How to Handle Difficult Behaviors
Rudeness to aides and visitors
Can be a sign of mild-stage Alzheimer's, as the person tunes out others while trying to valiantly focus on maintaining his or her own mental skills. A crotchety demeanor can also stem from his or her personality (especially if the person has always been like this), or from frustration or dissatisfaction with life.
What to do:
Decide how excusable the behavior is: If the person has dementia, grant a wider berth than otherwise, while explaining this effect of the condition to aides and visitors.
If dementia isn't involved, show some empathy but also recognize that the person should know better. Set boundaries about what's acceptable: "I know you hate being in the wheelchair, but I can't help you unless you're civil to Mr. Smith."
Work to make sure your loved one feels some sense of control over his or her life. Sometimes rudeness is borne of feeling helpless. The person is unconsciously retaliating for a loss of control.
Retrain your loved one by responding to kind words and acts and ignoring rude ones.
Find out more about how to cope with rude behavior as a result of Alzheimer's disease.