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When my MIL (Alzheimers) gets a visitor, she acts "semi-normal" - I think it's called showtiming. But at the same time she spouts total untruths. I want to be respectful but she is absolutely "off the wall wrong." I struggle to follow-up privately later in order to explain the truth to these people. It is exhausting but she can "fake it" quite well and these people are left wondering if there is truth is her absurdities. I take it personally and I am so tired of following her around and repairing her "messes." I can't even imagine what she says when I leave her for an hour or two. There's no way for me to defend straighten anything out.
Does anyone here struggle with this?

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Sometimes it is a mix between personality and dementia. If you know she had some type of personality problem or disorder before the dementia, it isn't going to go away. My mother is still the same self-centered, dependent person as she used to be, only now her personality is overlaid with age problems and dementia.
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What do you do though, when the "confabulated" tales are hurtful and tear a family apart? My mother has told me so many stories that at first I'm shocked because she tells them with so much conviction that you think she's telling the truth and makes you second guess yourself. But when I stop to think about all the stories, I know they are completely fabricated. My mom seems to be alienating everyone in the family but her children. She's hateful and mean sometimes, sometimes nice and easy to get along with. We can't have meaningful conversations with her though because she gets facts mixed up and then will call us on the phone about it for the next two weeks. What the heck? Is this dementia or a personality disorder?
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You let them run with the story. Philadelphia Enquirer does the same thing, but then they print it and circulate it. Anyone with common sense will get some humor out of it. Social workers on the other hand, take it as factual.
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Well, when you think about it, didn't we all learn about our friends and classmates making up stories or stretching the truth back when we were in high school... I don't think it ever stops, it just gets worse.

My Dad can get stories a bit turned around, and I use to try to correct him.... how I wonder if it is really worth correcting, especially if the story isn't hurting anyone. I am sure elder care Case Workers are very familiar with this, and take any thing an elder says with a grain of salt.... unless it is nursing home treatment and others in same home are saying the same thing.

Sometimes I think the story telling starts because their current life is so boring with nothing new and exciting happening, thus the exaggerations to help spice up the story to get attention.
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My companion, whose mother died in a nursing home some years ago, now is telling his mother died in a terrible car wreck and when the car was hit her body went right over top of his..he also thinks someone is always taking his money (which he hides it and we cannot find it sometimes), accuses people of coming into the house and stealing or having a party. Also said his son stole the business from him and he sends him no money, (which he does). He does get very defensive and does not like for me to try and explain things.. He has gone from a very sweet mild manner man to one that is a complete stranger. Very hard to cope and deal, I never realized what caregivers went through
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I do a lot of shrugging my shoulders and the "hairy eyeball". You know the "what you talking about Arnold"..

I really don't have to explain her stories to family because they don't call or visit!! I wonder if they did come and Mom started saying I was taking her money or harming her if they would even care?
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When I first told my MIL sister "you can't depend of anything she tells you as being reality," she was upset I would say such a thing. But subsequently she found out it is true. I think in time most folks catch on. The stories start to change and people figure it out. You might clue them to be aware of inconsistencies because sometimes Mom gets her stories mixed up. They are real in her mind. Like having a dream and thinking it's real. Welcome to the twilight zone.
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Marialake, I'm the kind of person who makes a fetish of the truth. I go around correcting people all the time. Since my DH's memory has become unreliable, I have had to change my ways somewhat. Most of the time, it doesn't matter one little bit that his story is factually inaccurate.

I feel like learning this is making me a better person, less proud and less of a pain in the a.

If she's telling nasty stories about you, that's another thing entirely. What about telling visitors when they arrive that Mom's stories won't be strictly factual. If they hear something upsetting, they should check with you first before calling APS,

Prepped like that, most people will figure out the truth. No good deed goes unpunished. lol.
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OMG, welcome to the world of the big mind bending cluster. I won't bother with the details of my trials, but just as you learn how to fib again, you will also have to learn to just let it go. If it is not creating a group of people with pitch forks and torches gathering outside your house for you, or the police banging on the door to take you to the slammer, faggetabout it. This is what happens, this is what they do. Once you realize it, it won't hurt you like it does now. The showtiming can really make you feel insane, but once again, once you really understand and know what is going on is what happens, it makes it easier for you. Just always cover your butt with anything that could ever compromise your safety, it is ironic that those that take on the huge love of care are the very ones placed in peril from doing it. Love and care but remember you are your own first priority, your mental and physical health is paramount.
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skinonna - Love that! ''Old people lie.'' Sad, but true. Maybe it is because the truth is so boring and their lives are so dismally dull. But some of the tales - especially when they are hurtful and pointed straight at you - can be very hard to take and even harder to explain to others. Many hear these hurtful, snide, demeaning remarks that are designed to destroy your character in their eyes and DON'T KNOW that they are lies.

Let's just say that after overhearing my MIL spend an hour telling one horrid, hateful tale after another to her Social Worker - I no longer feel the need to put her life before my own anymore. I did that for years. It got me nowhere except the bottom of her list. So, I took a two week vacation ALONE and came home to NEW RULES and a New Way of Thinkin'. Things are better for us - she is even happier - but would never, ever admit it.

But the ''Old People Lie'' quote is 100% accurate. If the lies are harmless - it is easier to deal with.
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A friend just told me. "Old people lie." About sums it up.
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My mother's most confabulated tale is about my father's death. She tells people she raced up and down the hall looking for a doctor. She came back and held his hand. He squeezed it and smiled at her, and she felt his pulse stop. None of this was true. My father began death rattles and was unconscious from that point on for an hour or two. Her version is much more romantic, though, so I don't try to correct her. A little more of the truth is that she had taken so much Ativan that she was barely functioning at all. These were hard days for her when Dad was in the hospital.
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My Dad tells some doozies, but they are not hurtful to us. He will swear he lived in relatives homes (years ago), played sports professionally (He was a Navy boxer, but never a pro hockey player). Still goes to work as a principle, etc. we just roll with it, and luckily the in laws he claims he built thier house know the score! We have given up trying to correct most of this. easier that way!
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Both my mother AND my father will create a whole new story from a bit of truth. At first when this happened I questioned myself....did I get the facts wrong?? But I noticed it happening more and more often and realized it was them. Sometimes the stories are just flat out lies and they would tell other people and making me look bad. Or they dream something or see something on TV and create their own twisted reality to retell in their others. Their stories are so convincing. Once they created a story so horriable that my cousin drove 400 miles to see what was going on. I've had their friends call me angry about their situations, only to find little truth to their stories. Some may call it dementia, but it has really strained our relationship especially when I've bend over backwards to help them and they create mean things to tell. They never seem to create positive stories. It can really hurts.
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Use the "five mile stare" if you happen to be in the room. Anybody who knows you will know the truth of the matter.

Any untruths you later hear being repeated, if they're worth bothering about, you can correct with the simple statement: "my mother in law is suffering with Alzheimer's Disease. I will not hold what she says against her, but you must understand that it is unreliable." Or, if appropriate, "…actionable."

My mother has been telling everybody she wishes to entertain for at least 40 years that I have a complex about my fat legs. I'm just not going to go into it, but No I Haven't.
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Thank you all. One time my MIL went on and on about how she gave my husband and I all our money and that our business really belonged to her etc. Wow!! They never ever gave us a penny. And my husband and I started our business from nothing and my inlaws had nothing to do with it. But in the presence of other people, I'm sure her story sounded believable. And of course it hurt me deeply and discredited my husband's legacy. That incident was the icing on the cake. and like BoniChak says.................I always end up looking horrible and it's so not true :(
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I love the word 'confabulations' - my MIL is a pro! Her doc says she does NOT have dementia - yet there is little if anything she says any more that even resembles truth.

Typical Confabulation: She just told someone who visited her this morning that her son's father in law died of a heart attack last month (true) - and just before he had the attack he moved himself and his wife to 'town' - 'he must have known something was wrong' - and the just a short time ago asked his son to take him back to the farm and he walked all around the farm and then shortly after he got home he died. (all a confabulation)

TRUTH: He had a severed heart attack about 10 years ago. They left the farm. He would go back to fish now and then. His health was deteriorating so they moved closer to their kids a few months ago. His condition worsened and he died a month ago. It was not caused by hiking around the farm 'one last time.'

These folks don't know the person she was talking about and her story sounded 'plausible' - but hardly a word of it resembled the real truth - but who would know?

If we corrected every single confabulation - we would be at it 24/7. If you mention anything she gets upset - because she KNOWS what happened - she KNOWS how it was, etc., etc., etc.

I tell those close to us that 'most' of what she says is inaccurate at best. Not to believe much of what she says - because it is just 'her reality' - doesn't resemble truth. Most understand.

On couple stopped seeing us abruptly - and we know it is something awful she told them and they believed. I say 'good riddance' - don't need friends like that anyway.

All I know is God knows what we deal with here - and he knows it isn't easy.

Wish my sense of humor covered this area better. I just get exasperated. I have to just stay away from her a much as possible.
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Yes, I struggle with this too.My mom gets little details wrong, and stories tend to change with every telling, but what bothers me most is...I always come out looking stupid....or lazy.....or crazy....or mean.....and I am NONE of those things. I have decided that those who know me and hear these things, know better. And those that don't know me.....I don't give a flying hoot what they think.
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Sometimes it goes beyond that. Maria, my mother can spin a yarn, too. She can take a scrap of truth and make up a whole story. So far her confabulations haven't caused any harm, so I just let them go. They do set off the alarms on my reality-check meter, however. This makes me feel a bit off balance. She totally believes in her own stories. She'll forget what really happened and the confabulation becomes truth.
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just gently downplay the exxagerations in the presence of all involved. a hospice aid brought my mom some insure once that wasnt glucose control. when missy came back i asked mom if she remembered her. mom said " yea, the gal who tried to kill me " . i reminded her that she only drank one of them and it seemed to really diffuse the situation. distortions and exxagerations are to be expected and tragically they are reality based enough to be believable.
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