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My friend with dementia is suspicious of me and won't let me near
Posted: Saturday, January 9, 2016 12:08 PM
Joined: 1/9/2016
Posts: 1

I  have a 91 year old friend who I used to work with. He lives alone and as he's having trouble walking his apartment is not in very good shape and there's a lot of clutter. He says he wants to get the place clean so he can have people over again but when it comes down to actually getting rid of getting rid of things his answer is always "no." So the cleaning lady has been designated by his niece to discreetly remove some things, & I have on occasion helped with that. Mostly he likes to go out to eat with people. We have mutual friends and I know some of his family members, and over the last few years have set up times to go out together and also to eliminate some of the clutter. There was one rug that was completely urine soaked, after consulting with his relative and getting her permission, I tossed it into a dumpster as I thought it was beyond cleaning. The cleaning lady  and I put another of his rugs in its place and didn't think he would notice. After a few weeks, he put two and two together, and started telling everyone I stole his valuable rug. Plus, he says I enter with his key regularly and take things. I had been given a copy of his key, which I had never used, but have returned it to a mutual friend so hopefully he won't accuse me of that anymore.

He has so few friends left that I feel bad not being able to see him at all. I know you're not supposed to try to convince people that they are imagining things in this sort of situation, but what do I do? As a last ditch effort I had written him a letter apologizing profusely and asking his forgiveness. Mutual friends tell me that he read it but it had no impact on his feelings.

I know I know he doesn't want to talk to me so I have not called him since. Any suggestions to get beyond this and restore our relationship?

Jim Broede
Posted: Saturday, January 9, 2016 2:07 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462



Paranoia is often a side effect of dementia. As a result, my dear Jeanne became distrustful and belligerent. I simply countered with good vibes. Finding ways to respond positively to Jeanne’s negative vibes. Eventually, the good vibes prevailed.  Never. Never. Allow yourself to exude bad vibes in his presence. If you have to let loose with bad vibes, do it alone. Or with a friend that understands that you need to release your inner turmoil/frustration. You must take control. In positive ways. Because he’s losing control. You still have the ability to seize control of the situation. Take charge. In effective ways.  Be creative. Be imaginative. You can do it. You’re not the one with dementia. You have the advantage. A relatively clear mind. Figure it out. There’s a solution to every problem.  Keep looking. Keep trying. Until you find it. Really, that can be fun. And gratifying.  A true good vibes experience. Go. Go. Go. With enthusiasm. With confidence. --Jim