Is negativity somehow inherent in dementia?

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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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