Is anger a normal thing with people with alzheimers? My dad went to visit my grandmother and she went crazy on him telling him she hated him and wished he was dead, he was devasted, she had never ever acted like that before.
This is devastating. It's unfortunately a normal phase for many with Alzheimer's. Often, they don't even know the person they are angry with. Or the anger is grounded in their paranoia. Often it's grounded in fear. They feel themselves slipping away and are, understandably, afraid.
My heart goes out to your dad. He has to somehow detach from the incidents, and realize it has nothing to do with his mother's feelings for him, and it has nothing to do with his actions. It actually has nothing to do with him, at all.
He should get in touch with his local Alzheimer's organization so they can help educate him about this phase. It will still hurt, but education helps people cope.
My mother did the same thing to me. She told me that she wished I had never been born. I know how your dad must feel. My mother was my best friend. It was and is still difficult to understand. I know that a short time later (few days)after mom said those things she had no recollection of saying them. She still has times that she does not remember things that she says and or does. She really gets confused when she gets a UTI. I understand that UTI can really throw the elderly for a loop. My brother and I are in the process of moving mom from a nursing home to an assisted living facility. The rooms at the facility are like apartments (without a stove) we hope by giving mom a more homey like atmosphere as well as having some of her familar things around she won't be so afraid. The facility is locked down so she can't just go and come but has a wonderful restaurant type dining, beauty shop etc. Keep your fingers crossed that this works and I'll pray for you and your family. Let your dad know that he is not the only one that is going througth this and it is a hard thing. It is constatly on my mind. But we just do the best that we can. I know that I love my mother more than anything and will try to do the right thing for her.
Carol is right. It is the sickness that made them angry. However, you can also try to find out why she was angry - maybe she didn't know him so someone can gently tell grandma that this is her son. Maybe she thought he was someone else. You would never know. When the person gets more and more confused and forgets more people including the family, she could say something that does not make sense. Maybe she thought he was someone else or her enemy. It could be a mistake from her.
Don't be despair. Think it is her sickness but she still loves her son, but she is just confused. It would help to try to find out what made her angry. Did she like where she is? Was there something wrong? Maybe making correction could help.
I saw this behavior both in my mother and in my mother-in-law (they both had dementia) and found that the anger is usually aimed at the person they feel closest to, because that is the easiest target. I think that someplace inside they realize that their brain is not working right and this is a way of venting and rebelling against their condition. As hard as it is to ignore, your dad should try his best to understand that your mother has nothing personal against him, it's just the only means she has at her disposal at this stage to show her frustration and is most probably an indication of how close she actually feels to him. I'm not an expert on Alzheimer's by any means, but I have had a lot of experience being the target of the patients' anger and I truly feel that the anger (and sometimes violence) is not really aimed at the recipient.
My mother has mild to moderate alzheimers. Just recently she was admited to the hospital with a viral infection, that spun the alzheimers out of controll. I saw a side of her, that I had long forgotten.
You see as a child; (2nd born of 7) I was treated very badly by my mother. ( My mom and dad separated when I was very young) I was my dad's favorite, and my mom was upset about that. I received constant whippings, and lots of verbal attacks by my mom. The names she would call me were the worst. As an adult, I put all that behind be. I vowed not to ever use that kind of language with my kids, or treat them in the way I was treated as a child. My children are now adults, and I forgave my mom and cared for her.
What I saw in her attack on me, was a revisit of my horrible childhood. She saw me as the child she use to attack, and attempted to verbally abuse me as she did when I was a child. Many of her words were the same as in my childhood. I was so upset by this, that I told my brothers and sister that I would not re live my childhood nightmare.
Now reading these comments, I will deal with the hurt of what she said and continue to care for her. However, she did know exact what to say, to hurt me deeply, and she is not sorry for it.
This is another side of the anger and the alzheimers I am seeing in my mom. Just wanted to share.
Just wanted to reply to you as a sister in this mess that only we can truly know about, as children who have been abused by parents who NOW have Alzheimer's.
My mom was really cruel to me when I was growing up, and I am still trying to recover from it as a woman of 56. I have spoken about this with one or two people, and they both say that I should rise above it so that I can help her in her time of such need. It's as though they think that the Alzheimer's cancels out the abuse. They say that my mother is an incredibly sweet woman and that the person who hurt me no longer exists.
Be that as it may, the child whom she hurt DOES exist. She's still inside of me, and she matters, too.
I guess I'm a codependent. I visit her twice a week at dinner, so I can feed her and entertain her and keep her in baby dolls, which she thinks are real babies. I know that other children visit their parents EVERY day, but I doubt that many of them went to elementary school with belt stripes on their arms and legs and hateful words ringing in their ears.
I think you must be a very wise, old soul, to be as kind as you are, after what you went through!
Barring, I just wanted to reply to you as a sister in this mess that only we can truly know about, as children who have been abused by parents who NOW have Alzheimer's.