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How to deal and handle??
Posted: Monday, March 13, 2023 12:19 PM
Joined: 2/28/2023
Posts: 4

How do you deal with the memory loss??

How do you handle the "false" memories created that a person with alheimers or dementia may create?? Especially if they are adamant about their memories being correct...

Do you correct them?? Do you keep correcting them??

Do you just agree with them and let it be??

How do you deal with their accusations and perhaps lies on you? Minor or major, do you let it slide??

How do you distinguish between the disease and maybe their natural behavior, or if they're sometimes pretending??

They know they're losing the battle ...and I assume it to be the last battle for self control and agency over themselves..

Posted: Monday, March 13, 2023 4:03 PM
Joined: 8/22/2020
Posts: 3339

Welcome to the forum, though sorry for whatever circumstances led you to seek it out.

In general with dementia, you have to remember that the person can no longer reason or respond to any rational correction.  So yes, generally, you do not argue or correct, no matter how outrageous.  It will not help.  You have to figure out "workarounds."   All of us caregivers get accused of outrageous things and many times apologize for things we never did.  Or just say something conciliatory and noncomittal, and try to change the subject (may or may not work).  

The "false memories" are called confabulation--you may want to look that up.  

And regarding whether any of the behaviors are intentional--likely best to assume that they are not.  Many times it appears that someone "won't" do something--when in fact, it's that they no longer can.  So don't confuse "can't" and "won't."  Hope that helps.  It's a long and frustrating illness, and very difficult for caregivers too.  There are many here who are very experienced and have good practical advice.

Posted: Monday, March 13, 2023 7:28 PM
Joined: 6/18/2022
Posts: 83


Every single word from M1 is true. When I first came to this site I was seriously on the verge of losing it completely. I had no clue how to deal with any of this. But it has gotten easier, believe it or not. It hopefully will for you too. I spent my whole life trying to never lie and being honest. With this disease, lying is encouraged and really the only way. Never try to logically explain or prove a point. Re-direct and con your loved one to keep the peace. Put it this way. For a while, my mom would go through the "I have to leave" or "They're picking me up", all right before bedtime. I would try to explain this or explain that (which makes it worse) when all I had to say was, Tomorrow. I'll take you tomorrow. Done.

Posted: Monday, March 13, 2023 8:03 PM
Joined: 10/24/2018
Posts: 1597

Hi Tidd, and welcome. When my mom was in the early stages, we didn't know it, and my kids were teens and busy, and she lived far from me so I usually saw her once or twice a year. Had no reason to believe anything she said wasn't fact. Then she moved to AL, and when she told stories about people, how was I to know? Then she came to MC in my city for her last 17 months, and was interested in talking old memories, many of which I shared some version of. If she was wildly off, I'd tell her "I remember that time this way...." and tell her how I remembered it. That was I wasn't contradicting, and I was keeping the ball rolling. Then she began to tell stories from before my time. She had a few that she'd tell over and over, which I loved to hear, even if the threads got twisted up sometimes. 

For routine things like "they didn't give me any breakfast!!!!", I'd just say something like, well you must be starving! Let me see what I can find for you". That kind of answer always worked for things such as that. 

Here's how I looked at it-- there was absolutely nothing to be gained by contradicting her outright. How it was in her brain at that moment was exactly how it was. She was the one leaving me, I had no need to try (futilely..) to make her learn something before she died. 

chestnut chickadee
Posted: Monday, March 13, 2023 8:08 PM
Joined: 3/11/2023
Posts: 4

Hello - I am in the caregiving phase of my second parent with dementia. I learned from my first experience with my dad that his yelling, swearing, anger, lies/misremembering and frustration had NOTHING to do with me. Even when he called up specific memories from my childhood or appeared to be "targeting" me for extra anger.  I spent at least a year feeling bad and trying to correct him and basically responding like his child instead his caregiver. There is a huge difference in those roles! I find that this journey requires you to sort of disengage from the prior familial relationship and find a new way to be with the person with dementia. Basically as their caregiver rather than their relation. That's what I am doing with my mom right now and it has helped my emotional health. It's hard, so be kind to yourself.
Emily 123
Posted: Monday, March 13, 2023 8:16 PM
Joined: 11/5/2020
Posts: 223

This helped me a lot: https://www.alzconnected.org/uploadedFiles/understanding-the-dementia-experience.pdf

As you read, you'll see that your person can be all over the place with how connected they are in the here and now, sometimes from minute to minute.  

Mainly know that you can create a safe landing zone for them by just going along, even if you absolutely know that what they're telling you is incorrect.  It isn't deliberate.  They're doing their best to tie together what they can of their memory to help them make sense of their day. Last week my mom told me that she made the shell wreath on her door.  

Wrong answer: 'Mom! I made that for you for Christmas years ago!'  

Better answer: 'Oh, it's so pretty (lol)--which shells are your favorites?'

Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2023 5:24 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 4154

Tidd wrote:

How do you deal with the memory loss??

You just do. It's the nature of the disease. 

How do you handle the "false" memories created that a person with alheimers or dementia may create?? Especially if they are adamant about their memories being correct...

There are different kinds of delusions and, IME, they need to be managed a bit differently. There is likely some anosognosia (the inability to recognize that they've had cognitive changes) on the part of the PWD which makes disagreeing with them not just a pointless exercise but one that will increase agitation. 

This is complicated by the fact that in many situations memories from the past are conflated which means the PWD did experience the event but has forgotten the details and will backfill that information incorrectly. My dad did this a lot. My late sister (his favorite) had been the wild child and yet dad would retell stories to my husband and son (about 14 when this started) of the many times he had to pick me up at the police station or collect my kids from a bar. Prior to his diagnosis this felt like re-writing family history. Later he lost $350K day-trading which he conflated to me short selling his home.

I will grant that it was really hard to hear this kind of thing, especially since getting my parents moved closer became a full-time job for over a year. 

Do you correct them?? Do you keep correcting them??

It depends on the nature of the accusation. If it's something benign, like the breakfast that wasn't, it's best to be their ally and help them find a solution. This would also apply to those things they've lost and accused you of hiding on them. 

Sometimes you can deflect blame in a situation with a fiblet of some kind. I got dad into MC by telling him his doctor wanted him to get some intensive PT to get steadier on his feet. And when he wanted to go home, I said the doctor said he wasn't quite ready for discharge but maybe next week. 

If their short term memory is very bad, sometimes a pivot to another pleasant topic or a snack can disrupt the situation. When dad would take aim at me, he would look at dad and say "how about them Eagles?" and then ask about the game regardless of the season and dad would happily join in. My mom struggled with redirecting as she thought dad had more on the ball than he actually did; for her leaving the room for a few minutes and returning generally reset dad's emotional thermostat. 

If the false belief is causing them real pain, it might help to try to dissuade them. Dad went through the all-too-common phase where he believed mom was cheating on him. She reflexively protested which only made him angrier-- she was a cheat and a liar. I could generally cajole him out of it by telling him he was so handsome and wonderful she'd never even look at another man. That, he would lap up. It didn't work for mom, but for me it was a good strategy. 


Do you just agree with them and let it be??


A rare exception would be if your LO is accusing someone of something illegal that isn't easily proven wrong. Sometimes PWD become fixated on topics of a sexual nature and will accuse completely innocent people of inappropriate behavior. My own dad had a conflated story about his own exploits that were false and would have landed him some serious jail time. During that time, we kept him home and away from people he could share this with for his own good. 


How do you deal with their accusations and perhaps lies on you? Minor or major, do you let it slide??

How do you distinguish between the disease and maybe their natural behavior, or if they're sometimes pretending??

When I first joined here and posted the same questions you are asking the seasoned regulars all said "it's the disease talking". This was difficult for me to swallow as a concept as the scripts I was hearing was not new material.

It's unlikely your PWD has enough bandwidth to "pretend" although many do engage in the sort of magical thinking very young children do where if you want something to be so hard enough you think it's reality.

The folks here suggested apologizing for "my" transgressions as a way to manage the behavior. I thought this was the dumbest thing I'd heard but decided to give it a try. 
One afternoon when I was visiting he started in on the missing $350K again. Rather than defend myself, I apologized and said it was a stupid thing to do but that I knew better now and would never do it again. He paused for a moment and forgave me. I was gobsmacked. 

Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2023 10:44 AM
Joined: 3/7/2012
Posts: 2790

Tidd welcome to the message board. You have come to the right place to find answers and to vent. If you will go to the top of the page under solutions you will find various topics. Click on ones that you are needing / wanting information on. 

Have you contacted your local ALZ Chapter? If not I would encourage you to do so. See if they are offering any programs that you & your LO would benefit from. Has the neurology provided any information or resources? If not reach out to that office and ask.

You will learn to redirect if possible. It usually is easiest. Correcting your LO does not work, it only upsets the both of you. Ask questions and reach out, we are here to help you on this very bump journey.


Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2023 10:50 AM
Joined: 3/7/2012
Posts: 2790

blr3655 If you would start a new thread you will get responses directed to you specifically.

It is difficult, very difficult. I am concerned when you state she is aggressive. Is that only towards you? Or others? Has this been mentioned to the neurologist? There very will be more at play here, and the office needs to be aware of the behavior. If this is a behavior change that has happened suddenly you need to have her checked for a UTI. 

Ask away, we are here to help.


Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2023 4:12 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18707

Also be aware that PWDs can incorporate images and stories from TV, especially news stories, into their confabulations.


Iris L.

Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2023 7:34 PM
Joined: 3/15/2023
Posts: 4

I have been in a similar situation with my mother who suffers from dementia. When dealing with dementia, always remember to be patient and kind.  Recognize that their  "reality" is a by-product of the disease and not necessarily the truth or reality. It is difficult at times (I should know since I am in the same situation). Patience is key. Reasonable explanations can help them to understand the difference between "what they think" and what is "rational". Always try and remain supportive and know that it is not a direct attack on you. It is a part of the disease. It can be hard not to take it personally but if you can "rationalize" the flaw in their theory, there is usually a better outcome.
Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2023 10:15 PM
Joined: 1/15/2023
Posts: 10

Hi Chestnut,

What you say about not being the child anymore but being the caregiver is right on point. It’s very painful for me tho as the partner to have to drop the charade and give in to being a full time nurse. I think it’s even harder going back and forth, like pretending we’re still a couple when he’s not fully there any more. 

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