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Sometimes I don't say anything. I let my mom's false memory slide because I figure "why correct it, it's what she thinks happened and it's not like she's going to remember my correcting her and never repeat the false statement". But sometimes, I just can't seem to let it go by. Because it's so hurtful. Recently, Christmas Day to be exact, my youngest brother came by and brought my mom a couple scratch off lottery tickets (her favorite pastime). She actually got tickets from several of us. Well, so happen my brother had two tickets in her gift bag he already had scratched. One had a winning of $8.00 and the other was not a winning ticket. She immediately latched onto the fact that he gave her used tickets. See what I think happened is that he bought her five $1.00 tickets as her gift and he bought himself two $5.00. He scratched his and gave her his winning ticket just as an extra gift. He left both his tickets in her bag. She has been going on since December 25th about him giving her used tickets. Well today the memory shifted. See when she scratched off her own tickets she had a lot of losing tickets (naturally) and a few winning tickets. Instead of throwing away the losing tickets, she kept them in her ticket pile for some reason. Well today, she goes to finish scratching off her tickets (cleaning them up so she can turn them in) and noticed a ton of losing tickets. She has said several times today how horrible it was my brother gave her all the used losing tickets. At first, I thought it was kind of funny. But, the more she says it, the angrier she gets and I tried to tell her that isn't what happened. Which only made her more angry it seemed. I know it would hurt my brother's feelings horribly to know she is making such a claim. This shouldn't seem like such a big deal. But, I know she's made false claims about her caretaker (said she put something in her water that made it stink). I know this is false because the sitter is a family friend that is absolutely crazy about her. And I know my mom's senses are "off" which likely resulted in her thinking she smelled something in the water. Sort of how she thinks Kleenex stinks. Or she thinks it's hot when we go outside and it's 40 degrees. False claims seems to be something that happens with dementia patients because I have a friend whose mother also has dementia and she almost tore their family apart with a false claim of infidelity between one of her nieces and son-in-laws. Makes me wonder what my mom tells people about me. Makes me scared to be honest because a false claim could result in a major investigation if said to the wrong person. So, do any of you waste energy trying to help your loved one "fix" a memory??

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If it’s outrageous or potentially dangerous I’ll try to correct my mom but basically, I’ve jettisoned all shame, dignity and rationality when it comes to people mom talks to. I am a monster and if people WANT to believe it they can go ahead.

I could never reason with mom anyway, when we were both relatively young. I’m sure won’t change anything now, will I?
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I'd certainly chuck out all the losing tickets. And I would try to shift her focus to the winning $5 ticket brother gave her, and the winning tickets from the $1 collection. What I wouldn't do is flat-out contradict her about his giving her used tickets, or try to get her to retract the accusation because you'll just concentrate her even more on this negative point.

My mother went through a phase of believing that we were out to tease her, belittle her or mock her. The gate blew shut, for example, and it never crossed her mind that there was a high wind at the time - she was quite convinced that we'd closed it deliberately and were sniggering about it behind her back.

It is terribly sad that they feel this sense of dread and persecution. And very sad for your brother, who only meant to do something nice for her. And yes you do make a good point that sometimes completely whacky accusations can get repeated into the wrong ears and create appalling trouble for everyone.

But there is no way to correct the false perceptions and memories of a person with dementia. All you can do is try to replace them with true, nicer ones.
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My mother has been "false memory-ing" since long before she developed mild dementia. She holds grudges, gets angry at people over stuff that happened ages ago--I used to "call her out" when she was competent. Now, what's the point?

She's hurt me so much over the course of my life, I honestly don't know why I stick out the caregiving and such.

You may want to give brother a heads-up if she sees him and will be angry with him. Being forewarned that mom is on the warpath helps me to go in prepared.
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I learned from experience to not correct, because it's pointless. Also, will not likely be able to convince, but, they will likely forget the whole thing, so, I found it best to try to get ahead of things. Like try to get her some winning tickets or explain that her winning streak is just around the corner. I try to come up with something that they can't really disagree with and move on. I think it has to do with adjusting your expectations. I don't expect a person with dementia to get it right, play fair, use reason, be polite or show appreciation. They just may not be able, so, feeling resentment isn't appropriate, imo. I try to increase the good moments, so the negative ones won't be as great.

And if everyone is aware of your LO's dementia, then they will understand and not take offense.
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Experts and doctor's agree that it's best to just let the false memory go, not to correct the person as it could cause them to become agitated. And people who care for loved ones with dementia agree that correcting their loved one is futile and in some cases cruel. Their brains don't work the same way anymore and there's no value in insisting that the sky is blue when someone with dementia insists that it's red. To them the sky IS red. That is their reality and it's best for everyone that they not be challenged.

I understand why you might feel vulnerable to a false memory from your mom. As you said, one inaccurate statement from your mom to someone could paint you in a bad light. But IF that were to ever happen and I think the chances are slim anyone in authority and who understands dementia would understand that people with dementia are not to be relied upon to give an accurate account of anything. If a person with dementia is having a superficial, social conversation their dementia may not be evident but if the conversation goes much deeper the dementia is obvious. Any kind of person in authority who understands dementia would see this in your mom within 15 minutes of talking to her. And people who know about dementia, people who understand it, would not put a lot of faith in any accusations your mom may make about you. Because it would come from a made-up memory it wouldn't make sense and anyone experienced in dementia would realize this.
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Dear Georgia,

I hear your concern. I am of the opinion of letting it slide. I would try and let everyone around her know that she does have memory issues so they know this is just the way she is.

I hope others can add more insight.
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