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am I doing it wrong?
Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 9:48 PM
Joined: 4/29/2020
Posts: 11

 DW has terrible delusions. Most I can play along with. But I wont play along with the ones about me going to live with my girlfriend or stealing her money. When we get to those, I usually just leave the room, stay nearby so I can monitor but I'm so much happier out in the garden at those times. I realize when this happens, I'm leaving her to stew in her delusions. But I can't really change her mind, anyway. I'm nearby and can monitor in case there's a problem.

But I feel guilty just leaving her alone to process her delusions. Like I'm failing her.

Am I doing this wrong?

 If I stay with her, chances are we'll both just end up frustrated and angry.


Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 5:04 AM
Joined: 4/6/2014
Posts: 470

For me I will just find something to do around the house for awhile.
Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 5:27 AM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 2882

I don't think you are doing it wrong. But there might be medication that could help. Maybe a talk with her doctor?
Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 6:43 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 2207

Leaving the room, once you have become a trigger for a painful delusion, is probably best in the moment. 

I agree with Ed that this might be treatable to some degree with medication. My dad improved a lot of a small dose of Seroquel. Another strategy that worked for us, was for me to visit dad or call him and let him rant at me about my mom. Then I could tell him how much she loved him and thought he was the only man for her, etc which seemed to relieve his anxiety around this- his whole facial expression would relax. Alas, this didn't work if she tried to defend herself. 

When he accused me of transgressions, I just apologized and promised to "do better" next time.
White Crane
Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 6:47 AM
Joined: 2/27/2017
Posts: 167

Gthoma, like you, there are some delusions I can't play along with.  Sometimes I leave the room.  Other times I try to tell DH the real reality.  Neither approach seems to help for long as he continues in the delusion.  Like Ed said, maybe her Dr. could prescribe something to help.  I'm so sorry you are going through this.  It is a hard road to travel but you aren't alone.  There is a lot of help on and support on this forum.
very involved
Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 8:13 AM
Joined: 5/25/2020
Posts: 9

I am new at this, having a very hard time.  We are not at the delusional stage at this point, thank goodness.  When DH repeats the same question to me within a few minutes, I continue to say to myself “it’s the disease, it’s not really him”, most of the time cry by myself.  I don’t know if this is helpful or I’m just venting, nobody else wants to keep hearing this except this supportive group.
Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 8:51 AM
Joined: 7/30/2013
Posts: 6033

My hubby had paranoid delusions very early on in the course of his disease. You can't change their minds about these false beliefs. If you can ignore it, that's for the best. In hubby's case, they could make him become very agitated and aggressive. I couldn't just leave the room or go outside because he would follow me and continue to yell at me. His neuro prescribed  antidepressants and referred hubby to a geriatric psychiatrist. The psychiatrist was much better equipped to deal with this because they treat a lot of people with dementia and a good number of them have delusions and hallucinations. The psychiatrist prescribed a mood stabilizer and, later, an antipsychotic medication. It helped a lot. That's my recommendation, get her in to see a geriatric psychiatrist. By the way, hubby had early onset Alzheimer's disease. They should see a geriatric psychiatrist even if they're well under 65.
Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 9:47 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 18468

The only other thing that comes to mind is telling her how sorry you are that she feels that way and ask if there is any way you can reassure her that you are not....listening and hugging can work sometimes.
Jane Smith
Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 12:59 PM
Joined: 3/23/2015
Posts: 97

Delusions are really hard to deal with and I hear you on not agreeing to be the bad guy in the story. It seems like so often with dementia there is not a right answer. I often feel that no matter what I do, it’s wrong. 

I can tell you that with my mother and her delusions over the years, some we were able to deal with, some of the time, by using some combination of validation of feelings, empathy, and/or redirection and distraction. Along the lines of, mom, I can tell you are upset/angry/scared. Of course you are upset!  Anybody would be upset about that!  Nobody would want that!!  I’m so sorry you are upset.  It’s terrible and I am sorry.  I promise I will help you/look into that for you/take care of it the best I can. Hey, I’m hungry, want a cookie?  Obviously that is an overly simplistic version but you get the idea. You can sometimes do this without agreeing with what they are saying. It worked better on things like “they are stealing my socks” than it did on the accusations of me stealing her money, though. The personal accusations are a lot harder to deflect. 

And when she got to the paranoid delusions, which have happened several times over the years, that needed a shift in her medications as well as some environmental changes. The paranoid delusion that they were poisoning her food was challenging for the facility as you can imagine but the medication changes combined with a change in how they served her meals and a lot of extra reassurance helped.

  We also figured out a couple of things that might have been triggering the delusions or making them worse so were Able to make some changes. The money and theft delusions were definitely triggered if she saw any mail or paperwork that she interpreted as “bills” so we stopped all her mail. They were also set off for a while if anyone mentioned insurance or Medicare or social security, so, we didn’t bring those things up and would redirect if it somehow came up. 

So I doubt that’s helpful but wish you luck in figuring it out. 

Posted: Saturday, June 6, 2020 1:53 PM
Joined: 5/25/2020
Posts: 20

Hi Gthoma.  I found the earlier stages of the symptoms such as delusions were the hardest to deal with and honestly what helped me was coming to terms with the fact that nothing was going to change and that this wasn't my DH, or "old Michael" as I call it, speaking.  I feel I can say here, without being judged, that I felt resentful for the first year - he was diagnosed two years ago at 57 - and our lives have been turned utterly upside down.  I'd say to my closest friends that I've lost my husband and replaced him with a host of mental and physical issues.

I would get so frustrated and think "My entire life is spent doing everything just for you and you have the nerve to say I'm stealing your money/having an affair (where would I find the time!)/making things up to make you look stupid".  Every few days I'd have to go into another room and scream into a pillow.  I'm very lucky in that I have a fantastic friend who I would sometimes text and vent to.

I think when I saw the last vestiges of "old Michael" slipping away, it made it easier for me just to detach myself from everything like that.  When it's the affair accusation, or telling me he's leaving me because I'm such a liar, I say I'm really sorry and tomorrow I'll take him to live with his sister (two hours away) - that one usually helps calm him down.  If it's the money one, I say I'm so sorry I've been hiding things and let's go to the bank and get your money now.  I take out $40 from the ATM and that seems to work.

But it is so hard.  I only recently found these message boards and I feel "seen" - I didn't realize so many people are going through exactly what I'm going through.  I hope you find the same.

Posted: Saturday, June 6, 2020 2:19 PM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 5631

My therapist said the answer to Am I dong the right thing was




D) ONLY on Tuesday



very involved
Posted: Monday, June 15, 2020 9:24 AM
Joined: 5/25/2020
Posts: 9

Aod326, my heart goes out to you.  I’m in this a short time, joined the group a couple of weeks ago.  Just having such a hard time.  My DH prefers not to share what we are going through.  Only immediate family, professional contacts, very very limited past colleagues, one of his closest friends & my closest cousin & spouse.   DH doesn’t want to be pitied & treated differently.  I could use support of friends who have been through difficult times.

Posted: Monday, June 15, 2020 9:02 PM
Joined: 5/25/2020
Posts: 20

Hi very involved. For better AND worse (because it's sad that so many people have this dementia experience), I think there are many people on these boards who understand and want to offer moral support.  It's a sucky illness and it feels like it drains the life of the caregiver just as much as the PWD.  Or maybe that's just how I feel at the moment...
Posted: Monday, June 15, 2020 11:54 PM
Joined: 10/31/2019
Posts: 82

Gthoma- the garden has been a refuge for me... when thinks get crazy, I head outdoors. Walking away is better then staying and listening. Even if I keep from talking(reasoning, etc.) my face  shows what I’m feeling; frustrated, sad or alarmed! 

The hard part is driving and I’m stuck and can’t walk away. I just keep trying to change the subject or point out sights along the road. 

I’m sorry. It’s so so hard.