Feb 28, 2011

Alzheimer's Patient, He Still Hollers for Mom

I say this because I don't think you will be able to "make Mom understand."

I do think you might be able to lead her to the door of Alzheimer's World and then let her come to the understanding that something has to change -- and that something is her...


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Teresa Allen wrote:

My Mom is the one that my Dad depends on. I live with them, trying to take some of the stress off of Mom. Even if I sit down right beside him, he still hollars for Mom. It's never for anything more than just to find out where she is. This drives Mom nuts. Mom will not read any of the info that I keep leaving out for her. She doesn't want to be told what to do about Dad. I have tried saying things like "Mom, I read something very interesting about what Dad is doing lately." but she still doesn't want any suggestions or comments.


I've got it down, fairly well, and can communicate with Dad, but he still NEEDS her to feel secure. I see it every day. He looks and acts like an abused and rejected child. She is not mean to him, please don't get me wrong. But, I can see the hurt in his face, and in his demeanor.

Do you have any suggestions for me on how to make Mom understand, that her angry comments to him are setting the mood for our days?

Lately, I feel more like a referee, than a daughter. I can certainly understand how your mother might feel when your father "hollars for mom". My mother, Dotty, hollers for me all the time. Bobby, Bobby, where are you? YouWHo where are you?

If Dotty can't see me she wants to know where I am. She'll holler for me when she is sitting in another room talking to my sister or a friend. Where is he? Bobby, Bobby where are you?

There was a time when this did drive me crazy. Eventually, I came to a simple conclusion -- the need to know where I was wasn't going to stop. It was a real need for her. Then I had a real breakthrough. I finally realized something had to change -- this something was ME.

This realization felt good. And, it worked. I accepted that she needed to know where I was.

How to Get Answers To Your Questions About Alzheimer's and Dementia

I also understand how you, Teresa, feel when your write -- "He looks and acts like an abused and rejected child." I know that look. I am constantly assessing the look on my mother's face. Frankly, it is the only way I can tell how Dotty is feeling because if I ask I usually get an answer like -- I'm Okay. Even if she has a splitting headache.

Dotty also gets a look on her face that says -- "I've been dipped in shit". Sorry, that is the only way I can describe it. This look always worries me because I know if I don't do something about it we are heading downhill fast. It means I am going to end up with the dreaded stomach ache -- the agita.

Teresa I think you are already on the right track. You see the problem and you want to change the dynamic. Mom saying things that makes Dad look sad, unhappy,or rejected.

I would suggest you reverse the field. Why not ask Mom how she would want to be treated if she were the one with Alzheimer's?


Simply ask her to look at the situation from Dad's perspective. It might be a good idea to reinforce Mom by letting her know you believe she is doing a great job with Dad.

Then I would explain that is it a good thing that Dad and Mom are so close. Dad needs Mom.

Again, I would ask her to reverse the field. If she had Alzheimer's and was angry or bent out of shape all the time because Dad was making "snide remarks" how does she think she would feel?

Next, I would explain to Mom that Dad is doing these things because his brain is sick. This illness is causing him to have these feelings of insecurity. Nevertheless, he is still Dad. The same Dad we know and love.

Finally, I would explain to Mom that Dad can't change. But that the two of you together can change how Dad is feeling.

So at the end of the day the question remains, if the field was reversed would Mom want to feel sad, lonely, or rejected for the next many years of her life?

I think you'll have a better chance of helping Mom change if you allow the change to come from within her.

I say this because I don't think you will be able to "make Mom understand." 


I do think you might be able to lead her to the door of Alzheimer's World and then let her come to the understanding that something has to change -- and that something is her.

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