Is Mom's behavior part of dementia?

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For a couple of weeks now my mom has said that the aides are holding her captive. All she will do is sit in the dining room, she is afraid for me to take her anywhere because the aides will get mad at her. The aides always tell her she can go where she wants. She keeps asking the aides everyday if they are mad at her, what did she do? They tell her no they are not mad at her. Then she tells me I don't believe her and gets mad at me. I have asked the nurses, they just say that is the way they get. They seem to think it is funny. Any advice?

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My mother started having delusions about being in a condo at the beach, people visiting her who hadn't visited, that my brother had visited her and was deranged and dangerous and on his way to my house, and I shouldn't open the door to him, etc. These are her dementia, but can also be due to depression and/or stress. She has been on an anti-depressant now for a few months and things seem better. At least she isn't having delusions that are so "out there". And I think the antidepressant just makes it easier for her to handle facing her own decline, and living with my dad, who also has dementia. Sometimes, I've read and heard, dementia and depression go hand in hand. It can be hard to tease out which is making the other worse, but a geriatric specialist should be up on those things. By the way, those don't seem too compassionate if they think her behavior is funny, and saying "that's just the way they get", is pretty dismissive. If they work with people w/ dementia, they should have some suggestions and ideas for how to help her. I think the aids and nurses in senior facilities should have continuing education requirements. Not sure if they do. There should be a way for them to regain her trust. They should be willing to try. Good luck!
My sister was a CNA in a nursing home and they do have continuing ed classes that they have to take. They also have in service where the employees provide information. You know just because she has dementia does not mean that the aids are nice to her. The laughing thing kind of bothers me. I know that we sometimes laugh at what they do but not to their face. With my dad his cna laughed alot - especially if he was mad at her. It was a reaction to stress not her thinking he was funny. It would drive him crazy when she did that, especially if she was giving him a bedbath. It could be that once an aid told her that she wanted her to sit still, if she was wandering or if the aid had something to do. Maybe that scared her and she is obsessing about it. I dont think that there is any way to get her to get over her delusions. Debending on the type of dementia delusions are just a part of the disease.You could always put up a mini cam and watch them when you are out I guess. Maybe they are mean to her.
Well, it is kind of funny in a sad way. If staff took every accusation against them seriously and personally, they'd all be too stressed out to work within a month. I hope they are not laughing at Mom, and I wish they would be a little more sensitive to your feelings. But sometimes if you don't laugh you'll cry.

As punkersad said, it may be an aide said to her once, "You stay right here while I go and get a bandaid. Don't leave now, and I'll be right back." She could be obsessing on the "stay right here" part. Or her delusion might be totally out of thin air.

Whatever triggered the delusion, you aren't going to be able to reason her out of it. She is losing her ability to reason and that is no longer a way to reach her. And now she has the additional stress of you not believing her. Perhaps the next time this happens you can acknowledge her feelings and put her at ease along these lines, "Oh Mom! That just doesn't seem right, does it? You shouldn't be restricted. Let me talk to the people in the office and get this straightened out." Since she did not believe or remember the aides' reassurances, give her something tangible as "proof" she is allowed to move about freely. This could be a smiley-face pin she can wear all the time, or a wallet-sized card you print out, with official signatures, or a token she can carry in a pocket, etc. Your goal is to help her not feel restricted to the dining room. It is not to teach her the "truth".

You can see that having a loved one in a care center does not eliminate caregiving tasks and stresses -- it does change the nature of the responsibility. Now you have to monitor the kind of care she is getting, how she is being treated by staff, and to be her advocate. This is an extremely important role, and your mother is lucky to have you to fill it!

In case you are wondering if the delusions are a result of being in a care center, I think not. We have been fortunate so far that my husband has been able to be at home during his 9 years of dementia. He has gone through a period of feeling imprisoned (to the point of trying to call the sherrif to report it), and a period of begging to "go home" -- even though that is where he was. He has thought our house was a railway station ... I could go on and on. The point is that dementia is progressive. It progresses on its merry way whether you can keep your loved one at home or whether placement is the best option.

Hugs to you as you embark on this new and challenging part of the journey.
Thank you so much for your responses. Now she is saying Please don't leave me!! This really is a trying time!!

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