Feb 16, 2018

People with Alzheimer's Can Be Moody, Distrustful, Stubborn, Aggressive, Mean, and Discombobulated

People living with Alzheimer's or dementia can be moody, distrustful, stubborn, aggressive, and mean. Lets just say they become easily Discombobulated.


People with Alzheimer's Can Be Moody, Distrustful, Stubborn, Aggressive, Mean, and Discombobulated
by Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

It is very difficult to understand people living with Alzheimer's and dementia. It is very hard to adjust to the way they think, feel and act.

One reason it is so difficlt is because they change. Meanwhile we don't change at all - do we?

Change is hard to accept on any level, and the dramatic change that comes with Alzheimer's disease is even harder to accept.


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What most of us normally do in caring for a person living with dementia is what we have always done. In the past this usually worked well.

So we try to be nice, we try to explain, and yes we even try to cajole. We do it in the way we always did, and

It doesn't work.

This happens because we continue to operate in the world

As We Know it, or Knew It

we become easily frustrated and sometimes angry.

The behaviors that come with a diagnosis of dementia are hard to understand and deal with. This can be explained by one simple fact. We continue to operate the way we always have. I call this place

Real World.

Meanwhile the person living with dementia has moved to a new place, I call that place

Alzheimer's World.

Where is Alzheimer's World? One giant step to the left. You take the step and ease right into this new place. Once in

You Join With the Person Living with Dementia.

In Alzheimer's World all the behaviors that drive you crazy in Real World become normal. They become easier and easier to accept.

This happens because your brain is no longer

Being Constrained by the Past.

Alzheimer's World becomes a brand new place, filled with brand new experiences. It is new. As a result the necessary changes become easier to do.

People with Alzheimer's do lots of things that just don't make any sense in Real World, and these behaviors will drive us crazy if

We Continue to Evaluate Those Behaviors from a Real World Perspective.

People with Alzheimer's often repeat themselves. You will find the caregivers often complain about how dementia patient repeats things - over and over. This often drives caregivers "up the wall".

Why? This is a very common behavior in Alzheimer's World. In fact, not only common, it is a normal behavior for a person living with Alzheimer's.

What do you when a person living with dementia repeats themselves. Do you say, "you just asked me that". Or say, "don't you remember you just asked me that?". Let me help you out here. No they don't remember and if they did they wouldn't keep repeating themselves.

Here is what you learn when you get to Alzheimer's World - it is not their fault. They can't help repeating themselves. The take away? Repeating is normal in Alzheimer's World.

Let's take this one step further - Repetitive behavior is also normal in Alzheimer's World.

Before I made it to Alzheimer's World my mom use to drive me crazy. She would say over and over all day long - I'm hungry, I'm starving.

Amazingly she would most often say this right after she ate. And yes, I would correct her, tell her she couldn't possibly be hungry, and every single explanation you could ever thing of why she could not possibly be hungry.

What happened next? She became mean or confused and the day did not go well. Me. I gave myself a stomach ache.

I finally realized - she is never going to stop saying - I'm hungry, I'm starving. Why? Because this is a normal behavior in Alzheimer's World. So finally I asked myself, what am I going to do about this?

It was pretty simple in Alzheimer's World (not in Real World). First, I accepted that my mom was living in Alzheimer's World, and honestly believed that she was hungry (even after she had eaten a steak, baked potato, vegetables, and ice cream). Yep, she thought she was hungry. So I accepted it.

What did I do? I started saying something along these lines - okay mom, give me ten minutes to finish up and we will eat. The result. She smiled and said okay.

I laughed and did not get my stomach ache. Why did I laugh? I laughed at myself because the solution was so simple and it worked. I might add I also laughed because it made me feel happy.

My mom was no longer the enemy. Yep, I found my mom in Alzheimer's World.


People with Alzheimer's can be moody, distrustful, stubborn, aggressive, and withdrawn. Lets just say they become easily

Discombobulated.

Discombobulated : confused, upset, frustrated or disconcerted. This happens to all persons living with dementia, and it happens often even though we sometimes have no idea why it is happening if we use our Real World brain.

Guess what usually happens when we use our real world brain when dealing with a person living with dementia?

We Become Discombobulated.

And then, anger, frustration, and confusion overwhelmes the caregiver and the person for whom they are caring. It is a vicious cycle. I don't think I have to tell you that.

What can we do.

First and foremost, when they become confused, distrustful or challenging reverse field, reverse your mind set. Meet those behaviors with an equal and opposite behavior. You can try this - Always be Kinder than you Feel.

Better yet, just do the exact opposite of what your Real World brain is telling you to do. Instead of arguing - give them a hug. I am telling you right now - this works.

I really want you to read this article


It has over 10,000 shares on Facebook.

Reassurance through out the day also works wonders.


When a person living with Alzheimer's becomes difficult and refuses to cooperate or do what you what like them to do, meet that behavior with an equal and opposite behavior. Better yet, become a Guide.


yes, this also works like a charm.

First and foremost, throw off those Real World behaviors and communication techniques that just won't work.

Excessive explaining, and the use of persuasion just don't work. Forget the Blah Blah Blah. Learn how to communicate effectively with a person living with dementia in their world.


I had a lot of heartaches and stomach aches for about 18 months before I found Alzheimer's World. Once I got the hang of it - things got better and better.

If you follow every link in this article and read the articles - in a very short period of time you will learn what it took years for me to learn. You can also share it with others.

It is not easy being one of us. I took care of my mom for 3,112 days. And after about 560 days I started learning how to avoid those daily stomach aches.

My mom was rarely discombobulated. I was no longer discombobulated. I still had to ride the emotional roller coaster from time to time, but not every day.

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

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room

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