Mom is convinced a girl she is responsible for wandered off today. She's quite worried, of course. How do I calm her and get her to realize there is no "missing" child?

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Ideas on how to ease mom's worries about "missing" child? Mom is convinced a girl she is reponsible for wandered off today. She doesn't remember her name and sometimes it's someone else's child, sometimes her child. I tried convincing her the children she knows are all home with their parents. She's quite worried, of course. Ideas on how to calm her? I've tried distracting conversation. Guess I'll keep trying that. Ideas?

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Donna, my mother has Alzheimer's, too and I have found it doesn't do any good to try to reason with her. I would tell her that the girl's name is Mary and her parents called and said she is at home and is safe. Sometimes you have to play into the fantasy world.
tough one. I presume the distracting conversation does not work well. Maybe you can try what we do when someone decides they need to leave and cannot be convinced to wait and are at risk of hitting a staff member to get out: Ofter to help her look for the child, and just walk with her, while waiting for an opportunity to redirect her.
Not sure if that will work, but it sounds like you are open to suggestions...
Definitely try to redirect her attention. If that doesn't work, go along with it until she calms down. Mom is always telling me she just had a baby and she wants to see it. I try to reason, if she's way out there, I just redirect her to something else. Food usually works for her. If it's something she really likes, she forgets about everything!
Thanks for the ideas. It was a tough couple of hours of her being worried, but finally she agreed to come show me how much Woolite I needed to use on a top, and when she got to the sink, the worry was gone. Dad and I did at different times go out and look around for the child, but maybe next time we'll ask her to go with one of us, and then look for opportunities to redirect along the way. Main thing is not to appeal to reason, which I did do this time 'cause she was so worried. That may have prolonged things. Who knows? On a lot of these things I may need to start off saying, as pandoralou suggested, "Oh, so and so called and it's all good." That approach may work well when she wants to know where "Mom and Daddy have gone tonight" or anyone else. It's hard to backtrack to that, once we've said we haven't seen the child, or her parents, or whoever, so maybe we need to just start with that approach.
Thanks for your ideas. Helps a lot to brainstorm.
Get a friend to serve as an accomplice whenever needed for phone lies, someone who can pretend. Perhaps this girl has certain characteristics you could find out while pretending to look for the girl.

Oh, here's an idea. I'll bet I could record a message on my cell phone using audio recorder, masking my voice some how...then pretend I am retrieving my phone messages and she could listen to the message ... "Hi, I picked up Mary and she's with me. Thanks a lot. Mary sends kisses." however this might backfire eventually.
DonnaG, I love the techniques you did try in the situation with your Mom. Give yourself a whole lot of credit for all that you're already doing right. Love that help with Woolite! Hugs.
It will be an ongoing thing with her, if she is like my mother. They get an idea and their brains cannot let go of it. My mom wants to move back to the first home she had with my dad. We used to argue with her and try to reason with her and tell her she sold that house years ago. Nothing worked. Now we just say, of course, mom, but it's rented right now, so you will have to wait a little while. She then stops worrying about it so much and goes on to something else. But she always comes back to it. The nurse where my mom is living said that one day it will just go away and she will start another behavior that will drive us crazy. I have found that just sort of going along with her works the best. In the child situation, I would tell my mother, oh, her mom came and picked her up while you were napping or Dad took her home to her mom so she could have lunch or dinner, whatever. You never really know what is going to work, but with my mom, reasoning and telling her the real truth is a total flop. Good luck!
DonnaG--just asking that kind of question shows that you are a loving caregiver to your mom. From my personal experience with my mom, playing along usually worked. She used to baby-sit for my counsin's kids when they were between 3 and 5 years old. Since my mom was a very conscientious person the thought of their getting hurt because she got preoccupied with something else always haunted her even when she watched them for real. So this feeling was still there som 75 years later. Whenever I would take her for a ride somewhere when I was visiting she would get tense as we were leaving the driveway and start asking me "We didn't forget the kids did we? They're not still in the house and we forgot them did we?" The first time I tried to tell her that they were now fully grown adults with their own kids but that did not match the reality she was experiencing in he rmind so she kept needling me. Finally, I just told her that Jean (my cousin) had picked up the kids while she was in the bathroom getting ready to go out. She told me to tell you thanks for watching them and she will call you tomorrow. That matched my mom's reality de jour so it worked like a charm until some other memory failed to connect with the reality of her day. Example: she would ask what time her deceased brother was coming over for dinner. My advice is not to use the play-along card unless necessary and don't over-dramatize it. Just provide the facts she is looking for: no more--no less. You want her to maintain trust in you or else she will lose her footing on reality all together and she can crash and burn.
That's an excellent point you make about not wanting your Mom to lose touch with reality altogether, ezcare. Thanks for sharing your insights on that. I agree with you that Donna's loving compassion for her Mom is evident. Very inspiring to me, DonnaG. Your Mom is blessed!

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