KimDaniel0806 Asked September 2012

Should I tell my mother the truth about things like when she asks about her parents being alive?

Follow
Share

My mother has been diagnosed with moderate vascular dementia. I was told it is better to continue to keep telling her the truth about questions she asks such as whether her parents are still living. She also imagines people are living with us, or that her old and original bedroom furniture is just rental furniture. When I try to explain to her that her parents are deceased, she gets upset and cries. When I tell her her bedroom furniture is her own and not rental, she gets mad at me. I am concerned if I go along with her delusions, that one lie will lead to another and become a huge problem. Plus, I don't feel good lying to her. What is the best way to handle her delusions to keep from the tears and fights?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
5

Answers

Show:
Jeanne
I thank you for the suggestions, and her doctor has had her checked many times for a possible UTI and did inform me of how a UTI can cause these types of hallucinations. Fortunatley (or unfortunatley) she is negative for UTI and it has been suggested that her hallucinations come from it being vascular. She has multiple types of hallucinations. It can be anything from people being in the house stealing from her, to her living in other homes, to people crawling into bed with her at night. I personally feel she may be visited by angels, because some of those people who crawl into bed with her give her happy memories. The most interesting thing is, her delusions are mixed with good recollections of what I have previously told her so I can't seem to win. Not that winning is what is important, but I'm obviously not doing this well. I appreciate your suggestions for the books and I will certainly get one or both, as I am in desperate need of help and I can't be in the same room with her for an hour without her starting to yell at me for some reason or another. It is becoming very stressful and I have no one to give me a break. My brother is MIA, and refuses to answer my calls for help. My only break is sleep and work. I appreciate more than I can say having someone to talk to about this. And, I hope and pray your journey with your loved one is a peaceful one. God Bless you for being there! And, many warm hugs to you as well.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

jeannegibbs Sep 2012
Kim, perhaps you've come across this in your reading, but in case not ... one surprisingly common cause of hallucinations in the elderly is urinary track infections. If Mom is now seeing youngsters who aren't really there it would be worthwhile to have her tested for a uti. My aunt lived to be 100 with no signs at all of dementia, but she did see children in her house a couple of times, which cleared up completely when the uti was treated. Your mother does have dementia, but that doesn't mean she couldn't also have a uti. Worth keeping in mind!

I'd like to suggest a couple of books. "Creating Moments of Joy" by Jolene Brackey is witten for caregivers of elders with Alzheimers. My husband has a different form of dementia (and I know your mother does) and many of the specifics in this book just don't apply. But it is such an upbeat, easy-to-read book that even if you get only one or two ideas from it that apply I think it will be worthwhile. The other suggestions applies to all types of dementia. "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia" by Pauline Boss is a compassionate look at the stress of caregiving a loved one who is both physically present and also increasingly "not there."

This is a very hard journey you are embarked on. Warm hugs to you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This may be trickier than I thought. I am using your suggestions (for which I appreciate very much) and she is imagining two boys were in her bedroom going into her things and stealing stuff. I feel that tangled web being woven and find it's more difficult to stay in her reality and keep her from being upset about possibly being burglerized. I will continue to work on this, obviously this is an aquired skill. Thanks to all for your suggestions. I realize the main goal is to keep her from being upset! By the way, to Jeanne, I had spoken to a psychologist who works with geriatric patients and she was the one who had the suggestion to keep her in the here and now and to always be truthful to her. I do understand the difference between information seeking and her delusions. Thanks again to all. It feels good to have someone to talk to about this.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

sharynmarie Sep 2012
I would not tell them the truth because a person with dementia cannot logically understand it. Trying to force them to accept your truth is going to cause them to become angry and upset so why do that to them. My mother would run errands and upon her return home, my father would tell her his mother had been by for a visit. His mother was no longer living plus when she was living, she lived in Northern Ireland where my father grew up. His mother was very special to him. He never mentioned his father. We just went along with his story. It was his truth and reality that caused no harm. My mother now has Alz but has not said anything about deceased relatives yet. When/if she does, I will go along with it because I see no reason to cause her to become upset over it. It just isn't worth the stress. I prefer she be as calm as possible not just for my peace but for her peace as well♥!
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

jeannegibbs Sep 2012
I'm curious about who told you that? Was it an expert on dementia care?

I would distinguish between mother asking questions (are my parents still living?) and mother having delusions (let's call my mother today). If she is truly asking for information, then giving her facts may help orient her in our reality. "It is September, 2012 now. You mother died in December 2000. We've all missed Gramma very much."

But if she is stating or implying her belief, "when will Mother be home?" then it seems to me (and many dementia experts) that it is kindest to get into her reality. "Not until late. She had lots of errands to run." If your mother in her own mind is 25 years old, then of course her mother is still alive! Your "truth" that she died a dozen years ago is preposterous!

What possible purpose do the tears and fights serve? Does she "learn" the truth, and remember it next time? Does it cure the vascular lesions in the brain?

She insists the furniture is rented? "Well, isn't it remarkable how much it looks like your genuine furniture! That must make you happy."

It gets trickier when the delusions are disturbing to her. Still, your goal is to make her comfortable. If she is terrified of the critters that live under her dresser, don't just agree there are critters there. Go out and get the critter-be-gone spray and assure her you've taken care of it. (That spray smells a lot like room scent, by the way, but has a nice computer-generated label.)

I want to make my loved one comfortable. I want him to feel safe. I lie my head off! :-)
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.

Related
Articles

Related
Questions