Unfortunately, with Alzheimer’s, verbal abuse sometimes comes with the territory.
When the caregiver is subjected to verbal abuse, it can sometimes become intolerable. And that’s when your Mom has to learn to calm herself down by repeating “It isn’t personal.” Easier said then done. But, for her own sanity, she has to try.
You both may have to mourn the change in his personality… and, eventually, come to some sort of acceptance.
As with many other areas of the Alzheimer’s Journey, though, there are things you can do. (Yelling at him is not one of them! That will most likely only make him more agitated.)
Give your mother a break. Hire someone to come in and care for your Dad (he may act differently with someone who’s not a family member). Take him to an adult day care center. Or ask other family members to pitch in. You may also want to speak with his doctor. Often, Alzheimer’s patients are abusive because they’re suffering from depression… or pain.
Humor never hurts, either. You can’t control his actions. But you can control your response.
Validate his feelings. Ask him to do things in a non-threatening manner. (If he resists, back off and give him time to calm down.) Also, don’t talk down to him. Even Alzheimer’s patients realize when they’re being patronized. And that can make them even more agitated – and abusive.
Lastly, discuss the possibility of a support group for your Mom. Meeting others in the same situation will help her learn new coping methods. And dealing with her own feelings may help her to deal with his.
The Alzheimer’s Journey is long and hard. But we can help. At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we practice Elder Law. And we have one of the largest Alzheimer’s/Dementia resource centers in South Florida.
Over the past 33 years, we’ve walked thousands of South Florida families through the Alzheimer’s Journey. And we’ve helped them prepare for the possibility, as well, with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, and assistance with Medicaid or the VA.
We know the way. And we’re just a phone call away.
My Dad is Verbally Abusive to My Mom. What Can I Do?