My Mom doesn't smoke but doesn't remember that she doesn't and is pestering us for cigarrettes. Any advice?


My mom is in a nursing home and has been there for about a year. Prior to arriving there she was in another assisted living facility and then in the hospital. During that time, even though she had been a smoker for many years, she could not smoke. They had given her a nicotine patch.

Now she is in the nursing home smoke-free. She has memory issues and thinks she is in her old apartment at times. She thinks she still smokes and constantly pesters us for cigarettes, to go buy her some, to bring her some, etc. She especially pressures my sister who used to get her cigarettes when she lived in her apartment. We always tell her that she does not smoke anymore and she gets angry, refuses to speak to us, threatens to "disown" us, etc. This evening it escalated a bit, because she began to cry saying we didn't love her, etc. We repeat the same things, but it doesn't help. I believe my sister may weaken and just buy her the cigarettes. She had COPD, so that wouldn't be a very good idea, but it's hard to get nagged at continually. If she has cigarettes there I'm afraid she would bug the staff to death to be taken to the smoking area. She was a heavy smoker.

Anyone have any advice about what we could do or say?

Thank you and God bless.

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An update: my sister spoke to the social worker there who was going to talk to mom about her roommates and how she likes her room, etc., to get some input. Speaking with my sister, she seems to think mom only asks when she sees her, which is probably true since they used to sit and smoke together. If there is no big overriding issue with her smoking, the thought now is to just let smoke at least when my sister is there. My sister says she will probably forget when she leaves anyway. She's 80 years old, so, what the heck! Thanks!
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Thank you for your comments. I will speak to the doctor as suggested. I probably wouldn't fight this either if she wasn't in a nursing home. She would probably drive the staff crazy asking to be taken out for a smoke, that's what my father did when he was in the same position. The staff ended up disliking him a great deal, I think. He had started with the constant yelling, "help me". All for a smoke.

But maybe it isn't such a big deal, I don't know. My sister will probably shoulder the brunt of it and she's a smoker herself, so they can both go out and smoke.

Will speak with the doctor, though.
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I feel for you, know what you are going through and am ashamed to admit I just Gave UP!. Dad has alz, had quit smoking months before Mom got sick and ended up in hospital, then rehab, then they moved in with my family. Mom is a retired RN, smoked alot. She was unable to the entire 6 weeks she was in hospital/rehab. Dad was stressed, and kepy grouping around after my hubs cigs. I'd remind him he didn't smoke anymore. Then one day he was so agitated about it my hubs said..just let him have one. Then after Mom came here, she started sneaking them outside, etc. Hubs said (and I agree) what the heck, they are in thier 80's, they enjoy it and it takes the stress away. I could not take the arguing any more. So it is what it is.. they are adults, something is going to do them in! I DID buy a big air purifyer to keep the house somewhat fresher and that has helped (in the winter they are too cold to open windows). Is this good? Nope, but it is what it is The have given up thier home, moved, etc. This is a battle I am not able to fight
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You could discuss this with her MD and get appropriate medication. Obsessive behavior and anxiety are treatable.
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