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    Alzheimer's Help
    An_263196 posted:
    I take care of my mother and father in law actually moved in with them she is 88 the stage 7 alzheimers and he is 89 with dimentia they will be married 70 years this fall. Last week went to the hospital she has had a mild stroke and now that we are back home she has made a 180 she has gone from the sweetest smiling laughing to mean and combative any suggestions on how to handle this she cant walk but she will try to get up and if you go to help knowing she will fall she will fight you and you are telling its ok I just want to help its killing me
    cjh1203 responded:
    What an upsetting situation.

    Your mother may be agitated because she doesn't feel well or because the stroke affected her mentally or physically. Was she given any new medications? If so, that could also be a factor, and you might do well to take all of her meds to your pharmacist and see if there are any medications or interactions that could cause the change in your mother's behavior.

    Has she been checked for a urinary tract infection? Odd as it seems, that can greatly affect behavior.

    When my uncle with Alzheimer's used to give my aunt a hard time about doing something he shouldn't be doing -- like smoking -- my aunt would just tell him that the doctor said he had to stop or he might have to go to the hospital. That seemed to work pretty well with him. It might be worth trying that when your mother-in-law tries to get up -- maybe just tell her that the doctor said it was bad for her and she has to wait for help or she might have to go to the hospital.

    Have you discussed the change in behavior with her doctor?

    Music sometimes helps calm aggressive behavior in Alzheimer's patients, as can something like doing a jigsaw puzzle, if she's able.

    I don't know how responsive she's able to be, but you might try to figure out if she's in pain or discomfort by touching her in various places to see if she reacts in some way, or moving her legs, arms, head, etc., or go from top to bottom and ask, "Does your head hurt? Does your mouth hurt? Do your teeth hurt?, etc." It might take some patience.

    Also, you might just keep a sort of diary for a few days and see if there's a pattern as to her combativeness; for instance, what she was doing, where she was, and so on.

    It would probably be good for you to get in touch with your local Alzheimer's Association chapter to see if they can offer any insight. You could also look for an RN who specializes in Alzheimer's care and see if you can get an in-home evaluation of your mother, and any suggestions for easing her agitation.

    Are you getting any respite from your caregiving? You need breaks or you'll end up sick yourself. Caring for one person with dementia is a heavy load, and caring for two must be almost beyond enduring sometimes.

    Please let us know if you are able to find an answer to this. I hope you can, and that things will improve.

    Best wishes-

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