By Donald Weaver: For More Info, Go Here…
very week in my neurology clinic, I see patients and their families who are dealing with the realities of dementia. Of the many people I encounter, these three stories highlight a growing health issue that I feel is neglected — the complex relationship between dementia and domestic violence.
The first is a story of confusion:
“Dad is a nice guy, always has been. But now, because of the Alzheimer’s, he’s confused most of the time — and Mom isn’t coping. She doesn’t know what to do and she is frustrated. It started with her twisting his arm to get him to do things, but now she even hits him sometimes.”
The second is a story of public safety:
“The dementia has changed him — he’s not the same man I fell in love with and married so many years ago. He gets suspicious and angry a lot. He screams at me, he yells at our son, he shouts at the postman. He has even punched the caregiver who comes to help him bathe. I suppose we can cope, but I’m worried. We have two shotguns and a rifle in our basement — what do you think I should do with them?”
The third is a scene of abuse:
“I got divorced a long time ago because he used to hit me … a lot. He would get drunk every Saturday night and beat me up. He even knocked me out cold, probably five or six times. I haven’t seen him in more than 30 years, but I still feel that he is hurting me. Do you think all of these beatings caused my dementia? Did that bastard cause my dementia?”
These stories are united by a common theme: the complex relationship between dementia and domestic violence.