Dementia - possible early symptoms?

Very serious subject.

A gentleman moved down to our village about 3 years ago… amiable, good humoured, interesting fellow… always willing to lend a hand. His wife is a charming person… so both are an asset to our community.

These last few months have seen a dramatic turnaround…mostly he remains as always, but with a few folk, he has become argumentative and even abusive. I had heard this …and dismissed as tittle-tattle… until he turned on me.

These past weeks, it seems he has got worse in his verbal attacks…and yet, when I meet him now… he smiles at me, as if we have never crossed swords… (which I am happy to go along with, as I see no point in bearing a grudge.)

Had a call from a friend, greatly distressed… after being on the receiving end of an abusive tirade about his “noisy dogs”… (said dogs are not noisy, I know them very well.) This was his first experience of Jekyll/Hyde … until that moment they had been best of friends and never a cross word.

Now… to my question…could this behaviour be a symptom of some sort of dementia… as we (friends) have already discounted a medication-imbalance.

Any constructive advice will be most gratefully received… but I do not want this Thread to become any sort of slanging-match (you will all know what I mean).


Stella, I endorse everything Janice Davies has said in her very perceptive and thoughtful answer. Only a careful professional assessment of this fellow’s seeming difficulties will uncover what may be giving rise to them.

Apparent ‘personality changes’ in a previously well-adjusted individual may be the result of organic changes (i.e. the early signs of a physical illness that has not yet begun to evidence clear physical signs or symptoms), or the onset of a mental illness. Physical and mental ill-health often overlap very considerably and in disguised ways, but early intervention (getting an urgent medical opinion) is always a wise move: “a stitch in time…” etc.

Perhaps, if you have the confidence of this couple, you could find a way of communicating this to them both, not just the wife, because keeping the man in the dark about your concerns and/or suspicions may compound any difficulties she may be experiencing. After all, if he is aggressive or suspicious of his neighbours and acquaintances, his wife may also be in a similar fix hereself.

If these is a real concern about possible dementia, Pole Alzheimer have professional and expert volunteer resources throughout France and you can Google your local group for advice and help.

Best wishes in your compassionate endeavours.

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Hi Stella,
Could this be an alcohol related problem ? I know two or three people who are very affable and pleasant folks when sober, but one really doesn’t want to be in their company after they have taken a glass too many.

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Hi Stella, a lot of eldery people here are getting stuck into the Rosé
often leading to suicide attempts.
It’s a very worrying situation as they are lonely and oft forgotten by
Hope this helps,

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Hi everyone.

Thanks for the replies posted here and for the PM’s that I have received.

You’ve all been very helpful and given me food for thought… got to go gently forward now…

I’ll close this thread… but if anyone has any further input, please PM me.

Stella, depending on the age of the man, I would say you have touched on the right point. It is entirely possible that some degree of dementia exists. My former FIL suffered from Alzheimers and became very combative and I know this happens with dementia patients too. Are you able to talk with confidence to his wife and ask how he is at home and has she noticed a change, as have the neighbors, and how disturbing this is to everyone who knows him as a mild person? I hope you are able to find out soon! This sounds most unpleasant, but also very sad.

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