Can someone with mild/moderate dementia use their memory loss to manipulate?

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I know that this question seems insensitive, however I have observed a pattern in a relative that triggers my suspicion. He has non-Alzheimer's dementia. He still remembers people, places and some recent events, but has short-term memory losses, disorientation to place and time, and behavioral issues. He repeats questions often. The thing is, he seems to repeat questions much more frequently when he disagrees with the answer. I have also noticed that he repeats himself much more around people that give him his way when he persists. In other words, he acts like a spoiled kid in a toy store. Most things I have read about dementia sound like the person goes back in time in memory and that they act out the age of their last memory. Can someone with dementia remember some recent events but then behave like a child? Or, could he be mentally aware enough to intentionally take advantage of his memory loss to get his way?

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I get frustrated because my mom can remember that she wants to repeat what you said, and who she wants to repeat it to, but will conveniently FORGET that you were speaking to her in confidence. So, someone answer me? How can she remember what I said, who she wanted to tell, remember to use her phone, reach the person she wanted to tell it to, tell it perfectly.... and when she gets caught, she says, "I have dementia, I forgot." Whenever she doesn't want to talk about something, it's always, "I have dementia, I don't remember or I don't want to talk about that." I cry B.S.. I think she has it when it's convenient. I think she uses it to say EXACTLY what she thinks, and it brings out EXACTLY who she REALLY IS! She's always emotionally, psychologically and mentally abused me, passively aggressively; this whole dementia thing, has just given her a pass to be as nasty as she wants, without filter.
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My grandma has dementia and has done the repeating thing a lot. She seems to get a thought in her head and forgets she has verbalized it and forgets I answered it. It starts with the bathroom with the helper as she claims she already went. Sure she went with me at 7 and by 8:30 she should be feeling she has to go especially after two glasses of water and oatmeal but she always says she already went. Now you give her about 5 minutes after you ask and she suddenly has to go. Doesn't bother me unless it's 3 am and she doesn't want to go and she always waits until I'm back in bed to go but this hasn't been much of a problem lately as she sleeps through the night going to the bathroom for the first time when she wakes up. I guess I got lucky in that stage ending.

She also does this a lot when sundowning and she thinks she has to go home. She will say, "Are you going somewhere? Are you taking me home?" I'll explain we are home. She'll laugh and say people tell her that all the time and she forgets. Then two minutes later she'll repeat, "Are you going somewhere? Are you taking me home?" I'll repeat my explanation and she'll either say she forgot or say, "Since when?" Or she'll think she needs a key to go across the street, "Do you have my key?" I ask, "What key?" She shrugs then asks, "The key to my house. Do you think it's locked?" I remind her she's home and doesn't need a key as I have already unlocked the door and then locked it to let her in earlier. She shrugs again and you can tell she's going to repeat it. Sure enough a few minutes later she's looking around, "I can't find my key. Do you have my key?" and so it goes.

Then at bed time it's always about the locks and windows. "Look that door is open! We should go close it." I remind her that's the bathroom door and I leave it open so we can find it in the middle of the night when she has to use it. She frowns then looks around trying to see out closed windows with curtains and trying to see the wall where the door used to be (we are building a fireplace where the old door used to be. We have only lived here a bit over a year so it's impressive she remembered the door being there). "That door is open." I will remind her, "Grandma there is no door it's only a wall." She will frown, "We should close it." obviously not being able to understand my words. Then she'll start back on the bathroom door until I finally get her quieted down as one of the times I repeat it sinks in.

I used to try to reword things, change the wording thinking something I was saying would sink in. I still do that thinking I'm just not saying the right words. Sometimes it works when I change it up as I think it stops the mind process from repeating but I have noticed that only works if we have already repeated it a few times. It seems to break the already in place cycle if I change it up a bit. Other times it doesn't matter how I change it, how often I repeat it or she does, the cycle continues.

Hang in there. It's not easy but it's not their fault. No one asks to have dementia so all we can do is love them anyway.
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Welcome to the forum, juidah. Did reading the responses to this question help you? What additional specific questions to you have for us?

Has your friend's mother been diagnosed with dementia by a medical professional? How long ago? Are you a caregiver for this woman, or mostly in contact with her when visiting your friend?

People with dementia have damage to their brain. Different kinds of dementia have different kinds of damage. Vascular dementia has different damage than Alzheimer's, for example. But in all cases the damage is outside of their control. The damage is definitely not limited to memory loss.
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hello there I myself do experience this with my friend mother.. its good to chech his medical assestment but its tricky because of this so much pressure because we do not know if this is not real that hes having it...
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My mom would ask the question hundreds if not thousands of times. It drove me crazy.
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Elfiekins123 it is called show-timing. Look it up. For brief periods the person with dementia can pull it together and present a "normal" front, usually for medical staff or visitors. My sisters had a hard time understanding what I said about my husband's dementia because he never had episodes when they were around.

Showtiming takes a great deal of effort and the person is usually very tired afterwards. Gradually the person can do it less and less and eventually cannot do it at all.

If your mother is manipulating anyone it is the medical staff, with her showtiming efforts. With you she is relaxing her efforts and her dementia is very apparent.

Who know why your mother denies you as her daughter? Perhaps she is remembering you as a child, and thinks you are an imposter. That must be very frightening for her, don't you think?

Perhaps you can go along a little. "Well, Jane, we are living together now so let's try to get along well. I am the very nice woman who is sharing my house with you, and I'll look after your needs as well as I can. I'll look after you as if you were my mother."

I hope you can give up the notion that your mother is doing this to manipulate you. She is a very confused person with dementia. She needs all the support and comfort she can get.
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My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's six years ago. She lives with me. I am widowed so it is just us. But I am wondering if she could be manipulating me. she is constantly telling me that i am not her child and that my biological father was not my father and that she did not give birth to me. so it seems that the disease is progressing. However when she is at doctors office or with home care nurse she is as aware of all facets of our lives. She is able to answer all the standard questions such as day, year, state of residence, and does not deny my birth history. She can even spell some words backwards if asked to do so. Her behavior is very confusing to me. What could the reason for being completely mindful when with a health care professional but be completely confused when we are alone?
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From what I have experienced, and in my opinion, I think it is totally possible. My moms symptoms can be so bad, but then she can pull it together at times. If she is aware ahead of time, that company is coming, she can sit and appear ok.

I have had her tell me that she was going to "work" my sister for some information. I became leery and untrusting of her from that moment on.
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I have a dad who is 73 and does this. It is possible but also not really. I have a dad who I thought had early signs of dementia probably do but what he has done also raises my suspicion as well. My dad knows who he can talk to and who he should avoid. He one day trashed my sisters room and then came to ask me was she ok then denied he did it when I asked if he did it. He didn't want her to stay at his home. He one day he said that he needed help in an old man type of voice and when i said dad i cant help with that specific thing he said clearing his voice now ok heres the thing i need help because so and so ...I was completely floored by this and it makes me upset that he behaves this way. He uses he cant remember all the time. I cant stand when ppl say they think no one should think a senior is playing. Its a reality a sad one but it exists. It has been a really hard time trying to help my dad and I have seen alot and I have seen when he needs help the difference. The best you could do with this is to meet them where they are at and answer the best way you can and not get to upset or caught in the mix because it can drive you crazy. I have tried to find something on this as well the best results but its like an unspoken thing. Everyone wants to avoid this type of reality. It exists its not ok but what can a person do they are a senior.
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Leolady, it's been a dilemma for me, too, for quite a while. Nevertheless, I don't think older people should be left to their own devices, even if they get help (from strangers, no less). Some of my friends, just as you, tell me not to move. But I feel that I must. It's not easy, of course, but many other worthwhile things aren't either.
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