How would you handle this Dementia-induced obsession?

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My client is a bit more strong physically than he was a few weeks ago, but his Vascular Dementia is progressing. He has been obsessed with something from day one (back in late summer) and some days it gets to be very detailed and scares him. The gist of the story is that, while he was in the hospital (sometimes he says this was a few weeks ago, sometimes a year, sometimes days), the "city" moved his house, and his neighbor's house, to their current location.

Sometimes the story gets very lengthy and complicated, and the house isn't his at all, but was moved there by the city and now they have to live there, but it was free. He doesn't know why it was free, and what scares him sometimes is that it could be taken away again as easily as it was given.

How I've handled it so far is to take him for a walk around the house and inspect the foundation. It looks great. I also take him for walks through the neighborhood to talk to neighbors on both of the days I'm there. He converses with them all. While he's lucid I engage him in conversation about the benefits of living in the same place for so long. He agrees and is "present". Then, all of a sudden, he will start in on that house moving thing again.

One day, when he was getting agitated, I took his arm and I said "Do you feel safe here?"
He said "Yes!"
I said," then, maybe that's what's important."
He instantly calmed down. Immediately I pointed out something else, and that conversation was dismissed.

Here's my real question. What if I got the plans from the City - showing his home being built where it is? I know not to argue with Dementia, I know how to join a person in the journey. But because this comes up every single day, and seems to be causing him distress, should I try to correct his thinking?

He accepts it when I tell him that the stroke he had stole some of the words he wants to say. He seems comforted by that. I tell him that, when he had the stroke, some parts of his brain were hurt, and those parts were where some words are reached. He understands this, and now he talks to me and lets the missing words just go missing. He lets me figure it out! Like yesterday - "We went to that place where we............ get everything." "Lowe's?" "YES!!!!!"

Yesterday I drove my truck and let him take me on a tour of the entire town where they live. He never missed a turn. Described everything.

So, I'm baffled. And obviously long-winded.

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My mother has mixed dementia - Alz and vascular - and has these same types of major, complex delusions. It has always amazed me that with all the loss of memory that comes with the disease, that a 'new' memory (the delusion) can take hold for weeks upon weeks. Why don't the go away quickly if short term memory is an issue.

Thank you all though for validating that I'm doing the right thing. I too have created faux documents, thank goodness for the computer, printer and all the things you can copy and paste! Right now I'm dealing with babies that are supposedly in her care and living somewhere in the house. Don't think a baby doll will work - she's still very 'there'. Hmmm
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damn liz,
your experience is impressive. of course schitzo would be another ball game entirely ( in addition to dementia ) . disputing a delusion versus acknowleging and modifying it. i think were all on the same page here your opinions just seem to pack more punch.. bottom line, disputing a delusion is just going to piss off the situation.. does not work.
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Sounds like you are handling it just fine. Good for you! My mom is just moving into this stage, so I was glad to read the advice from others. If I could just help my Dad remember not to argue with her :)
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Pstegman, that is so funny because she did move on to Elvis after that. And absolutely refused to believe he was dead:-)
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My last post - sorry for being so wordy. The reason getting city plans probably wouldn't work is that it disputes his delusion, and a delusion will always win. The reason a 'letter' from the city might work is that it acknowledges his delusion, and then builds upon it in a direction that is positive for him. I at first really resisted the idea of using deception in dealing with mentally ill people, but then realized I wasn't actually lying, which made me feel a little better. My client really would have preferred to have fresh breath if Brad Paisley came to marry her, and the city will almost certainly never move your client's house.
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LIz, then tell her Elvis will be stopping by. Maybe Garth Brooks.
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One thing I learned when working in a program that took care of people with severe schizophrenia (and there are so many similarities with dementia, IMO) is that there is absolutely no way to prove to someone that their delusion is wrong. At best, they will learn to just quit talking about it, something people with dementia will not usually be able to do because of memory problems. At worst, they will become more secretive and paranoid and come to believe the caregiver is complicit in whatever they feel is being done to them.

If you obtained the city plans, your client would almost certainly not change his belief, because it is fixed. The rational part of him is not in control of it. We had several schizophrenic women with ongoing delusions that they were pregnant, and no amount of pregnancy tests, doctor's examinations, or years-long gestations could convince them that they were not actually pregnant. Another woman was convinced she was engaged to Brad Paisley and would wait daily for him to show up and marry her. We gave up trying to convince her that this was not true and started to use it to motivate her, such as with personal hygeine. "What if Brad comes today? Wouldn't you want to have fresh breath?" This strategy worked great until the day she informed us that she and Brad had broken up so she no longer needed to brush her teeth:-).
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Hey, captain, that's a great idea! My mom is not very mobile, so there are lots of places I could hang things.

For stuff that I want her to have access to, I finally started putting things in page protectors in a binder with 'Anne's Notebook' on the front. She hasn't yet figured out the page protectors have an opening at the top, the binder spring is too stiff for her to work it, and the binder is big enough so that it's usually pretty easy to find.
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pretty innovative liza. re losing documents. i just could not keep my moms current med list in the house because shed demand to see it and then squirrel it away -- till i got smart and hung one over a piece of furniture out of her sight and reach. innovation is what it takes to be an effective carer imo..
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Just an idea... What if you mocked up some 'city' letterhead on Word (tip: using a different color for the letterhead and then black for the text of the document makes it look more official) and then wrote him a letter on it stating that his house is never to be moved again and that he has the right to live in it for the rest of his life? As a last resort, I did something similar for my mom, and it comforted her greatly. An added benefit was that I didn't have to keep having the same maddening conversation. If it came up again, I just handed her the 'letter' and let her read it. Just keep it brief and simple, don't include working phone numbers, and print plenty of copies because he'll probably lose the ones you give him.

And yes, I know I'm going to hell for lying to my mother:-)
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