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Dementia - dealing with hostility/aggression - Carers UK Forum

Dementia - dealing with hostility/aggression

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
My mother is currently in hospital (having contracted pneumonia after a fall) and her dementia has got much worse. She is normally sweet natured but, often now, when we come to visit her she will push us away and either scream or go back to sleep. This is a new situation/development and I would welcome knowing how best to handle it.

I am thinking she may be pushing us away since all she wants is to be left in peace and, of course, that is not the nature of a hospital. Obviously I know to try and not be stressed by her reaction, since this would not be helpful, but it is hard to be loving in the face of such rejection.

For those looking after someone with dementia, what works when they get hostile?
Hello Amy.

I am fairly new to this site also and I have a mother, now 94, with dementia for the last 7 years or so. She has gone through this and still can be aggressive at times. She is now in a lovely care home and couldn't be better looked after but needs 24/7 care.

Sometimes, we could distract her with maybe looking at a magazine when she became aggressive,or even just talking about a pretty bracelet she had on etc., However, at one point she spent 3 months in hospital after a TIA and complications from leg ulcers and we found then, simply by trial and error, that if she was a bit dehydrated she seemed to be worse. When we had helped her a drink she seemed to be better. It may be worth trying. I know that water/squash is availabe to patients but they are not always able to help themselves if they are ill. Might be worth trying and perhaps get the nurses to give her regular little drinks. Easier said than done in busy hospital wards and busy nurses!

Sorry if this is not a lot of help to you but dementia sufferers do seem to go through this phase and perhaps she is also confused and frightened and not sure of what is going on around her.

I wish her a speedy recovery and best wishes to you all.
Thanks for your post. Are you saying that being dehydrated worsens dementia? Not heard this....
Dehydration doesnt make dementia itself worse, what it does is cause confusion so if you already have dementia it makes the symptoms worse.
Ah thanks for clarifying that crocus. Unfortunately she is reluctant to drink much water so this is a bit of a task in itself! Image
Old people don't drink water! My MIL won't drink water at all. Only tea. (and G and T!) (and wine). It's her only liquid intake.

i think it's a generation thing, possibly dating back to when it wasn't 'safe' to drink tap water? Or perhaps only 'poor people' had to drink water (like old peole don't eat brown bread, because when they grew up brown bread was for 'poor people'!)

Sugar-water might be the answer. My SIL's mum used to get her children to drink water by putting sugar in it! Yes, unthinkable now for children, but for an elderly person reluctant to drink, a mildly sweet water might be more enticing?? And not too cold, either, as teeth may be sensitive to cold.
Doesn't have to be water to stay hydrated - common misconception !

Fruit juice
Squash
Tea
Coffee
Soup
Jelly

all count - just not alcohol as that tends to be dehydrating !
Thanks for your helpful posts...tea is the way forward then!

SussexRokx - good tip re. distraction...I can easily do that with her! Tomorrow she goes to a temporary rehab place/care home that specialises in dementia before, if all goes well, coming back to her home here. I am hoping to travel in the ambulance with her to help ease the transition. Looks like she'll get her own room which should help her sleep better....she's not keen in having to get dressed though (neither would I be if I were ill).
To all the people dealing with drink problems. A dietitian recently visited us. My husband has dementia & Parkinsons and his chewing went. The dietitian said water on its own is heavy so putting something with it is OK. I use Elderflower in the water. Since my husband had his kidney out he hasn't been keen to drink and as been suggested, Jelly etc., all count as liquid.
While I am here does anyone know whether there is a difference between dementia and Alzthiemers.
I have to ensure that my mother gets enough fluid each day, especially in warmer weather. While she will drink water, milk, and coffee, it didn't seem to be enough of a variety. Lately I've been giving her fruit juice or even cordial, with both extremely diluted with water so that it doesn't affect her blood sugar levels too much. She enjoys the slight taste in it better than plain water, and I think even the colour attracts her, so I'm experimenting at the moment with different coloured juices.

I also rely on foods with a high water content to help me.