What causes memory loss and aggressive acts?

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 Answer

Dan Tobin, M.D. is the author of books and articles focused on the practical and positive aspects of family caregiving.

Hi:
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