How should I handle my mom with Alzheimer's when she is acting rudely towards me?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 22, 2016
Ohmother asked...

My name is Alberto and caring for my Partner, Ben's Mother. She has what I would consider severe Dementia. She'll be sweet in the morning & thank me for all that I do. The remainder of the day into the night she's border line nasty. I understand what she has so I continue in a sweet voice to remind her of bathroom visits, drink water, let's walk...all this while she's complaining, telling me to shut up, go away. Help me here, what else can I do?

Expert Answers

Jytte Lokvig, PhD, coaches families and professional caregivers and designs life-enrichment programs and activities for patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. Her workshops and seminars help caregivers and families create a healthy environment based on dignity and humor. She is the author of Alzheimer's A to Z: A Quick-Reference Guide.

In trying to be the best caregivers, many of us don't realize when we're overdoing it. It can be very stressful always to be on the receiving end of kindness. Most of us need purpose; we need something to do.

Ben's mother may simply feel useless and bored in the afternoon. Find something for her to do. Ask her to help; she could help you with laundry, set the table, or prepare salad. Encourage her to do as much (or as little) as she's capable of or interested in. The trick is to make her feel that you really need her input.

Ben's mother may also be reacting to your trying too hard. Listen to yourself. Your voice might be bit too sweet. Even if she has dementia she still will pick up on your attitude and if she senses that you really don't mean it when you speak to her in a sweet voice, she will rebel. Talk to her in the same voice you use with Ben or your other friends.