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People, please forgive me if you don't find this amusing. My sense of humour is my best defense against my 90-something mother's dementia and her constant unreasonable demands. I was inspired to write this when I noticed that I was almost out of peanut butter - and it occurred to me how my mother would interpret it: Perfect sense: "Hey - my peanut butter jar on the kitchen counter is almost empty! I don't remember almost finishing off that peanut butter. Someone must have stolen it! Someone broke into my apartment and stole my peanut butter!! But there's no sign of break-in. It must have been someone in management who has a key! It must be Eva because she looks Eastern European. Also, she's overweight, so she's probably one of those people who can't control their eating. Yes that's it! She saw my peanut butter during the annual apartment inspection last month, and she resolved to come back to steal it!! I'm calling the police!" We did in fact have to convince her to not call the police when she thought a small bathroom rug was stolen which the caregiver had taken out to wash. Another time she was absolutely convinced that someone stole her prune juice! She had hidden it under the couch and when I found it, it was past the due date so I threw it out. And she's so upset when we don't seem to believe her - she complains that we believe everybody else except her. Everyone here seems to have similar stories. Sigh.

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Susansusan
I love it! My Mom has Alzheimer's, just had to place she and step-father in long term assisted living a few weeks ago. I must say that God has his hands on those caregivers; especially when it comes to my step-father....oye vey...and I'm not Jewish!
Both our daughter and myself use humor when things like this happen.
It's like really Mom, you think so and so did this? Well, you just sit tight and I'm going to set things straight right now! Nobody can come in here and mess with your things much less steal from you. Then I'd walk out and let the caregiver in on it and stand outside the door chastising the person so your Mom will think it's being taken care of by you. Then make sure they have extra supplies for her; that way you can come back in with a new jar of peanut butter.
See Mom, I took care of that! Any time you have a problem like this, you just let me know.
She'll be happy until the next time. It will be hard to keep from laughing.
People get way too serious about these conditions. I'm not saying that these issues are funny, but laughter is the best medicine....for you.
Statistics show that the more you can laugh about stressful situations, the better it is for you and your heart. What you have going on Susansusan should be looked at more like a prank. No one is being hurt and your Mom gets satisfaction. Then you and the caregiver can laugh about it when you're out of ear shot with Mom.

Laugh people. There isn't any harm with laughing and you're not going to help for doing it. Yes, it breaks our hearts, but wouldn't you rather remember the time when Mom or Dad did something like this and you were able to make that lemonade out of the lemons you're dealing with right now?,
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One time in the hospital Mom said, "See, they've got it set up in here like a haunted house to scare me." She said, "See that gargoyle over there?"

I was like, "Say what??" And she pointed to a disposable glove dispenser with a pair of gloves sticking out the top (I guess those were the wings).
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Val3rie I think it's the persons mind playing tricks on all of us! Lol these are great stories and Susan you are so right, a sense of humor makes all the difference! I think we all have these stories if we think about it but some of you are so good at telling them! Reading a few of these reminded me of my husbands grandmother who was 100 when she passed. It's not a funny story but it is touching and one that gives me piece and makes me smile each time I'm reminded of it. My father in law (her son) cared for her in his home for her last few years and for the most part her memory was good and her mind in the present but the last few weeks of her life every morning when he would go in when she woke up and she would tell him all about her "trip" the night before. She was taking a train trip every night and visiting her family all over the country and would tell my FIL all about who she saw and the visit. There were some nights she either woke in the middle of the night screaming or told him about it the next morning (I don't remember which) but she thought someone who meant her harm was standing over her on the train, those weren't fun stories but for the most part it was a really wonderful thing, she actually seemed to experience a last visit with each of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to say goodbye and eventually she came to the end of her journey and passed in her sleep, maybe on that train.
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My Mom had this obsession that the mailman was reading her magazines and that is why the magazines were arriving a couple days late. I thought to myself, oh sure, the bearded older mailman was reading Mom's "Good Housekeeping" magazine.

So my parent got a post office box where they transferred all their mail. Thus back then they were still driving they would daily go to the post office box. Mom was happy that the mailman wasn't delivering the mail. I just had to ask her, who do you think is putting the mail in the post office box?
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Sense of humor goes a long way. My husband and I "sold pop" and then we returned the cans for the deposit so we could pay the bills. Another time we were trying to get her to take a shower (a favorite past time) but she didn't want to because she "had her period " at 80 years old. I'm sure there are many more, every day is different!
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Very appropriate - thank you for sharing.
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Susan
My Father just makes everything up as he goes along. He's always leaving care home. Any day now according to him. Has tried everything to convince me. Place getting knocked down. He's on a course and it's finished. Going to live with his Auntie who died 40 years ago. The money for the fees running out. Asked care worker to marry him and invited her to go and stay with him by giving her a written note. Hes 92 and shes 38. He had correct last address and phone number on it. Tries to get me to take his belongings. Running out of energy with it all. Take it most on this site are the same.
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My mother has had Alzheimer's for 15 years now. She is 99 years old and lives with us. Three years ago I began writing books on caregiving to provide comic relief and also practical suggestions, understandings, and a chronicle to help me deal with this horrible disease. The books and stories have lots and lots of humor. One of my favorites is an incident when she first came to live with us and decided to get herself dressed in the middle of the night. She managed to find minimal articles of clothing to put on; but it didn't deter he. She emerged from her room announcing that she was ready for breakfast wearing nothing but a pair of socks!
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As I'm reading through these, I'm remembering more....and it's better to remember the fun, humorous times than to remember how Mom looked when she passed away, etc - so I prefer to focus more on the laughter than the pain. (There's enough pain in my lifetime memories to last a few more lifetimes, so I try to find more humor if I can.)

Watching TV one night, we saw a commercial for a new TV show coming on, where a woman in her 30s/40s (but very young looking) decided she would masquerade as someone in their 20s in order to get a job she wanted. That meant hanging out with her new, younger, co-workers, including working out at the gym. In the locker room, after showering, she whipped off her towel to get dressed, just like the others did, and 2 of her young co-workers gasped out loud. One of them drops her eyes to the older woman's below-the-waist area and says in a horrified stage whisper, "OMG! It looks like my MOTHER'S!" and the other, equally horrified, says, "Don't you WAX???"

Mom looks right at me and says, with a straight face - "I think mine's gone bald."

Now keep in mind, Mom was *never* one to tell a dirty joke - that was Dad's department. She wasn't a prude by any means, but this was just SO FAR out in left field for her...I almost fell of my chair laughing.

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Mom was really resistant to showering in her later years, even before I moved in to care for her. The house smelled terrible most of the time because of it. So when I moved in, I knew I had a battle on my hands. Most of the time, she'd comply if I got kind of stern with her about it (because being gentle about it just didn't work). When she had to move into the NH, I knew it was going to be a problem. They can't *force* her to shower, so she would go long stretches without one. I finally suggested they try getting her into the walk-in tub they had. Aha! That was the solution.

Once in the tub, Mom was like a little kid again, splashing and laughing and really enjoying a good long soak.

When I asked her how she liked it, she told me all about it and how much she enjoyed it and how long it had been since she'd been able to sit in a tub of warm water. Then she pointed at her chest and said, "They FLOAT!!"

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Dad was in a nursing home for several months about 8 years before he actually passed away. He only had one functioning kidney, and it had failed, so he was on dialysis and also needed PT. (Miraculously, the kidney actually came back to life, something the doctors said they had *never* seen before.)

There was a woman there who we all said must have been a stripper or a prostitute in her former life or something. I mean, this woman was NASTY. Swore like a sailor, called people nasty names, spit food at you if you got within striking distance (or tried to get closer to you if you weren't close enough), hit people on a regular basis or tried to trip them or hit them with her rolling walker any chance she got.

She walked right into Dad's room one day and looked him up and down as he was sitting on the edge of the bed, and said, "You're FAT!" (And yes, Dad was a large man.)
He looked right back at her and said, "Yes, I am. But you're UGLY. I can go on a diet. What are you gonna do?"
She left. (LOL)

One afternoon, they were having music in the common room at the NH, and Dad was in there enjoying it. One of the male orderlies was entertaining the female residents, dancing with those who were able, or doing a small dance with those in wheelchairs and walkers. In strolled Miss Nasty, demanding a dance with the orderly. He didn't know her that well (poor guy), so he obliged. She stepped away from her walker and leaned right into him, and took a couple of turns around the floor - then she backed up and YELLED out loud - "YOU'VE GOT A BONER!" and just laughed and laughed. Poor guy turned 3 shades of red and told her that was the end of the dance.
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Susansusan - your mother must be in the same memory care wing as my mother because these are the exact types of discussions we have. They (the aides) "really love my stuff.....instant coffee, muffins, potato chips, Babybel cheese, gingerale - oh....and, get this....HER COASTERS, etc., etc., etc.. Always find the coasters tucked in her drawers, sometimes under bras, underwear or some other garment. When I present them to her, the question is always, "where'd you find them? Someone else put them there..... Thank you for the ability to chuckle for a bit over this, which sometimes drives me to the brink of insanity. :-)
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Susan, You are so right. Laugh or you'll cry. cantdance! Omg my mother just started this business with the toilet. She called me crying that some hated her enough to do this. However my mother immediately believes I should report this and the missing hair spray and disturbingly fast-disappearing toilet paper to the governor's office. I just imagine doing this and I crack up. It's all serious to her though.
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CTTN55, good for you knowing your boundaries and setting them. I do think however that you may be making it harder on yourself without meaning to because your just so past your limits you have lost some perspective. As I read your story about the coupon shopping and got to the part about how your mom had been the coupon queen I immediately thought, how scary that must have been for your mom. I may be projecting or relating to my mom's situation but imagine being in your mom's shoes, someone who had been in total control and expert in manipulating the coupon and deal system. She probably got a lot of self worth from her ability to keep track of all of that (not an easy thing and one I just don't have patience for as much as I try and want to) and save the family so much money, it was a huge contribution to the family finances as well as sustaining the family, providing for you and now suddenly she is standing in what used to be her element not able to do the math or understand, probably not even able to comprehend, the whole transaction. She knows it's something she should grasp but she simply can't and she is having this self stripping experience with the daughter she used to take care of with this skill standing there not only witnessing but pointing out her inability. Maybe even exhibiting the impatience she is feeling with the whole thing and her mother. It's not your fault but once you have experienced the inability to do something you used to have mastered or need to lean on someone for a skill that used to at least partly define you begin to look at some of these things a little differently. It's like taking longer to set out your vitamins and medication for the week because there are a few more of them and you need your glasses to read each bottle now (and maybe it takes a little longer to open the cap and count them out) not a big deal to you because you have adapted over time for the slow down. Your adult child comes along and can do it all much quicker, they way you could 20 years ago and it's almost painful for them watching you take 2-3 times longer than it would if they just did it for you. You want to keep doing for yourself because giving it up is like saying you can't do it for yourself anymore. Now how difficult is it going to be when you realize you can't do it for yourself anymore? Having had the experience of not being able to do things I used to take for granted, basic things (I was very ill and there are things I will never do again) I am probably more sensitive to how it feels, maybe too much so but I am probably not explaining it as well as I should. Just try for your own sanity to put yourself in her place during some of these situations. It's hard particularly when dealing with forms of dementia because we don't really have a way to relate but we have all experienced not being able to do something we wanted to.
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My mom loves stuffed animals. We were in the Dollar Tree where everything is $1. This was just before Easter and the end caps has 6” stuffed animals. We walked in one day and she saw one display immediately. “How much is it?” She asked. I told her $1. She asked if she could have it. I told her no since she has a small room and it’s already bursting with stuff. She put it back. The next aisle was another display. Same questions and answers. The third aisle, again, same questions and answers except this time she got angry and threw it back and loudly exclaimed “You NEVER let me have anything!” She sounded like an irate 4 yr old having tantrum. I had to bite my tongue to stop the giggles. Next aisle, same display, same question, but this time I told her it was $10. She said “It’s cute, but it isn’t $10 cute” and put it back and didn’t ask again. Now everything she wants but she doesn’t need is $10, $20 or however much is too expensive. Gotta find the humor. Some days are easier than others.
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NomadSE - oh I love that one!! Our mother also has one of those cats and now has a little dog too...

She is still aware enough to know they are not real, and despite never really being a pet person (tolerated us having a dog growing up, but even later has told me many times not to get more cats when I lose them!), she is fascinated by them and what they can do.

Some weeks ago she showed me a picture of a little white fluffy dog and told me she was going to ask my younger brother to get one for her... erk, what? The poor thing would probably end up ruining her room/rug or starve to death!! Good lord, what would she do with a REAL dog? I had looked up robot dogs, and suggested this to that brother if she continued to insist... While other brother was here we stopped at Walmart to try to find some kid craft things that she might be able to manage and keep her occupied and didn't he find one of those dogs - so he got it for her.

But, I can just visualize what you posted and had to laugh!! Mom has not had any recent falls, but never takes the cat out of her room, so I wouldn't see that happening, but being confused by calling it a "cat" scan certainly could happen.

To go along with that, MANY years ago, when CT scans were relatively new, I was at the check-in for outpatient tests and they had a cartoon under the glass which showed a cat suspended over the table with a patient... =^..^= :-D toooo funny!!!
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JoAnn29 says "My problem was I couldn't laugh at my Mom. I felt it was disrespectful."

This is NOT about laughing AT the person, but rather at the ridiculousness of the situations. I found everyone's story interesting and amusing! Our mom was accusing people of stealing things and still does now (a pair of tweezers stolen by my brother, yet we found almost 10 pair when cleaning out the place!) Her "Boogie Board" I purchased for her to help with communicating was missing yesterday - I texted brother to see if she had it at lunch time when he took her out (it was there that morning, I used it!) SHE insisted that someone stole it, and they will come into your room and steal you blind!! Turns out it fell off the walker in his car, so he has it.

What all are alluding to is finding the humor in this situation (and like others, I have always maintained that as long as you have your humor, you will be okay, for ANY situation - I actually almost lost mine during an almost month long hospital stay. I BEGGED them to let me go home and doc finally relented, with home nursing daily visits and self-care, thankfully!!!) Without being able to laugh some of this stuff off, we will ALL go crazy. Laughing at them, no. Laughing with them or later about the silly stuff that happens, yes.
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Mom fell on her first day in MC and went to the ER for a CT scan. She has one of those little robot cats and when the tech came into the room and said, ok, it's time for your cat scan, she looked down at the cat, and doubiously replied that she thought the cat was just fine and didn't need another scan. LOLOL It was priceless, but we didn't laugh at her, we just said better safe than sorry....
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My 94 yr. old MIL lives with us and has vascular dementia. We’ve had many episodes that have caused us to choose to laugh and not cry. We took her cell phone away, which she could no longer remember how to use, after a middle of the night event. My husbands cell rang and I hopped out of bed to answer it, seeing her name on the screen. I called her name and asked “are you okay.” No answer, so I ran to her bedroom to find her sitting on the bedside commode, phone in one hand and cell phone in the other. She looked up at me and asked, “Do you know how to turn off the light?”
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Wonderful post. Humor is good for the soul, and the best way for caregivers to keep their sanity! Maybe it's "dark humor" but so what? My Mom is often like this. Around President's Day she complained that she hadn't received mail for a week. Like one postal holiday would stop mail for a week! In addition, the staff at her assisted living only delivers mail to the rooms "when they feel like it" (not often). Listening to all this, my eyes wander around and I spot a pile of 3-4 unopened letters, ask her to hand them to me, and see they came last week. She set them down, intending to read them later, then forgot about them. A mistake that I made was to "prove" to her that this had happened. There was a momentary recognition and a terror in her eyes that made me feel awful. You have to just go with the flow and laugh about it later. There are no better alternatives.
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My mom was in SNF for almost ten years with Alzheimer's. As time passed she became less and less aware of her surroundings. One day as I was visiting, we were sitting in a private room reserved for patients meeting with family members. She was sitting opposite from me facing the picture window. The view was of the front lawn of the facility and was about 150 ft to the road. After a while, I could tell she was really disturbed about something and inquired what was wrong. She said " I know that little boy out by the road must be frozen. He has been standing there waiting for the school bus all day." I turned and looked and was amused at what I saw . There next to the road was a yellow object with a blue top on it. It was a Fire Hydrant. It warmed my heart. My mother always worried about children who were not dressed warm enough. There were other funny incidents as well that helped take away the sadness I felt when visiting her. She was forever sweet and loving right up to the end.
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This is for Kimiad, I too have both parents simultaneously afflicted with Alzheimer’s. They are in a memory care place but the caregiving doesn’t really stop unless you drop them off and never return. Thankfully, the staff there diverts and redirects the folks when they want to call me to tell me someone stole their food, or my dad’s teeth, or their shoes or that there’s nothing to do and I need to give them my phone number to call my brother to tell him to get them out of there. My absolute favorite when they still lived in their home is when my mom would repeatedly call me to ask me for my phone number because someone stole the list of all the phone numbers. I’d play along and have here write down my number, she would repeat it back be placated, hang up and then call me back to make sure she wrote it down correctly. Then she would continue with more funnies of how nothing in their house works anymore. She would be telling me she can’t find her phone because someone took it while she was on the “stolen” phone talking to me checking to see if she had written down my phone number right. Ughh, no wonder it feels like I’m losing my mind as well! If it wasn’t so sad, it would be pretty funny. What helps is sharing the goofy stories via texting to friends. When I read back through my texts, it depersonalizes the craziness a bit that I go through many times a day, and makes me laugh at how ridiculous many of the conversations are that I have with my folks.
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I wish I could summon my humor to help me with this! I’m the only child so I have the two parents, with what seems to be two different types of dementia. Mom is obsessed with the idea that she has had me investigated and I am buying false teeth for my creepy friends in Europe because they don’t brush their teeth there. That’s one if the weirder ones I’ve ever heard. Also the usual stuff, people are rearranging things in the middle of the night, Dad is drinking up all the wine (it’s her, she’s a bottle a night alcoholic), all our relatives are bums, her family is all dead (not), etc etc. I want to get them both to doctors and into assisted living but it’s impossible so far. Two of them, one of me, it’s overwhelming!
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I do so agree a sense of humour is the best remedy for all ills. Life
would be so dull with out It. Luckily for me and for my Mom She enjoyed a wonderful sense of humour right to the End, and my goodness how Mom loved Babies. When the Great Grand Children would call and visit with their Parents, Mothers eyes would always have been on the tiny little Ones running up and down and I can still see that smile on Moms face. We are left now with so many beautiful tender memories and how glad We are that We stood tall and Cared for those Who We loved and cherished. Rest in Peace.
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My Grandfather in 1978 probably had Dementia. We would be sitting at his table having a beer together and he'd stop the conversation. He'd ask me to go feed the children under the steps in his basement. They were crying again.
I'd make a sandwich and walk to the dirt basement and return. He was happy.
I have a hard time remembering that dementia is the mind playing tricks on the person that has it.
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Thank you all for your sense of humor. It is so refreshing. You all made me smile.
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Susan, thanks for the great laughs. I know it's not funny when it occurs, but your parents were really creative. I especially like the "spy" your mother became.
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It is sad..........and sadly funny. My Mom insisted that the light between the trees outside her nursing home room were windows from a highrise. We debated this practically every time I visited. I don't know why I didn't just agree with her and be done with it. She also said she heard children running up and down the halls and thought I was withholding her purse from her. Ah well........
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One day my elderly Dad fell in his garage and broke his nose. Since he was on blood thinners he and Mom couldn't get the nose to stop bleeding, so Dad called 911 and he was taken to the hospital.

While at the hospital Dad was bragging "you should have seen the other guy", "his memorial is next week".

Oh dear.... thankfully the Staff at the hospital just smiled. I was worried the police would have shown up to take a report :P

JoAnn, my Dad had a great sense of humor, but that time I knew he was serious because my folks were so lost not being about to go out 2 to 3 times a day.  I just couldn't take time off from work so that Mom could save $.30 on 3 cans of peas at one grocery store, then save a dime on milk at another :P
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Flyer, how did you keep from laughing. Its so sad, Dementia or not, our elderly parents become like children. I was lucky, Mom knew her limits and asked for help. She didn't get her license till she was in her 50s when Dad no longer drove much. At 85 she had to give up her license. It broke her heart. She loved puttering around town in her little red car. Think that was part of her decline.
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Saying you have to laugh or you'll cry is exactly right.

Fortunately, my mom's dementia never advanced too far before she passed away, but boy, my grandmother's did (my dad's mother).

We often heard the story about someone breaking into her house through the attic windows, coming down the kitchen, getting food out of the freezer, cooking it, eating it, washing the dishes and putting them away.
1) Attic windows were nailed shut with 6" long square head nails - like mini railroad spikes. Right through the wooden frame of the window and into the windowsill.
2) Attic door was locked with a slide bolt, a key and had a steamer trunk full of heavy old clothes (about 100 lbs) pushed against it to keep it shut.
3) Freezer was locked and she wore the key on a chain around her neck.
4) Considerate criminals, weren't they - to wash the dishes?
All of this drawn-out story was to justify one single thing: she couldn't find her favorite skillet. (Crooks must have misplaced it on her.)

She slept with an entire kitchen's worth of sharp implements under her mattress - knives, meat forks, cleavers - even a rolling pin. No idea how she ever slept on that bed.

She also thought she was a federal agent for the DEA, FBI, CIA or just "working for President Bush" - depending on the day.

She called us one day to say she was coming to visit - a 10 hour drive at the least. My dad and aunt tried to tell her not to, but nothing doing - she was coming. She left and started driving...and never showed up. (This was in pre-cell phone days, so no way to reach her.) 24 hours later, still no appearance at our house or my aunt's. State police were called and an alert was put out to watch out for her. Several days later, she showed up at my aunt's house - no story about where she'd been all that time, or any explanation. She stayed a few weeks with us and a few with my aunt before she went home (someone traveled with her this time). During the time she was here, she pulled the "secret agent" bit every single day. She'd fill a thermos with hot coffee, take her coffee and cigarettes out to the yard and park herself in a lawn chair behind the shrub and spy on the neighbors, wearing a blue felt fedora-style hat that she would pull down over her dark sunglasses - her "disguise".

It's kind of comical to think of all this now - but we recognize it for what it was - dementia. She'd always had some form of mental illness - you couldn't be mentally healthy and treat your children the way she did - but dementia just put it over the top.

Then there was my (then) husband's father.  We moved his parents in with us - my idea - when his father's cancer became advanced and the anoxia was causing his personality to go off the rails.  He was always an abusive drunk as a younger man, so when the dementia started, and then the anoxia kicked in, causing lack of oxygen to his brain, it was a perfect storm of symptoms that sent him completely off the rails.  
Most days, he loved me, and told me I was the best thing that ever happened to his son, and I was an angel for taking them into my home.
Other days....
These were his favorite accusations towards me: 
- I was a prostitute.
- I married his son for his money. (I laughed right out loud at that one - I told him that was like saying I married him for his big you-know-what...hubby got a little offended by that one.)
- I was a witch and had put a spell on his wife so she wouldn't listen to him anymore. 

That last one was my favorite, and the most interesting one.  He kept insisting over and over that I was a witch and I'd put a spell on his wife so that she wouldn't listen to him. One day, he called me into his room and said (again) that he knew I'd put a spell on his wife, but if I'd take it off, then we'd be "ok" again.  Ok - fine.  So I walked into the other room, called his wife's name, and when she looked up, I wiggled my fingers at her and said, "BOOGADA BOOGADA!"  She looked at me like I'd lost my mind - I told her I was taking the spell off.  LOL 
Went back in his room and told him it was done - he said, "Ok, now we're friends again."  
Until the next time, at least.  
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Back a few years ago my Dad [in his 90's] could no longer drive as he couldn't lift his leg to put on the brake.

Dad came up with what he thought was a brilliant idea. He would have my Mom [also in her 90's] do the driving. I had to remind Dad that Mom was legal blind due to macular degeneration.

Dad remembered Mom couldn't see, but he said he could just tell Mom when to stop, when to go, when to turn, then they could go driving again.....

"Ah, Dad, Mom is also deaf"

"Oh"
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