How do I respond to a fictious need?

Follow
Share

Mom believes that her dad and mom recently died (dad died 59 years ago and her mother died over 30 years ago!). She wants me to take her to the bank to get what was left to her. She's adamant and says that the bank is "holding money that he left the family." So, I take her to the bank and withdraw some cash and give it to her. After we left, she says, "We need to go to the bank. They are holding money that my dad left me. I can't get nobody to take me to get it." She's frustrated and I don't know what to do to appease her. I thought she would forget, but she hasn't. Please help me and tell me how to deal with this. Many thanks.

18

Answers

Show:
I read your profile that your mom lives in independent living...? I don't know how bad your moms memory is... But my mom started with those types of 'requests'...and her dementia is very bad. there is NO WAY my mom could be in independent living. If your mom is telling you she is fine in independent living you may want to re-think that. (im not trying to be mean. just my opinion)

I had to take my mom to a geriatric doctor, after her primary dr finally asked if we(me) would like a referral to one. because my mom CONTINUED to insist she was robbed. she wanted me to call the banks and warn them that someone had her SS#. even after I told her MULTIPLY times that I called the banks (I didn't really) and everything was FINE. the conversation kept going and going. she was writing NOTES and taping to the walls. for the AL aids, to let them know *I've been robbed*

it was just TOO MUCH

so the geriatric dr started her lose dose anti-depressant. mom still says OFF the WALL stuff, but most times I can steer her another direction. but at lease shes not calling me everyday, saying: YOU KNEW I WAS ROBBED? DONT YOU?!

my mom and so many others will continue to get worse.
paranoia, seeing things, hearing things, incontinence, bad judgement...these are things that can happen. sometimes SO slowly you don't really notice. until its a daily occurrence.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to wally003
Report

Oh Wow! My dad did the same thing! He was obsessed with the bank and getting his money out. He would ask all of us to take him to the bank to get his money. This went on and on for months. I gave him an old bank book and he'd spend hours adding and subtracting the numbers saying the bank robbed him and they have his money. He'd ask the neighbors to take him to the bank! We would tell him the bank was closed for the day to get him to stop for awhile. Maybe you could try that.

It ended when he became fixated on something else... for weeks... I feel for you because we went through the same thing. It never ended... it just went from one thing to another. For months on end.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to LindainCT
Report

My Grandmother, who lived with us when I was a kid, had an obsession of wrapping up little trinkets and grandkids toys, gumball toys, jewelry, pop tops, any little small thing she could get her hands on, wrapping them in tissue paper, and then rubber bands. She would then hide them in her room, in drawers, and in the suitcases in her closet.

When my Grandmother finally reached the point of almost complete memory loss, and my Mom (her main Caregiver), a Nervous breakdown, and complete caregiver Burnout, my Grandmother was put into a Nursing home, the only Senior care they had in the 70's.

So then came the time to clear out her room, and we came across all her "little treasures", some of them disgusting things, if you know what I mean, but also some very expensive jewelry too! Uggg! She also ripped up almost every old picture and old family photo's too, which unfortunately were irreplaceable. 

Not a lot was known about Alzheimer's and Dementia in the 70's, it was all family caregiving in those days. I really feel for those who are going through this difficult time with their Loved Ones!
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to staceyb
Report

We had a similar experience with my Dad. Actually , many,many obseesions over time. But Dad got it in his head that he needed to get his money out of the back after Mom passed away. The lie that worked the best for me, was to tell him that he had to wait for the probate to go through, before he could get anything that had been in just Mom's name. (actually no such account), but he bought that story. He had enough mind and awareness to know that probate can take months. That would stop the demand to go to the, "right now!!." At least for the moment. Good luck. (Just a little note: I remember thinking then, that I never told so many lies in all my life, until each of my folks developed Alzheimer's)
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to DoingbestIcan
Report

It’s human nature to try to make sense of things that make no sense. As Wally says, they hear things and see things that aren’t there and nothing we can say can convince them otherwise. When I visited my mom in the facility, I never knew where she would imagine she was. She told me she heard the staff speaking Russian and during the night, they had moved the building to Russia. She also told me she was a famous stage actress and her room was her apartment in a Chicago. On and on. I wonder if you told the famous Therapeutic Fib, “Everything’s fine! I talked to the bank and your money is all still there. “
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Report

Oh, I wish I had an answer! All I can do is offer solidarity and sympathy. My mom also will get ideas fixed in her head, and it takes forever to work through them: some nights I'll get six phone calls in a row (usually around 2 a.m.) about a "fictious" idea. I explain as carefully and fully as I can, think it's resolved, hang up, and then five minutes later she calls back to say, "I don't know if we've ever talked about this, but...."!

If it's a money issue, I figure it's stuck in her head because she used to be responsible for financial matters in our family, and now that she knows she's not in control anymore, she's desperately trying to make sure everything's OK. Her fixation is because she's scared, because she senses how much cognition she's losing. All I can do is reassure her; I try to get her to write down that she's already checked with me and that everything's OK, and that I check everyday to make sure her money's still where it should be. Sometimes I ask one of my sisters to reinforce the message: sad to say, my brother is more effective than any of us females to reassure her about money matters -- for her generation, I guess, it takes a man to understand some things :-(
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to lengelland
Report

Those with advancing dementia (and all dementias are advancing) have many strange needs. These needs are not "fictitious" to them, just part of their confused "reality." You are already trying the best approach--distraction. Humor is also helpful. In dealing with these situations you are not "lying" in the sense of telling an untruth. You are reaching out and trying to communicate to someone who is confused and troubled.
All I can suggest is that you share the burden of caring. You can't do it on your own. Both professional carers and other family members can be helpful. Try to see if you can find any of the "triggers"--specific words, times of the day, thoughts--that are starting this difficult behavior. If you can discover the triggers, you might be able to avoid the difficult behavior. As Dr Jennifer Bute (a medical doctor who is living with Alzheimer's says: "There is always a reason for the behavior." Take a look at her website: www.glorious opportunity. org which has a lot of suggestions about how carers can live with those experiencing dementia.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to BritishCarer
Report

We went through the same thing too, with my mom. We'd go to the bank 1 day, get out a few dollars, and then she'd want to go the next day. I agree with another post: you could tell your mom the bank is closed, either for a holiday, construction repairs, etc. We did this with my mom. We'd tell her that the bank manager, whom she had met with previously, was going to be out of town for a few weeks, and then I'd put on the calendar to see her when she got back. Usually, 2 weeks later, my mom would forget about it, (until the next time).
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to rlynn123
Report

With so many similar experiences and good suggestions, mine certainly is not any more help. I comiserate! My husband wants to call the bank or be taken to the bank every few days. Our retirement checks both have direct deposit and come through the same place and on the same day. He has no concept of a "joint account", and always wants to know how much money HE has. He wants to buy a car because he thinks our car is MY car-though in actuality it is. The confusion is that we have always had two vehicles -a truck (his), and a car(ours).  I recently had to buy a car-used-because my old really banged up car was totaled, and because I have POA now and would be signing for him, the only way I could get the car was to do it solely on my own income. Anyway, he is convinced I am stealing his money and he fixates on that so much. I offer to show him a bank statement and he sits and looks at it for hours, folding and unfolding. But he does not understand why he can't spend what is there. Our bills are barely covered and we have almost no discretionary spending money at all. I do take him to the landfill every few weeks to turn in bottles and cans, and he gets that money to keep in his wallet. It helps a little. But it is all so so sad and I keep thinking about how confusing and frightening his world is.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to She1934
Report

To all of you who have taken time to talk to me, I appreciate your suggestions, stories, and overall sympathy. This is a hard road. I'm so grateful for this forum.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to AbbyRose
Report

See All Answers
Related
Questions