Mother is 80, and 2 months ago had a mild heart attack, has made a full recovery, but now has what the doctors say is dementia.

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Five years ago, Mother sold her house, and my oldest sister had an apartment built adjacent to their house. She now thinks that we are "moving her around" to different apartments. Says that all the houses look almost alike, and she recognizes her furniture, but can't figure out how we get her stuff moved around so fast. Also, some have upstairs and downstairs (my sisters house is one story and so is the apartment) and the most recent apartment she thinks we moved her to is in the country. They live in a city. I spoke with Mother on the phone last night and she asked how I knew what phone number to call. I told her it's the same one she's had for 5 years, and she started to get upset, because she said I couldn't have called that number, because she's not living in that apartment now. Oh my...... We sisters (there are 4 of us) simply don't know how to handle this. What do we say? Is there anything we can do to prove to her that she's living in the same place, that she moved into 5 years ago? She's having some other memory/dellusional problems, such as saying that she was left alone for 24 hours (not true) and one day got dressed and was waiting for someone to take her to the movie (wasn't planned). She did have a UTI infection a couple of weeks ago, but it's gone now. Believe me, we have had her urine tested, as we were hoping another UTI would explain these bizarre behaviors. My sister has hired home health aides to sit with her, when she works, but Mother doesn't like strangers "just sitting in her home". One more thought..... She told me last night, that she's going to stop asking where she is now, because when she does, my sister looks at her like she's lost her mind, and she hasn't! Oh my........ Any thoughts, suggestions, explanations, would be greatly appreciated!


Sounds a lot like my mom, who has moderate to severe vascular dementia. She was once VERY angry that the doctor did not come to pick her up to take her to the dentist on Sunday as she thought was planned, and she was quite sure she did not imagine it or dream it. In some non-Alzhiemer's dementias, what is lost first are critical thinking and reasoning skills, AKA "judgement.

To her, she can't be "losing her mind" possibly just because she sees herself as a decent person and decent people don't "lose thier minds." Therefore, something else must be going on, and she has to come up with an alternate theory for it, however strange it may seem. And it may also becaome hard to sort dreams out from reality. If she dreamed she was going to the movies, she would perhaps not know that it was a dream, and would do the only logical thing, which is get dressed and ready to go.

So if you have had a good medical checkup and had the UTI ruled out and the thyroids and B12 and all are OK, you are probably dealing with vascular dementia and you probably can't fix it. We tried meds for my mom, but side effects made the net effect much worse in her case. Worth a try, but don't hold your breath. In fact, some of her vivid dreams went away when we stopped a couple meds she'd been on for other reasons.

So if mom thinks she has been moved, you can try to tell her no, its the same place, but don't argue, and maybe just ask her if everything is where she wants it. Ask what seems different that she doesn't like. Reassure her that everyone has her new number or that the phone company had no reason she could not just keep her old number. You may just have to try to think in terms of helping her feel loved and happy rather than trying to see that she is thoroughly oriented to all the details of reality.
taylorpm, just keep repeating yourself when your mother asks these questions. Forget trying to be logical, that's never gonna happen again. You CAN however control how you/your sisters respond to her. She can't help it, that's the way it is, so why not just be pleasant about the repeating? It's not hurting anyone to have to constantly say the same thing over and over again, especially if it helps her. Once she's gone, then the repeating is done. And if she doesn't like 'strangers' in her house, just tell her that they're not strangers, she's a friend of yours helping you out. Your mother probably won't remember that anyway, so go with the flow.
This sounds exactly like my mother. I am wondering if she has Lewy Bodies Dementia. We are in process of getting Mom to neurologist to try to get as good a diagnosis as possible mostly in order to know what medicines to avoid, especially should some other health problem necessitate a hospitalization.
Trying to reason with Mom is out. Even if she accepts the reasoning in one moment, she does not in the next moment. Still, we do go down that path sometimes because sometimes we just don't know what else to say, and saying nothing angers Mom too. Hang on for wild delusions about you and your sisters. The times that trouble me the most are the times when Mom is most upset by her surroundings or is very worried about finding a child (a nonexistent child, so no way can we find it).
One thing that sometimes comforts me is that the anxiety Mom is feeling in the moment will not stay with her; she will be "over it" eventually and seemingly without memory of it. If we can weather the hour or 2 (or sometimes more) that she is anxious or agitated, she'll go on to bed or agree to eat or whatever. I try to acknowledge Mom's feelings, but I can tell she sometimes finds that condescending. I start showing her photos of her great-grandkids, and sometimes that will turn the mood. Last night I played some gospel quartet music from Youtube, which mellowed her for a bit.
I am trying to make peace with knowing that all I can do is try to help make her safe and as comfortable as I can, and accept that I cannot prevent her mood swings. I can observe things that seem to agitate her and avoid them (crime shows on TV, sometimes the news--but often she wants to watch the news, vacuuming at night), but I cannot prevent all mood swings.
But don't get me wrong, we do have a lot of laughs too. So I cherish those moments and try not to be too upset by the nonfun times (much easier said than done).
Like Taylorpm, I welcome any and all tried-and-true distraction methods.
Take care, Taylorpm.

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