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What is causing Mom's personality changes?

Mom had a couple of TIAs and now her personality has totally changed. She is wearing my poor dad out and seems to blame him for anything that happens. What is happening here? We have more good days than bad. Do you think we are dealing with dementia? She seems like my mom one day and someone else the next! I feel like I am being disrespectful because I am raising my voice more than I ever have. The oddest thing about this, though, is that when my mom's outside of the house, she's almost normal. Its only in the house that she exhibits this outrageous behavior. Not completely normal or anything, but exhibits appropriate behavior. Back at home, however, she reverts back to this horrid behavior. My dad's accepted that his is now his life; caring for his wife. He married her for better or for worse; they had the better, now it's time for the worse, and no amount of pressure will change his mind. He says he would only consider a home if and when she becomes totally incontinent and doesn't remember anyone; in absence of that, he will care for her for as long as he's able.
Status: Open    May 29, 2015 - 02:15 PM

Senior Health & Nutrition, Caregiving

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Expert Answers

Jul 20, 2015 - 08:34 AM

The TIAs could have caused some brain damage or she may have dementia. What does your Mom’s doctor say? Or does the doctor know about what is happening? There are medications and therapies that can help, depending upon what is causing these problems. Sounds like your Mom might need further medical evaluation and intervention.

Since your Dad does not want to place your Mom, maybe you can hire some help to assist him at home. If your Mom’s TIAs are recent, she may be eligible for some home health visits to access the situation and help you Dad problem solve the situation.

I have seen some facilities that have more than one level of care, such as independent and assisted living. I have known couples, like your parents, that have moved there together, so the healthy spouses can receive assistance caring for their loved ones. In those cases, the families that I knew were very pleased with the results.

In the meantime, be there to support your Dad. You may have to give him some time to come around to realizing that it may be time to make some changes.


APFM Staff Answers

Aug 12, 2015 - 04:14 PM

It is very difficult and confusing when someone you have known for so long almost turns into a stranger. There is an article on our blog that describes personality changes and possible causes:

How to Deal With Personality Changes in Seniors


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