Hello, everyone! Mom is almost 88 years old and has end stage parkinsons disease with dementia. She has been in a care facility since March. Before that, she was living with me and I was caring for her. (I did until she got into the final stages of parkinsons, and I couldnot physically lift her in and out of bed into the wheel chair, and lift her in and out of the tub and toilet. At that point, the choking and weight loss started as well that is typical of end stage parkinsons. And also the continance issues.) my question, is how do you all deal with a person that has dementia when they start saying things that are nasty and hurtful towards others? Mom has become somewhat nasty at times, not just towards me, but to the staff there. I know she doesn't know what she is saying at times, but is still hard to hear. What do I say to her when she thinks she is going to come home with me? I usually tell her she needs to really give her all in physical therapy and get stronger. I know she will never be able to come home, as much as I wish she could. The place mom is in is 6 or 7 minutes from my home so I visit her for a couple of hours everyday. I feel blessed to have found such a nice clean,homey, and friendly staffed facility so close to home.
Saying mean and hurtful things to others is a part of dementia. It happens in almost all cases. Often it comes together with accusations - someone stole their money, moved their furniutre, left their children alone, etc.
Remember it is not your mother saying those mean things, it is the disease. She has no control over it.
I found only one way to deal with it when my Mom was still alive. I just had to agree with what she had just said, and then quickly change the subject. Since her attention span became very short, she was easily distracted.
"You came into my room last night and took my umbrella! I want it back, right now! You have no right to take my things."
"I'm so sorry Mom, I didn't know you needed it. I will bring it back tomorrow."
Of course there was no missing umbrella and I wasn't coming back tomorrow.
Then quickly, 'I know, let's go outside and feed the birds!" She was always happy to go outside, and soon we were out enjoying the fresh air and listening to the birds sing.
It is simply a matter of not allowing anything they say to upset you. Smile, laugh, tell her you are happy to see her, and never react angrily or even try to defend yourself against all the false accusations.
I totally agree with Martha. It is not your Mom saying those things but the disease that has taken over her brain. Know in your heart that she doesn't mean any of it.
You attitude and disposition does make a difference. Being happy and upbeat will rub off. I have done exactly as Martha. I was accused of taking Mom's juice set. Sorry Mom was my first statement followed by, I will bring it back to you. Of course I never took the antique Fenton Carnival Glass juice set to her..... and she never mentioned it again. When she says she wants to go we we tell her that Dad needs the care he gets there. Sometimes her anger gets out of control and at those times we have to just let it run it's course. She is on anti anxiety meds that can be given if it gets out of control.
I truly believe the lashing out comes from the last of self control and the frustration and fear they experience. The self control center of the brain is one that is normally affected first by ALZ. Couple that with not knowing where you are and now you got there is frightening. They have no mechanism for expressing their feelings appropriately so they latch on to something. My mom had a three day melt down over a table she saw at my sisters. Mom said my sister stold her table when in reality she had given that table to my sister over 25 years ago.
When Mom is the worst sometimes just looking at her with that "Mom look" and saying """shhhh Mom, That's enough!" will calm her as well. I only use that rarely and when she is at her worst.
So all you can do is stay positive, try to divert, roll with the punches, say what needs to be said to calm, and come back with a smile. This too will pass. Tomorrow she will not remember it. Only you will.
Thank-you for your kind words of encouragement, I really can use them! I can only imagine how Mom feels, because it is really scaring me! Sometimes I just don't know what to tell her. Some days are worse than others, and some days seem better than others. I think the dementia started for her almost a year ago, about the time the parkinsons started to progress more quickly. She is tired all the time, and doesn't talk very much anymore, and whatever she does say, you either can't hear, or she starts to stutter so badly, she gives up on what she is saying. I notice her eyes are shut quite a bit of the time,too. The physical therapist have a bit of a hard time keeping her focused and awake to work with her. Some days she doesn't talk to me, unless I ask her a question, and sometimes I have to ask the same thing 2 or 3 times in a row for her to answer me. And sometimes she says funny things like, the nurse is serving vodka in the juice glasses of water that he is giving the patients to take their medicine! Or, the cna's are gambling when they are actually playing card games with the residents!
Good days and bad days are typical Rhoda. When I call Mom I always hold my breath until I figure out what I am being faced with. Today was an ok day but earlier in the week it was crazy!! Who knows what tomorrow will bring. You just do the best you can at the moment. Know you are not the only one that's going through this craziness of Planet Alzheimer. Grab some towels and hang on. We are all on this trip together
The ladies here have helped me to realize it is a disease talking, not your mom. Mine has not been diagnosed with dementia yet, but whatever is up absolutely varies wildly from day to day. And yes, it's working for me to remember that even if she hates mean Christie today, she will forget she hates me by tomorrow morning.
Wishing you all the best,