Caregiving

what about violent behavior?

Mendy Community Member August 21, 2007
  • I have been reading online looking for some help for my sister who is taking care of her husband. He was diagnosed with early onset last spring and is becoming violent quite often. He just turned 60 years old, in excellent physical health and much stronger than my sister. I haven't found anything specific about this symptom and how to deal with it best. He is under doctor's care & taking medications. At what point should she look for other options other than taking this abuse while caring for him herself? She lives across the country from me, but stays in touch as much as time allows. I fear she is risking her own health & safety and don't know how to help her. Any suggestions from anyone who has had this happen to them would be appreciated.  
6 Comments
  • Dorian Martin
    Health Guide
    Aug. 22, 2007

    Hi, Mendy,

     

    Thank you so much for caring about your sister's safety. She's lucky to have someone like you who is focused on her well-being (while she focuses on her husband).

     

    Outbursts are challenging to deal with, and I'm sure are especially difficult to handle when the loved one is in good physical shape. Because my mom didn't...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi, Mendy,

     

    Thank you so much for caring about your sister's safety. She's lucky to have someone like you who is focused on her well-being (while she focuses on her husband).

     

    Outbursts are challenging to deal with, and I'm sure are especially difficult to handle when the loved one is in good physical shape. Because my mom didn't have the physical ability to really react in a violent manner (although she did have extreme emotional outbursts and did threaten to do things), I decided to seek advice from the excellent book, "The 36 Hour Day" by Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins. These authors noted that often combativeness can be prevented by watching for signals that the loved one's stress level is rising. "When a person becomes agitated, immediately stop whatever is upsetting him and let him relax," the authors said. "Do not  continue to push him....Look for ideas for preventing outbursts or stopping them when they first begin."

     

    I've also noticed that in the past when my mother's stress level started to go up (which could lead to a major outburst), I have had to really focus first on keeping my own stress level down. Otherwise, Mom "read" my emotional signals, and her stress level continued to spiral up (which would increase my own stress level). In other words, the loved one and the caregiver can contribute to this never-ending cycle that leads to these outbursts. By maintaining my cool, I'm often able to read her stress signals and then figure out how to calm her down and redirect her attention to something less stressful.

     

    Again, thank you so much for caring for your sister's well-being. Encourage her to take part in this forum so we can all continue to help each other and our loved ones who are dealing with this terrible disease.

     

    Dorian

  • Anonymous
    "Sam"
    Dec. 13, 2007

    My mother is 87.  My father passed almost ten years ago.  My brother and sister both work and so are unable to take care for her.  She, too, is in stage one  which I believe is the worst because they know that they forget things and get mad at themselves.  She has always been a worrier and now it is even worse because she looks...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    My mother is 87.  My father passed almost ten years ago.  My brother and sister both work and so are unable to take care for her.  She, too, is in stage one  which I believe is the worst because they know that they forget things and get mad at themselves.  She has always been a worrier and now it is even worse because she looks for things to worry about even when there are none.  Her anger was really bad when she first came but about a year later it seemed to diminish so that the incidents only happened every few weeks where she would hit me or kick me.  However, lately, her anger returns without warning; hitting me with her purse when I am driving; kicking and hitting me when I bring her nighttime medicine.  She does not want to leave her room and argues about going out for anything but church.     Her doctor is meeting with me tomorrow to talk about possible medications to keep her calmer (taken regularly not as needed) and to help me understand how to protect her AND myself when she gets violent. 

    I am now in God's hands to help me to help her have a life with some joy in it.   It is very strange how some Alzheimer's patients become very passive and others turn so violent and angry with the world and everything around them.  There are no rules for us to know what do do because each person is diffrnt and react to different things.  I found that I have locked out some channels on the tv because she would watch CNN a lot instead of the religious channel with songs and spiritual listening.  The news is depressing even to us without this disease.  With Alzheimer's it can only make them more depressed and anxious.  Every day is learning experience.  What worked yesterday does not necessarily work today - but we keep trying. 

    • ecacciatore
      Feb. 19, 2009

      I went through a very rough time with my mother who will be turning 94 in March. She is diagnosed with MCI but I never expected her to turn violent. She spent a few days in a geriatric psych ward because medically there was nothing wrong with her but she was threatening to kill herself and was hitting and kicking me. I suspected a UTI but three tests came back...

      RHMLucky777

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      I went through a very rough time with my mother who will be turning 94 in March. She is diagnosed with MCI but I never expected her to turn violent. She spent a few days in a geriatric psych ward because medically there was nothing wrong with her but she was threatening to kill herself and was hitting and kicking me. I suspected a UTI but three tests came back negative. Finally, the med doc at the hospital cultured her urine for 5 days and sure enough, it came back positive for multiple bacteria. Once my mother got her UTI cleared up, the violent behavior stopped. Have you looked into this. I know caregivers who have their patients on a continuous low dose of an antibiotic because their loved one continuously developes a UTI.

  • Anonymous
    Jeanna
    Dec. 10, 2007
    Hello Mendy - My father just turned 62 and has become very threatening and violent and has even layed hands on my mother. We are in desperation of trying different medications but nothing seems to be working as fast as his anger is excellerating. It seems his dillutions and hallucinations will trigger him and he is constantly saying he is going to kill someone...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    Hello Mendy - My father just turned 62 and has become very threatening and violent and has even layed hands on my mother. We are in desperation of trying different medications but nothing seems to be working as fast as his anger is excellerating. It seems his dillutions and hallucinations will trigger him and he is constantly saying he is going to kill someone or punch someone in the mouth and has grabbed people. No one including his doctor knows what to do. It seems there is no plan in place for young alzheimers people. The hospital , police, local homes are all telling us they dont have any answers and really dont know what to do. Its very scarey touch and go right now, I'll let you know what I find out - hang in there!
    • Anonymous
      Anonymous
      Oct. 25, 2009

      Hello, my father is 78 and we are going through the exact same situation. He has in the past few months become dangerous to us and to others. We do not know what to do. If you have any information that could help us please let me know.

      God Bless

  • Leah
    Health Guide
    Aug. 24, 2007

    Hi, Mendy.  I am 59 and diagnosed with dementia.  Unlike your sister's husband, I am in the earlier stages and not having problems with anger.  I have been doing a lot of reading and know that at one point it is necessary to place the patient somewhere else.  Your sister needs to be upfront with her husband's doctor about the violence...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi, Mendy.  I am 59 and diagnosed with dementia.  Unlike your sister's husband, I am in the earlier stages and not having problems with anger.  I have been doing a lot of reading and know that at one point it is necessary to place the patient somewhere else.  Your sister needs to be upfront with her husband's doctor about the violence and her inability to keep taking care of him.  That is a first step for her to take.  She can also go to ouralzheimer's.com for caregiver help and support.  Also, reading Carol Bursack's posts can be very helpful.

    My prayers go out to you, your sister and her husband.

    You can email me at leahtown@comcast.net if you would like to further communicate.

    Leah

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