Jul 9, 2014

Can Alzheimers Make You Mean?

People living with Alzheimer's and dementia can become mean, agitated, angry, and sometimes abusive. This often happens for no apparent reason.

Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Open the Doors for Answers

I receive emails every week from readers (and comments on this blog) complaining about, or asking what to do about Alzheimer's patients that are mean.

Meanness is common in patients living with dementia. Much of it is caused by confusion and the inability to relate to space and time.

For example, you might go out for 30 minutes and when you come home the person living with dementia is upset. They might think you were gone all day, or that you might have abandoned them.

Dementia patients loss their concept of time, as well as date, day, and season. The concept of time is gone even if they can read a clock. They might be able to tell you the time, but shortly thereafter, they can't remember what time it is.

Another example.  When it starts to get dark because a storm is coming an Alzheimer's patient might assume its night time. The might start to evidence behavior associated with sundowning

These little episodes if you listen, and pay attention, can help you understand how a person with dementia thinks and feels.

They are often cognitively disoriented because of the inability to remember the right now and what just happened. They forget simple things like how long ago they ate, when they last took a shower, or how long you have been gone.

This article was stimulated by the frequent Google and Bing search of these keywords,

Can Alzheimer's Make You Mean?

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If you enter this words - Can Alzheimer's Make You Mean? - into the search box over on the right hand side of any page on this blog you will get a long list of articles about and around this issue. For example, if an Alzheimer's patient has an undetected urinary tract infection they can become mean.

There are more than 4,800 article on this site, and the largest fraction are devoted to dementia caregiving. More specifically how to understand, cope, and communication with a person living with Alzheimer's.

Here are some article that address the issue of meanness in dementia patients.


The question, how can you get a person living with dementia to stop saying mean and hurtful things to you?


They love us and rely on us so much they just can't stand to be without us.


I can still remember vividly when I made the best decision of them all. I decided that Dotty and I would start living our lives the way we always had.

To see the Search results for - Can Alzheimer's Make You Mean? - click here.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room