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Mom got violent and didn't recognise me-Had to Call 911
Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 5:48 AM
Joined: 1/3/2012
Posts: 44

I've recently posted that my 89 year dad who was taking care of mom with ALZ is in icu on a breathing tube.  He probably will not make it.  I was taking mom to visit everyday.   Maybe I shouldn't have?  She flipped out last nite.  Didn't recognise me. It happened a couple of nites this week but I could subdue her.  Last nite I was afraid since it went so long.   On the street I practically had to drag her.  She was calling for the police when we got home.  Horrible.  No remembrance of me her only daughter.  Right now I'm waiting for the all the tests to be looked at.  Will she ever remember me?  I feel terrible that I can't take her to see her husband-my father.  What phase is this?  I was planning on a mix of day care and home care and now I don't know.  I didn't want it to get to a point of sedating.    She seemed to be manigable on exelon, namenda and paroxitene.  She would get the blues but nothing like this!  Kicking me, and screaming.  I tried to tell her I was a friend, but nothing seemed to shake her.  Thank god the police were understanding.  What do I do now?
Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 5:54 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 393

I don't have an answer for you - just wanted to say how sorry I am that you are going through this. No doubt, this would be overwhelming at any time, but with your dad's condition too...well, here's a (((((((hug)))))).
Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 7:26 AM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 276

Dear dagnabit so sorry you haveing such a rough time. My mom had many times not recognized me or my sister and would become very combative. I dont know what phase to tell you she in other than to say its 1 of the phases many go thru. I would wait and see what all tests show. Had my mom with me till it all became 2 much trying to keep her safe and healthy as well as myself, had 2 place her in a lock ALF, with meds. she still has many times that she doesnt have a clue who we are, but not so many violent outbursts. And i have noticed her outbursts are usually from not feeling well, fear or some1 has approached her in a way she felt as threatening. My mom is a stage 6 . Every1 is different and every situation is different. I wish you the best with your parents. Remember you are not alone.Though i know it feels like it, every1 on this sight is a great support . Again im sorry you are going thru all this and i send hugs and best wishes,
Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 8:09 AM
Joined: 12/2/2011
Posts: 726

Maybe you could give a call to the Alzheimer's Association 24/7 Helpline (800-272-3900).  Sounds like you need some immediate help and guidance.
Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 8:33 AM
My heart is breaking for you. I am so terribly sorry. 

I think the first thing to let go of is the idea that she needs to visit him anymore. It sounds like it was agitating and overwhelming for her.

Stay strong. You are not alone.
Cheryle Gardiner
Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 9:30 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 529

I agree with Alpha Leah about the visits. The trips to the hospital, the confusion there, and seeing her husband in such bad shape are all probably contributing to her upset. 

I am so very sorry that you are going through this, especially without support. As hard as it would be, could you possibly get her into respite care for a few days? Or hire someone to stay with her while you spend time with your dad? This must all seem like a nightmare to you, but you need to find a way to take some of the stress off of yourself.

Please come here as often as you need to. We are here.
Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 10:05 AM
Joined: 1/3/2012
Posts: 44

Thanks for all the suggestions.  Right now being that it is Saturday and I was in the process of getting the power of attorney, I am waiting in the emergency room for a screener that will place her  in a hospital until I get the POA on monday.  I really learned that if you have a loved one with ALZ  get the POA immediately because if something major happens you are stuck without it.  The one we discovered was the paroxetine she was prescribed said "to be taken at night"  and the ER doc didnt think this was right.  Not sure if taking it in the morning would help much.
Stephanie Z
Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 10:36 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4218

Hi Dagnabit, Would you share more of the specifics about what was happening when she became aggitated? Where were you, what was going on, what, if anything were you trying to get her to do? What was her objection?

Asking because it might be helpful in determining how to handle future problems.


Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 2:41 PM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 240

I'm surprised your mom didn't flip out sooner. Visiting someone in ICU is hard to deal with. All the noises, activities, sick patients, causes overwhelming  anxiety.


Your mother is in shock, she is dealing with seeing her husband interbated in an ICU, so of course she flipped out. Without having AD all that is extremely stress producing. Add AD to that mix and they aren't capable of handling all those thoughs and feelings.


It's all too scary for her to deal with. Treat her ability to process fear as you would a 5 year old.


I had a sick father, always in and out of hospitals. My mom has AD, at a certain point I would not let her visit. She couldn't handle it, and there was nothing she could do for him anyway. I would use the fib, there is a nasty infection running around the hospital, you can't visit or you will catch it....I have to protect your health. My mother bought that lie very easily.


The truth is that when our parents get AD, they become the children we never had. Having to parent your parent is a very weird and uncomfortable role reversal. I do it but it feels foreign to me.


Both my parents were very lucky that they didn't have to deal with sick parents. I am not so lucky. Between both of my parents, I have all diseases covered (including cancer) except for diabetes.


I could write a Fodor's guide on NY hospitals, as I have walked the corridors of more of them then I care to remember.


Lucky for you, that your mother didnt' freak out in the ICU. Leave her at home, you have more than enough to deal with, you don't need to make it any worse for yourself.



Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 3:18 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 3568



I agree about your mother being like a little child.  My mother got there as well.


Maybe your mother will settle down again soon. Sometimes a tranquilizer is needed when a person has an extreme reaction.  That doesn't mean you will need to keep using it.  Of course, check with your doctor for help with that.


I'll never forget the night that my mother thought we were keeping her away from her sisters.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  I just told her I'd call her sisters for her.  She didn't remember a thing in the morning. 


Hope today was better.


God's Peace Veronica


Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 3:30 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 108

if you live in a compassionate state, you would be amiss if you do not try medical cannabis.  without it, mom hits, scratches, bites, kicks, she is a different person.  with it she has the best quality of life imagineable with this disease. 


her dr. (who does not typically perscribe cannabis), said she wished all her AD patients were on medical cannabis for quality of life.  for your mother"s sake, please try.


and to administration:  sure miss the old format which allowed us to say where we are living.

Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 4:13 PM
Joined: 1/3/2012
Posts: 44

well something to think of, but NJ is still in the process of setting up their system for medical cannabis.
Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 5:32 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 799

Any chance your Mom can be sent to Ramapo Ridge?


My mother was there.  As much as I hated the idea of a psych hospital, they have a Dementia wing.  I thought they were terrific, once I learned to stand back and let them do their job!

Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 6:22 PM
Joined: 1/5/2012
Posts: 10

DagNabIt -You are facing so many major stressors right now. My heart goes out to you. 

  My loved one would get massive anxiety attacks and freak out, become combative because her brain just could not process overloads of information, sensations, and vibes from other people. If I was upset, she picked up on it and escalated to a catastrophic reaction. Not her fault.

I called the police numerous times. They have training in interacting with dementia patients. The police would take her to the ER, then the ER would refer her to the psych unit.

What helped her and helped me was the psych ward at one of the hospitals has staff specially trained to interact with dementia patients. The doctors, also highly trained in dementia care, would work to stabilize her on appropriate medications, and discontinue some that were not helping.  Anti-anxiety medication and a mild muscle relaxant med finally calmed her down. This process would take a week or two, then I brought her back home.

Medicare pays for this type of care.

 Not as final and stressful as having to consider LTCF.

Posted: Sunday, January 8, 2012 9:09 AM
Joined: 1/3/2012
Posts: 44

Marjk wow!  They have moved my mother from Englewood ER to Ramapo Ridge.  I am waiting toset up a guardianship or health care proxy to  get her somewhere closer to our home in Fort Lee.  I waiting for her to get settledmin before I Go out there.  I just hope thisnwhole process doesn't push her into completely forgetting who I am.  She barely recognized me last nite driving the very patent hospital guards crazy!   thanks for all the helpful suggestions.
Posted: Sunday, January 8, 2012 9:37 AM
Joined: 12/17/2011
Posts: 108

I thnk after all the dust settles, she will recognize you again ... but it come and goes ... sometimes it goes for longer periods of time ... and it hurts ... but you seem to be doing the right thing.


How is your Dad?  Is he able to talk to you ... or respond in any way? 


Thinking about you ..... Betty

Posted: Sunday, January 8, 2012 10:11 AM
Joined: 1/3/2012
Posts: 44

hi Betty-thank you.  My father has not woken up since his accident of a week and a half ago.  Too much blood in the brain, and at 89 and on blood thinners there is nothing  the docs can do.   I think he has reached the end of his journey.
Posted: Sunday, January 8, 2012 10:35 AM
Joined: 12/2/2011
Posts: 160

I'm so sorry about your father. Blood thinners are indeed a two-edged sword.

Your mother's wild, freaking-out, violent grief is -- well, it's grief. 

Even though it's a horrible shock to you if she doesn't recognize you, remember that you do recognize her. Try to echo her words, her tone (but toning it down just a bit), her rhythm -- in other words, enter her feeling-world and then gradually entrain her closer to your own more socially-acceptable rhythm.

People express fear and extreme grief in many ways. In our white middle class culture, it's usually pretty private and restrained. In other cultures in the United States and certainly elsewhere, it's expected to throw oneself on the ground, flail, scream and scream, hack off one's hair short....act sort of as if one has Alzheimer's.

Don't take everything as "just" Alzheimer's. I had to learn this the hard way with my partner. Especially, think hard before letting anyone try to medicate her out of her feelings of loss and grief. IPerhaps she'll get a wise psychiatrist who says "Yes, I understand that she needs to work through this, but we just want to take the edge off enough so that she can stay home and function OK while she lets these feelings flow...."

But stay on top of this. Using medications to cut off the expression of strong feeling is not healthy, whether or not you have Alzheimer's. This is one thing that I feel passionate about, perhaps as passionate as does Naomi Feil. It's hard to study her books when in the throes of a crisis, but the DVD is faster to absorb, and I certainly recommend both to anyone who is in a less crisis-prone period of caregiving.  Earlier the better.

Posted: Sunday, January 8, 2012 10:40 AM
Joined: 1/3/2012
Posts: 44

i definately agree with you on the meds.  I myself went off paxil many years ago because I wanted to feel everything.  I think my mother is struggling to make sense of her emotions.
Mimi S.
Posted: Sunday, January 8, 2012 10:53 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7035

Hi Dagnabit,

My heart goes out to you. 

You've received lots of helpful advice.

May I just add a personal favorite. Do check Naomi Feil (might be Fiel) and her Validation Method. Read everything on line and meanwhile ask your library to get you a copy. It's hard reading, but worth it. My hope is that word about her method  will spread.

The NE PA Aliz. Assoc. is hosting a day with her on Wed. April 25. It's only about 21/2 hours from the GW bridge. Contact for further information.

Stephanie Z
Posted: Sunday, January 8, 2012 11:55 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4218

Hi Mimi, Just a word about Naomi Fell, she started working with validation therapy at least 20 years ago and is well known in the dementia care community. Long term care staff would benefit from learning her methods, but for them time is a factor so we have used validation in everyday conversation and whenever we are able rather than the method you see in the video on her website.

For families who have more time and a more intimate relationship with their LO, validation therapy can be very helpful. It all depends on the patience, understanding and devotion of the caregiver. It's a great way to connect to the late stage resident who may have moments of clarity.