How do you deal with paranoid behavior, involving medications, piosoning food, and fear of being assaulted by me, or family members?

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First of all, I live with my Mother and Father. My Father(Alzheimer's) Mother(Dementia). My Father goes in and out of different behaviors. But the one that stands out, and creates the most problems, is his paranoid behaviors. One minute, I'm preparing his meal, he's courteous and thankful. Next minute, he's giving me these intimidating, fierce looks, telling my Mother," That animal, is going to kill me, so watch out for him." I try not to feed into that, and let my Mom calm him down, and reassure him. Am I doing the right thing? or do I need to confront the situation? He takes his medications most of the time, but there are times where he "cheeks" them, and throws them to the ground. When told that he needs to take his medications, he replies, " Those are poisonous!" Same behavior for drinks, and meals, at times. Most of the time he is compliant with meals and meds. How do I deal with these issues without escalating the situation, or getting into problems with my Mother?

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My mom was always going to the Dr. for one thing or another whether real or not. Now with AD every once in awhile she goes into spirts of "I have to go see the Dr." stages. When she starts to get nasty or questions the meds I'm giving her I just tell her that the Dr. said she needs to take them or the Dr. told me to give them to her. If she asks me whats wrong with her that she needs to take pills I tell her she is ok and she needs to take them so she won't get sick. Not sure if this helps but thought i'd tell you anyway. Good luck. :-)
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I find all these different approaches so helpful and I hope I can remember them when it comes time to deal with these issues. My husband isn't there yet, extremely forgetful of course but so far not too demanding or insisting on something and he was always in control before so it does surprise me he for the most part will cooperate when I give him his pills. He does always ask "what are these" each time though. But the similarities between all the stories amazes me. When you think you are dealing with an issue alone and find there are many other caregivers going though the same problems
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well my Dad was an electrical engineer, masters in math and computer programming, so he always had the "I am in control of everything" personality. He was devastated when he found out he had dementia...as he had a couple good friends who had it before they died so he knew what life was going to bring. But as he got more and more forgetful, he fought for the control. Knowing that...and also being the daughter...AND for heavens sake....a woman...SO the main way he was able to let me help him, was me being an RN. I also learned to joke with him to get him past being so upset with the disease that he had to become more controlling. That's mainly why the social chit chat before 'helping' him to remember the darned pills! We would joke together about the reason he had dementia was because he had just 'used up too many brain cells during his career'. He kind of liked that one! But, for him....socializing a bit on the phone before saying anything that would remind him that he needed reminding, was the KEY to getting the cooperation....and never being accusatory...but only helpful...about the forgetfulness. I'm sure it would be harder for you, since you are in the "I am present here as the caregiver 24/7" I was out of town and making a phone call...so I could likely more easily spend 15 minutes or so getting around to the pill box! And as he got worse, we had more times when he just insisted he'd taken them and no matter that they were in the cubby, he was convinced my mother 'messed with them all the time' etc. Then, I would just lovingly say, " Well Dad, I'm not going to nag at you, so if you don't think you should take them now, we'll just forget the whole thing". Life is too short to be fighting over it in my opinion. I would rather 'make good memories' where I can with him. If he can't remember it, I sure will!
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Joannes, I admire your patience and ingenuity with this problem. I have tried something similar, but I guess I didn't spend enough time with it. I may try again so my husband feels in control. He can't fill his own med box or take them when he should either...it's been almost a year. At first he was grateful that I was doing this, now he says I'm not perfect and he knows what he took and when. He has no idea or won't accept that he has a problem with anything. His rose colored glasses sure make like wonderful for him....me, not so much!
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My Dad also acts this way. It is part of dementia. He is now in a Memory Care Unit and the nurse there says they teach staff to just agree and say OK....you don't have to do it, take the med now or whatever, and to then just come back and reapproach in about 15 minutes, as most will already have forgotten they refused and agree to do it or take meds on a reapproach. They sometimes have to reapproach several times. I was doing that when Dad was home. He would NOT let Mom do a thing with his meds, so I phoned him when they were due; had a short social visit and then said, 'Hey Dad...did you take those meds that are due right now already?" He would say he did and I would ask him to check the med box and talk him through how to find the right cubby and he would discover he hadn't...and then he would. He just had to be 'in charge' and know that HE decided they were due and not yet taken etc...so just lovingly talked him through deciding that he had not taken them yet and he needed to do so. And every single time, he would need to go over how many pills and what each one was for and tell me how he didn't need anyone fussing over his pills because he's been doing it himself for years and is perfectly capable of taking his own medicine...etc etc. It had been nearly a year since he was unable to fill his own med box and take them on time by himself. Hope this helps with ideas and understanding of how you might try dealing with this.
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Pricetag, have you talked to the ALF staff and her doctor about the 3am phone calls? Surely there is something they can do to help you. I don't know what the answer is. Prayer and hugs for the rest of us who are suffering along with you. Vent here when you can/must. If you have a friend, a pastor, anyone who will just listen and not judge, try talking to them. This is not easy, and I fear for you and all of us that is isn't going to get any easier. That is what is so disheartening!
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My mom has dementia as well and is in an ALF. She calls me 2-3x a day, complaining about her pills. Either they're wrong color, or size. She wanted a sleeping pill because she was only getting 3 hrs of sleep. They have changed her pills two times now and complains they're either not working or the druggist sent the wrong pills. At times I don't want to answer the phone. One night at 3:00a.m. my phone rang, it was my mother complaining she couldn't sleep. So why did you call me, her statement was if "I can't sleep, why should you". I really don't want to be her caregiver anymore, but my brother & sister live in other states.
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daddydaycare, you are really in a tough situation living with both parents with dementia! If you hadn't already, you should find a support group. My husband was diagnosed in August but it's been two years I'm sure at least that his Alzheimer's was coming on. I haven't experienced the paranoid behaviour YET but one thing I've learned from a few Alzheimer's seminars and a recent support group is you cannot try to use logic in explaining anything. It's better to just try to get into their "reality" and use whatever method works to pacify them. Like kitowson suggested... And Scared, the medication is very important that it's ongoing and in their system so I think I would try grinding into a small drink or food (maybe check with his doctor the best way?) but don't give up....I think it's important that the meds are consistently given. Hang in there!
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I have a similar problem with my husband although not as bad. I have a routine we follow for his meds, but often times at night, he won't take them. He says he just did take them 20 minutes ago. What he's thinking about are his morning meds which, because he slept late or got up but promptly fell asleep on a chair, he took late. I tried explaining that to him, showing the evening pills were still in the blue side of the container, etc., but it did no good. He just yelled at me all the more, got mad, and wouldn't talk to me. I spend too many sleepless night as it is. I have just given up. If he won't take them without some gently prodding, I just have to walk away. I don't think this is the best thing to do, but I just can't handle it any other way and keep my sanity. Does anyone have any other ideas?
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My mom has dementia and does the same thing. Sometimes it helps to grind up their pills into a drink or food and/or have a piece of candy handy, pretend it's the medication and take the "med" yourself, a sip of the drink and a piece of the food to show your dad it's not poisonous. It's nearly impossible to reason with a person with this affliction - you have to (unfortunately) think of them as children and sometimes using the same tactics you would use on kids, is the only thing that will safely work, without a lot of drama. Keeping them calm is key and telling them you 'understand' or 'agree' with their concern can go a long way in reversing that anxiety and momentary delusion.
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