Sudden personality change in my grandfather

Posted by secaries @secaries, Jan 10, 2017

Hello,
My grandpa has been developing some sudden personality changes. For background, he is 82, 6’4, 200 some odd lbs, and has diabetes. For the past few months, he has descended into a foul mood. He used to nr really nice, and a good guy. He has now become angry, controlling, and paranoid. He has fallen on several occasions, but refuses to use his walker or a wheelchair. If you try to get him to use his walker, or the new bathroom they had built for him, he gets mad and refuses because “I’m not a damn cripple.” He’s becoming irrationally angry over very small things. He’s also becoming controlling of my 81 year old grandma, and even went so far as to suggest that she was having an affair with her sisters husband. This was a kind, sweet, and gentle man for all of my life, and according to my dad growing up. This has all come on over the past few months, and has been getting worse over the past week. Does anyone have any ideas? My dad and I think it might be early stages of dementia.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Brain & Nervous System group.

Welcome to Connect, @secaries.
How frightening this must be for your family. I’m tagging @IndianaScott @nanax2 @rmftucker @sallysue @tavi @kateia and @marilee to get their insights. We’re not experts, but your grandfather’s change in personality does sound like similar to other caregiver’s experiences with people who have dementia. You may be interested in reading and joining these discussions:

– Caring for someone with dementia / Alzheimer’s http://mayocl.in/2ccA0jO
– Dementia Anger Issues – bathing http://mayocl.in/2g0Urkt

Secaries, has your grandfather noticed his changes in attitude? Does he return to his gentle self periodically?

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My heartfelt support to you, @secaries for reaching out to try to find out more about what is happening with your Grandfather. First and foremost, please remember that whatever is happening to your grandfather, it is his disease that is is causing him to change and not the Grandfather that you know to be kind, sweet and gentle. My husband is about your Grandfather’s age and was diagnosed with dementia approximately three years ago. We have been challenged time and again with changes in his behavior – including anger, hallucinations, and, similarly, his belief that I planned to leave him to be with a friend of his. The path has been immensely confusing for me but always more so for my husband as he tries to navigate in his changing world — I encourage you and your family to reach out and don’t be shy about asking questions — we’ve all had many experiences and I know that it helps me to be able to share and reflect on what has happened to my husband with others in this forum. There is much to understand and deal with — it takes great energy and everyone here has provided me with good support as these changes have occurred in our lives. A specific question I would be asking with regard to your grandfather are the medications that he is taking and how effective they may be in helping him with his behaviors. For right now, we’ve finally identified a good mix for my husband but in the course of getting here there have been some meds and/or combinations that effected him poorly, causing hallucinations and/or not addressing some of the underlying issues. I welcome you to participate with us, freely ask questions and do wish you the very best with your grandfather.

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@colleenyoung

Welcome to Connect, @secaries.
How frightening this must be for your family. I’m tagging @IndianaScott @nanax2 @rmftucker @sallysue @tavi @kateia and @marilee to get their insights. We’re not experts, but your grandfather’s change in personality does sound like similar to other caregiver’s experiences with people who have dementia. You may be interested in reading and joining these discussions:

– Caring for someone with dementia / Alzheimer’s http://mayocl.in/2ccA0jO
– Dementia Anger Issues – bathing http://mayocl.in/2g0Urkt

Secaries, has your grandfather noticed his changes in attitude? Does he return to his gentle self periodically?

Jump to this post

I’m unsure as to if he has noticed the changes, but sometimes he’s fine, and other times he devolves into an angry paranoid man. It’s getting concerning now, seeing as it’s becoming more frequent. The problem is, we know it’s not him in there, so to speak, but it’s unlikely we would be able to get him to a doctor because he’s pretty stubborn, even without the recent issues. It’s even more difficult because my parents and I live 2 hours southeast of them.

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I don’t know all of what he’s taking, but insulin for the diabetes for sure. He’s had it for over 20 years I think, but he manages it well. I also think some if the anger is due to the fact he knows his body is wearing down. He was a big athlete in high school, and played every sport available at the time, and set school records in pretty much all of them. He also went into the army in the 50s and was stationed in Germany as an armored personnel carrier driver. In the past few years he’s had to give up a lot of things, like driving, woodworking, and deer hunting. I think stopping hunting bothered him the most. The diabetes makes it difficult for him to pick his feet up, making it almost impossible to get to his blind on foot. Due to this, he bought a 4-wheeler and drove it sidesaddle so he could still hunt. Unfortunately he had to stop a few years ago. And yes, we know it’s not really him, but some sort of illness that’s doing all of this. We don’t know how to get him to go to a doctor to get looked at, cuz even when he was all good, he was pretty stubborn. He would probably refuse to go due to thinking he’s fine. I will say he still remembers to feed the birds every day. They live in the middle of nowhere in northern Michigan, so lots of songbirds are around, and every morning he spreads seeds all over the deck for them

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@tavi

My heartfelt support to you, @secaries for reaching out to try to find out more about what is happening with your Grandfather. First and foremost, please remember that whatever is happening to your grandfather, it is his disease that is is causing him to change and not the Grandfather that you know to be kind, sweet and gentle. My husband is about your Grandfather’s age and was diagnosed with dementia approximately three years ago. We have been challenged time and again with changes in his behavior – including anger, hallucinations, and, similarly, his belief that I planned to leave him to be with a friend of his. The path has been immensely confusing for me but always more so for my husband as he tries to navigate in his changing world — I encourage you and your family to reach out and don’t be shy about asking questions — we’ve all had many experiences and I know that it helps me to be able to share and reflect on what has happened to my husband with others in this forum. There is much to understand and deal with — it takes great energy and everyone here has provided me with good support as these changes have occurred in our lives. A specific question I would be asking with regard to your grandfather are the medications that he is taking and how effective they may be in helping him with his behaviors. For right now, we’ve finally identified a good mix for my husband but in the course of getting here there have been some meds and/or combinations that effected him poorly, causing hallucinations and/or not addressing some of the underlying issues. I welcome you to participate with us, freely ask questions and do wish you the very best with your grandfather.

Jump to this post

Hi @secaries. I want to emphasize the good advice here from @tavi and urge you to pull your family together to jointly find ways to unravel the facts about your grandfather’s unhappiness. Most important is to figure out how to have a comprehensive discussion with him about his view of his current situation and his near-term future. Second, the family needs to have a list of medications that he is taking or being given every day, every week, and every year (since meds often get spread over long periods). The “medications” list should also include non-prescription products, such as nutritional supplements and those advertised as designed to treat or ameliorate a condition that the patient believes is affecting him. The list needs to be reviewed by a medical doctor. Third, persuade him to have a complete annual physical; in current practice, the costs are covered by Medicare for preventive examinations and treatments without question and without charges against Medicare supplemental insurance.

I’m past 80 myself and have had the sad experience of watching my dad, his only sibling, and his mother all descend into dementia and — after many many months of care — eventually drift away in their 80s to their final resting place. They always thanked us and apologized for being a burden to us — for being angry or subdued — until they no longer realized their plight.

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Yes, seems like dementia.get him assessed then – what helped my Mom, Arecept and Namenda. Namenda can be a patch he doesn’t know he is wearing, like a round bandaide.
Do it quickly, – I swear by these meds – at 92 Mom was flirting w men at pools and smiled and went to lunch, and shopping and finally settled in to be more contented and accepting of her life.
I think Arecept rocks, to make people sharp. etc.

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He might be depressed and a mild sedative might help. He needs to be seen by his dr. and your grandmother or father should visit with the dr. to tell him of their concerns. My 86 year-old husband exhibited some of the same symptoms and was finally put on Zoloft which made a great change in his attitude. Eventually he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease with vascular dementia and is on Aricept and Memantime which has helped his mobility. He should check with the Veteran’s Administration since many changes have been made in their medical care provisions for veterans. They no longer need to have service-related medical issues to be eligible. They have been a great help to us.

Best wishes to all of you.

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Hello, @secaries – You'd described some personality changes in your grandfather, and wanted to touch base with you and see how things are going with him?

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Hi,
My grandfather has been developing some changes in his personality.he is 80yrs old. He was mentally active a few months before the pandemic. During the onset of the pandemic, we lost our grandmother. They spent most of their life together. They barely spent time alone . Both of them were doctors and owned a clinic. Everyday they would just go and return from the clinic together. Grandma’s death affected him really bad. He once had a stroke on 2017. He kept forgetting things, recently his brother died and he went to his funeral, the next day he was angry at us for not telling him that his brother died. Recently, me and my mom went abroad for a 3 days for some family stuff, during these days my mom asked my father’s elder sister (my maternal aunt) to give him company, this was not her first time . (He was the best grandpa in the world. He was really famous in our area.) The first day we got a call from my my aunt saying that he tried to kiss and hug her and made her really uncomfortable. She felt really bad and left the house immediately crying. After hearing the news my mom became weak. He treated my aunt just like his daughter. He kept apologising to her. And my mom was sure that he wont do it, (my mom was also a doctor). The next day he called us saying that he tried to catch my aunt when she was falling and then she tried to back off and left crying saying that he tried to rape her, he was crying and saying that he might commit suicide. The next day we left, and he kept telling us that the previous day my aunt came and kept cursing him and left and he told nothing. Now he starts to cry saying that he was innocent he helped their family and still she cursed him for no reason. Then we came to know that this was not the first time it happened with our maid but she hit him and let it go. Now we are scared. My mom and my father said that he is suffering from Alzheimer's and he is not the grandfather we knew.

REPLY
@xavier90

Hi,
My grandfather has been developing some changes in his personality.he is 80yrs old. He was mentally active a few months before the pandemic. During the onset of the pandemic, we lost our grandmother. They spent most of their life together. They barely spent time alone . Both of them were doctors and owned a clinic. Everyday they would just go and return from the clinic together. Grandma’s death affected him really bad. He once had a stroke on 2017. He kept forgetting things, recently his brother died and he went to his funeral, the next day he was angry at us for not telling him that his brother died. Recently, me and my mom went abroad for a 3 days for some family stuff, during these days my mom asked my father’s elder sister (my maternal aunt) to give him company, this was not her first time . (He was the best grandpa in the world. He was really famous in our area.) The first day we got a call from my my aunt saying that he tried to kiss and hug her and made her really uncomfortable. She felt really bad and left the house immediately crying. After hearing the news my mom became weak. He treated my aunt just like his daughter. He kept apologising to her. And my mom was sure that he wont do it, (my mom was also a doctor). The next day he called us saying that he tried to catch my aunt when she was falling and then she tried to back off and left crying saying that he tried to rape her, he was crying and saying that he might commit suicide. The next day we left, and he kept telling us that the previous day my aunt came and kept cursing him and left and he told nothing. Now he starts to cry saying that he was innocent he helped their family and still she cursed him for no reason. Then we came to know that this was not the first time it happened with our maid but she hit him and let it go. Now we are scared. My mom and my father said that he is suffering from Alzheimer's and he is not the grandfather we knew.

Jump to this post

@xavier90 Alzheimer's is tough on families. Does your grandfather have a care giver in place? Has the family considered placement in a Dementia care facility? I know these are tough choices, and your story isn't unusual for a family and a person with Alzheimer's. For some reason, the patient doesn't have normal inhibitions in knowing what is right and wrong and can be very aggressive with inappropriate urges. There can also be hydrocephalus pressure on the brain that can increase aggression and sometimes surgery is done to place a shut to relieve the pressure. Brain damage can increase aggression a lot. I saw that in my dad who had a traumatic brain injury. Over time, Alzheimer's is causing brain damage as well. I saw my father in law go through some similar changes, and he really did better in a nursing home. He became irritated easily and would hit people if he was angry. It is very frustrating for this patient to try to navigate his world when nothing makes sense anymore. As a family it helps to remember the person he was, and to know that he wouldn't choose to have this behavior if he knew what he was doing. If he is living alone, he is a danger to himself. A person like this can leave home and get lost, or wander out in the middle of winter and freeze to death because they don't realize they need warm clothes. How does he get groceries and medicine? He must be very lost without his wife and he seems to be looking for her in other people.

What does help is distraction with happy memories. If you get out old photo albums and talk about shared experiences you can help him remember without telling him that he can't remember anymore. That is frightening to a person to loose their memories and he may fight to try to prove he is right. It's easy to change the subject. My father in law didn't want anything to change anything in the house, and his wife wanted to redecorate the kitchen that had not been changed in 30 years. We got out wallpaper books and kept complimenting him about the pattern he picked out (not really, but we gave him credit) for the kitchen and the new countertops, etc. We made him feel good about it and after a couple months, he didn't mind the new kitchen and we kept complimenting him on how nice it looked and he just beamed. It was a win-win for everyone. At one point, he was getting too aggressive for the safety of his elderly wife, so at that point, he moved to a nursing home. The first one didn't work out because he was aggressive to other patients, and he was moved to a different home and did better there. I used to take my dog to visit him which he really enjoyed as did other residents.

Are you getting some counseling or a support group for yourself? Are you talking to other family members about this? Remember that he cannot reason about things like you can, and everything is new and unfamiliar to him. He will get angry, but what he needs from you is compassion. He won't remember things he has done. He lives in the moment. Music can help a lot to calm a person and it seems to help a lot with Alzheimers because those memories seem to last longer. It may help to play the old time music from when he was young. Sing songs with him and do everything you can to make him feel good about himself. Your life will be easier for doing that and there may be some fun in shared experiences.

Would you consider reaching out to your county's aging and disability resource center? Usually you can find a lot of information online and they have social workers who can help with recommendations. What has his doctor said about what his care should be? Has he seen his own physician recently? Perhaps he is already living in a care facility. I wasn't sure from your post and didn't want to assume that was the case. Have you visited any dementia care facilities? That may be an educational experience that could lead to better understanding for your family.

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@jenniferhunter

@xavier90 Alzheimer's is tough on families. Does your grandfather have a care giver in place? Has the family considered placement in a Dementia care facility? I know these are tough choices, and your story isn't unusual for a family and a person with Alzheimer's. For some reason, the patient doesn't have normal inhibitions in knowing what is right and wrong and can be very aggressive with inappropriate urges. There can also be hydrocephalus pressure on the brain that can increase aggression and sometimes surgery is done to place a shut to relieve the pressure. Brain damage can increase aggression a lot. I saw that in my dad who had a traumatic brain injury. Over time, Alzheimer's is causing brain damage as well. I saw my father in law go through some similar changes, and he really did better in a nursing home. He became irritated easily and would hit people if he was angry. It is very frustrating for this patient to try to navigate his world when nothing makes sense anymore. As a family it helps to remember the person he was, and to know that he wouldn't choose to have this behavior if he knew what he was doing. If he is living alone, he is a danger to himself. A person like this can leave home and get lost, or wander out in the middle of winter and freeze to death because they don't realize they need warm clothes. How does he get groceries and medicine? He must be very lost without his wife and he seems to be looking for her in other people.

What does help is distraction with happy memories. If you get out old photo albums and talk about shared experiences you can help him remember without telling him that he can't remember anymore. That is frightening to a person to loose their memories and he may fight to try to prove he is right. It's easy to change the subject. My father in law didn't want anything to change anything in the house, and his wife wanted to redecorate the kitchen that had not been changed in 30 years. We got out wallpaper books and kept complimenting him about the pattern he picked out (not really, but we gave him credit) for the kitchen and the new countertops, etc. We made him feel good about it and after a couple months, he didn't mind the new kitchen and we kept complimenting him on how nice it looked and he just beamed. It was a win-win for everyone. At one point, he was getting too aggressive for the safety of his elderly wife, so at that point, he moved to a nursing home. The first one didn't work out because he was aggressive to other patients, and he was moved to a different home and did better there. I used to take my dog to visit him which he really enjoyed as did other residents.

Are you getting some counseling or a support group for yourself? Are you talking to other family members about this? Remember that he cannot reason about things like you can, and everything is new and unfamiliar to him. He will get angry, but what he needs from you is compassion. He won't remember things he has done. He lives in the moment. Music can help a lot to calm a person and it seems to help a lot with Alzheimers because those memories seem to last longer. It may help to play the old time music from when he was young. Sing songs with him and do everything you can to make him feel good about himself. Your life will be easier for doing that and there may be some fun in shared experiences.

Would you consider reaching out to your county's aging and disability resource center? Usually you can find a lot of information online and they have social workers who can help with recommendations. What has his doctor said about what his care should be? Has he seen his own physician recently? Perhaps he is already living in a care facility. I wasn't sure from your post and didn't want to assume that was the case. Have you visited any dementia care facilities? That may be an educational experience that could lead to better understanding for your family.

Jump to this post

This is a very empathetic and helpful post. I tucked away some ideas for the possible day I will need it. Thank you so much for taking the time to write these suggestions.

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@jenniferhunter

@xavier90 Alzheimer's is tough on families. Does your grandfather have a care giver in place? Has the family considered placement in a Dementia care facility? I know these are tough choices, and your story isn't unusual for a family and a person with Alzheimer's. For some reason, the patient doesn't have normal inhibitions in knowing what is right and wrong and can be very aggressive with inappropriate urges. There can also be hydrocephalus pressure on the brain that can increase aggression and sometimes surgery is done to place a shut to relieve the pressure. Brain damage can increase aggression a lot. I saw that in my dad who had a traumatic brain injury. Over time, Alzheimer's is causing brain damage as well. I saw my father in law go through some similar changes, and he really did better in a nursing home. He became irritated easily and would hit people if he was angry. It is very frustrating for this patient to try to navigate his world when nothing makes sense anymore. As a family it helps to remember the person he was, and to know that he wouldn't choose to have this behavior if he knew what he was doing. If he is living alone, he is a danger to himself. A person like this can leave home and get lost, or wander out in the middle of winter and freeze to death because they don't realize they need warm clothes. How does he get groceries and medicine? He must be very lost without his wife and he seems to be looking for her in other people.

What does help is distraction with happy memories. If you get out old photo albums and talk about shared experiences you can help him remember without telling him that he can't remember anymore. That is frightening to a person to loose their memories and he may fight to try to prove he is right. It's easy to change the subject. My father in law didn't want anything to change anything in the house, and his wife wanted to redecorate the kitchen that had not been changed in 30 years. We got out wallpaper books and kept complimenting him about the pattern he picked out (not really, but we gave him credit) for the kitchen and the new countertops, etc. We made him feel good about it and after a couple months, he didn't mind the new kitchen and we kept complimenting him on how nice it looked and he just beamed. It was a win-win for everyone. At one point, he was getting too aggressive for the safety of his elderly wife, so at that point, he moved to a nursing home. The first one didn't work out because he was aggressive to other patients, and he was moved to a different home and did better there. I used to take my dog to visit him which he really enjoyed as did other residents.

Are you getting some counseling or a support group for yourself? Are you talking to other family members about this? Remember that he cannot reason about things like you can, and everything is new and unfamiliar to him. He will get angry, but what he needs from you is compassion. He won't remember things he has done. He lives in the moment. Music can help a lot to calm a person and it seems to help a lot with Alzheimers because those memories seem to last longer. It may help to play the old time music from when he was young. Sing songs with him and do everything you can to make him feel good about himself. Your life will be easier for doing that and there may be some fun in shared experiences.

Would you consider reaching out to your county's aging and disability resource center? Usually you can find a lot of information online and they have social workers who can help with recommendations. What has his doctor said about what his care should be? Has he seen his own physician recently? Perhaps he is already living in a care facility. I wasn't sure from your post and didn't want to assume that was the case. Have you visited any dementia care facilities? That may be an educational experience that could lead to better understanding for your family.

Jump to this post

@xavier90 @jenniferhunter This post is filled with experience and good advice. I've had similar experiences with my family members and in-laws. Photo albums to bring back memories to talk about can be soothing so I encourage you to consider doing this.

Xavier, I hope you will come back here and tell us how you are feeling and what you are doing for yourself and your family to cope with your grandfather's situation.

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