What causes memory loss and aggressive acts?

3 answers | Last updated: Nov 08, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom has unpredictable behavior. She sometimes behaves like a stranger as if we don't know her. I don't know why. She is sometimes an aggressive person that hurts anybody with her words. She is now 73 years-old and her husband just passed away three years ago. Please tell me how to cope with this problem as well as medication we should provide. Thank you.

Expert Answers

Dan Tobin, M.D. is the CEO of Care Support of America, a national service providing telephonic and local nurse counsel to adult children caring for aging parents. Dr. Tobin is the author of books and articles focused on the practical and positive aspects of family caregiving.

Memory loss and aggression can be signs of dementia but before making any conclusions it would best for your Mother to have a comprehensive examination and testing to determine what is going on. Be sure to contact a local doctor with experience treating aging parents with similar symptoms. Once your Mother’s doctor can get a working diagnosis there may be medication that is accurate for her specific conditions. It is helpful to recognize that many factors may be contributing to the disturbing behavior. It is helpful to take care of yourself during this stressful time and realize that your Mom's behavior is not directed towards you .That way you can be more comfortable in the roll of a family caregiver and recognize that now it is time for you to take care of her as well as yourself and the rest of your family.
You have a great deal of hard work in front of you so finding family caregiver support groups and individuals who can help you will be important.
Stay well
Dan Tobin

Community Answers

Hopeful always answered...

It would help to show them memory albums of their loved one. Listen to them, even if they kind of don't make since but also tell them sweet stories of family memories. She all the family pictures you can and remind them of who each person is. Sometimes it may spark a happy moment and make them happy. I also worked with one lady who really missed her momma and so us caregivers would get on the phone and pretend to be momma and ask her if she'd like to speak to momma. It made her very happy and then she would be alright. It also help to keep her busy with anything, even if you stack wash clothes with her. If you have something that your loved one can hold or carry around with them that may remind them of a happy time then do so. Your loved one may like to wear a sweater that belonged to the other loved one that they missed to feel closer to them.

Mrsbsy answered...

I keep telling my kids that dads behavior is not directed towards them or me...that we have to realize that dad needs our love and support and even though he says or does things that hurt us or embarasses us he can't help it..its the disease not him!