Alzheimer's Disease: A Guide for Families

By Lenore S. Powell; Katie Courtice | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Anger:
The Perplexing Emotion

Ms. ZABRISKI: "My uncle was always very sweet and nice. But when he came to live with us I had to give up my job to stay home with him. That made me angry, and I yelled at him a lot. Even while I was yelling, I thought, 'Oh, this is terrible, he's sick, he's fragile.' And then he'd get mad at me. One day he was so furious he left the house, slamming the door -- something he'd never done before -- and disappeared. We had to search the whole neighborhood for him. He scared me to death when he got lost like that. So I never yelled at him again."

Ms. McKAY: "I took my sister shopping with me when I went to the supermarket, as I usually do. And when we were leaving the market, I noticed that she was chewing gum. She's not usually a gum chewer. So I asked her, 'Where did you get that gum?' And she pointed, 'In there.' She'd taken it, simply because she wanted it -- like shoplifting! Well, I was so furious! I grabbed the rest of the pack from her, and I threw it down, and I yelled at her: 'You're not supposed to do that; you shouldn't have that!' What could I do? I was too ashamed to go back into the store and return it -- too embarrassed."

Anger, shame, embarrassment, fear -- almost everyone who lives with a person whose memory is impaired is familiar with these feelings.

-57-

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