Has had UTI's but not currently -- first thought that was the problem but it seems now the nasty attitude to everyone is constant. Do not know if these are thoughts she has always had and has now "lost her filter". Nursing home aides say she knows what she is doing.

Find Care & Housing
Well, you can always walk away.

If they truly don't know what they're saying, the filter is GONE, and the comments are cruel and cutting, or too 'close to the bone' can either attribute it to the dementia and continue on or you can set better boundaries.

My MIL has mild dementia--I think. She has always hated me and has kept her horrid hurtful comments on the sly--just pinching my upper arm and hissing in my ear....w/o a witness, nobody believed me. I just ended up crying every time I'd be around her for any length of time. It was like being in a cage with a snake---you were always on guard.

Couple years ago, she just 'lost the filter' and in front of the whole family. Just let it all rip. She is quite deaf so she talks LOUDLY. She started in on something that I had done well over 30 years ago---and wouldn't shut up. My niece was standing there crying saying "Grandma, shut UP! Stop it!" I was just stunned. She wouldn't stop and it got funny/ugly. I took my plate and dumped it in the trash and went in the house and said to my SIL, 'take me home, I cannot do this'. He hugged me so hard and said "You go, she wins. Go out and I got your back".

I DID go back, she had quieted down and I think my BIL had spoken harshly to her, she left shortly thereafter.

For all my DH has stated she isn't 'responsible' for what she says, as he thinks she has dementia, I said "So, for the past 40 years she's had dementia? No, sir, she's MEAN". The dementia she now exhibits is probably legit, but still very hurtful. She doesn't even TRY to cover it up.

All it has done for her is cause her to have zero friends. She is housebound and an angry, hateful woman. Sadly, I think many dementia patients become just MORE like they were before. Sweet people get sweeter, mean angry souls get angrier. Just my opinion.

Hard as it is, the 2 choices you have are to deal with the dementia, the whole ball of wax that it is, or you cut ties. I sound mean, but why should I continue to take hatred and vitriol from a woman who has hated me with a passion for 44 years??

And she is going to. live. forever.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Midkid58
LoriinAZ Jul 31, 2019
Boy do I understand. No matter how much you try to not let it get to you, when they get really personal and say horrible things, how do people just let that go? I get super hurt, cry, yell, defend myself, leave, everything! I think some people (before dementia) are just mean and should be held accountable to their behavior. This new development with your MIL is just that she is louder and has lost her filter - but still mean. I, for one, am glad others see it now and that you have been validated. I hope now you have more support from family members.
See 1 more reply
I went through this. My mother passed earlier this year.I personally think that it's in them, and when the filter has holes caused my dementia, that all rules go out the window. Thoughts and feeling they have come full circle, thoughts come up and come out. I won't tell you not to take it personally ( my skin wasn't that thick either), because it is. Just love them the best you can, and love yourself too
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Loosingit
Wjared99 Aug 3, 2019
I agree the filter is gone because id the dementia. My mom was always with little filter, said things to me as a child that I would "never" say to my child or another person. She passed in December 2018 and was ugly, throwing food, drinks at me, telling me to go to hell when I would try to get her to eat. 12/18 hospice called that she was unresponsive, I rushed there, spent the day with her, called our church, preacher visited, prayed over her. I made a 2nd trip bringing my son to see her. I got a call the next morning of her passing. With all this said I share one of the caregivers at the facility told me of my mom breathing real heavy the night before. This caregiver is a friend, had witnessed much of my mom's ugliness, told my mom rest easy, your daughter forgives you. She passed hours later, this makes me think she did know (maybe as an after thought) that she was ugly to me. The filter is broken, walk away and try a visit again another day. This does is so hard on all concerned.
Well, lots of good answers . For Midkid58, You are absolutely correct, about people just becoming "more" of whatever they were before. That is exactly was I was taught in my Growth and Dvelopement Psych class in college years ago. Aggressive folk become more aggressive. Cheap and stingy folk become more cheap and selfish, timid become more timid and frightened. That part is fairly "normal" or at least expected. It's when dementia sets in that they lose control of it, and start behaving in socially unacceptable ways.

When I started nursing , I quickly learned to just shrug off the horrible things the demential patients said. ( "Get your ugly face out of here.", "You're FAT", "I'll bet your sleep with all those men.", and worse, much worse. ) But even after years of such abuse, (which nurses are expected to tolerate) one elderly woman really got to me, when she growled at me: " I hope your find your children dead in the street ! " Wow. That felt like someone had punched me. (Which other patients actually had done, without bothering me much at all.) This knocked me for a loop. I had to ask one of the other nurses to step in and take my place, to finish cleaning up her incontinent mess in the bed.

So don't expect so much of yourself. Sometime even folks with years of experience handling this kind of thing, have a hard time with it.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to DoingbestIcan

A good education on Dementia will help you deal with bad behavior in a loved one. I am sorry but nursing home staff are not fully educated on Dementia. Short term memory is usually the first to go, and can snowball from there. It is extremely frightening for someone suffering from this disease. Imagine that you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a pond and are being dragged under the water an inch at a time. you can see the shore but it is fading and you think you are yelling for help but everything is coming out scrambled. Now your getting mad because you see people you know and they are just letting you drown. Why don't they do something? Now all of a sudden you are somewhere else and you can't remember where you just were and it is disorienting, what is going on? Oh no your in the middle of a pond slowly drowning. You can see people next to you and hear people you know.( you get the picture>) It is hard when your body starts to trap you in your own mind.
Live in their reality, be patient, don't react to bad behavior and don't take it personally. It is the disease that you are dealing with not them. Change the subject. Or simply walk away.
My mom would get mad at me for all kinds of stuff, I would walk around the corner, put my hair up or change my shirt and come back and she would think that I was someone else and complain to me about That Other Woman. So when I had to do something she didn't like I would put my hair down and wear that same shirt. Then and come back with my hair up and she would be all happy again. It is a mater or trial and error for everyone. Hang in there and never stop loving those who need you. Make sure you take long breaks.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to llmusick

As difficult as it is you have to remind yourself that it is the broken brain that is saying these things.
And dementia will cause people to loose that "filter" that prevents us from saying things that we would later regret or doing things that you would not normally do. But age can do that somewhat as well.
Some strategies you might try...
If you are not occupied with direct care at the time just get up and leave the room.
Ignore what is being said and just pick up a book or a magazine.
If you can try earbuds and listen to music or a book that might block out some of the "nasty". This might work because you can still hear if something is amiss but the music filters to some degree.

I am surprised at the comment from the Nursing Home employees. I would not say any dementia patient is aware of what he or she is saying at any given time. Or them may know WHAT they are saying but not WHO they are saying it to. If this person is saying that you are beating them and lying and stealing from them it may be possible that someone in their past has beaten them, lied to them and stolen from them and they think YOU are that person and they are reliving the experience again. If the person said you have been pinching them it might be that when they are being helped from the bed to a wheelchair or toilet that an aid grasped them and it hurt. This might e the way they are trying to communicate that they have been hurt by a caregiver in some way. There is no telling what the meaning behind an outburst is. But if it has nothing to do with you ignore it and try not to let it get in your head. Just tell yourself this is coming from the broken brain of someone you care for.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Grandma1954

Dealing with a dementia patient is much different than with a family member -

dementia has not exacerbated my mother's prior personality - it has flipped it upside down -
this was a woman who loved to laugh and talk with everyone now she's afraid of everyone - her best defense is her mouth and what comes out of it isn't too pleasant

yes, there are some folks who turn into sweet lil old ladies but most do not - they do hit, pinch, kick, hiss, spit and bite and cuss like sailors and say mean hurtful things - why?
their brains are not working properly, they're afraid, hurt and frustrated

after two years now of being bedridden, my mom still thinks she's being assaulted during diaper changes -
the experienced staff who know her will either laugh or say you can kill me tomorrow, or I can't hear you or give her a minute and try to soothe her
and when the job is done, mom will look at them and say you're lovely - I love you
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to MsMadge

We remind our mother that what she has said is hurtful, and not a nice thing to say. When she further states that she doesn't care, we say that we care about her and wouldn't say or do anything that would in kind, hurt her.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to GammiesMind1923

First ignore it. Do NOT take it personally or let it hurt your feelings.

That may be hard at first, but if the person has a level of dementia that keeps them from "knowing" what they're saying, then you really can't listen to the crazy talk.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to againx100

Sounds like a normal stage to go through. As you say when social filters are lost reality comes out. You can try the child treatment of simply saying "that is not acceptable" every time she says something, otherwise choose either to ignore it or to walk away.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to TaylorUK
Sunflower17 Aug 3, 2019
good answer, I would also tell her," I am sorry YOU feel that way."
Wow, I had no idea. I think my Mom has dementia or alzheimers. I noticed when my Dad first had his stroke (four months ago) that she was so nervous (she's always been a worry wort) that she would constantly repeat conversations. Dad died just a couple of weeks ago. She still constantly repeats stuff. And I know she's had UTIs in the past but I didn't know it could cause similar symptoms. She doesn't want to go to a doctor anymore. I think she just wants to be with Dad. And my oldest brother who has DPOA says he wants her to be able to do as she pleases. I don't disagree but its hard to be with her. When I visit (I live in Houston - they're in Nola) she's so happy to see me and when I leave she's almost crying and telling me she's gonna miss me. But the weird part is during my visits, she makes little comments that hurt. I'm not sure she even realizes. It's very hard. But I just keep telling myself - she's your live 350 miles away. Be patient and kind. But its still hard.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to LDdaughter
Rocky1121 Aug 3, 2019
Yes it hurts, but try to ignore it. This is not the person you remember from the past. She is a totally different person now. Rest assured, all the love, care and little things she did for you while growing up, you remember of her, are not the present. Keep those things safe. Remember her fondly and DO NOT resent her for how she is now. I'm going through this right now! My husband was the sweetest person and still is most times, but his anger can flare at any time. I either walk away or a smile and agree or change the subject. I'm learning what works and what does not. I love this man and would do anything for him. I DO stand my ground and work around problems with his daily care. I hope I never resent this person who has shown me so much love and caring! It's always a work in process, isn't it? I wish you well and blessing, while you continue to care for her!
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter