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Mom's Delusions
Posted: Monday, September 16, 2019 4:26 PM
Joined: 7/15/2019
Posts: 2

This is my first post here and I just felt like if any place knew some answers for me, this would be it.  My mom is in assisted living (89) for the past year and in the past six months she has really shown signs of dementia.  She basically has flunked every cognitive test.  That would be fine and she is in a great place but she has just started having a lot of anxiety and almost every day thinks that she has been robbed.  It is super stressful for her and she really can't tell anyone exactly what is missing but things are definitely gone, she says.

For the fourth time this week she said it again after lunch.  The nurse there called me and I told her none of it was real.  Now she told my mother that I don't believe her and she said that this all is not true.

I'm not sure how to handle this.  Tough love and tell her it is in her head?  Do I just agree with her and let her know that we will replace whatever is gone?  Neither seems to be working for me.

I would love any advice from those of you that have 'been there, done that'.

Thanks for listening and being there!


Posted: Monday, September 16, 2019 5:52 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20398

Well they say to not reason with someone who's reasoner is broken. They also say do not expect what you say to be remembered.

Your mothers fear is real to her and it is terribly upsetting. Say something that will help like you are so will look into is in a way like treating the boogy man do what is calming.

Ask her to make a her locate things...replace is real to her.

Posted: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 10:19 AM
Joined: 7/15/2019
Posts: 2

Thank you so much!  Any little direction sure helps!
Rescue mom
Posted: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 11:30 AM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 2326

My mom in AL (first, then MC pretty quickly) also often thought she’d been robbed, and/or other residents/staff were taking her stuff. I would NOT argue with her, because no point in that. I’d say something like “gosh that’s awful, let’s ...” do something else for a distraction. 

Or, Tell her I’d get security working on it, tell her almost much anything but argue. She’d forget about it—and the item always turned up somewhere in her rooms.

Worse, to me, is that the nurse told your mom you did not believe your mom? For staff to not know any better, and/or get involved like that, is near inexcusable IMO. It may be true, they may think that, but telling her something upsetting like that is awful. 

Finally, since you’re new, you will probably get more responses if you post questions like this on the “caregivers” board, which (along with spouses board) gets a lot more traffic than this on.

Jo C.
Posted: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 12:46 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12278

Hello oreganstar and a very warm welcome to you.  This is a challenge and one that needs a little inspection to see what the cause may be.

What your mother is experiencing, is a "delusion," a rigid false belief.  This belief is as real to her as the chair you are sitting on. One should never argue, point out their belief being false or try to explain it all away.

Simply best to address the FEELINGS behind the words rather than the words themselves.  To validate her feelings would be comforting to her; "I am so sorry that happened and can understand that you are upset (or whatever) about this; I will look into this (or help you) and get it taken care of."  Could there be an issue of other patients wandering into her room?

First; have her checked for a "silent" urinary tract infection.  These UTIs are called, "silent," because there will be no complaint of pain, burning, no frequency or odor; BUT there is most often a change in behaviors, and/or cognition, and/or function.  Once the infection has been treated, the person usually returns to their usual behaviors, etc.  Do not let facility nurses tell you that there is no need to do this; I am an RN and can tell you that undiagnosed UTIs are  responsible for a significant number of our LOs changes.

If a Loved One (LO) has a pleasant or harmless delusion, no need to do anything; but when the delusions become upsetting they become a quality of life issue; we then need to address it if lesser measures to comfort are not successful..

This is best done by her having an appointment with her dementia specialist who can assess her and prescribe appropriately; this is far better done by the spccialist rather than the primary care MD as some meds can be contraindicated under certain circumstances.

NOTE:  The Alzheimer's Assn. has a Helplline that can be reached at (800) 272-3900.  If you call, ask to be transferred to a Care Consultant. There are no fees for this service.  Consultants are highly educated Social Workers who specialize in dementia and family dynamics; they are very supportive, have much information and can often assist us with our problem solving.

NOTE:  You will get much more input if you take the problem issue to the, Caregiver's Forum; this Forum is "Musings," which ordinarily is for, well; musing thoughts.  The Caregiver's Forum is really much better attended with many more who have great input.

Let us know how things are going, we will be thinking of you,


Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2019 10:46 PM
Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 2058

I read today that people with dementia/alzheimer’s always get to the point of not remembering where they have put things. They no longer have the ability to backtrack to find things or remember they have moved it’s reasonable to them that someone is stealing from them.
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