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Is Being Combative and Physical a Normal Part of the Progression?

Answered by Karen Garner

July 17, 2015

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 5 years ago and she has been living on her own with daily visits from family members. In the last few months she has started to not recognize family members and has become combative with them. She will not allow care givers to stay with her during the day either. Is being combative and physical a normal part of the progression? We are considering having her move in with us but are concerned that she will get worse with the move. As the disease progresses will the combativeness diminish? Thank you!

I am really sorry your Mom has processed to this stage. Unfortunately, it is very common for dementia patients to get aggressive, combative and sometimes violent beyond control. Sometimes, these symptoms are brought on by an infection such as a UTI so if you haven't taken her to her physician, I would start there. If there is no infection, there are several medications which can help with her aggressiveness.

I wish I could say there was something to help with her loss of recognition, but that too comes with the disease. If you have her move in with you and she remains violent, there may be more issues than you have bargained for. Especially if she will not let others stay with her. What will you do when you need to leave her at your home?

Also, she may become more agitated with a huge change like a move and you possibly could end up calling the police, having her admitted to the ER and then placed in a psych hold. Have you looked into placement in a home? Is this an option? Have you tried several different caregivers? Sometimes it takes a while to find a good match.

There are many, many things to think about in this situation and it can be overwhelming. Please seek medical help and reach out to your local Alzheimer's Association chapter or a social worker. There is not simple, easy answer and I wish you luck.

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. August 7, 2015 at 01:04 am
    Posted by Angela

    I am interested in learning and I am doing the best I can, I am an only child

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