The Things Mom Says: Remember That Alzheimer’s is Speaking for Her
Alzheimer’s affects more than memory. The disease can make your loving mom say things she would never have said. Have you been hurt by the things your mom says? You’re not alone. Take a look at one family’s experience with Alzheimer’s.
Insults Come Flying.
The family was already having a hard time knowing how to talk to their mom. She’d always been polite, but now her comments seemed personal and hurtful. It became harder and harder for her adult children to shrug off the things she said.
While out shopping with her daughter, the mom handed her daughter some glucosamine beverages and told her she’d gotten fat enough that she should be drinking them. When the woman misplaced her purse, she immediately accused the son living with her of stealing her purse. He was shocked his own mom would accuse him of theft. When the purse was found under the sofa cushions, she never issued an apology.
Alzheimer’s leads to a loss of impulse control as the brain deteriorates. Their mom wasn’t saying things to be hurtful. It was actually the opposite case, the disease stripped away the brain function that would usually have her filtering what and how she said something.
What Can Family Members Do?
Around the house, the family members had to learn to ignore hurtful things that were said. Out in public, it became harder to ignore. During one afternoon out at a local pub, their mom looked at an overweight woman and said, “She’s pregnant so why is she having a beer?” The siblings were embarrassed, their mom had no idea why, and the overweight woman was mortified. When their mom kept asking, her daughter chose to distract by showing her mom pictures on her cell phone.
Sometimes, a diversion is the best way to get your parent to change the topic. Pictures on a cell phone, getting up and walking to the bathroom, or simply changing seats may be enough.
Caregivers are trained to deal with the negativity that often goes hand in hand with Alzheimer’s. You’re likely to take it harder because you’re not prepared for the changes. Make sure you’re giving yourself a break. A home care agency pairs you with caregivers who can look after your mom while you go to the movies, join friends at a bar, or simply curl up in your room with a book. No matter how you spend your free time, make sure you have caregivers available to give you some time to yourself.