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Violence when suffering with Alzheimer's

(9 Posts)
aleto Mon 20-Jun-11 22:27:44

My FIL was diagnosed with Alzheimer's nearly three years ago. Whenever we see him he is confused but calm. When alone with my MIL however, he is getting increasingly verbally agressive. MIL can just about deal with this but now he has started getting physically agressive.
He throws things at her and threatens to punch her, strangle her, smash things over her head etc. So far he has only caused the odd bruise as she can dodge and move away from him as he is frail.
Has anyone experience of this? MIL doesn't know what to do. She is thinking of going to the doctor to see if his medication can be changed.Should social services be involved? It's strange because he only does these things when no one else is around, so he obviously has a good degree of control over his actions. Any advice would be welcome.

Earthdog Mon 20-Jun-11 22:40:29

Sorry to hear this. I had violence with my 100 year old Grandmother who had vascular dementia. The carers couldn't cope with her eventually so she had to go into a home. At one stage I thought she was depressed and got her referred to a mental health nurse from the local hospital- he was really great and tried various different medicines but they all had bad side effects so we had to give up. However it may be worth asking for a referral to someone like this as he really tried.

StealthPolarBear Mon 20-Jun-11 22:42:31

Have you / MIL discovered the Alzheimer's Organisation forum - talking point? It's brilliant.
So sorry to hear about your FIL sad

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 20-Jun-11 22:45:59

It is quite normal for Alzheimers patients to be agressive towards their main carer - my MIL who has this is verbally agressive to PIL (but not to us when we visit). It would be worth getting social services involved for a referral -they might be able to suggest something lilke a day centre to give your MIL ag break. Also, make sure you have powers of attonrey in place.

aleto Mon 20-Jun-11 22:54:18

Thank you, I'm looking at Talking Point now.
Power of Attorney was set up when he was diagnosed but has not been activated yet. FIL would point blank refuse to go to a Day Centre, doesn't like MIL going anywhere without him either. Very hard. sad

CMOTdibbler Tue 21-Jun-11 09:11:40

Can I recommend the Contented Dementia book - I'm not sure I agree with all of it, but I'm using some of the techniques with my mum and it has made things a lot easier. It talks about anger and how to leave the person with dementia

DeWe Tue 21-Jun-11 10:48:23

Please sort it out for your mil sake. A neighbour of mine had this and she was so distressed. He pushed her over and hurt her hip so she could hardly stand. Eventually he pinned her down in the garden and someone heard her screaming and called the police but he had really hurt her.
After that he went into a home, but it was so hard on her, even with what she was living with she felt guilty at doing that.

betterwhenthesunshines Tue 21-Jun-11 22:39:44

Yes - this happened with both my grandparents. I'm sorry I can't help more as I was teenager at the time and wasn't very involved, but I do remember my mum talking about it.

My grandfather used to get very aggressive with my granny, but he had always been difficult towards her so I think she was used to putting up with it (not saying that made it easier BTW). Also he was very ill and didn't live for long.

Then my g'mother had dementia and came to live with my parents and they were a lot of incidents of her trying to beat up MY Dad. I think she also accosted a policeman once and high karate kicked a hotel owner when they took her away for a holiday once...

Could your MIL keep a diary to see if there is a pattern on the day? If they happen in the evening when he's tired? Is it when he gets particularly frustrated, maybe at himself?

It may be the Contented Dementia book that CMOT has mentioned but I heard someone on the radio the other talking about how usually we deny what the person is saying "No, you don't go to work any more, rememeber, you're retired" which just leads to more confusion. There was also a nurse in anursing home who siad they had eg, a woodwork bench for a man who used to do a lot of that and he would wander over, happily pick up and sand a piece of wood and then put it back again, until he did it again. And a lady who used to be a nurse and insisted on helping withthe medicine round who now has her own medicine trolley with cups of water, smarties in jars. It sounds a bit patronising but much less antagonistic.

Sorry - long post, but difficult subject. Hope you find some help.

CMOTdibbler Wed 22-Jun-11 09:10:16

Betterwhenthesunshines - yes, thats the approach the contented dementia/SPECAL advocate. No questions, no challenges, work with what makes the person happy (without endangering themselves or others) to create happy emotions for them.

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