Follow
Share

My Mother has a series of health problems, COPD, scoliosis which has curved her spine, and vascular dementia, along with other age related problems. She falls a lot and needs to have someone around. She is alert and aware, but has memory issues. Currently she is living in a group home with five other ladies. Two residents just moved in, one, with Alzheimer's and one with advanced dementia. She does not get along with them and complains about them often. My mother has a temper and can easily get angry but has never been physical with any one at the group home. Yesterday she had an argument with one of the new residents over kleenex. She picked a box of kleenex up from another resident's side table and took it back to her chair. Then she began walking to the dining room. The newer resident (with Dementia) followed her to confront her for taking them. My mother began yelling at her - at this point the resident (who is larger and more mobile) grabbed and pulled my mother's hair! The fight was broken up and they are taking steps to make sure this doesn't happen again. Video was reviewed and a report has been made. Although she wasn't seriously injured I am upset that it happened and worried for her - she could have been hurt. I have been told that she started it by yelling and getting in the other woman's face. I feel like the home staff are blaming my mom for this happening.


The home is comfortable and clean and for the most part very nice. The owner really seems to care about the residents. Mom has said she still wants to stay there and didn't even want to talk about the incident with me. Having her with me is not a good option, but money is limited. I have been to so many places that are either too expensive or just awful. I want to do what is right for her.


Has anyone ever had an experience like this? If so, what did you do? I am keeping her there for now and monitoring the situation. I also am considering having her see the doctor for medication as she has been getting increasingly agitated and angry. She doesn't have a UTI, and is not ill at the moment. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I want to do what is best for her and protect her but I suspect that this happens in other places too - even with caregivers at home and I am overwhelmed.

Find Care & Housing
My mom is in memory care and there are always little skermishes between the residents. Dementia seems to make them easily frustrated and angered and they act out, similar to those on the autism spectrum. (I have a son with Asperger's.) My mom has been pushed or swatted at times but knowing how aggravating she can be with the "I'm always right" attitude, I imagine she pushed someone's buttons. As long as there has never been any serious injury, I haven't worried over much. Now there was a woman at the facility last year who was about a head taller than all the others and had a good 50 pounds on most of them and she was extremely combative. My mom was visibly afraid of her. After she sent a couple of residents to the hospital, I complained, as did several other residents' family members, and her family was advised that if she were to stay, she would need a personal aide during the day to keep her out of trouble - at the family's expense. She left the facility after a couple of months and has since passed away. If you move your mom from her familiar and very pleasant sounding surroundings, there is no guarantee she won't encounter another resident she won't get along with. It just seems to be the nature of folks with dementia to squabble and pick at each other - usually for something very trivial - but to them it seems extremely important. As long as the manager and employees of the facility are keeping an eye on things, I wouldn't worry too much.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to lablover64
Report

Let’s remember what we are dealing with. DEMENTIA. All bets are off. Expect the unexpected, it’s going to happen. Expect changes in personality. And,unfortunately, expect childish behaviors, which can include violence. It’s part of the disease.
Now notice that I said to expect these behaviors, not to put up with them or ignore them. Ask the facility what plan they have in place to deal with these behaviors and keep all the residents safe. Keep asking, be an advocate for your loved one.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to anonymous763470
Report

So the facility was okay that the other woman got physical because your mom yelled. I have to say that the other woman confronting your mom started it.

Physical violence is never acceptable and I hope that the facility doesn't make excuses for this person. Stuff happens to all of us everyday that could be a justification for physical violence based on what they said.

I hope that it is all good and this person can keep her hands off others. What a challenge for her family.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report
anonymous763470 Feb 21, 2019
While this is an upsetting event, It’s highly doubtful that the facility is okay with violence. Dementia patients can turn on a dime, it’s part and parcel of the disease. Dementia patients no longer have control over their thought process, often the areas of their brain which control impulses are affected. For lack of a better term it’s brain damage that gets worse and worse. The sooner we all realize this the better.
(1)
Report
Autism is a neurological problem and so is Dementia. They both need structure. (I have ADHD and ADD in my family) Autism can be worked with, Dementia can't be. There is no conditioning with Dementia. The short term is gone. They no longer can be taught. Mom probably has forgotten the incident.

You need to understand that those with Dementia become like children. No one knows what a person with Dementia/ ALZ is going to do. It may be found that the new resident can't stay if they can't do anything about her violent tendencies.

This could happen in an AL or a NH. A very unpredictable desease.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
DesertGrl53 Feb 20, 2019
That's certainly true... the good news about working with a kid with ADHD and autism is it can and does get better. Age-related dementia doesn't. I apologize for my long-winded rambling, btw, sometimes I get a little carried away. 🙄
(0)
Report
See 3 more replies
In visiting with my friend this evening I was amazed to learn how many of her mom's behaviors sounded like my grandson's when he first came, at age 6, to live w my husband and me. He has ADHD and is on the autism spectrum. As we compared notes it was interesting to see similarities, esp before my boy got medicated for the ADHD and we adjusted his diet by putting him on an all-natural, whole-food diet. In other words, for example, he could have fresh or frozen fruit but not a commercially prepared popsicle. He could have all-natural peanut butter with no additives but salt, but not the popular sweetened, emulsified, stabilized brands. It made a huge difference! Both her mom and my (unmedicated) boy would totally fixate on something they wanted that they can't have at that moment, for example, and you can't distract them from it. My boy would whine and yell and cry and beg and plead and threaten and cajole and complain and negotiate... I would send him to his room for an hour and when he came out he'd start all over again. I'd smack his fanny, he'd cry, and then continue. Never saw anything like it. Could NOT, would not take no for an answer. And no he didnt win but it was exhausting. Now my friend says her mom does the same thing. On and on it goes. Exhausting! I used to (in my mind) call this boy a "crying drunk" bc he acted this way whenever he got into some sugar. He eats better now (he's12) and the problem is pretty much gone, thank goodness, though I do challenge him with a sugary snack from time to time. I wonder how much a truly healthy, all-natural, whole-food, sugar-free diet would help with certain forms of dementia?
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to DesertGrl53
Report

They get weird. They do. Someone recently posted it is like an autistic spectrum.

Some become racist. Some anti Semitic. My mom went to admins when new owners took over and inquired about " the jews" taking over. That's not my mom. Never was.

She did check herself and said I should have not said that. But in a year, who knows. We were not raised like that. Ever.
I Was so mortified to find that out.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Segoline
Report

Thank you. I believe it is more the new resident, but a little of it is her dementia getting worse. We are monitoring it and hopefully it won't get worse.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to tdkblu
Report

In her later years, my mom (with dementia) became very combative with staff, residents and on occasion, me as well. Urinary tract infections added to the behavior so she was tested regularly for them. Mom slapped her roommate once because the poor lady had short hair and Mom, who for some reason developed a fear and dislike of men as she aged, thought this lady was a man. She also started a fight with a man in the hallway and got pushed by him against a wall.

I trusted the facility to handle it and they did. They reviewed the videos, questioned the staff and the residents involved. Mom saw the psychiatrist on site. Unfortunately, this happens. If your mom’s combativeness gets truly out of hand, speak with her doctor to see if an anti anxiety medication might help.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Report
tdkblu Feb 18, 2019
Thank you for the encouraging words. Her doctor is prescribing her an anti-anxiety med. Hopefully she will feel better soon.
(1)
Report
Definitely check with her doctor - that's a low-risk, low-effort step in trying to figure out what to do next. Agitation and anger could be from a lot of different issues, best to try to figure that out and not just assume it comes with the territory.

I can understand that you might be very worried. Your mom might have "started it" but the other resident didn't have to respond with physical violence. The problem might be multiple problems - both your mom's changing affect and the new resident being prone to physical violence.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Kittybee
Report

It might be helpful to think about whether the ‘problem’ is your mother’s increasing anger or the new resident – or perhaps both. For your sake I hope that it is not your mother. Violence is one of the hardest things for a facility to cope with, other than by over-medicating.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
Report

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter