I have 2 neighbors with dementia. One has just been hospitalised after becoming violent with me so I have some breathing space whilst he is being assessed. He was angry because I stopped him from climbing over a high fence. He's 90 and frail. He's frustrated at me essentially saying he can't make a decision himself but it was very unsafe. My other neighbor is lovely and has carers visit 3 times per day. But she is straight out her door if she hears me, wanting to know what I'm doing. Sometimes we can have a good chat. As the day progresses she forgets me and asks if I've just moved in, or tells me to keep out of her shed. Yesterday she spent two hrs outside dressed to go out and waiting for her son who wasn't coming. When she's like this is it better if I just agree that I've just moved in? Should I try to make her understand he isn't coming? Today she's in and out hanging up then taking down the same towel on the line. She's always on the go and thin as a rake but repeating tasks seems to calm her. Any tips on how to react to odd behaviour or aggression would be helpful. As a non family member I only know what I see but want to do my best to keep an eye out for them without intruding.

WHERE are their families?

Do both these demented elders live alone? That shouldn't be happening.
I'd call APS (Adult Protective Services) for both of them. Then maybe their families will pay some attention to their situation!!

You, as the neighbor, shouldn't have to oversee them. You're a neighbor, not a caregiver. You are nice enough to watch out for them but their FAMILIES (or paid caregivers) should be doing that.

If you can get the phone numbers for both families, call and let them know of their loved ones irratic behavior.

Irresponsible family members make me mad. 😡

And, to answer your question, yes, just go along with their delusions. There's no arguing with a dementia patient. Better not to upset them. Most "therapeutic fibs" are harmless.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to SueC1957

It may be best to leave them be. You have done enough.
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Reply to shad250

Bless you. You sound like the perfect neighbour.

You can get tips for supporting people with dementia from the Alzheimer's Society (all kinds of dementia, not just Alz., they help with) and you might also like to think about joining the Dementia Friends scheme - you sound like their model participant, interested in being aware without necessarily having any direct connection with caring for someone.

Do you ever get a chance to chat to the visiting carers, or are they more on a "blink and you miss them" schedule?
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Reply to Countrymouse

How did you ever become caregiver to not just one person with dementia, but two, one of whom has violent tendencies? You all live in your own homes? Where are both their families? Are they content to leave you with the responsibilities for their loved ones? Are you compensated for their care? Do you understand that demented people with violent tendencies can be very strong when enraged and delusional and can cause serious injuries? How do you keep track of them at night? How can you not “intrude” when both are so needy and you seem to be the only one caring for them? I admire you for your dedication to these two, but at the same time I wonder why you would accept the responsibility for both of them.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

Yes, just agree and go along with whatever their reality is at the moment, that is the best strategy. You are a only a neighbour and not family or a social worker so it really isn't up to you to keep an eye on your two neighbours but thank you for doing so! It really sounds as though neither of them should be living unsupervised, if you see them attempting something dangerous the best you can do is try to distract them and turn their attention to something else. Do you have the number of their closest family members? If you see something potentially life threatening and you can't get connected with them then calling police or EMS is not unwarranted, if you are concerned that the family is in total denial then asking for a review by APS is another option.
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Reply to cwillie