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Will the aggression be worse?
Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 3:09 PM
Joined: 8/12/2019
Posts: 3

 My mother-in-law, 79 years old, who is in moderate stage Alzheimers, has been living with the disease for almost 5-6 years now. Our in-laws never had a house and have been living with their sons and daughters all these years. We belong to a South Asian background where the sons are supposed to take care of the parents. So the two sons alternate every couple of months to take care of the parents  where they live in either of the houses and me (I am 42 yrs old) and my co-sister (husband’s brother’s wife) being the primary caregivers. However, my MIL is very aggressive and delusional that the daughter in laws are either stealing or giving away her clothes, shoes, jackets etc., to relatives or charity. 24/7 she is combing  through the cupboards, closets, for clothes, cursing, yelling, name calling and accusations that we have thrown them away. She calls us “devil”, “piece of sh--”, “bitch” and lots of bad names in her mother tongue etc., The cursing is unbearable, I daily hear several ways in which I am to be dead in her words and she has vowed that she will take me when she dies along with her, which sometimes creeps me out. One 3-4 occasions, she has pushed me, come to hit me with her hand but stops when she’s close to doing it. She bangs the cupboards, throws clothes at me including undergarments. But her physical health is very good, she eats very well that she doesn’t fit into her clothes anymore, which is another reason to accuse us of cutting and shaping her clothes to fit my mother or co-sisters mother. Constant complaints about the food I cook, spitting out food, tea, because its no good. Sometimes she herself makes tea and spits out blaming me not realizing she herself made it. She is very good with her own kids, and is very loving towards them and keeps referring to them “my beautiful, kind children who have been so nice to her but these cruel wives are ruining her life”. It’s the daughter-in-laws that she cannot stand which almost makes me wonder or what is making her do this to the caregivers who are sacrificing their beautiful prime years for her. Also repetitive behavior such as constantly washing the same clothes everyday, saying its dirty, washes her feet all the time saying the house is dirty, constantly sweeping the floor, going out every 30 minutes to spit in the lawn. Lots of other troubling behavior too. I work from home that making me basically a prisoner in my own house that I lock the door in my upstairs room the whole day just coming out on when I need to serve them lunch, breakfast etc.,. But she yells loudly enough that even closing the door doesn’t help and it interrupts my work all the time. The moment she sees me, she starts the tirade that I get palpitations when I see her. I try to hide from her. My husband is understandably, very possessive about his parents, so there is not much support from him. Plus he cannot do anything much anyway about these delusions. Unfortunately, her own daughters whom she adores, do not step in because its the sons' responsibility to care for parents. We have small young children, so you can imagine the added stress. We don’t think she is yet to be put in a care home because of cultural norms. Probably that will be an option when it gets into more late stages when she cannot do things on her own. My question, does anyone know how long this aggressive behavior lasts, will they become nice ever? Will the aggression be even worse that she actually starts physically attacking us, other than just pushing and slapping?


Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 4:22 PM
Joined: 9/3/2016
Posts: 215

I feel for you. My sweet, loving mother became violently aggressive to the point of actually being dangerous. I know it wasn't her fault. It was the disease, but it hurts just the same. The words hurt even more than the actual blows and scratches. We were forced to place my mom in a geri-psych unit twice. The first time really didn't help, and things got worse. But the second place worked a miracle. They had to put her on some strong anti-psychotics, but they were able to stop the violence and she still was able to remain alert. Perhaps discuss something like this with your family and with her doctor. Most often, at least in my experience, they remain in geri-psych about 2 weeks before being released back home.
Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 5:31 PM
Joined: 8/24/2016
Posts: 142

I agree with No Siblings, talk to her doctor. It may be time to put her on an anti-psychotic medicine.  Another thing for you and your family to think about, as the disease worsens, it will become very confusing for her to adapt to new surroundings every 2 months, if it isn't already. Maybe it would help if you talked to a social worker or other professional for advice. The kindest thing for your mother-in-law might be a group home or assisted living where she could have a stable place and not be moving.
Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 7:15 PM
Joined: 2/3/2018
Posts: 541

Triple vote for seeking some medication to help with the aggression! Our mom went rage-stage in January of this year. It took about a month, but. a low dose of seroquel helped tremendously. Didn't complete wipe out rage (she was smacking me on the backside today as I was trying to get her to sit on the toilet), but it made enough of a difference to give her, and us, some much needed relief.
Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 7:32 PM
Joined: 8/9/2019
Posts: 5

Depakote has helped my mothers aggression.  I also recommend medical marijuana.
Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 7:46 PM
Joined: 2/22/2017
Posts: 78

Oh my goodness you are dealing with a lot. I'm so sorry! ITA with those that said it's time for an anti-psychotic. The violence has to decrease or it won't be sustainable for her to stay in her sons homes. It's not safe.She could seriously injure those caring for her. I cringed when you said "just pushing and slapping" because that's really unacceptable, especially because there are children around. The daughter-in-laws should not be expected to put up with violent behaviors.

My DH, young onset FTD, hit me once in front of our grandkids (they were in the car but saw his rage) because I wouldn't let him drive them home from school. When I brought it up at Dr. appointment, I was told that if it happened once, it would probably happen again and he needed meds. Seroquel has been a lifesaver for us. DH is calmer, not at all angry enough to hit, and I feel much safer.

Please do what is best for you and your family. Your children could be physically hurt or emotionally damaged by witnessing their grandmother's behavior.


Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 9:22 PM
Joined: 8/12/2019
Posts: 3

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and support. I feel much better. From your messages, looks like this is going to get worse without meds.  I will get an appointment with the geriatrist to see if she can be prescribed antipyschotics.
Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 9:19 AM
Joined: 8/11/2019
Posts: 37

My father has shown aggression towards my mother and myself.  My mother and I have scratches and bruise marks all over our arms.    I think it was caused by Memantine, but it could be caused by the natural progression of dementia. 

I think there are a couple of things you can do to help reduce the burden for you that I did to help reduce the burden on my mom.   

1.  I hired a cleaning lady to come and clean the house weekly.    

2.  I hired someone to help out with the cooking.  I am also south asian so it took me awhile find someone.

3.  My father's insurance (he has medicare advantage) pays for Physical Therapy/Home Health aides to help with exercise, bathing and companionship.   

4.  I have found adult day care centers in the area that specialize in dementia/Alzheimer's so give my mom a break.   (This will be out of pocket, but worth it if it gives you the break)

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 12:07 PM
Joined: 8/12/2019
Posts: 3

Thanks for the suggestions. Really scary to hear about the scratches. Will see what meds the doc prescribes her. I have a cleaning lady to help every two weeks. Cooking I do on my own. But adult daycare could be an option for the future when things get really bad. 

To Victoria2020's question on daughters stepping in, they sometimes take the parents to their homes during some weekends, maybe once a month or so. MIL is frustrated there too about clothes being stolen or given away, but she doesnt blame the daughters or son-in-laws. Its still the daughter-in-laws and their family members. And shes not as aggressive there as she is in our house, because she is not seeing us. However, the daughters help can be expected only during occasional weekends. 

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 1:07 PM
Joined: 9/3/2016
Posts: 215

Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right anti-psychotic or the right combination. I do encourage you to seriously look into this. My mother was always the sweetest, kindest mother anyone could ever want. She was my father's high school sweetheart, but she sent him to the ER with her violent attacks on 2 occasions. Once she literally tried to beat him to death with a walking cane because she was trapped in the middle of a horrible delusion. Seroquel works for many people, but it did not work for my mom. Geodon, however, did work for my mom.
Eric L
Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 1:20 PM
Joined: 12/5/2014
Posts: 1197

We probably should have had my MIL see the geriatric psychiatrist sooner than we did. She too one of those folks that had a very calm demeanor prior to the disease really taking hold. We kind of joke now that she was about the most boring person you could ever meet. As the disease progressed, she turned into a totally different person. Easily agitated, mean, threatened violence (luckily for us, she was pretty slow on her feet), and just not pleasant to be around.

She became much easier to manage after the geriatric psych find the right combination of meds. Of course, it's a moving target and the meds often need to be changed, but having someone that can make those adjustments when you need them is vitally important.

She's on hospice and bedridden now, but we still have to manage her behaviors with medication.
Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 4:17 PM
Joined: 8/13/2019
Posts: 2

AAll of this is very new to me. It frightens me.

My parents did argue alot throughout my upbringing.

I have been seeing many changes, but oddly: my mom has been loving toward my dad. She jokes, hugs him and asks for a kiss. I never ever saw them show emotions.  Even my dad is shocked.

I wanted so much to believe this was "WHAT WE WERE GETTING AS MOMS DEMETIA CHANGE!" 

I suppose I am a fool. Im so scared.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:15 AM
Joined: 7/17/2017
Posts: 389

Yes, the aggressive behavior does escalate.  My Mom punched a pregnant caregiver in the stomach about 18 months before she died.  My entire life was set into a tailspin with emergency calls in the middle of my emergency work life ( emergency care nurse).  

I would propose to you to let your husband know that you will call 911 if his mother hits, shoves, or pushes you.   You cannot be an abused prisoner in your own home.  It will get worse unless you proactively change something; your husband needs to step up for you, and you need to protect yourself if he doesn't help you.  

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2019 4:47 PM
Joined: 8/8/2019
Posts: 4

Aggression is always hard to deal with especially if your loved one has always been a reserved and kind individual. When you've met one person with Alzheimer's, you've met one person with Alzheimer's. Everyone's journey is different. I work in a MC AL. Sometimes the aggression is simply a stage and PWD will move passed it. Other times, it gets worse. In my experience, behaviors and aggression have triggers (certain situations, smells, sounds, etc.). Each time an aggressive episode occurs look for patterns and triggers. Doing so may help you approach each  situation with more finesse. I would try all options before adding anti-psychotics to the mix.
Posted: Friday, August 16, 2019 6:08 PM
Joined: 8/16/2019
Posts: 2

Experiencing some aggressive behavior from a loved one along with other stressful exhibitions.  Could use some support!!
Posted: Friday, August 16, 2019 6:08 PM
Joined: 8/16/2019
Posts: 2

Same here. I could use some support!!
Posted: Friday, August 16, 2019 6:29 PM
Joined: 8/16/2019
Posts: 1

You need to have her see a Neurologist to get the medications.  They may have her evaluated by a Nero-psych.  This could be the 2 week stay in the hospital.  I agree moving every 2 months is not good.  Every move a person with demenia makes will make things worse.  You need a break from this many communities have day programs that will help stimulate her senses in a positive way,  Also  time at a local senior center might help both of you.
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