My mother is obsessed with people following her, sneering at her.

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My mother is 90 years old and in very good physical health. But, from her Doctors office to the library and several stores she frequents, she believes someone is either sneering at her, following her and / or taking pictures of her. When she visits her primary care physician, she thinks he is telling the specialists that he refers her to bad things anout her and slandering her name. Everytime I make an effort to talk to her about this she says I am against her and she needs to get a lawyer to find out who is at the bottom of this.
This all began about 10 years ago in south florida when her wallet was stolen out of her cart in the Walmart store. She immediately thought people were following her, watching her \in parked cars outside the house, etc. I am at wits end and don't know how to proceed. She is constantly second guessing her doctors prognosis because she thinks they are against her. What do I do ???


It sounds like she has some dementia, which is very common at her age. The paranoia is very real to her. The only way I've learned to handle it is to listen to her concerns and reassure her that everything is okay. Has her doctor diagnosed her with a dementia-causing disease. Often at her age they don't. I guess it is because it is one of the things that happens so often to people older than 85 that doctors often see it as a sign of aging. Speak to her doctor about the severity of the problem to see what he/she recommends. There may be a medication that can help her live more comfortably with the people around her.
I would speak to her doctor but she has stated numerous times that I am not to call or speak to her doctors ! If a doctor were to prescribe her something, she would research it on the internet until she found enough negative comments about that prescription. At that point she would just stop taking the medication. She ablolutely hates taking any kind of medication. It's difficult to convince her to take a Tylenol or aspirin.
sierra, we ought to put your mother and mine together. They could be the "holy terrors." I know exactly what you mean when you say that your mother refuses to do things and wants to keep control. My mother is a major controller who will go against everything I say just for the principal of it. She has to stay in control. Sometimes she reminds me of the child that says, "You're not the boss of me." In fact, she has even said that once.

I don't know if it will work with yours, but I've found the most effective way of getting my mother to do what she needs to is to plant seeds. This means I'll make a suggestion, but not press it. Sometimes in a day or two she will start following the suggestion that she was opposed to. If I tried to make her do it, she would have reared up and never done it, ever.

I was thinking with your mother, maybe planting good thought seeds about people -- how nice this person was, how helpful that one was. I wonder if she gets a lot of good seeds in her mind that it would help to redirect her thinking. Of course, not too many good seeds. Controlling minds tend to pick up on manipulation pretty fast.

I hope you can find something that works. If not, I hope that this is a phase that passes. I can't say for sure. I knew one woman who lived to be 101 and was still pretty sharp. She couldn't get along with anyone but me and one of my friends, though. This is because we adjusted to her instead of going against her. I definitely couldn't have been her caregiver, though!

Sometimes there just aren't any good and easy answers. Sometimes, though, the solutions come to you out of the clear blue. I hope you are able to keep your own stress down until it gets better. (I hope the same for myself. Most people don't know how stressful these obsessions are and how hard they are to handle.)

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