When I tell her that she needs to take he cane with her to the store she fights against it but then the next time she will suggest it and its a good idea. Ask her if she knows where something of mine and every answer no matter what is I don't know and then I find it down stairs on her table. She also blames the animals on lots of things like turning my bathroom faucet on and it running over so much as to go all the way to the basement but the dog jumped up on the counter and turned it on. When I am sure what happened is she was giving the dogs some water and forgot and left it running. Tell her to stop wearing shorts cause she is always cold but she tells me she has to wear shorts. Ask her to straighten out the pantry which I was over half way done with it and she just took and threw everything back in with no rhyme or reason. Do they not understand anything any more or is she trying to get sympathy or at least get out of the chore. Its mind boggling to me how she comes up with every excuse to get out of something I ask her to do. Is this normal? I would love to hear any suggestions on how to handle this behavior.

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Yes, Jeannegibbs got it just right. Like many of us, she's been there, done that (or some are still doing that).

People with dementia need to be reassured. They live in a world that they don't understand. It's far better for their self-esteem, as well as our sanity, to agree with them. Or as Jennie suggested, when there's a problem include the person with dementia in the solution if at all possible.

The main thing is to remind ourselves repeatedly that this person has dementia. This is the disease. They aren't trying to punish us or make our lives miserable. It's hard to be the caregiver, but it's got to be harder to be the person with the disease.

Wonderful tips from all of you in this great community.
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Why? Because she has dementia.

You will be doing yourself and your mother both a favor if you accept that a person who is losing her ability to reason cannot be consistently rational. Expecting rational behavior and accurate answers is just asking for high-level frustration.

(I know. I've been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it.)

Why ask her what happened with the faucet? An answer won't change anything. How about "Oh dear! The faucet got left on. We'll need to clean this up fast. Can you help me? I'll get some rags and a bucket." If she explains that the dogs did it, say, "That's OK. I am sure it was an accident."

Don't ask if she knows where anything is. Of course she doesn't. She has dementia, remember? You might try, "I am so sad. My red-handled scissors is missing and I need it now. Will you help me look for it?" That gives her a chance to be a hero if she has a vague memory of where it might be, and no reason to get defensive about it. Remember the goal. You want the scissors, not to establish guilt.

Dressing inappropriately for the season or the occasion is extremely common in dementia. Help her pick out her clothes the night before. Or comment "That is my favorite pair of shorts on you. It is such a nice color. If you get a little cold, though, I have put a pair of warmer pants on your bed." Try not to have a contest of wills. Same with the cane. "Let's see. You have your purse, and your scarf. That is good. What else do you usually like to have in the store?"

She may never again be able to help you with chores that involve organizing things. Just can't do it. She might be able to arrange the pantry WITH you, but not alone. Try to find tasks that give her something to accomplish that she can succeed at. Matching socks from the laundry, folding towels, possibly polishing silverware are examples.

Adjusting to living with someone who has dementia is very, very hard. It will always be hard, but it can be a little easier if you accept that your mother's behavior is limited by physical flaws in her brain (plaques or tangles or protein deposits, etc.) She can't help her behavior. You'll have to adjust yours.
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Hallucinations vs. Delusions in Alzheimer's from
It is important that Alzheimer's caregivers understand the difference between a hallucination and a delusion. Each of these symptoms can affect your loved one in different ways:

Delusions.Delusions are false beliefs caused by the deterioration of cognitive processes in the brain of the Alzheimer's patient, and are often influenced by misunderstandings or misinterpretations. Patients might think they are being followed, or might accuse a family member of stealing from them or plotting against them.

Hallucinations. These involve false perceptions, and are also caused by changes in the brain due to Alzheimer's. Patients can literally "sense" - see, hear, smell, taste, or feel - something that isn't there. They might see and talk with old friends who aren't there, or watch ships floating through the sky outside the window, or smell foods they enjoyed as a child.
end quote

Confabulations are a major annoyance - when listeners take everything at face value, no matter how false their statements. The danger is when banks, adult protective services, police, friends, family, and other listeners take everything our loved ones say at face value and react based on the statements. Know that confabulating is distinct from lying because there is no intent to deceive. The statements can be coherent, internally consistent, and reasonable.

Be aware there are similarities between confabulation and delusions; e.g., both involve unintentional false statements. Realize delusions are frequently observed in Alzheimer's patients may include beliefs about theft, the patient's house not being his home, a spouse, is an impostor, belief an intruder is in the house, abandonment, spousal infidelity, and paranoia.
It is difficult to accept the mind is damaged by Alzheimer's Disease. develop boundless patience. Forget about
rational responses.

Enhanced Moments, "Touch Many ... radiate your warmth." --
Jolene Brackey
Author of "Creating Moments of Joy" Perdue University
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Allislost, what I particularly liked about Jeanne's detailed reply was the way she pointed out that she knew all this because she had been there: been there, done that, and has the scars to prove it. The bit I'd like to emphasise, then, is that it is Not Your Fault that you didn't automatically realise what impact the changes in your mother would have on everyday life. How could you possibly? So if you have any residual feelings of guilt or self-blame, lose them! It takes time for any of us to adapt to these changes, and nobody finds it easy or fun. Teepa Snow's presentations are excellent further reading, if no one's already suggested them to you. Best of luck.
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I thank you for this. I have read material on it but it doesn't explain it quite like you just dd. She has only had this a short while and was living with me before this came on. It is really hard to understand her mentality now vs before. Thank you for opening my eyes for how to understand what's going on. I will try to be more understanding.
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allislost. They really cannot help themselves. My mother who has been living with us for the last year is the same way. My mother also talks confusion or complains incessantly, unless I give her something to do which takes her confused mind off of going around circles. I have found folding towels, doing crafts, getting her to sing along with old songs, riding around on drives to the country tend to calm her down. Of course, that takes time from you, so it is challenging to manage.
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Thank you jeannegibs that was the exact explanation I too needed! I am constantly trying to reason with my mother....trying to help her and fill in the blanks! I get nothing but angry and frustrated and we end up fighting! I realized after reading what you wrote I am ANGRY and I MISS MY MOTHER! I continue trying to "bring her back" we are only 18 years a part and she was always my best friend....that's gone now and very difficult to accept! You showed me I can still have a relationship with her but I need to shift my thinking and mostly my approach to things! Thank you, and God Bless!
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Some very good responses here! I have experienced the same thing with my mom. While the rational part of my mind tells me that it's her dementia, the emotional side of me becomes irritated. I have also found that getting into a contest of wills is useless. She becomes defensive and we both get upset. I have realized that my correcting or scolding is not going to restore the person my mother used to be. It's wearing, I know. Be gentle on your mom AND equally important, on yourself. Make sure that you take time to do something for yourself regularly. It's hard to fit in, but it's an important component to maintaining your own sanity. Hugs!
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I remember the heartbreaking reality shock of what this disease is....within the week of bringing my mom home with me...I decided her needlework would be a great pastime for her since she was so good at it and loved it, she was crafty! Embroidery, crochet and knitting in particular... So I brought it out and we went an got some yarn, I requested a scarf for winter. She would get several rows in, get mixed up n frustrated, take it apart, start over, over n over for the whole day. I could not bear to have this go on anymore, it broke my heart, I kept the scarf stuff and put away the "knitting basket" for good! I sure wish I had paid more attention, and shared that hobby with her!, I can barely do a simple crochet stitch. I still have the scarf yarn ball, maybe I will try to finish someday, in her honor!

Point being, it was only the beginning,,,the phone tv n microwave abilities left shortly was a battle of our wills, us being healthy in mind unable to understand how one could just pick n choose what they can and cannot remember/do. and we plain old don't want it to be the case, hoping we could will it better with our nudging/reminders, so to speak. When I finally began letting go of my wants and expectations is when life got a little easier!
Wishing everyone the patience and strength it takes to manage our loved ones!
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Excuse me, Mudiver, but my husband was not merely old. He had dementia. An autopsy revealed the deposits of Alpha-synuclein protein in his brain, which gave him both dementia and Parkinson's symptoms. My mother has dementia. She is still with us so I don't have autopsy reports but the nursing home staff and her doctors agree with the family assessment.

A nursing home is sometimes the best solution. I would never use it as a threat.

Those of us who can tell the difference between normal aging and dementia are not necessarily wimps, my friend.
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