My Mom (90) started believing that my daughter is out to destroy her. We don't know how to deal with this. Any Suggestions? - AgingCare.com

My Mom (90) started believing that my daughter is out to destroy her. We don't know how to deal with this. Any Suggestions?

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She is suffering from very poor short time memory, but lives with herself and manages her household even the kitchen well. The symptoms indicate she is beginning dementia. She suffers from light depression. The problem with my daugter started a year ago, where she accused her of going into her house, and arranging things. She even accused her of taking her coffeebox and having her brother return it the next day. She belives my daughter have keys to her house(which she hasnt) and that she locks herself in whenever she feels like it. If she brings up the topic with us she can be very agrressive/violent and say my daughter is not welcome in her house anymore. While at other times we bring it up(she's a christian) and says that when Christ preaches love how can she hate her own grandchild. We have tried this approach, and we have agreed that we all should leave it behind us. But still it does not go away from her side. My daughter(I dont blame her) does not want to see her grandmother anymore. This of course put a toll on the family, and we dont know if we have found the best way to deal with it. If anybody has experience the similar situation and have found a way to overcome this I would be very grateful
Regards
G Skjong

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Please help your daughter understand that this is not her fault in any way. And this is not the "real" grandmother who loves her talking, it is a disease that is causing her to believe things that would appall her if she were in her right mind.

As you have probably discovered, arguing, reasoning, and logic do not help. Probably changing the locks would not help. Pointing out that her behavior is inconsistent with her religious beliefs involves logic and that doesn't help. Because in addition to losing her short term memory, poor Mom is losing the ability to reason and to apply logic. This is not her fault. It is not your daughter's fault. It is just the reality of the disease.

Try to focus on her distress and not the accusations. "Your coffeebox went missing? Oh, Mother, that is awful! You must have been vexed, I don't blame you. But I am so glad to see it is back now." "Well, Mother, Granddaughter really does think highly of you and admires your taste, so I can see why you might think she'd want something of yours, but I am sure that she would ask you politely. But however it went missing I am very sorry for your inconvenience. Should we have a nice cup of coffee now to celebrate the reappearance of the box?"

Don't try to convince her what she believes didn't happen, but sympathize with her feelings, express doubt that the accused did it but don't dwell on trying to convince her, and then redirect the conversation."

DGinGA is right that dementia generally reaches a point where the person who has it cannot live safely at home. Take this behavior as a prod to start planning for the future

And JessieBelle is correct that sometimes the paranoia lasts only a limited time. We'll all hope that is the case for your Mother.
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Dementia patients are often paranoid, and it sounds like your mother has dementia, and has chosen to focus the paranoia on your daughter for some reason. My experience with my parents (who both have dementia) is to assure them that whatever they are paranoid about is not happening, but not to dwell on it or argue with them.

If your mother is experiencing dementia and paranoia, you may be at the point where she can no longer be independent. This means either she requires full-time care, or she needs to live with a family member or in assisted living. We found with my parents that their dementia became much worse when they were not in their own home. My sibs and I now take turns caring for them in their home. If that is not an option, it sounds like Mom will have to move. There are many nice assisted living facilities, and I found that some have also been accredited for long term nursing care as well, so residents won't have to leave assisted living when the time comes for custodial nursing care.
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a suggestion I have is to remember to the person with dementia what she believes is actually real to her, so to disregard her feelings or minimize or tell her these things are not happening will make it worse. I would try going with your mom to have the locks changed and let her give a key to who she wants and to have her write it on calendar, locks changed with daughter( put in name) at location and time and keys given to so and so by herself. and you can redirect her to that as a reminder that only these people have keys and she was responsible for distributing. Hope this helps
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Make sure your daughter knows this has nothing to do with her -- it's the disease, it's insidious in a thousand different ways, and this kind of thing is just one of them. Have you checked what kinds of medications are in the house? When the troubles for which I'm responsible started, I didn't know what was going on, until I found out she was drinking vodka with Zyrtec and taking prescription stomach pills, free samples given to her by the hellbound rat who was her GP at the time, no dosage instruction, nothing. She had stuffed them in her purse because she had to leave the house, she said, that's how I found them. Again, I urge people to check with their local hospitals to find a good senior adult behavior modification program, they can help them control things like belligerence, combativeness, anxiety, delusions, in every way, from therapy to medication, and run all the available tests -- do you know what a simple UTI can do to a dementia patient's conduct? This isn't something that is going to go away like a cut on a finger. You have to deal with it. Keep in touch with us on here.
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I've seen this a few times in my mother, though it has fortunately not been so malicious. The only thing I was able to figure is that it was blame shifting. If the sink got stopped up, something was misplaced, or something was broken, it must have been my SIL who caused it. It wouldn't matter if SIL had not been here for months. She must be the one ultimately responsible. My SIL would probably be very upset if she knew that she was blamed with things, but I don't mention it to her. I know she is blameless. I am glad my mother doesn't say these things to anyone but me.

I think it is fine that your daughter stay away. This is not the grandma she used to know. In your shoes I would just tell my mother that the daughter would never do that, and just leave it. You don't have to argue. Maybe if something is misplaced you can help her find it. Assure her the daughter doesn't have a key. Let your daughter know she isn't doing anything wrong, that it is just part of the sickness. Chances are the paranoia aimed at her will pass in time.
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Has she been assessed for dementia and depression? Is she taking medication?

Most of the advice I've received about delusions in dementia patients is to reassure. Oh Mom, I'm sure she will bring the key back tomorrow! She just needed some coffee yesterday. You cannot conbince or reason with a person who has no reasoning ability any more.
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