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dementia-my mom won't help herself and is angry
Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 5:46 PM
Joined: 9/13/2022
Posts: 3

new here and I'm taking care of my mom who's in the early stages of dementia and is irritable, angry, aggressive by slamming doors and yelling at me a lot. She doesn't seem to care about herself or anything when around me. She's nice around others.

I understand to not take it personally but that's a lot of negativity and I'm trying my best to shield myself from it but it can be hard. any suggestions? thanks

Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 5:59 PM
Joined: 5/30/2019
Posts: 463

Learning how to handle the symptoms of this horrible disease, while keeping your own sanity, is not easy. I’ve been dealing with my husband’s Alzheimer’s since 2015. It requires that we deal with the fact that our loved one is not the person we knew. Slowly, he/she disappears and is usually totally unaware of what is happening. Reasoning is no longer an option. Attempts at rational explanation are useless. We learn to lie, make up stories, hide things…all with the aim of keeping him/her safe or calm. They forget just about everything we say and will repeat the same question or comment so many times that you’ll think you’re going nuts.

This is not a disease that any one caregiver can handle. Try to reach out to your local, e.g., county, services. Speak to the doctors in charge of care. Look into people who can come in to give you a break. Be sure legal affairs are in order. Turn to this group with any questions, comments, and rants that hit you. Welcome to the group no one wants to join.

Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 9:42 PM
Joined: 8/22/2020
Posts: 3003

Welcome Dude. Just to help you reframe it a bit: it's not that she won't help herself, it's that she can't. Big difference. It's a terrible disease.
mommyandme (m&m)
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2022 9:12 AM
Joined: 2/16/2020
Posts: 866

You’re the safest person she has to vent at.  She must be beyond frustrated with her situation.  The first thing that comes to mind is to just validate her feelings and actions.  Let her know you’re there for her, unconditionally… (as long as you’re safe) Play her favorite music. Put your favorite music in your ears.  I understand how challenging it is for you, this is a very difficult journey.  Try to find your solid boundaries for times ahead and possibly list your plan A, B and C to deal with them when the line is crossed. 
Glad you’re here and thanks for sharing. 

SonShine Lady
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2022 12:13 PM
Joined: 8/9/2020
Posts: 79

Welcome to the community, TheDude.  The anger and aggressiveness plus paranoia were some of the first symptoms my mother exhibited in her earlier stages of dementia.  She kept saying, in an angry voice, "Nothing is wrong with me!!  You two (step-father and myself) just want to put me in a nursing home."  We were trying to do the opposite ie. be able to have her be at home as long as possible but her "Nothing wrong with me" included not taking any medication we tried to give to her, including her thyroid and BP meds.  Not only did she not take the meds but it turned into a major war with her being angry and crying.  Not fun.

In her case, not taking her meds which led to her being extremely fatigued and no interest in eating, she became very ill and weak physically and then asked for help and went to a new stage with the dementia - acknowledging she had some memory issues (but still not "that" bad).

I am an only child and she and I always had a close relationship so the major anger/aggressiveness/paranoia/accusations I had stolen her wig, etc. were so hard to handle, even telling myself "I know this isn't really "her."  I feel for you at this stage.  

I don't think I handled it well but just wanted to weigh in that this seems to be a very common stage of the disease, especially at the beginning.  From what I've read, our loved ones realize something is wrong and are scared which turns into outward anger at (yep!) the one/s they love the most.  That's what I hung onto and maybe that will help you a bit.

Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2022 4:22 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18346

SonShine Lady wrote:

 .  From what I've read, our loved ones realize something is wrong and are scared which turns into outward anger at (yep!) the one/s they love the most.  That's what I hung onto and maybe that will help you a bit.



It may also be that the PWD believes what is wrong is that her family is acting strangely towards her, all of a sudden, for no apparent reason to her.  This is because she is unaware of having developed dementia, because she now has anosognosia, one of the intrinsic characteristics of dementia.  She truly believes she is fine!  "Why are you harassing me?" This is what she is thinking.  She resists and becomes upset because she "knows" nothing is wrong with her.  But it's the disease.


caregiving daughter
Posted: Friday, September 16, 2022 8:00 AM
Joined: 11/27/2012
Posts: 2161

It clicked for me one day when I was running late by about 15 minutes to pick my mom up for a doctor's appointment. I said I was sorry but that I was running late because I had just left a funeral for a child in our neighborhood that had passed. My mom basically said who cares about the child. From that day on, I knew that the judgement was gone. It became a lot easier to go with the flow. My trick was to pretend to be a professional caregiver. During complaining, I would be as calm and polite as can be. I realized there was no feedback I could give my mom or sharing of true feelings anymore. I was a caregiver now.
Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2022 6:09 PM
Joined: 9/13/2022
Posts: 3

thank you for your feedback, it's been helpful!
Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2022 6:10 PM
Joined: 9/13/2022
Posts: 3

thank you for your help and kind words. They've been very helpful and insightful
Posted: Friday, September 23, 2022 11:34 PM
Joined: 9/23/2022
Posts: 1

This is my first day on here and reading this post helped me feel not alone. I’m looking forward to reading more to help me with my journey with my mom. Thank you.
Posted: Sunday, September 25, 2022 10:58 PM
Joined: 9/24/2022
Posts: 1

Wife refuses to discuss and trusts only her family doctor. Will not consider Mayo Neurologist. Admits to memory issue but not more. Was humiliated by diagnostic test showing Stage 2 dementia. Able to DLA and watches TV for hours holding my hand. Cannot cook and I do the driving.

Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2022 4:25 PM
Joined: 9/28/2022
Posts: 1

I'm new here but felt it was time I got some sort of support. My mom also has mild-moderate impairment and refuses to acknowledge it.  The especially challenging part is that we also work together in our family business so I am with her the majority of the time.  Luckily, my stepdad and I are helping each other.

I feel guilty because she gets angry so easily when I try to help her.  I then get frustrated because I figure if she'd just admit she had a problem and needed help then she wouldn't get so mad.  I'm trying to find the balance between being sensitive to her fears and frustrations while making sure my emotional needs are met too.  

We have always been very close so I've been dealing with the loss of the mom I always knew.  That is hard enough but sometimes I feel like a failure for getting anger or short with her. 

Any tips on how to handle these feelings? She knows we think she has memory issues and a neurologist even confirmed it is dementia but she has always been proud and independent so allowing us to help becomes a huge battle that drains me.

Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2022 9:39 PM
Joined: 1/1/2021
Posts: 471

Missmymommy, you're likely to get more responses if you post your own thread. Many of our loved ones don't realize they have a problem. If you think about it, that makes sense--trying to use a brain that's not working properly to figure out what's not working properly doesn't work well.

One thing you'll learn is not to tell her when you're helping her. Because she doesn't realize--can't realize--that there's a problem, helping feels intrusive. If you post some specific challenges we can often suggest workarounds. For instance, cutting up food in the kitchen rather than on her plate or just simplifying some routine so she can get through it independently can be helpful.