Sep 13, 2014

Mean Dementia Patient, Challenging Dementia Patient

People with dementia may sometimes behave aggressively or in a mean spirited way. This can be very distressing and disconcerting for the dementia caregiver, family, relatives and friends.


People with dementia may sometimes behave aggressively or in a mean spirited way.
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Challenging and mean spirited behavior are common among persons living with dementia. But, I always ask the question, was the person "mean" before the onset of dementia?

I still remember Dotty saying to me,

Get Out, I Don't Want You Here, I Can Take Care of Myself


At first and for a long time, I thought Dotty was being mean to me. However, it finally dawned on me  that she was actually trying to communicate to me how scared, confused and worried she was.

I mean really. Does it make any sense for an elderly person to tell you to "get out" when you are taking care of them 24 hours a day?  When you are providing for all their needs, and providing a safe secure environment.


No it doesn't make much sense. And, I finally learned to listen and pay attention when Dotty would get angry or challenging.

I finally learned that it was the Alzheimer's speaking and trying to send me a message.

Alzheimer's patients need to communicate, just like we need to communicate. However, Alzheimer's patients after a time cannot communicate in the way they did prior to the onset of dementia. They do they best they can but eventually it falls on us to listen and interpret their words sometimes.

When they can't find the words they sometimes "act out" to send us the message they can no longer verbalize.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder and Editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.


Original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room