I’m 36 taking care of my 66 yr old mother that has EOA. She literally shuts down and stops talking to me and locks herself in her room away from me. It’s still early in this disease and I’m dealing with it all alone. Any suggestions? I have my days where I can walk away but some days it really provokes me by being accused.

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Does it help at all to realize this is a very common dementia behavior? And often it includes the person actually hiding the items! "Someone is stealing my things. I'd better hide my valuables." And then they not only forget where they put them for safekeeping but they forget that they even did it. And that seems to "prove" their fear ... things keep going missing. Argh! As SueC says this is often just a short phase they go through.

Don't argue with them. You can deny taking something, but try not to be confrontational. "Oh no, Mom! Your embroidery scissors is missing? That is sad. I know that those are a particular favorite of yours. I know I didn't take them deliberately, but I might have picked them up by mistake so let me help you look for them. If they don't show up in a couple of days, let's buy a nice replacement."
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Reply to jeannegibbs

She is going to decline--overall the earlier they get it, the more aggressive it is. I would seriously consider nursing home placement because it's going to get far, far worse. It's just you do not have support of family and you need to forge a life for yourself. See an eldercare attorney and get the estate in order and prepare for this. I'm not trying to sound mean..believe me caring for someone with Alzheimer's is a very soul-destroying process. Point is you are still young.
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Reply to cetude

It seems that EVERY Alzheimer's victim goes through this stage. It's SO disheartening. Her brain is broken. She would never accuse you of stealing if she wasn't suffering from a brain disease.
*Please try not to take it personally.
*Let her tell you all about it, with you repeating a couple of words every so often, so she feels validated.
*Try to "turn off" your hearing (ignore the discussion).
*Try redirecting her onto another subject or activity.
*Try going along with it and offer to help her "find" it.
*Try NOT to argue, it only makes it worse. To HER, the item has been stolen. She doesn't realize SHE misplaced it and will probably accuse you of "putting it back" anyway. This, unfortunately, is a loose-loose situation.
*Good thing is this won't last forever...however it feels like it.

Good luck and prayers for you both.
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Reply to SueC1957
Nanagigi4 Oct 13, 2018
Our mother’s accusations have continued on for 3 years now... I really wish it was just a short time...
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First part of your answer is that the disease brings out faults and makes them worse. Its not her talking more the disease. Next first thing is to understand that when the brain is in weekend state it compensates in my view by fabrication. So make the area as easy as possible. Create a routine where items are always in the same place. Get gadgets on line that will track the keys wallet and purse. They are like 50 bucks tell you were they keys are by GPS. Also set up a routine that she can expect daily lunch dinner walk park. Lastly make sure she gets one half hour of sun in the morning so her carcadium rythem. Which differences sleep from wake. is good for the day. At night there can't be any noise during sleep no lights. TV programing should be lite. Gillian's island etc..

avoid all stressful TV. Avoid all news. And go to the park which works wonders. That's all I got.
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Reply to Rbonuc2999

Yes, I've been here too in terms of being accused of stealing things. My mom, with Alzheimer's, accused my friends, (who didn't come over, because these were grown women with lives of their own) of trying to steal her bathing suits! No amount of reasoning with her would help. I just went along with it. Since she'd often misplace 1 glove, I bought another pair of the same color, so I could substitute 1 of those, when needed. Creativity with Alzheimer's goes hand in glove.
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Reply to rlynn123

This is hard and I wish I had an answer. Lately I find walking away/ therapeutic lies harder and harder. Most days it’s just me with my father-in-law, my husband works out of town.

I’ve been told by many experts to go into his world and let him believe what he wants. Perhaps you can try that. Also, I’ve done the whole putting my hand under his and gently speaking to redirect- ask about a favorite memory (I usually ask about his motorcycle or how he met his wife). But it’s exhausting.

Make sure to find support geoups (if you can- I can’t get away to do that) and take time for yourself if possible. Respite care at a senior center or an assisted living. Just know this is a stage, it’ll pass. I’m never sure if that’s really a good thing, but so far most of these quirks have been temporary until a new quirk shows up.
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Reply to mommaruthie
MaryKathleen Oct 14, 2018
Mommaruthie, I am so concerned about you. You need to find a way to get away, even if it is for a short time. If you go down, who will take care of your FIL? Someone would. Have you called your County Office on Aging? Mine will send someone over to give you respite while you are at a support group, I don't know if they will provide someone so you can get out of the house and stand in the isle at the grocery store or drug store (I used to do that when my kids were little. I would have keys in hand when hubby walked in door. As he opened the door, I would rush out).
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You have had lots of helpful advice from knowledgeable people, so what I want to pick up on is your comment "I'm dealing with it all alone." Don't!

You are among understanding friends here; but if you do a little research you will also find people to connect with in your area, and you will find a lot of information at to help you understand what is going on in your mother's poor head.

She is fearful, and you are there. Those are the causes of her lashing out at you. Please, please do not take literally anything that she says.
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Reply to Countrymouse

I have been through exactly what you’re going through. My mother’s doctor had taken her off of antidepressants and that’s when things really went south. Horrible false accusations, nonstop talking and complaining, which chased most of her friends away. So frustrating and also So sad.
I moved my mother close to me into a Retirement home, so I could go to the Drs. with her. I privately let the Dr. know all that was happening and she was put back on antidepressants. The right dose calmed her so she wasn’t stressed and agitated. It can calm so many symptoms of dementia. Please try doing this for you and your mother. There is help and too many think they just have to suffer through it. It won’t fix her, but it will help a lot and you will be able to breath again!
God bless you!
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Reply to ConnieMH71

Oh dear, we have posters who can't cope with their LO talking all the time, or can't cope with no privacy because LO won't stay in their room (or suite of rooms), while you have equally awful problems with the opposite. You could try 'yes I stole it and hid it in your room. I bet you can't find it'. She might even look!

You and your mother are young to be coping with this. Perhaps it would help to look ahead, and think about what you are going to do when neither she nor you can do it. Then you can at least give yourself an end point for when you have to have the patience of a saint!
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Reply to MargaretMcKen

Nothing you say will convince her that you didn’t take it. I would tell my father I must have moved it and I will look for it because I don’t remember where I put it, this would usually calm the situation down at least. In dads case this part has left and we no longer get accused of taking things.
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Reply to Glendaj2

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