mepassine Asked July 2011

My father is suffering from dementia and lately he has being saying hurtful things to my mom. Do we believe these hurtful things or is it the disease talking?

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he told my mom he made a mistake while in the army. He had a affair. Dad does not make much sense when he speaks and says only a few words, so I think Mom may have helped him with this conversation. Is it common in the late stages of dementia to confuse the past. He also says things that he would Never had said before, comments to Mom, the nurse and aides. Mom is so upset with the comments and he seems to smile or laugh when this upsets her. This is nothing like my Dad. This affair would have been when he was 18 yrs old and he is now 80. I don't believe this would be true, but think it's the disease. He can't tell you what he just ate or if he ate. I would really like to know if there is anyone else out there that has had this happen. These lies are so hurtful to Mom who has been his full time caretaker. I have tried to help her to see this is the disease and not to let 60 years of good marriage be ruined by a possible lie that he doesn't know he is saying. Help!

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JessieBelle Aug 2015
mepassine, please let your mother know to just pay no attention to any stories that bother her. My mother has dementia and can spin a tale. What she does is take something that is true from her past, then change it. I'll know the truth, so know it's just confabulation. The same may be happening for your father. Maybe he did see a pretty girl, remembers her, then added a bit of embellishment. When people do this, they believe the new story themselves... until they change the story once again. Unless we were there, we won't know what the real truth was.

If your dad has been a good, faithful husband for 60 years I think that it is the real truth. Anything else is either made up or doesn't matter anymore, anyway. Tell your mother just to nod and say yeah, yeah when your dad is spinning his fish tales.
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jeannegibbs Aug 2015
gailh20, very much easier said than done! It is a huge challenge not to take these things personally. They definitely are not about you, but about the damage in his brain. It is Not Your Fault, and it definitely is Not His Fault, either. How awful it would be to not recognize your own wife, to be so out of touch with your own life that you make up stories to fill in the gaps. Heartbreaking!

When my husband was in a delusional state he thought our house was a train station or a motel and once in a while a high school. Poor dear. He did move out of that stage after a few months.

During that period this became my mantra: "This is not Coy behaving this way. It is his dementia."

Much easier said than done, but do keep trying very hard to not take these things personally. Learning more about dementia might help. Joining a local support group for caregivers of persons with dementia can help a lot, to see you are not alone. And interacting on this forum is useful too.
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gailh20 Aug 2015
my husband has memory problems noticed about 7 months ago, I don't know how long he has had this disease , however lately he has been saying his wife is in Calif., we live in Arkansas, and have been married 45 years, it hurts to have him refer to me as a stranger and that he needs to get back to Calif to his wife. Also thinks he is in the Military and we live on an Army base, (he was never in the army) This is the biggest challenge I have has the full time caregiver, is not to take these comments personally, easier said then done.
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bjdaughter Jul 2011
My mother has dementia but has many very lucid moments... the spitting of food sometimes is just one way of saying I don't want this and don't like it and I'm not going to eat it... simply to do with the food, and one small area of their shrinking universe which they have any control over. But you are right about wondering about some of the things they say... they can't remember what they had for dinner just 20 minutes earlier and sometimes will tell you to "shut up" ...something totally out of their normal character, only minutes after adoringly smiling at you. It is confusing unless you remember that the mind is an extremely complex organ. Our loved ones may have parts of their past they have kept a mystery for loving reasons.. obviously if these things were true your dad didn't want them known when he had control over his faculties..sometimes it helps to remember that our loved ones need us to love them even when they can't love us back the way we want them to. The frustration they must be going through would drive anyone to anger ... and then they aren't able to deal with that anger rationally. Hope this helps.
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mepassine Jul 2011
naheaton, Thank you for "confabulation". I will look up all the info and copy and give to my Mom. Everyone, I'm glad for the input. This is such a awful disease for the person who has it, the family and the caregivers. It is helpful to have a place here to ask questions and get answers from people going though the same situations.
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NancyH Jul 2011
Mepass, there is a name for what your dad is doing, it's called Confabulation my mother-in-law does it all the time, except she's not mean. Here's the definition I found: Confabulation is the spontaneous narrative report of events that never happened. It consists of the creation of false memories, perceptions, or beliefs about the self or the environment—usually as a result of neurological or psychological dysfunction.[1] When it is a matter of memory, confabulation is the confusion of imagination with memory, or the confused application of true memories.[2] Confabulations are difficult to differentiate from delusions and from lying.[3] With respect to memory, wild confabulations about one's past are rare in the absence of organic causes (e.g., brain damage), and the term "confabulation" is often restricted to these types of distortions. In contrast, even neurologically intact people are susceptible to memory errors or confusions due to psychological causes
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judy1 Jul 2011
My mom has dementia and remembers things that never happened and then asks me if I remember?? She thinks she used to work at the ALF she now lives in and also thinks she used to vacation there years ago. There are two male caregivers that she thinks she used to date and talks about it all the time.....but not my dad that died 4 yrs ago??? You just never know..
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tigerlily Jul 2011
I use to work in a pretty decent Alzheimer nursing facility in the office but frequently I would have to walk the halls. I found out pretty quick that once a person into ALZ the personality can change pretty drastically. Normally docile people can become violent, quiet people can become verbally abusive and vulgar and some people almost become invisible. It is a horrible disease. Sometimes it is kind of like becoming a mischievious child again.
I realize your mom is older too and what probably upsets her the most is the loss of the husband she use to have.
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jeannegibbs Jul 2011
You just never know. But in this case I we know what the mother needs to know -- it is the disease talking.
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igloo572 Jul 2011
Well you never know. Whatever the case, I would go along with 'it's the disease" to keep your mom happy.

However, my assistant found out that her mom's favorite child, the oldest son, was fathered by the next door neighbor. Her mom got Alz while still kinda young, Anyways, one day we went by to drop off some mail and her mom thought I was the neighbor's wife and got all "he loves me best" and talking about "their" child on us. Came totally out of the blue and I had been there before. It was spooky.

Long story short- 5 kids in the family, the oldest son is the "bad" one (drugs, prison, 3 illegit kids) but their mom just adored him above all the others and always bailed him out of whatever. When she got moved to a Alz lock down, they went through her things and there were all these letters that showed that the neighbor was the father. It was pretty rough on all.

My mom has LBD and with her the stories are easily figured out to be fantasy. But my godmother had ALZ and I think some of the things she said were things that she had repressed for years that finally came out. You just never know.
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