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She lives alone, with reasonably good health for her age. She's always been prone to story-telling, but she's progressed to paranoid delusions, blaming neighbor for drilling holes in wall and drugging her, claiming she hears conversations from neighbor plotting to harm her, has already called 911 because she feels drugged, checked out at hospital and been released, constantly calling apartment office with complaints. She's very worked up and believes every story she tells. She's frightened. Calls family middle of night telling us to come right away and bring police. Family doctor referred her to neurologist. How can family help?

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This is tough, and if you can, make sure you get a neurologist who specializes in geriatrics. If you were in Pgh, PA I could tell you an excellent one.
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Thank you so much. This is uncharted territory for us. Want to help her and unsure of direction. Thanks for taking the time to help.
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Neurologist asap! If you can't get her there this week, and if she ends up in E R again, insist on psych and or neuro consult. Most er visits only rule out the "you're not dying" stuff. Insist that they evaluate whether or not she can continue to live alone. It's so easy to show up at the er, you're so happy that there's nothing "seriously" wrong and you're happy to "take delivery" by doing that, you are implying that you're going to be responsible for her wellbeing. If you insist that they certify that she can function indepenently without your support, you get help in assessing her ability to function.
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Take her to the neurologist. I assume the family doctor did all the basics of urine and blood testing. Now let a specialist go further. Getting even a tentative diagnosis of the cause may help establish a treatment plan.

While you are waiting, in general it does not help to argue with someone who is having delusions. I don't think you want to agree with her that the neighbors are plotting against her, but try to reassure her. "Mom, hearing that must have been really scary! I don't blame you for being upset. We've known those neighbors for a long time, and it is hard to believe they are plotting anything. I'm sure that whatever snippets of conservation you heard sounded like a plot, but if we knew the whole story it would turn out to be more innocent. Do you want me to talk to them?"

This is not at all easy. The idea is to sympathize and reassure, without telling her she is right.

The apartment office has probably figured it out, but it might be a good idea to have a chat there and explain that you are trying to get some help for Mom. Also, do you suppose Mom would let you handle her complaints? She could write them down and then you (or a designated family member) could "handle" them for her.

I hope her appointment with the neurologist is soon! She is miserable and this is disruptive to a lot of people.
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