How do you deal with an elder who is accusing family members of sexual misconduct?

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Hi, my grandpa is 83 and has recently had a couple of delusions that my grandma, his wife, and my uncle, his youngest son who moved back home and has lived with them for several years, are having an affair and are fooling around together. Apparently he first accused them of this about 6 months ago over the summer, and then it "went away" until today. My uncle and grandma are of course, horrified, and my uncle sent his siblings an email asking for help because neither he or my grandma are able to talk to my grandpa right now. We are all very worried and in the meantime before someone is able to convince my grandpa to go to the doctor, what should we do? He has always been a very smart person and has shown no other signs of dementia or Alzheimer's or any other psychotic symptoms. Are there any techniques that can help him realize that what he is paranoid of is absolutely untrue and will never happen? I've read that it's a good coping mechanism during a delusion of an elderly person to just agree with their delusion momentarily until it subsides, but my grandma and uncle can't exactly admit to what they're being accused of. I appreciate any suggestions and advice! Thank you

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"Tired" gave you good advice. This is likely a sign of a form of dementia. It could by Lewy body or some form other than Alzheimer's, though it could be AD. It could also be an infection or a reaction of a medication, or a form of personality disorder or other mental illness. He needs to see a doctor, though he likely shouldn't be told that this is the reason. Perhaps his blood pressure or a regular physical or something could be used for a reason. Then the doctor could be alerted ahead of time by letter about the real issue.
Sometimes people do have to stop seeing the person making the accusations, and let other family members take over. It's a horrible position to be in, but it happens more frequently than one would think. He needs medical help for sure.
Distracting and "forgetting" the incidence (not agreeing and not arguing) is best. This is so painful for the family, but medical intervention should help.
Please check back in with us so we know how this is going.
do you wonder if any of this is aggravated by listening to things on the news.... so much stuff gets talked about now that we never would have heard years ago!
I even had my Mom tell me some things I find interesting... however she does have some dementia.
After reading and reviewing the posts in answer to the accusation behaviors I have to concur that based on the subject matter of sexuality there is definately some type of dementia going on there. I think it is also important to recognize that the personalities that we saw in the elderly years prior to their old age are going to be the same ones only enhanced to the degree regarding declination that is indicative to states such as dementia and diseases like OCD, Alsheimers, etc. My mother, for example, bless her heart, has never had much regard for the feelings of her children even in her younger days, so you can imagine the escallation it has taken now! She routinely tells people in the phone, whoever she can get a hold of that I am an alcoholic, which I am not, that I am annorhexic, which I am not, and a whole slew of other things such as that I abandoned her when I was 18, which I did not I simply moved separation from reality has always been startling to everyone but people with OCD do come off as intrusively abusive in some sort of constructed effort to squelch anxiety they seek to control through obsessive ritualistic behaviors. I theorize that wild accusations can be considered not only a part of dementia but also a runimated ritual behavior that they have incorporated into the schema of things. Does that make it any easier to cope with as an adult child caregiver? Oh heavens no! Who is there to defend you and keep your spirits up in the face of such chaos? Not many, thank heaven for this site where, when we have time, we can return to the support of each other to obtain the truth in effort and embrace the human fraility in our own emotions. Why? To remain strong and complete the beautiful work of caring for our parents. I found a silly thing that actually helps me circumvent the negative stimuli so willingly hurled at me by my mother. I made a list of 25 wonderful and true things about myself and I framed them and put them above my computer. I read them. I thank God Almighty for the grace He has given me, the education, the knowledge and wisdom to persevere through even the darkest days when hours are completely spent with nothing productive to declare other than the progress of further decline which brings with it new demands that I am not ready 25 Truths! I will start a new thread and we can all create and post our own and talk about our positives. It is good medicine. You will see. ~L.
I have read a lot about this in the last week as I am in a similar situation with my mother accusing me. If the accusations are unfounded and directed against an individual you are NOT supposed to agree. You aren't supposed to disagree either as it may cause agitation (as it truly is a belief so logic and reason are useless) but you're not supposed to reinforce a false belief. What was suggested was redirection (talking about something else), humor if it works like "I'm a one-woman man and you're stuck with me". Watch carefully for any escalation. Call the doctor and see what the doctor has to say. Your uncle was right to call in his siblings as it may be best if he takes a reprieve to settle things down even though he has done nothing wrong. I am sorry this is happening to your family- it is painful. This link also describes single incident delusions that can occur without loss of other cognitive skills or memory issues:

Hi angrybird, When my 94 year old Mother was living in our home, she "acted out" with a couple of female caregivers, whom she "thought" were men. When they did not respond to her in the way she wanted--lying down with her, putting an arm around her shoulder sitting on the sofa, holding her hand NON-STOP, she would have one of her FITS. I was familiar with her fits, they were part of her lifelong irritable personality. It was disturbing for the caregiver, and made me sick to my stomach, because I knew she had always had a nasty way about her. There was never a way, even in her younger "pre" dementia days, to convince her that her behavior was not acceptable. (Hence, I had years of therapy trying to get to the bottom of "my problems".) Enough about me. Let's get back to the real problem.
With her last husband, whom she married at age 75, he was 80, they had 16 years of bliss--very romantic, sometimes very inappropriately gross around others, but TG I didn't have to be there often. When he passed, I was the only sibling of 3 that was able to take her under my wing.( Um, the others don't have wings.) I placed her in a residential care home where she lived for 1 1/2 years until I brought her into our home for exactly a year. I thought at the home, she was not getting as much personal attention, and I was right. There was NEVER enough personal attention, due to her base personality combined with how dementia was "burning out" her brain. I admit, I chased after my Mother practically my entire life, hoping to acquire her love, approval, interest, and only just sense that I got it these last few years---because she needed ME now.
Excuse me--accidently posted above and did not finish.
The point I am getting at which I have attempted to illustrate with the background info is: The wires in the brain are shorting out. Everyone has random thoughts that come into our brain which we can control whether we want to pursue them or not.
We remember certain perceptions we had as children when we did not have all the facts, and as we matured, we realized what really happened. Take that situation and reverse it, and I think that is what happens to the demented brain.
I think your Grandfather "remembers" something that actually happened, or thought happened due to altered perceptions. We know we cannot argue with dementia, we cannot convince a child that there is not a monster in the dark closet, it is a harsh reality that we have to face, and they play it out to our chagrin.
Angrybird, I hope your family can separate from the illusions and realize it has nothing to do with them and is just the Fellini-like demented brain of your Grandfather creating "weird stuff'. Blessings to you all. Prayers. Christina
These sorts of accusations are hard to live with indeed. My mother is 88 and in full blown dementia of some sort. She gets up a few times a night and begins her dissertations about how I, me, her daughter, is a bad Indian, that I cut her hair off, broke her teeth, burned her hands and body, knocked her down, kicked her back, put pins in her feet and chest. She also talks about someone doing bad things to the children and that they need her help. She talks about people coming in her room and stealing her clothes and shoes and that they are going to go to hell. I have asked for any medications to help her stop these rantings but the nurse just says that the drugs can make her more confused and cause falls. During the day my mother is more positive. She says how lucky she is to have these people taking care of her. She says that I am her helper and that she loves me...although when I change her depends or try to help brush her teeth or hair, she strikes at me with her fists and cane...I worry that she will fall just trying to "get" me. I don't think that her condition is manageable by me anymore. We have her on a waiting list at a near by nursing home. This thing called dementia is a mean, horrible trick that is played on the person who has it and the love ones around them who are trying to do the right thing.
Before my mom got so bad we couldn't deal with the physical care and had to place her, she had some pretty horrendous delusions also. I remember an incident when she told me that she had sex with the thing that was wrong with her. I asked her what thing was she talking about, she just insisted "That thing that's wrong with me!", and was getting very angry and aggressive as we talked. I changed the subject to direct her attention to something else- but once she progressed to this point in the dementia- she stayed on subjects that seemed to always have a sexual content- I was always very uncomfortable, as I had young grandchildren in my home also. She has told me about episodes of her own father "pimping" (for lack of better words,) her out when she was 12 yrs old- I doubt seriously, no- I know- my grandpa would never have done that! She also told my uncle that she couldn't live with me, I had "working girls living with me"- and she didn't want to have to whore for me. And sad to say, these are the words she used. I was shocked to hear my mother use these terms, and more shocked she told it all on me. She told that the same uncle had broke down her bedroom door at his house and forced himself on her. (He was 83 at the time, and in no way would he nor could he have been capable of such). I was so upset with her for this kind of talk, I asked she stay elsewhere- my husband might have been next on her list! Or my son-nephew-etc. When I told my other siblings, they found it amusing. I did not-and it caused a conflict there, too. Just saying......maybe they all come into a point in dementia or alzheimers that touches on the sex delusions, I don't know. Sure makes caring and loving them at times very hard.
I think some memories get imprinted in our brain, like a brand. It could be from a movie, a news report, a newspaper article, or real life. That is a strange thing about dementia. We try to figure it out, and it is a bunch of random, nightmarish thoughts racing around, looking for a way to escape.
With my Mother, she lived a life of denial. She would not discuss certain things with me when I asked her about them at any age; things that drove me to over 20 years of therapy. My sister and my deceased brother are like that, too. Because they were too weak, or guilty, or not ready to face something, and that is not my style, I had to find a way to deal with it for my own survival and mental health.
I don't know if this has anything to do with dementia forming, or what symptoms or characteristics in ones personality are clues for it to develop, but it is an idea.
I can deal with an actual event and work it out. In my family, I have lived with denial which I read as dishonesty, or lack of disclosure, from the very beginning of my life. Being the sole caregiver for my Mother with advanced dementia, and my siblings avoidance of sharing the truth or the load, is just more of the same.
This is a problem that I have been dealing with for most of my life with my mother and now that she is aging it is only becoming worse. When I was young she accused her father of molesting herself, her sisters, and other girls, which wasn't true. At one point it became so horrible that she accused me of sleeping with my father and called me a slut, this happens periodically throughout my life. When she began taking Ambien it increased x100! She began accusing all kinds of people of sexual misconduct. Her present kick is that my father had affairs and she refuses to have his picture around. When she does this my sister and I tell her it's not true and that we refuse to listen to that kind of talk. We tell her that if she continues we will hang up the phone, or if we are in her presence, that we will leave.

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