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Old 11-14-2010, 01:34 PM   #1
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Help, my Mother is so aggressive

My mother fell a year ago and fractured her femur while in hospital following a previous fall.She had frequent changes to her behaviour including shouting and accusing staff of poisoning her before fracturing her femur,she seemed to go overnight from a lovely timid person to a tyrant.

She had lived with my husband and myself for 6 years before this accident as she fractured her hip 6 years ago and could only get around a little with a walking aid.

3 months following her admission to the local general hospital she was moved to a care of the elderly hospital where she had a CT scan of the brain and was diagnsed as having degenerative dementia, she is now in a continuing health care ward at the hospital because she is totally bed bound and incontinent.

I am an only child and my daughter and family live in Australia ( I am from UK) so the only people who visit mother are my husband and myself and we visit her every day and no longer take holidays together or visit our daughter;we don't mind this and she loves my husband like a son.

The ward staff are wonderful and very often mother seems to have no dementia at all but then she has days when she sleeps a lot, days when she is confused and sees things, but worse of all ( as happened today) she shouts and accuses everyone of lying and laughing about her and punching her.When we went to see her today she was ok for about 5 minutes then starting shouting about the nurses and then accusing me and my husband of treating her terribly and not being there when she wants us and I should be ashamed of treating her like that.

A visitor to another patient came in to ask her how she was and she shouted at her and called her a liar.It got so bad that my husband, who is wonderful with her, picked up his coat to leave as he said she was looking at me to make sure that I was watching what she was doing and it was for attention. The nurses said she had been lovely all morning but she changes mood so quickly.

I know that this is probably part of the condition but it is breaking my heart when she is so nasty. Has anyone else gone through this?, she is 89.

 
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:48 PM   #2
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

hi, yes my mom became nasty with dementia, but not all the time. people need to understand the disease-she is not doing it on purpose. its very hard to see and listen. you are a wonderful daughter and your husband seems just like a son! hang in there and personally going every single day is so hard. maybe you can take a day off and see your children.

 
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:44 PM   #3
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

Thanks Debbie,
The doctor did tell us that it is harder for the relatives than the patient as they don't think they are acting badly.He also said that dementia is sometimes harder than alzheimers as alzheimers has a recognised progression.

We can't visit our family as they live in Australia, this makes it very hard as we had planned to see them this year and my husband cancelled his flight to be with my mother and I went on my own which makes it feel so unfair when she acts the way she does even though it is the condition. It is at times like this when I wish I had a brother or sister

How long did these symptoms last with your mother or is it something that does not improve?

Every day I visit I dread what mood she will be in but she has always been a good mother and I know in my heart that it is not her fault

Pat

 
Old 11-14-2010, 10:47 PM   #4
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

Welcome to the board Pat. First please understand that this is very typical behavior and there is no way to know how long it will last. Your Mom is doing the best she can.

Her brain is functions are being clouded by the dementia. At times she might act completely normal. Then she can flip completely into rage. It is not that she is doing this on purpose. She is just reacting to what she perceives in the moment. You walk in, she doesn't remember that you were there yesterday, or day before yesterday... so you are a horrible daughter because she can not remember that you have been there. It is not that you were not there... she can't remember it, therefore it didn't happen. If her shoes are not where she can see them, she doesn't know where they are, then somebody stole them. What other explanation can there be if she has no memory of where she put them.

You also have to understand that they are completely and totally self absorbed and self centered. Everything they perceive is done TO them. If the nurses are at the desk laughing at a joke a doctor told... they they are laughing at your Mom. If you try to tell her something that does not fit what she believes, then you are the liar. When we forget, we know we forgot and have some idea that it did happen. When she forgets, it is as if it never happened. She is in her own world that is nothing like ours. She only has bits and pieces of our world and the rest does not exist to her.

It's like a light switch going on and off. The laughter sticks in her mind but not why it happened... so they must be laughing at her. That is the part that stays in her brain. You tell her they are not laughing at her and she will know you are lying to her. Then you leave, and it is all forgotten. Or she might just be mad at you for something you did 15 years ago that you don't remember or have any clue what it is.

Both of my parents have been this way. Dad with his vascular dementia also had delusions. He would hear and see things that were not there... but to him they were as real as the coffee cup in my hand. The first rule of dementia is "DO NOT argue!" So I would kill the bugs and chase the sheep and check on the boys. One day he was happy to see me and the next I would get chastised for not being there for weeks, even if I had been there all day and just gone to the bathroom.

Mom with her Alzheimer's has always been worse than Dad. We were all out to make her life miserable. We lied to her, stole from her, locked her up, treated her badly, and put a spy in her house. We were disowned, thrown out of the will, and she even called the police to report us for stealing her van. Her angst, anger, aggression, and hostility was horrible. We finally found medication that helped with her outburst.

Sad to say, it is a stage of the disease in some. Medication can help but the only thing that completely solves the problem is when the cognition decreases to the point that they no longer have these conflicting thoughts. Yes, they have to get worse to get better.

I actually find this stage the worse. It is so difficult to listen to the rages. It is easy to say, don't take it personally, but it is difficult to do. But that is exactly what you have to remember. She is NOT doing it intentionally. She is NOT doing it to you. She is just raging against the disease that has confused her mind. I learned to not argue. I don't necessarily agree but most times I just nod or say "oh", "really", "when", or some other noncommittal comment. If she has a psychiatrist or other primary doctor you might ask them if it is possible to get meditation to help her in these difficult times. Other wise try distracting her with something pleasant. When Dad or Mom gets in this state... I pull out the ice cream or anything that will distract them. It has to be something that is more important than the rage.

Keep typing. Venting helps. Knowing you are not the only one with this situation also helps. There are many of us here who are or have been through this. We do understand. So again welcome

Love, deb

 
Old 11-15-2010, 02:46 AM   #5
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Unhappy Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

Hi Pat
I am an only child also. My mom is in a nursing home after two falls within two weeks at assisted living. She had bruised ribs and a compression fracture of the spine. She has been and continues to be agitated and agressive at any moment. Then, the next moment she is on to something else like it never happened. I hired a sitter for her to sit at the nursing home and she lasted only into the third week. I live near the nursing home and spend at least five hours a day there. She is in a private room and not in the locked unit. She is a fall risk and has an alarm on her chair and bed. She sees and hears people who are not there and I have to act like I do too or she gets really upset. I have learned not to try and change her mind about anything. Just agree and the next minute she has forgotten what she was so upset about. She was this way earlier in the disease and it abated for a while but is back now in full swing. This is about the fifth year of her dementia (vascular) and she is ninety years old. I completely understand what you are going through and I ask myself how long we can go on like this and who is going to last the longest, the patient or the caregiver? She has fallen in the shower at the nursing home and hit her head and shoulder and hip. Got torn skin on her arms and blood blisters on her legs that take a long time to heal because of poor circulation. We can only live this one moment at a time. I do more reading other peoples post than posting, but wanted you to know that you are not alone. This forum has meant more to me than I can express.
Gail

 
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:55 AM   #6
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

Aras... you should post more often. You have beautiful words of comfort to say. it is what it is and so many of us are going through this. I am sorry you are having to go through this as well. It's not easy. But some how we do get though each moment, one moment at a time, and then it is all over. I lost my Dad in March of this year after 10 years with Vascular Dementia. I would love to sit with him one more day but on the flip side... he is finally at peace and that brings a peace to me. It also validates all those days with him and all that I went through with him. How do we do it... we do it for them

Love, deb

 
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:47 PM   #7
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

Thank you Gail,
I joined Healthboards 3 years ago on the foot injury forum after breaking my heel and I got so much help from others that I came on to this forum hoping that it would help as much ==== and it has already.

It is really helpful to hear from others in the same situation as it doesn't make you feel so much on your own and helps you undersatnd.

Mother is better today, confused but not aggressive but she did say that she was awful to the staff last night and was frightened about things but didn't know what. The staff are great and don't complain about her at all.

Today ws a good day tomorrow will bring what it will bring but I will sleep better tonight.

God bless

Pat

 
Old 11-15-2010, 01:56 PM   #8
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

Thanks Deb,
You hit the nail right on the head when you said about the laughing, she always says that they are laughing and talking about her and lying.

She was better today, no aggression but did say she had been awful to the nurses so she remembers that but was also sure that she had been to the town centre and to someone's house and was frightened, we just agreed with her by saying " oh yes?"

It is such s help talking to others who have gone through this because the other patients on the ward are much quieter but they may be further on in the dementia.

Love to all
Pat

 
Old 11-15-2010, 07:08 PM   #9
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

I hate the fear they feel. At least when they are angry they feel in control somewhat, but the fear...they are scared...it is the one that haunts me.

I do my best to help my mom through those times...the line that I have found that works best for us is...do you trust me? ..she always says yes and then I tell her that I will not let anything hurt her. That I will do all I can to make sure she is safe ...And I may have to repeat it several times but it has helped in the moment and that is about all we can hope for when dealing with this disease.

And I had to chuckle a bit when you mentioned the other residents who are quiet. I want to know why I don't have one of those! I got the unruly, wild one. But I must tell you that through the help from these boards I have found meds that have helped her..helped to calm her. Finally.

Love, Meg

 
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:16 PM   #10
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

I also used the "trust me" line with my Dad. He did and after much repetition it did help in the moment. But then he was off and going again. You have to find what line works for your loved one. Mom... she didn't trust anything beyond her perception. Independent stubborn one that she is.

I'm with you meg. I see those sweet ones as well... and I had two of the wild ones. I still have to chuckle when the care givers talk about being tag teamed by mom and Dad!! I also know some of those sweet ones have their moments too. I can think of two ladies that are normally so sweet... but can raise the roof from time to time.

Pat, I am glad you had a better day today. Grab that day and hold on to it. I learned to hang on to the good days and let them get me through the not so good days. I knew there had to be another good day around the corner if I could just get through the other days.

I am with Meg. I finally found meds that calmed Mom down and took away the angst and hysteria she was experiencing. I did this for HER... not for me. I can deal with it but it was so unfair to let her live that way.

Hope tomorrow is a good day for us all....

Love, deb

 
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:21 PM   #11
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

Hi Debs and Meg,
Today was another good day, I am now inputting her days into the calendar to see if there is any pattern to it so that I can prepare myself. She has already had her meds. increased to calm her down but if she gets worse then I will speak to the doctor.

When I asked the nursing staff how she had been today they said she was fine, a little bad tempered during the day but no real problems, they are great and never tell you anything bad about her unless you ask.The ward Sister said that you know when she is going to act up because she throws the bedding all over the place and I have noticed that. I have also noticed that if she has pain in her leg or has twisted her leg up under her ( I don't know how she manages this and the staff and myself keep trying to get her leg straight but back up it goes within seconds) it is always the fault of the staff.
I was visiting a patient in another of the wards today and there was a lady there who was shouting at her poor visiting husband to shut up and stop being so noisy
( another one of our Mothers club do you think??)

Thanks to all

Pat

 
Old 11-16-2010, 09:28 PM   #12
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

Pat, they are everywhere. There is something comforting in knowing that our loved ones are not the only ones. Staff that is trained and experienced in caring for dementia patients know to expect this kind of behavior and how to deal with it. I have told the staff where Mom is that I need to know when Mom is "misbehaving". That is the ONLY way I know when something needs to be done about it. The caregivers are better than the admin at letting me know! I have even called after 11pm to talk to the night shift caregiver.

Pain is something that will make them act out quicker than anything. UTIs are well known for causing behavioral problems so if there is a sudden change you need to have a urinalysis done. Dad was worse when he was having trouble with his knee. It is difficult to know when they are in pain because they usually can't tell you. I just watch for furrowed brows, clinched fist, wrinkled noses... those outward signs that something is not right.

I'm surprised my mom doesn't sit like that. She did most of her life until dementia... and I have not seen her sit like that in years now. Actually I don't remember another patient I have seen that does. I think you actually have a rarity there! But I can understand. She does it, can't remember it, and has to blame it on somebody!

Glad you had a good day today... and hope it is a good day tomorrow!

Love, deb

 
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:46 AM   #13
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

Thanks Debs,
She is actually bed bound and puts her leg up under her sometimes as far as her waist and obviously that then gives her stiffness and pain.One of the other ladies used to do the same but her carer has managed to stop it, mine is more determined and can't understand that it is making her leg worse

Pat

 
Old 11-17-2010, 08:24 AM   #14
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

No your Mom doesn't understand. That is the sad part. She will do it and truly not have a clue. Since she is bed bound, I would try pillow and bolsters. Proper placement would make it at least more difficult for her to do this. But then I do know the determination of some. My Mom is one of those. You have to be amazed at what they can still do when they set their minds in that direction!

Love, deb

 
Old 11-17-2010, 12:44 PM   #15
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Re: Help, my Mother is so aggressive

Thanks Debs,
The nurses place pillows every day but still she manages it, she has morphine patches for pain because she can't always tell them where the pain is and she has anti anxiety meds.

When we visited today she was sleepy but seemed in pain so I tried to move her leg down but she wouldn't let me and I didn't want to start her off again. The nurses had only just made her comfortable, she had a bad tempered morning and wouldn't eat breakfast but ate lunch. She hates the nursing staff moving and washing her etc. but she can't do it herself and is doubly incontinent, they move her every 2 hours to avoid pressure sores and she is on a special electric mattress, she couldn't have better care -------- I feel sorry for them but they are always cheerful and smiling.

At least we have had good news from Australia to say that my grandson has just been given a carpentry apprenticeship so he is very happy and it brightened up our day.

God Bless all

Pat

 
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