Nothing I’ve read about Alzheimer’s prepared me for Mom (81) biting me when I insisted she take her sweater off or her overwhelming joy in “helping me” open the mail until she collapsed in tears after the first letter or two, or her hugging me warmly five minutes later. During these horrible moments I just try to keep us both safe. Can’t anyone help alleviate her pain and mine?
Alzheimer’s patients cannot tell us what they’re thinking so they act out their feelings. Mom may be frustrated and angry because she can no longer manage her mail/finances or signaling pain and physical discomfort. The hug “five minutes later” may be her only way of telling you she’s sorry, or more likely, mean she’s forgotten the incident entirely.
See Mom’s physician to rule out non-Alzheimer’s causes: medication reactions, urinary tract infections.
Use distraction: when Mom becomes angry, play/sing soothing or happy tunes from Mom’s past. Move and sway to the music and Mom may do the same.
Review your behavior for causes/triggers: did you inadvertently ignore or refuse Mom’s attempts to open the letters herself? Or show impatience because she repeatedly asked the same questions?
Get help managing Mom’s behavior and your despair: Call the experts at Alzheimer’s Community Care (Martin772-223-6351; St. Lucie 772-460-9166; Ft. Pierce 772 466-3261); Alzheimer’s Assn. (800-272-3900); Vero Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s Assn. (772-563-0505).
Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services
Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©
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