One of the hardest things for families, from what I have heard, is how the Alzheimer's person treats their closest relatives. I don't know how many times I have heard a story about hateful a parent is to their child or spouse. Remember that. I have heard that story SO MANY TIMES. It isn't because it is you. It's how the disease works. It's just another reason I think Alzheimer's is the worst disease out there.
I see Mark's frustration with his mom's anger. And I think he's shocked by it when it happens and a little hurt, especially because my interactions are completely opposite. Pat thanks me, loves me, and trusts me. On occassion, she will get upset with me but it's out of frustration more than anything else.
I don't have the answers to why Alzheimer's patients sometimes act worse around family members than caregivers. But I do have my opinions about it.
I think with Mark a lot of times he forgets that she is sick. He insists on correcting her, reminding her, and teaching her. I just play along with her. Sometimes I correct her but if she starts to get irritated, I just say, "oh, okay Pat." A lot of times what she says doesn't make much sense and I just get tired of repeating myself. I don't think keeping her oriented is as important as keeping her happy.
I don't believe he corrects her so much because he is being mean. He corrects her because it is a natural reaction to correct someone who is doing something wrong or has forgotten something. And he may do it because, well, it's his mom. And he knows what a smart person she has always been. Maybe deep down correcting her is a try at "fixing" her disease.
I think it is easier for an outsider to care for someone with Alzheimer's because they have no expectations. I met Pat in the very early stages of Alzheimer's, before anyone knew she had it. I had nothing to compare her behavior to. I have always known her as a frightened, worried woman and I have always reached out to her in a caregiver sort of role. I can't imagine what it is like to watch a strong woman like Pat slip away. It would be hard not to react.
Her reactions to Mark are compiled with stress, confusion, frustration, and a feeling of loss. She is his mom and now he is telling her what to do. That's hard to take when the roles reverse. She doesn't know she is driving us crazy with repetition, worry, and deceitful behavior. And while she remembers sometimes that she lives with us, I'm sure she isn't thinking it is so we can keep an eye on her. She looks at us like we are stealing her independence. 77 years old and everybody is telling her what to do. You would lash out too.
As I said before, these are my opinions and not medically explored. I live this situation every day.