Do people with Dementia throw food all over the place when they get angry or wield knives?


I told Mom this morning that she needed to eat her oatmeal rather than coffee and cookies. She refused to listen so I picked up the container and set it on the table so she picked up a second container and heaved it across the room tossing muffins all over the dining room in a fit of anger.

Today was weird anyway as she would not sit at the table to eat but took her bowl to the kitchen counter she then took all her eye drops and refused to use them but would not give them back for refrigeration, screaming at me the entire time. Then the tossing of food began. I was so upset that I was shaking and had to call my sister to come to the house to help me as i just couldn't put up with her not listening and screaming at me to shut up and get the hell out of HER house.

I went to my bedroom to calm down and in just a few minutes she showed up with dog food and a knife in her hand. I have been afraid that she was going to stab me someday so when i saw the knife I told her to leave my room, which she eventually did. I have since removed all knifes except one for food preparation.

My sister who lives with us would not come home to help, so I had to pull another sister out of work to come and help me. When she arrived she asked Mom what was going on? Mom replied, "I don't know what is going on around here this morning?" She was meek as a lamb, while I am shaking and have a pounding headache.

I told sister #1 that if I had to pull sister #2 out of work, then I was going to pay her for the time and money she lost today. She has a home and 2 children and her husband is dead. Where sister #1 and I live in Mom's home to care for her. Am I wrong in thinking this is the right thing to do? Sister #1 is upset about it, but she was not willing to leave her job today to come home. I am here every day all day long and I do not get paid a cent and I pay rent and for food. I feel like sister #2 can least afford to lose pay as she has a house payment and two children to care for. What do you think, I need input.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing


Mom was released from the hospital about 2 weeks ago after having gall bladder removal surgery due to stones. Prior to surgery her blood work showed she had some type of infection going on but several tests showed no UTI. We then figured it must have been her gall bladder that was becoming infected but we have no information confirming that hypothesis. She may have something else going on somewhere else in her body that is unknown to any of us.

The house we are in, does belong to my mother however it was placed in her trust in the early 1990's. My mother would not have been able to keep her home since my father's death if my sister and I had not moved in. Her pension and social security are quite small and she would not have been able to pay to keep this house and property going. Strike that, she would have had to use every cent of her savings to continue living here. With us moving in it allowed her to keep her savings in place.

I feel like scales have fallen off my eyes because I now wonder why it is that I am paying rent or even for food, when I am the only sibling providing 24/7 care to my mother. If I wasn't here they would have to pay someone to do it, so they could keep their jobs. I have basically given up my life to live a life of poverty to save my mothers savings, so my siblings can each take a share.

I thought I had stupid, uncaring, siblings. Turns out I guess they are not the stupid one.

Mom is not currently on medication as all medications thus far have acted the reverse on her and she becomes about 50 times worse and hallucinates. We have an appointment with a geriatric group called S+AGE next Monday to see what they can do to help us. I am at my wits ends and when she gets crazy I begin shaking like a leaf anymore. I just cannot continue to handle this behavior at this level. Today she is meek, but she was about 15 minutes after the "attack" yesterday as well. I told my sister that I have envisioned me laying on the floor dead with blood everywhere and Mom "waking up" holding the knife wondering what happened! My 21 year old daughter told me last night that she has had the same exact worries. This is why all knives had to leave the house yesterday.

Sister #1 was substituting in a classroom yesterday so she was unable to come home, but she ALWAYS has an excuse for not helping if SHE would have to leave her job. She does not mind throwing it off on sister #2 however who also has to work, is a widow, has 2 children and is struggling to hold on to her house. While sister #1 and I live here with Mom paying much less each month that sister #2 and sister #1 has no children to worry about they are grown and gone.

In reality I don't want to have to pull either one of them from their jobs and I haven't for 7 years but things are changing and Mom either has to have medication or I need in home help or Mom has to go to a nursing home. Mentally, physically, emotionally and financially, I can't keep doing this alone, nor should I have to. If i am wrong or someone sees a flaw in my thinking, please tell me.
Helpful Answer (0)

You should be compensated for the care you provide. payment to her for room and board?You need to think about what the cost of her care in a facility would be, you should at a minimum receive that! Home care is very expensive about $9,000.00 a month in my area. Get an attorney to draft a care agreement that is in compliance with Medicaid regulations. You should definitely not be paying room and board! What you are not being paid and what you are paying for R&B is the equivalent of giving your siblings a monetary gift that they will receive on your moms death. If this happens again you should call emergency 911, she needs sedation until they figure out what is wrong. Neither of you are safe in this situation.
Helpful Answer (0)

I hope it is a UTI, because that is simple to deal with.
A scary situation, you needed backup and sis #1 bunted. Sorry, yes if you can afford to pay sis #2 and it won't hurt her feelings / pride do so, else maybe gift her a gift cert. you intention is noble, you know her best, you will do the right thing.
BTW, maybe sis #1 was under a lot of work preassure, and just could nt break away.
If mom continues to have rage incidents consult the MD, hiding the knives is neither practical, nor a solution......she could charge you with a lamp, potato peeler, etc.. Many household objects can become weapons, even muffins!

Best of luck to you
Helpful Answer (0)

I got my leg broken by a charge that had an undignoised UTI.... I tried telling the family that something besides the Alz. was going on.... she had her moments.... all the knifes were put up... thank God,,, the night she broke my leg she was looking for a knife.... she shoved me down..... and pop went the bone.... and she was kicking me while I was down..... in the long run to this day I walk with a limp and would implore you to at least get her to a Dr. ASAP, to find out what is going on.....UTI's are deadly to our elders.... and not so healthy for the caregiver either.... let us know what you find out..... and put up anything that she can harm you with....
Helpful Answer (2)

Next time she comes at you with a knife, call 911 and put a locked door between you and her. This is well beyond Dementia.
Helpful Answer (1)

Fortunately, I never experienced Mom throwing food or waving knives around. She has arm wrestled me to take more medicine 5 minutes after the first dose, and she has hit me a few times (what fun!). Above mentioned concern by Jeanne about a possible UTI is very possible - it can cause some crazy behavior without the usual symptoms younger women experience. Only other suggestion I can think of is to get the child-proof cabinet locks for all kitchen cabinet doors and drawers, including under the sink , utility closets, and medicine cabinets. Try to minimize her access to anything potentially harmful to herself or others.
Helpful Answer (1)

Your mother's behavior is consistent with having dementia. Is this behavior new? If so, you might want to have her checked out for a UTI -- such an infection can cause irrational behavior even in elders who do not have dementia.

I think that you, your sisters, and your Mom, need to see an Elder Law attorney and work out a fair arrangement -- fair to each of you and to mother. The two of you who do caregiving should be compensated for it ... you getting more if you do the most work. When the third sister must give up a day of work, there should be some agreement in advance of if/how that will be compensated. It is not selfish to expect to be paid for this care -- it is practical and realistic.

After you figure out how to handle the financial situation currently, then I think you need to also think ahead. If Mom's behavior continues to deteriorate, and especially if you fear for your safety, it may be best for everyone to place her in a care center that is equipped to deal with these behaviors. So that you aren't all scurrying around in a crisis, planning ahead now is wise. If you never need to place her, so much the better, but being prepared is prudent.

Have you discussed Mom's behavior with the doctor who is following her dementia? Is she on any medications that can help?

Who owns the house you are living in?

Have you had any training, read books, attended support groups, etc. for caregivers of those with dementia? Avoiding a contest of wills would probably help. If you are serving oatmeal, don't have cookies on the table. If Mom wants cookies, you could say, "Yes, I've got some really nice cookies for our mid-morning snack." Frankly, I'd let my Mom eat cookies before I'd get into a "you have to do what I say" confrontation with her. I am NOT trying to say this was your fault. Really. But I suggest it might help if you understood a little more about dementia and how to handle it.
Helpful Answer (1)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.