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Mom, 86, with vascular dementia and possible lewy-body involvement, lives in a beautiful ALF in Texas. Mom believes she lives in poverty and ugliness This is her third upscale facility, and she hates it with all her might. I did not understand that until we got into a little verbal tiff yesterday. She actually sees her conditions as hideous and the people around her as evil and low-class. Mom sees herself living in squalor on the po' side of town. The absolute opposite is true in reality; she is catered to even spoiled, but never satisfied.


Personality problems aside, can dementia change what Mom is seeing through her own eyeglasses? She grew up in poverty during the Depression, but marrying Dad at 18 changed that in every way; from that time she had an easy life during the greatest era (IMO) of our nation. She had a faithful husband who actually loved her, 2 kids who never gave her any trouble, and money enough for a good life in a safe, clean, charming little town.


In Mom's mind she inhabits another reality from what I see all around us. Is this possible?

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Jeanneg, thank you for the reply. Sometimes I question my own sanity when I deal with my mother's insanity. Beauty and goodness seem invisible to her now, though she can clealy see her own innocence in any chaos she creates. I see at least 10-12 more years of this situation as she is wonderfully healthy.
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Your question reminds me of how people with anorexia can be skin and bones and yet still see a fat person when they look in the mirror... the mind is a mysterious thing.
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People with dementia do inhabit another reality, and it is one that is very hard (more like impossible) to reason, argue, or talk them out of. If she has the delusion that she is living in squalor pointing out all the evidence to the contrary is not likely to help.

Can you divert the conversation to another topic? I wonder if she would like to talk about her childhood. Maybe talking about that squalor would give her a more distant target for her unhappiness. Or how about the question, "How did your life change when you got married?" Or simply "lets go outside for a walk. At least the flowers are lovely now."

Delusions are extremely common in dementia. A person may think the floor has holes in it, or the home they have lived in for 40 years is not their home, or someone is stealing from them.

If this is the third place she has been in, I wouldn't count on another move to improve anything.

So sorry you are dealing with this ...
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