My Daughter and I went to the nursing home for a meeting, about my brother J.R. and his dementia treatment, before Christmas 2014. We met with the nursing staff for 20 minutes and discussed J.R. After the meeting we had a nice visit with J.R.
The problem of Unexpected Anger began with another nursing home resident when we were trying to leave the facility. (All names of those involved in this incident have been changed). There was a nursing home resident named Janice sitting in front of the exit door in her wheelchair. Betty saw the patient there and said, “Wait, I will go get Sue.” Betty quickly walked down the hall. We had no idea why she needed Sue. It was very cold outside and a visitor needed to enter. So, I took the handles of the wheelchair, pulled the chair backwards, to move Janice out of the way. OH MY, was that a mistake! Janice could whirl that wheelchair around on a dime. She whirled; swung her arm at me; let out a string of cuss words that would make a sailor blush; several times she said she was going to kill me; and she took off after me at top speed. I ran around a couch and tried to keep the couch between us. When I changed direction, she changed direction, she was ranting and raving the whole time. I did not want to physically defend myself from a frail lady in a wheelchair. My Daughter could not help me. Another visitor who was trying to leave, slowly backed into an office. The visitor who came in was behind me, thanking me for letting her in. I told the visitor to watch out Janice was Mean, then I changed direction again! After about 4 minutes Sue arrived. Sue tried to talk Janice into staying inside because it was cold. I could tell Sue was afraid of Janice. Sue finally gave up and took Janice outside. As we left I was very shaken from this Unexpected Anger
I was called to the nursing home twice after this incident for anger issues with J.R. They would try to redirect him physically and he would become angry. They informed me that my brother was either going to have to be sent to a Psych Hospital for evaluation or I would have to place him in another nursing home. I told them the anger story about Janice and her wheelchair and that I felt she was much more violent than J.R., yet they tolerated her anger. They laughed at my story of Janice and said, “Oh, she was just angry because she was dying and it made her mad.” They said she had since passed away.
So, I sent J.R. to the Psych Hospital. He was back at the nursing home in a week, drugged so much he could not wake up to eat. They had to reduce the medications and finally decided they needed to learn how to correctly approach and redirect him. They had also decided he was not really violent. I tried quite some time ago to tell them you could not physically manhandle someone with dementia and not expect them to react unfavorably. J.R. is in the latter part of mid-stage dementia. You never know how fast dementia will progress, each patient is different. The brain disappears differently in each person with dementia.
Each time I receive a phone call from the nursing home dread and sorrow enters my mind. The sorrow endured by watching a loved one go through dementia is unbearable. J.R. has his medications changed continuously; he sleeps 2 hours in 2 days; he is losing weight. To describe J.R.’s brain would be to say someone has scrambled his brain with an eggbeater. I do not understand him, he does not understand me. Antipsychotic drugs are not recommend for dementia patients, but doctors still prescribe them. Side effects of these drugs cause anxiety, hostility, aggressiveness, agitation, insomnia, etc. I believe these drugs are the reason for the violent behavior in people with dementia.
Dementia is increasing in the world daily. All we can do is PRAY that someday in the near future a cure for dementia will be found.