the illness and this exaserbated when she was first diagnosed. It lasted for about a year and she was very mean with everyone. She would be so nice to us to our face and then she would tell anyone who would listen that we stole from her and we mistreated her. I am ill and have a disabled son and it got to the point we had to put her in an assisted living nursing home.
This just broke the family apart also because the rest of the family never came around so they never knew the problems she was having. I don't know if they did think we took her things. She was in a nursing home for over 5 years and the average cost is over $30,000 per year and some years double that when they need more intensive care.
Anyway, I was able to bring her home for her last days. She was at home with us for 12 days and she knew where she was. After that first year, she was really happy. She was the sweetest person I had known. She would still get upset that her other boys didn't have any time for her and she knew they did not come in to see her. She even knew when they didn't buy her a gift for her birthday or Xmas. I would buy for them and keep the tags so she thought they bought her a gift. It saved me alot of aggravation because she would get "stuck" on something like that and it would deepen her dementia. I did whatever I could to make her life happy.
Mom had a male friend and they were constant companions. I would take them and others to dances and dinners and picnics. I would see her all the time so when I did have time when I got really sick, she still thought that she saw me every day.
She would hold my hand and tell me I was her best friend. She would introduce me as her daughter. (She didn't have any). When she passed at home she was having a difficult time and I didn't want my kids or husband to witness that....I got in bed with her and prayed and sang "Amazing Grace" and I told her it was time for her to go see PapPap. I held her close and asked her not to be afraid.
I am grateful for Dementia. The beginning was very difficult but the end was wonderful. Mom didn't focus on all the bad things of her life or the things that she didn't get to do. She was so happy in the end. There were stages and we went through each stage together. I am grateful that I had those end years with her. Would it have been easier if she would have had a sudden death? Yes, maybe. But I can tell you that I wouldn't trade those last years for anything. She shared things with me about her life that I would have never, ever known. I met parts of her personality that I would have never known without this illness. But, I learned even more about myself. I learned that I could be totally selfless. I was willing to clean up anything and do whatever to make her life better. I learned not to focus on tomorrow, next week or next year. I still always worried I just tried not to focus. The only time that matters is right now! This woman blessed my life with her son, my husband and two wonderful children.
Even though things were really difficult in the beginning, she was the center of our lives. She took care of us when she could and we took care of her the last 13 years. She would tell me she hated me and I never did anything for her that first year in the home but she didn't understand what was going on and this wasn't her speaking. She then started to understand and she would say to me that I couldn't take care of her at home. She was dangerous to herself and she would wander so we had to have someone with her 24/7.
I feel blessed that she chose me to care for her.
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Darcy123, maybe the ones who got nicer are kept at home! :)

Seriously, it amazes me that some caregivers in my local Lewy Body Dementia support group do report reasonably upbeated loved ones, and that often the sense of humour hangs in there to almost the end. And some report negativity and even violence where it didn't exist before.

I'm dealing with a couple of health issues myself right now. Nothing life-threatening, but very annoying and limiting. Frankly, I'm crabby and more negative than my baseline personality. I can't imagine how I'd cope with permanent and worsening disabilities and confusion.
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I have wondered that myself. I worked in many nursing homes and have worked with LOTS of dementia patients. The all seem to get more negative... and largely get mean or angry with the disease. I often have families say, "They were never mean like that before!" I have never had a family say... "They have become so nice since the dementia hit!" Never.
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I think it's an individual thing, but the drinking certainly isn't helping. My mother had dementia and she is totally happy! She can get a little worked up when there are too many changes and she's confused, but most of the time she is very happy and pleasant to be around. I'm sorry you are having such a difficult time. Also, what was he like before?
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Negativity does come with depression. I don't think the answer to your dad's mood is that simple, but it may account for some of it. Is you dad still drinking, or has he stopped? People working on their sobriety often had negative attitiudes to deal with. It is call "stinking thinking" and affects both the alcoholic, and the recovering alcoholic. There is a phenomenon called a "dry drunk", in someone who has stopped drinking, but it not dealing with their feelings. Dry drunks have stinking thinking - incredibly negative attitudes. If you dad has dementia, his ability to deal with his feelings is likely impaired. Have you any plans to have him assessed? I would urge you to do so. If he has alcoholic dementia, assessment and treatment in the early stages gives a decent chance of recovery. A proper diet is important, vitamin supplements, and so on, as many alcoholics suffer from malnutrition. Good luck.
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Apparently it is not inherent in dementia -- at least not in all kinds of dementia. My husband was diagnosed with LBD in 2003. He went through a period of mourning when he had to give up driving and sell his beloved sports car, and he did have a period of paranoia and some belligerence. I'm not saying it has been all fun and games living with this disease. But his basic outlook on life has not become negative. In fact, he generally sees the bright side or the best outcome of most situations. Unless he is in pain or dealing with physical symptoms (constipation, a bad cough, etc.) he is pleasant to be around.

I'm not saying that it is not the dementia that causes your dad's negativity. Who knows? I can just say it is not always a component of every kind of dementia.
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