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For example, he is so disappointed that my brother never visits. My dad is in a nursing home and my brother lives in another country. I told him for a few weeks that it was impossible for my brother to visit and it finally registered. But once in a while he goes back to asking why my brother never visits. Should I go along with this? It makes him really sad that his son never comes to see him and when I tell him he is abroad he goes back to remembering even for a brief while. In a second case scenario he mentions a fight he had with his (deceased) friend. This imaginary fight upset my dad for months and even kept him up all night. Should I still go along with this? My dad has been able to admit he dreams a lot and can't distinguish what is real and what isn't. Is it ok to say that perhaps he dreamt it?

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if your Dad can actually see his son, it may be enough to satisfy him, so Set up a skype or google hangout visit on a regular basis. I do it with my grandchildren and my sister. It is an excellent alternative.
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Ah, Katherine, that is the hard question, isn't it? Not arguing with delusions is one thing, but what about these cases?

Do you have or could you borrow a globe? Bring it in to Dad and show him exactly where your brother is. Fly a toy airplane from there to where Dad is. Talk about how much a plane ticket costs. Don't just say, "he's abroad" but make a big (memorable?) deal out of it. Is brother interested in Dad? Just because he can't visit doesn't mean he can't be in contact. Pictures? Post cards of the local sites? Emails via you?

This is hard!
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I know what you're going through with the false memories. My mother's whole life now is what she imagines it to be. If it is stuck in your dad's mind that he had a fight with a friend, maybe you can add a kind addendum to it, like he and his friend made up. It is hard to tackle these false memories, because they will not believe you if you say they aren't true. They hold fast to the beliefs. Some of them ultimately fade away, while some seem to take root and last the rest of their lives. With my mother I just halfway listen and don't say anything, since it would just be frustrating.

I think you are handling right talking about your brother. He doesn't remember where he is, only that he isn't there. Reminding him helps, if only for the moment. Often we have to say things over and over again when the memory goes.
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As to the delusion, I would neither confirm or deny; agree or disagree. I would not try to convince them of something. They remember things the way they do, no amount of rationality will change their memories. If forced, I would take the position that would help your Dad have the most peace within his reality
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I too was going to suggest some sort of face to face online visit with your brother. Have you tried telling dad that your brother is planning on coming next week, next month, he's out of town now, but will be back soon etc? I ask because once they reach a certain stage, they have no sense of time and repeating the same timeline may be enough to satisfy his repeated question. Another thing to try regarding the fight...Just acknowledge - say how difficult that is when these things happen (does he remember the friend is passed?) - then change the subject on a dime. Therapeutic fibs are necessary for the person's peace of mind.
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I try to comfort my mom in her own reality. When she asks where my dad is, (he died 16 years ago), i just say he is probably working late and he'll be home later. When she asks for my brother who died, or my other brother who never visits, I say they are busy with their families, but we will all get together this weekend for a cookout. She won't remember, and I don't want to make a single minute of her life sad or anxious, so why tell her the truth? It serves no purpose. Keep your loved one happy, whatever that means to them, and don't bring real life problems to them. When I visit her and then leave, I always say I'll be back shortly. I'm usually only there 2-3 times each week. She does fine with her caregivers, and is rarely anxious. She does take a depakote 150mg twice a day, so that probably helps, too!
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Dear Katharine24....I, too, thought that I could reorient my Mom to her past history, but it just wasn't working. Mom is 93 and in an assisted living facility. After three years in dealing with her dementia and her being at the medium (so they tell me) level, I believe that there isn't any one thing that you can do to dissuade your Dad. At this point, it's all about the dementia. My bro and his family live a three day's drive from my Mom. I tell her that and she says...oh, I didn't know that. For now it looks as tho your Dad is mentally capable of recognizing the truth as you tell it to him. As long as he can remember the truth, I would go along with him and try to orient him. I think that when he begins to not believe you, telling him it might have been a dream may help him cope. No rhyme or reason to this devastating disease. You have to play it by ear. Hang in there.
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Sigh. Thanks for your replies. I know more patience is required.
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Interesting topic. My 92 year old Mum has a few things that she is convinced happened, that bother her.
The main one is, a few years ago, she went to a friend's husband's funeral (my ex took her) and because it was busy and she is old, they were ushered to a seat near the front - that part is true. She used to go green bowling but stopped going when she was having balance problems. She has now decided that nobody at the bowling is talking to her and she hasn't been invited back (it was her decision to stop going) because someone else who was at the funeral has told them that she was sitting in the 'wrong' seat, which should have been for family.
She also says the friend's daughter came to her door and told her not to visit her friend any more, which is also because of where she sat.
I have tried explaining that nobody would be bothered where she sat and even in the unlikely possibility that anyone would mention it, why would everyone at the bowling stop talking to her because of it, because it's really not important. I don't know how true the part about the daughter is, but from what I can work out, I think the friend was in hospital and maybe her daughter told Mum that she was too ill to have visitors (she has since passed away).
She just won't accept any of my reassurances and thinks they have all been talking about her and criticising her.
She brings this up regularly, I have tried just explaining that it's not important enough to other people for it to bother them, I've tried telling her I talked to one of the people at the bowling and they knew nothing about it, but it's still an ongoing issue with Mum.
I don't want to agree with her but it's getting frustrating going back over the same ground and knowing that it's still upsetting her.
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Hi Katharine, I agree with Ms. Randall that with your brother's situation, setting up a Skype or a Facetime will be a positive thing even if it is temporary reassurance.

It is hard to convince someone the sky is not blue. With the type of delusions that your father is experiencing, it is best not to aggravate the situation. I would try and change the subject. Sometimes it works. Redirect him to think of something positive or respond to a fond smell like fresh bread or a positive memory.
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