There’s nothing gained by trying to dissuade your elder with dementia. Nor to get involved too deeply in the delusion. Acknowledge you heard her story and then change the topic. The delusion is real to the person with dementia.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to HolidayEnd

Owise, part of the dementia journey includes delusions and hallucinations. My mother had so many of them I lost track. At first, before I studied up on dementia, I would try to dissuade her. “Oh, Mom, you know no one is coming through your walls or sleeping under your bed!” I would get a blank or confused look or she would argue with me. Nothing was gained.

When someone has dementia, we say their brain is “broken”. They firmly believe that what they see or hear is really happening because in their broken brain, it really is. It would be like someone telling you the sky is not blue, it’s green.

You say in your profile that Mom still lives on her own. Good for her, but as she goes further along on this dementia journey, she will need more and more supervision. The stove can accidentally be left on. She might wake up one night and decide she’s in a strange place and wander out. You may want to start considering future plans for her.

You also mention your own stresses. It’s no shame to seek therapeutic support. Many of us have.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

Check out Teepa Snow on YouTube. She will give you techniques on how to respond to mom in a way that helps her move on from the moment that is causing her (and you) distress.
You may have noticed that trying to explain away her delusion doesn’t work.
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Reply to 97yroldmom

Really? It depends on the delusions.

I went along if it wasn't important - I listened to what DH had to say. If he was worried, I tried to dissuade him from the delusion; like he thought people were walking in and out of the house all the time. But I also told him that if he saw dead people walking around, they wouldn't hurt him. He came from a very large family and I expected someone to come to see him.

Just keep your loved one as calm as you can. Calm is more important that worrying about the delusion.
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Reply to RayLinStephens

All good answers. Having seen the real delusions, it is true, nothing on earth will dissuade them. In fact, if the logic breaks through the delusion, they will change their story. If in fact they realize you are right the sky is blue, well then guess what it is blue now, but that is only because you happened to look in a different spot in the sky. I have a theory that if you catch a delusion before it takes on too many details and embellishment, you can put it on a side track and steer that train to a different station. Often the longer it goes on, the more entrenched it became, with my Dad anyway. My theory is that since he can't remember what is going on, he makes a story that fits what his senses observe. He doesn't trust the judgement of anyone in the room because they are all younger and therefore not reliable so the more he hears he's wrong, the more attacked he feels. try to never say she's wrong.... and as I write this I realize how often I could not follow my own advice. To feel safe, you need to get them to believe certain facts, so you try to explain. It's a rabbit hole. Do look up Teepah Snow, I think I will too.
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Reply to ThereIsNoTry

My mom just showed me the little people who live below their one story assisted living. She moved all of her things so they could not grab them. Her comment and other recent activity have moved her to the level of memory care. We tried keeping my parents together but it is not working. I went along with her as she has started hallucinating and tried to calm. My beautiful, energetic, intelligent mother has left us. Her father who was a mean man has replaced her spirit. But until the end, we will be there for her. Find an assisted living that can watch the daily living. I cannot do it 24/7 a day. I tried and nearly lost it.
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Reply to didiblue52
Ahmijoy Aug 3, 2018
Your post makes me very sad. Brings back memories of my mom who was always “in charge” of our little family, who began claiming men (always men) were sleeping inside her bed, between the mattress and the frame and coming through secret passages in her closet. I knew then it was time for the lock-down. Very, very hard for us to accept, but so necessary for their safety. Sending peace and prayers for you and your family.
If the delusion causes distress, anxiety or violence then it must be addressed.
Other delusions can be taken in stride.
Ask what the people in the corner are saying...if it is harmless then go along with it.
If the people in the corner are threatening then you need to address the situation. If they are having a party and it is a happy occasion ask for a piece of cake.
If the cat talking to her is telling funny stories or making her smile, ask what the joke is.
If she thinks you are trying to poison her or you are an intruder and she comes at you with a knife you need to act immediately.
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Reply to Grandma1954

By all means don’t try to dissuade your LO who has delusions. Useless to do so. The only thing I do is to state: “Yes, you already told me about that,” and then I’ll change the subject.
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Reply to Susanonlyone

How to deal with this may have to do with whether the delusion involves a request for action that is either inappropriate or impossible. For example, my father wanted me to call the staff to put him back in bed, as he was tired of standing. I responded that he was already in bed, and when he questioned this I explained that I was standing perpendicular to him and my feet were flat on the floor. He eventually bought this, especially after I asked "Dad, have I ever lied to you?" Another time he insisted someone had taken his guns out of his room, and I had to explain that they were never here, they were locked up at home. He said "well, bring them here to show me" and of course this wasn't an option, especially in this day and age. Perhaps I could have taken a dated photograph to show him, but eventually he dropped the subject.
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Reply to jacobsonbob

It all depends on the delusion - when my mom came out with 'your father is a real bastard... he didn't even go to his own brother's funeral' & I answered 'yes he did and so did you and the reason I know is because I was there too' this ended this 'memory' - but others she made them bigger & bigger until a small incident was nearly life threatening & we would have been better off stopping it at the beginning

If the delusion is one that harms nobody then go along but if it starts to be something that causes a rise in BP then it should be gently stopped - it helps if you were at the original incident & can say that isn't how you remember it - save your breathe for when you really need it
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Reply to moecam

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