Wednesday, September 10, 2008 Linda, Community Member, asks

Q: How do I handle a demanding, aggressive, OCD, alzheimer patient with a great ability to mask in fron

I have been managing the care and cared for myself a 76 year old female with severe stage alzheimers.  She is still very mobile, has 24 hr. home care, however, I have a hard time keeping staff due to this ladies servant type demands and high air about herself.  It's like magic when 3 people are present, as she is able still to mask herself into an extremely polite, proper, and very sweet person.  It's tough on the gal's working and I do believe it really goes on as I have had the experience myself. 

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Answers (5)
Dorian Martin, Health Guide
9/12/08 3:32pm

Hi, Linda,


You're faced with a tough situation. My mom (who resided in a nursing home) could be a pill at times. In fact, she liked to wheel her wheelchair around and "fire" the staff who didn't do what she said. The nursing staff who seemed to "manage" Mom the best were the ones who played along - they asked her if she would do something (instead of ordering her to do something). If she refused what they wanted (like taking her medications), they'd leave her alone for a bit and then come back and try again later. So in hiring staff, you might try to get people who know how to take a similar position.


You also might talk to her doctor to see if there are some medications to help with the OCD.


Take care and keep us posted.



Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
9/16/08 5:15pm

Some people are so good at masking their dementia. My mother was a champ and I always got grief from people who couldn't understand that she had dementia. Of course, the staff in the nursing home knew it well. But when she had visitors, she was so gracious and on top of things. Of course, if they asked the same question the next day, they'd get a different answer, but that rarely happened because they were just there for a short visit.


I'm surprise that someone with such advanced Alzheimer's, such as the case you are talking about, is still capable of doing this. Perhaps medication changes could help, but it sounds like she is in a stage that is just plain hard to handle, and she may have to go to an Alzheimer's unit where they are trained to deal with late stage Alzheimer's, if you can't keep staff to care for her.


spencer, Community Member
9/20/08 1:14pm

I am sorry to hear that your mother's demands are so great that the staff keeps leaving.  I don't know where you are getting your help from, but I might suggest that you check for other sources to provide such help, like the Visiting Nurse Association.  Your county or town's office on aging may also be able to make some recommendations.  It appears to me that this lady needs to be seen by a good geriatric psychiatrist who can possibly change her medications, or even give her something to calm her (and thus you) down.


I really understand how difficult this has to be for you.  Having OCD only adds to the problem.  Getting the proper doctors to help is now essential.

Jgduff1993, Community Member
2/ 1/09 11:09am

Hello Linda


Wow -- You have just described my mother-in-law to a "T" -- I have this issue though -- She is obsessed with making her bed -- to the point of "making" her bed for hours on end -- one point it was 3 hours...And her TV which has to now be hooked up differently due to the High Def. so that is another obsession for her.


I just don't know how to handle it -- If we can one of us makes our way to the bedroom and make the bed.  She then thinks that she has done it


This is a horrible disease for anyone to have dealt to them


Hang in there.


Ginger Duffy

nana72353, Community Member
4/18/11 6:02pm

I wish I had an answer because my mother has had ocd for years and now has altzheimers. There is nothing out there to help with this. If you get any information please let me know.

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By Linda, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/16/12, First Published: 09/10/08