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Aggressive Behavior and Dementia - Why is my Loved One Mean towards Me?

I always wondered why someone with dementia would be violent. I mean if you’re a caregiver for your loved one why would they want to hurt you when you want to help them feel comfortable.

My mother at times would yell at me or be violent towards me. This is scary even though she can't hurt me because she weighs like 80lbs now she has the potential of hurting herself. I mean she can be downright mean like. "Terri leave me alone" or "Terri go away". Even when I say mom you need to eat something, she would give me that glance and say, “No Terri”. Yes, that glance that your mom would give you when you’re a child and she would be ready to beat your behind.

Sometimes she would hit me when I would try to get her to change out of soiled clothes, or go to the bathroom and/or take a shower. After doing some research on this topic, I found that there are three main reasons why someone suffering from a form of dementia are:

1. Pain

2. Confusion, and

3. Fear

There are some tactics that I used that made it work for me that I will share with you:

1. I would reminisce with her of her past as a nurse and how she would get her patients to follow her directions "Mom when you were a nurse you would get those patients to listen to you, she would say yes and she would smile, I would then say well I'm your nurse now and I'm here to help you.

2. If that wouldn’t work I would turn around walk away come back ask again in a different tone and then she would be more willing because usually she would forget that quick the request I made for her to do something like change your shirt so I could place a clean one on her.

3. I would also tell her "Mom I know that this is difficult and I not here to hurt you let me help you with this okay?

4. I try to get her to let me help her clean up and eat in that order 1st thing in the morning when she is open to assistance and more willing to work with me in providing her care.

Look, I don't want you to think that this would be easy at all. If you are a caregiver you know that it's not. Sometimes I get so frustrated that I need to just walk away, take a breather, count to ten, and try again. You must remember it's the disease and your loved one can't help how they are acting. My Mom is a very loving person and I know she wouldn’t intentionally treat me this way. Your loved one is probably frustrated themselves for having to be helped with something they used to do themselves.

As caregivers, we can’t change the person suffering from a form of dementia, but we can use strategies to better accommodate any problem behaviors. Both the environment you create at home and the way you communicate with your loved one can make a significant difference. I hope that these tips help someone if it does please share, and/or add your tips. Us caregivers must support each other. "StayStrongandEncouraged" as we continue to "Fight the Memory Thief".

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