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When my mother asked for her aunts phone number I had to tell her that she died more then 10 years ago. She didn't believe me and started crying. She can't be dead, she said. She cried for a while and then she started asking me questions. Why can't she remember? I told her she had a stroke and it affected her memory and I also told her she had Dementia. I told her it affected her memories of the past.
Did I handle this situation correctly? She's in the stage that she claims family members come into her house and take things also neighbor come to her yard and steal her fruit trees. Any suggestions?

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Misslolita, you did the right thing. Sounds just like my mom. I at first was honest with her but now I don't give her bad news unless she asks. She thinks her brothers are still alive, I tell her they died and then quickly change the subject or take her for a snack or walk, to redirect her thoughts. It works. Maybe I will ask "do u remember when uncle frank came and made that soup, yada yada" and she will remember a happy thought about her brother and other stuff and doesn't dwell on his death.
Dementia as it progresses does cause an elder to often accuse their loved one(s) of stealing something they've misplaced or lost....my mom accuses me all the time and has gone as far as calling police on me. They know her and know she has dementia now and write up report for investigation but don't do anything with me other than to call me and let me know they are with her to help her locate the article, etc. if I'm at her house visiting, she follows me wherever I go --is distrustful of anyone. It was hard for me and took me 5 yrs to educate myself and not react to silly accusations no matter how hurtful.

Go with it and just say, I love you and would never take your things, let me help you look for it. We do it together otherwise she thinks I hid from her...

This website helped me understand normal behavior and bad behaviors to expect with the disease.

One thing I learned is to not always correct her on details or present....just listen, agree and she easily and calmly moves on. My moms short term memory is shot but her long term memory is fantastic and quite detailed and interesting.
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Juniek,

Are you sure that your brother is having delusions? Is there any way that his suspicions are based on fact? IF not,
I would be concerned with your brother's behavior, because others may not understand what is going on with him and perceive his actions as a threat. He could get hurt by a neighbor or the police if they show up to a complaint call. I'd immediately try to get some help for him.

Does anyone have Durable Power of Attorney or Healthcare POA for him? Is there anyone who can get him to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment for his anxiety? It sounds like he is no longer able to live alone safely. I'd try to figure out where he could live. That might involve getting an assessment to see what level of care he needs.
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my brother owns a duplex and lives alone, tenants live up stairs, he claims they are stealing his stuff.and he is banging on there door on the middle of the night .
very scary for them they have children.
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Thank you so much for these information. My mother was just diagnosed last year. I'm still learning.
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Lolita, when this type of 'touchy ' issue arises, you might try 'therapeutic fibbing' or 'gentle story telling' From my perspective, why agitate my loved one. Dementia causes the patient to retreat to times long gone by. My Mom would ask where 'the boys were'. Presumably, her brothers who apparently were referred to as 'the boys'. Knowing they had played soccer, I would tell her they had a soccer game. That was fine with her and it made her smile. When she asked where my Dad was I said he had a meeting for the fraternal organization he had been active in. My uncles were gone 50 years when she asked and my Dad had been gone 30 years. But she was back in her early 20s, mentally. I never felt it would be useful to say they were gone. And she seemed satisfied with my responses. Good luck
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There is a lot of discussion about whether dementia patients should be told that family members have died or not. You say your mother has dementia. Dementia causes memory loss. It's part of what dementia does to a person's brain. It seems that you are expecting her to process the information that you gave her. The problem is that dementia often renders the patient unable to process information, especially about death.

I wouldn't be surprised if she ask you about her aunt again later on, since she will likely forget what you have told her. So we often have to decide if we want to give them news everyday of a loved ones death.

Some people avoid the subject by just saying the loved one is on a trip or in rehab somewhere. And that they can call once they get back home. Of course, they forget this too, so you have to repeat it over and over. But, it prevents the heartbreak they experience if told of the death every time.

It also applies to her understanding of her own condition. Most people, after the early stages are not able to process that they have dementia. And even if they are, they forget, so you have to give them this heartbreaking news over and over. Some caretakers decide not to do that, since it serves no purpose.
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These things are very real to her. It's like me telling you that the conversation we're having right now didn't happen. Vascular dementia is different. Right now, don't be too concerned with correcting her. Try to be gentle in your answers. Tell her it's OK, I'll take care of things, I'll keep you safe. Try to remember she doesn't know things that are so obvious to us. I'm sure folks here will have some great ideas to share.
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