My mother has decided that my sister-in-law (her primary caregiver) is evil and she wants her out of the house. My brother and his family have lived with my mom since they were first married (16 years). Mom does not remember that SIL (sister-in-law) is married to my brother. She expresses complete loathing for my SIL. Is this consistent with Alzheimer’s? Mom is 92 and recently diagnosed. Will it pass? Should we lend any credence to mom’s change in attitude?

Unfortunately, this behavior is very consistent with Alzheimer’s progression. There is the possibility she will progress to the point that she won’t know anyone and will stop with the agitative response to a particular person, in this case your sister-in-law. One thing to keep in mind, as well, is how this affects your sister-in-law. It could be very hurtful and cause her to doubt the feelings for the past 16 years of your Mom. I would be sure to have clear conversations with her to express how much you appreciate her help caring for your Mom and make sure she is accepting this verbal abuse with little to no impact.

In the meantime, you may need to consider getting some other help caring for your Mom if she is becoming more and more agitated so that her needs are able to be met without a constant battle. If need be, you may want to discuss her behavior with her physician. You also may want to put out some photos of her with your sister-in-law during happier times…the wedding, any family trips and vacations, holidays, etc. It may show your Mom their history together and possible trigger a memory.

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