My dad is remembering things that never happened. Is this a sign of dementia?

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His memory is good he is 88 and still does whatever he wants. But here lately he been remembering things that never happened and telling detailed stories about stuff that never happened. And can’t believe why we don’t remember it happening. He thinks we are the ones with memory problems. Is this something we should be concerned about? Does this sound like Alzheimer's or dementia?

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I'd have him checked for other things to see if he has a UTI or some other kind of infection. The doctor may be able to do some test in his office to see how his mental cognition is. It could be delusions or false memories. I'd let the doctor know what you are observing, so he can do the proper evaluations.

I was a little embarrassed a few months ago when I accompanied my father to the doctor's office. He was in good spirits and was telling the doctor a couple of stories of his younger days. I didn't say anything, but, told my mom when I returned. I was thinking that daddy had some false memories, but, my mom said, NO, he's right. Your dad did play minor league baseball! I never realized it. lol
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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As my Mother was getting up in years, I would spend a night or two a week with her. She loved to rock in her rocking chair and tell me stories of her youth. (Wish I had recorded them). As time went on, I noticed that her stories became confused - I would correct her about "her own" memories. Eventually, the stories became more and more nonsense and although she seemed to believe them, it was obvious she had become impaired. We took her to her family doctor who performed several tests and diagnosed dementia.

This could be what's happening with your Dad. You've come to the right place for help and comfort - regardless of the diagnosis. Hoping for the best, Janet
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Reply to dlpandjep
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A couple of years ago my Mom (diagnosed with MCI) told me that my Dad's minister had picked her up to go to lunch at a friend's house. They couldn't go in because the weather was bad so they came back to her house and the minister started yelling at her, saying nasty things because she was Catholic. I knew this wasn't true because I had called the minister before the lunch to ask her not to pick Mom up as the driveway was slippery and I was afraid Mom would fall. Besides, I couldn't imagine the minister doing that anyway! But, Mom brought it up numerous times - same story - over the course of six months. I finally started telling her it must've been a dream. I kept repeating that and eventually she would end the story by saying it must've been a dream. This is about the only time she had such a detailed story that she stuck with although there have been other minor tales that were told only once or twice. She finally stopped telling me this story after we ran into the minister and talked with her for a while (and, of course, all was OK). It was upsetting and weird because I started doubting myself and wondering if it actually might have happened - she was so convincing!
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Reply to AvaC42
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Yes, sounds like dementia. My husband told the PT the other day that he fought in World War 2. I didn’t realize they had child soldiers fighting in that war...
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Reply to JuliaRose
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Boy, did your question ever strike a nerve with me. My mom is the same age and I have been noticing something similar. She has always had an excellent memory and a penchant for telling stories in detail. She always was so sure of herself that I, and others, usually just thought we were the ones that had forgotten exactly what happened. Usually unimportant details. However, now I hear her relating things that I know either did not happen, or more often, just did not happen exactly the way she remembers them. I wonder now if maybe some of her memory in the past was not as good as we always assumed. Maybe she was always getting details wrong, but she was always able to convince us that she was right. She always has to be right about everything, so there is no way to convince her that she could be in error. For those that think I should take her to be checked out, I understand the thinking. However, I cannot imagine convincing her to go somewhere. I also don't think it would be a benefit at this point. She is a very anxious person and if she started worrying about her mind I think it would only make things worse. At this point, I am concerned, but it is not yet a safety concern. Oh, and she does think everyone in the family has memory problems. And worries about them.
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EngineerTom Sep 14, 2018
It is hard to argue with someone who thinks their right. I give it a try but in the end I just let it go. Courage.
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Yes, this sounds like dementia. When the stories start to move to the paranoid side of the spectrum, then it can be problematic. But as long as they are innocent, what's the harm? My mother makes up stories all the time, it's kind of exhausting. Interesting, though, when I try to engage her more about her story, she can't initiate beyond the single statement. Then a week later, if I mention it, she says she never said it. Conversation can become fairly one-sided, but somewhat entertaining. Good luck!
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Reply to ArtMom58
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I don’t think your dad is remembering things that never happened. He’s hallucinating. When my mom started to make claims that a man who lived in her apartment was breaking in and stealing things (and actually called the police) I knew something wasn’t right.

Have Dad evaluated for dementia. It’s not easy to accept, but you need to know. You need to plan for his future, and the sooner you know, the better for Dad and you.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Yes it does sound like dementia. If the level of detail puzzles you, could it be something from a movie or a book?
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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It could be dementia. It could be confabulation, or "honest lying." Or, sometimes old memories resurface. Stories of playing minor league baseball (as in a previous comment) are shared. I know of a man who was a spy during a war. His family never knew. But in his last years, he began telling tales of clandestine flights, war atrocities, and knowledge of foreign languages.
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Madtoe Sep 14, 2018
I think that is what my mom had... confabulation. I never heard of it before.
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We've been told, "It's the person with dementia, that doesn't recognize that he has dementia!" This is typically the case. My dad had many stories that weren't true, but to him they were, and we learned to just listen. Often, he'd confuse a news report with a television show or a vivid dream he had. At one time, he told me that the English government wanted to reward him for his service during the war (this was right around Memorial Day). By the way, he had never been in the war, since his dad needed him on their farm. The reward was a lovely farm house with a truck and acreage that he wanted my children to farm for him. He asked me several times to take him to see "his farm," but when I told him I don't have an address, he seemed to realize that driving him to a place that I couldn't find wasn't possible. I did tell him that I would really love to see that beautiful farm house, truck, and land! My dad grew up on a farm, he was also an artist who was well-famed for his paintings of country scenes (usually containing a barn). I loved to hear his growing up stories and even now wish that I had written down some of them (so my children and grand-children can enjoy them).

Living with people who have dementia isn't easy, but it is possible. I'm sure there are thousands of people in the US who deal with loved ones who have dementia (and we've all got our stories, and we've survived). I tell myself, that likely I'll be the same way someday, and I sure hope my children learned from the way I treated my parents (and other's) that this is the way we should all treat the elderly.
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