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I am currently living with my mother (she's 72) and she has developed the tendency to go into violent rages in response to any argument. She has severe bone loss and arthritis, and if I so much as grab her hands to stop her, she screams out at the top of her lungs that I am hurting her. So I just go limp and let her take out her frustration on me until she stops (at least to catch her breath!) so I can get away from her. I myself am no spring chicken, and am on disability with spine/disk issues and chronic pain. Being flung around like a ragdoll isn't exactly helping. My mom is 4'9" and 90 lbs. soaking wet, or this would probably be much, much worse, but she IS hurting ME. Her own mom had Alzheimer's, and she seems to be having some cognitive difficulty. How can I find out if she has Alzheimer's if she refuses to be tested by a doctor?

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Ha ha, sorry I'm laughing, vw9729; it's not that there's anything at all wrong with your proposal about the weekly pill box. That was the very first thing I DID suggest, and shockingly, my mother bought the pillbox. Heck, sometimes, she even deigns to use it! But only sporadically, so you can imagine what help THAT is. I offered to set it up for her each week. She won't let me. I asked her to go over her meds with me, so I can make a sort of easy-to-understand graphed list on the computer (which I can then email to HER for her to use on HER computer.) No dice. She complains constantly how confused she is about her meds, but won't let me help. That would mean admitting I am not the stupid, horrible person she likes to make me out to be. It also would mean actually giving me access to what she's got, AND what she takes/how/when. Perhaps she really is hiding something. I will take your advice about giving them a written note (perhaps I can slip it to a nurse when mom is busy with the doctor) and getting the doc's attention that way. It shouldn't be too hard, since I accompany her to all her doctor appointments. I hope she's scheduled to see him soon. If not, I may just send him a letter by regular mail. She sees/hears all my phone calls, so this may be the only way. Thanks much, ChristinaW, for your suggestion about the prescription check. I'll put that suggestion in my letter to her doctor. Thanks to everyone again for all your helpful suggestions! Everyone has been so kind and helpful, and I am so glad I joined this site. Already, my interactions with my mom have been smoother, just by knowing I have this kind of help and support.
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Sometimes what is necessary is a trip to the primary care doctor, sometimes their receptors and stuff are not working in the brain and off label uses for Zoloft 25 mgs. are for that. God Luck
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Petunia - only you truly know your situation and whether you should talk to her doctor. I used to talk to my mother-in-law's all the time because I would go back with her. If I didn't feel comfortable talking about whatever the problem was in front of her, I would type it up and either fax it or hand it to them when I got there. If a patient has Dementia or mental issues, doctors are more accomodating in sharing information with family to a certain extent. But what you've told us in my opinion definitely sounds like she may need help with her medicine. Plus, if you are living with her and she gets sick and rushed to the hospital - you will be asked what medicine she is on. So it might be best to talk to her about how you would like to help her by get a weekly pill box that has AM/PM (and 3 times or 4 times a day are also available) and place her medicines in it. That would help her with any confusion she might be having as to whether she's taken this or that yet - plus lets you know if she is taking her medicine or overmedicating too - which is important. And this will help her as you will know when she is in need of a refill also. As far as what medicine she is taking - if I were you, I would not be too judgmental about that. If she thinks she needs Xanax, then she needs Xanax. Plus, usually a doctor wouldn't prescribe it if he didn't think she needed it - so she must need it. And if you complain about the medicines she is taking, she is even more likely to not want your help. Just a thought. Good luck!!
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Petunia,
There are all sorts of things that could be happening, maybe she is taking extra doses, especially if she has more than one bottle of same med. I would call her doctor and tell him/her you are concerned. Maybe he will tell her to bring all prescriptions in to do a med check. Not unreasonable. You have my sympathy:)
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Thank you to ChristinaW. I really hadn't thought too much about it until I caught sight of mom rearranging her medications in the medicine cabinet. Holy Cow! I'm surprised she has any room for FOOD in her stomach after taking all these pills! I would like to take your advice, but I'm not sure how. She likes to handle things herself, and considers it none of my business. She also won't take any advice I try to offer. Is it at all likely that her doctor will speak to me about it without my mom being present, if she doesn't want me to talk to him? After all, she's not a child, hasn't been diagnosed with Alzheimer's so far, and has the right to privacy. She actually received a call from her drug coverage company to go over medications, but I feel that this may not be in her best interests. After all, they're making money on her the more drugs she takes. My brother actually told her this without me saying a word, but she won't go to her doctor or anyone else. She has been prescribed Xanax, which she knows I have issues with, and I think she's afraid they'll take it away if she admits dizziness, falling, personality changes, cognitive troubles, etc. She may be afraid also that she'll be diagnosed with Alzheimer's if she goes someplace real for help. Can't say I blame her. Not a pleasant thing to contemplate. Do I have the right to speak to her doctor unbeknownst to her? I know I wouldn't like it, if I were in her place, even if I needed it. Any advice would be appreciated.
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She could be having a reaction to too many meds. Make sure you go over them with same doctor. Myabe she doesn't need all of them. Maximum nutrition may help, too:)
Coconut oil, B complex, etc. Good Luck xo
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A UTI? Really?! Wow. I always say the human body is a weird thing. I don't think doctors know half of what effects even the simplest disease or medication can have on the human body or mind. Thanks to Marsha530 also. I am sorry to hear that the same thing has happened to you. I've heard about the Lewy Bodies type of dementia, and my mother does take more medications than I can count on both hands! I will try to have her checked out. Thanks again for any and all suggestions.
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I have had the same situation with my Grandmother, whom I live with. She is 89 and 130 lbs and has Vascular & Lewy Bodies w/dementia. She is the sweetest lady, however, with her dementia she has had some severe aggression. Usually taken out on me due to the fact I'm her caregiver & am the one with her 99% of the time. I've been hit, kicked, bitten and punched with her closed fist. Normally she would never hurt me, but Dementia/Alzheimer's can definitely cause this kind of behaviour. I would most definitely have her checked out. We discovered that a lot of my Gma's behaviour was due to her having Lewy's and that can cause adverse reaction to certain medications. Since finding that out and changing her meds she has calmed down A LOT! Check your area for groups like Aging and Long Term Care, they can help out a lot with getting help for both of you.
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If this came on suddenly I would also consider the possibility of a uti. This infection can cause extremely strange behavior in elders. It is worth checking out.
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I had the same thought but only with paramedics as opposed to police. When she flies into another rage you could call 911 and they can take her to the ER where she will be evaluated. Once there you can get in touch with a social worker who can tell you if there are any in-home services available and the social worker can even set them up while you're mom is in the hospital. Alot of caregivers have to deal with a combative loved one who has dementia or Alzheimer's but the caregiver is usually stronger and bigger than their loved one so the outbursts/punching/hitting etc. doesn't hit it's mark. If you are being hit you should try to find some help immediately. Being hit is not ok for caregivers regardless of the situation.
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Thank you so much, Jinx4740, for your helpful suggestions. I will definitely try to talk to her doctor, and see if I can find a Visiting Nurse in our area. If necessary, I will call the PD, but I am trying to avoid that.
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It certainly sounds neurological to me! What a horrible situation for you. An extreme option would be to call the cops on her and have her taken to the ER for evaluation. If you can't find any other solution, don't feel bad about using it. No one has the right to hurt you, ad no one is required to take abuse from another.
Does she ever go to the doctor for anything? If so, talk to the doctor first and let him or her know what's going on.
There is nothing to be gained by telling your mother that she is being evaluated for dementia/mental illness.
Could you maybe get a home visit from the Visiting Nurse in your area? Again, don't tell her what's going on.
I've known some nasty elders who improved greatly after being given anti-psychotics. I don't mean that they went into a stupor, but that they seemed much happier and calmer.
Please get help, and start asking everyone - council on aging, doctors, your own doctor, your church - for assistance.
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