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He is not interested in her and she is now harassing him. She was married to my FiL for 56 years and has been widowed for three. She is very lonely even though she is well supported, she goes to a day centre three days a week and we have just employed a live in au pair. She has plenty of visitors but its never enough for her. She developed a crush on a married man who goes to the same day centre and became obessed with him. He is a sick man and his feelings are not reciprocated. She has been told by the Manager of the Day Centre to keep away from this man otherwise she will be hurt, physically and mentally. They have terrible arguments and then he calls her to apologise. He is now hospitalized and she was told categorically not to call the hospital but she did. The hospital told told the family and the family are threatening to get a restraining order against her. She is having counselling and seeing a psychogeriatrician. I don't know what else to do. My husband cant cope with this at all and just shouts at her. My sister in law has schizophrenia and I can;t talk to her either. I am at my wits end.

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I was concerned, too, that she had put her hopes on him, so that with him gone she would feel there was no hope left. She would have to find hope again.
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There might be a possibility that his death will bring memories of the Holocaust, so watch and support her carefully as she adjusts to this new event. Sometimes events which are similar to the traumatic period can trigger a resurgence of the memories.
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ladygeek, I am so sad for your mother. I know it was imaginary crush, but it was important to her. I hope that it is not too hard on her.
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Update. Unfortunately the object of my MiL's affection passed away yesterday, so now we are in an entirely different siutation as she grieves and comes to terms with it all. She saw the psychogeriatrician on Thursday night who is referring her for a brain scan to see if she is developing frontal lobe dementia.
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Thanks everyone for your input. We went to see MiL this evening and I think she finally realises that whatever it was is really over and that he was not the man of her dreams after all. I think the rose coloured lenses slid away. She doesn't want to see him again at the Day Centre so we'll have to review her options. Of course she now feels ashamed of her behaviour and is very upset...she's blaming him for showing interest in her in the first place and for leading her on when he had no intention of following through. I hope she will be able to recover and that time will heal her hurt. I really don't think she has dementia, I think she suffers from General Anxiety Disorder and there's a bit of a personality issue going on there. It's so easy to label people with dementia when the behaviour goes off. We'll see what happens with the psyche appointment. I really appreciate being able to sound off. Writing it all and putting it out there in a safe environment where noone knows me clarified a lot of things for me.
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I googled obsessive behaviors as dementia symptom
These are varieties that obsession is frequent
Frontotemporal
Huntingtons Disease
Progressive supranuclear palsy

To name a few. Are there other symptoms that you may be overlooking?
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Is the GP an Geriatrician? Maybe she should be seen by a neurologist that specializes in elderly and diagnosing dementia. There are more than 70 identified varieties of dementia. I agree with Blannie that it sounds like dementia may be developing. The quick quiz given by the GP would identify major memory issues, but is not the only tool available for diagnosis. I would think a diagnosis would set everybody's mind at ease, at least that way you have a direction to look for effective treatment.
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It still sounds like some form of dementia to me - the obsession, the inability to act with any kind of normal filters. You said she had a workup by a GP. Assuming you're meaning General Practitioner, they're not great at diagnosing dementia. But it sounds like you've got her seeing someone who SHOULD be able to diagnose that in her.

But I agree that just telling her to stop doesn't sound like a very effective way to handle it. I know with OCD, there are medications that can help take that obsessiveness down a notch. Is the person she's now seeing able to prescribe medication for her? It sounds like she's still very verbal and able to articulate her feelings, they're just wildly inappropriate to her situation.

Good luck with getting her some help that can put you all at ease...
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I would definitely try to find some answers about the behavior. For her therapist to just tell her to stop the behavior.......who would think that's going to work? If you MIL had any control over the behavior, she wouldn't be in this situation.
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LadyG, how long has she been lving with you? Any other changes in her life recently?
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I am probably just talking from recent experiences I've had, but ladygeek, do you think your MIL might have late onset bipolar? I've been looking into the disorder for answers to the problems my own mother is having. Since you write that your MIL has depression, it made me wonder even more if it is the bipolar variety. That would explain many of the things you describe and can give her geri psych team direction in finding a medication that works. Ask her doctor/therapist if it could be a possibility.
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I would stress how her obsessive behavior is putting her in jeopardy with the psychogeriatrician. If this is new behavior, then there has to be an explanation and treatment. If they could not help, I would get a second opinion. This behavior will have to be addressed, because if it follows her, she will have issues with any place she may end up such as Assisted Living, nursing home, etc.

I would insist she stay away from any place as long as she is placing herself in danger of being charged or getting a restraining order entered. No matter how much she likes it, if there is a restraining order, the court is likely to order her away anyway and regaining the ability to return may be problematic.

I would suspect that any activity or change of scenery runs the risk of triggering another obsession with her. Of course, I would rather it be with puppies than a married man who is threatening charges.
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I hope it didn't seem as though I was suggesting reliving the past. and in fact hadn't been thinking of that when I suggested helping the current generation handling Holocaust issues. I apologize for my insensitivity - that point of resurrecting old memories just slipped my mind, and I am sorry for any pain that issue raised. In retrospect, it was a bad idea. I recall that my grandmother never wanted to discuss her experiences either; it was just too painful.

I think the separation anxiety is exactly what's going on with your MIL; you have a lot of insight into these issues.

I'm just wondering if she could transfer her need for attachment to a puppy or kitten? They would generally love her unconditionally and provide companionship a human can't.
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She doesn't want to talk about her experiences in the Holocaust. She was a hidden child, separated from her family and perpetually on the run when the hiding places were betrayed. I definitely think she suffers from some kind of separation anxiety, which may explain why she can't tolerate being on her own any more and its getting worse. She says she wants some peace and doesn't want to dig up ghosts and we have to respect that, you can't force someone to talk, But there are definitely some repressed memories and experiences knocking around. I also think she misses the physical closeness she had with her husband right up to when he died. I think she thought she could have it with this man, even though he was married. She fantasized that he would leave his wife and run off with her into the sunset and she then believed it. Its so sad to see her inflict this suffering on herself.
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I will bring up possibility of OCD when we visit the psychogeriatrician. Thank you. She's not very mobile at all so I have to take her everywhere she wants to go apart from the Day Centre and she gets transport there and back, which is really good for me.
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Lady, your statement that she's survived the Holocaust makes me wonder if her clinginess and apparent neediness is some kind of PTSD from the horrors of that experience. I don't have any specific Dx in mind but was just thinking that the uncertainties of that horror, the loss of family as well as the other atrocities may have installed a need for someone to cling to, especially as MIL ages.

I did some reading on post-holocaust survivors as my grandparents fled Armenia during the Turkish genocide, and I wanted to understand how that experience affected my mother and her siblings.

I'm wondering if there's something MIL can do to work with Holocaust survivors or the younger generation that are dealing with the survivorship issues, especially since you wrote that there's no other senior center near her.

On the other hand, maybe a trip to a farther away senior center could be an adventure in traveling and meeting new people - a different adventure every week?
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This is really a sad situation- I wish there were better options for your MIL but it seems the direction is toward the pursued man's family getting a PPO.

In addition to other suggestions, I'm wondering if you contacted this man's family, explain that you're attempting to find a solution and wonder if he would just write her and tell her he's not interested. It might hurt her feelings, but perhaps that's better than having a PPO issued against her.

In Michigan, that would be done through the Circuit Court and would reflect in the clerk's records, which are open to the public.

I don't know if any possible future placement facilities do litigation checks, but if they did and found a PPO entry, it might affect the ability to find a suitable placement for her if she needs it.

In the meantime, you might try to find other senior centers in neighboring jurisdictions, and keep going to various ones so that she doesn't have a chance to become fixed on one particular man.

I think Pam has hit on a real possibility of OCD or some variation thereof. As you wrote, she fixates on something, then moves on to something else once that need is satisfied.

Perhaps you can get her fixated on helping others in need, or working with animal rescue group. I don't think that's an exact substitute for OCD, but it might help deflect her attentions and make her feel needed. And animals can return her attention, unconditionally.

She sounds fairly mobile; perhaps she could help pack and distribute food for one of the food pantries, something like that where she's helping people but doesn't see anyone often enough to become fixated on him.
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We have POA and I am her advocate when we go to hospital etc so I can talk to Drs. I go with her to most of her medical appointments. She had her first talking therapy session today and we discussed the issue with the counsellor. She asked me to go in with her so I could give the counsellor the true picture of the situation. The counsellor told her to leave the man alone and forget about him. There really isn't another suitable Day Care Centre for her in the area, and she likes it there. The object of her affection is really sick at the moment so won't be back for a while. She told me the other day that if he dies she won't survive it. I was shocked. I said to her that she has survived much worse than this (The Holocaust, losing her husband, her daughters' illness) and she will survive this too and she has to accept that this man may indeed die.
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LadyG, the man needs to stop calling her as well. I would also find a different center to take her to. Though the problem may develop with another in a new center.

My mom had developed a crush on a man at the day center she went to. He was married, and both had dementia. One day I picked mom up, and she was completely despondent because she thought she had been dumped by this other woman (his wife) when she came to pick him up. He was place in a facility soon after. The two of them enjoyed each other's company while at the center, his wife was ok with it as she knows it is the disease. Does this many have dementia? Are you sure your Mom is not developing dementia?

POA = Power of Attorney
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Ah "It's going to set me back" is an attempt to elicit sympathy and attention from you. Do not be manipulated into pitying her. Change the subject and divert her attention to something pleasant.
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The Manager of the Day Care centre told me today that if she keeps on approaching him, she'll end up in an ambulance with two black eyes, apparently he is a very volatile person. I can't tell her that because the conversation was in confidence and she doesn't know I called him. She also has an obsession with the Manager and calls him all the time. For some reason she suddenly thinks she's a femme fatale. The Manager told me she's driving him "bonkers" (English for "crazy"). She demands his constant attenttion in the Day Centre and has been known to walk into his office even when she has been banned. She seems to have no concept of behavioural boundaries.
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She doesn't think she's being helpful and caring. She called the hospital to see if was still there, because she said " if he's home and he hasn't called me, I'll know he really doesn't care about me and its going to set me back." She is making herself physically ill with the situation and is still approaching him even though she knows she will be hurt. She feels totally rejected, even though the whole "relationship" was an illusion.
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I kind of understand it. My mother is sweet on a man at church. The man is friendly to her and sits with us, but he doesn't return any warm feelings. He is very close to death, so his main concern is putting one foot in front of the other and taking the next breath. It is rather sweet in a way. My mother perks up around him. She had been married to my father for 65 years. He died 3 years ago, leaving a big void in her life that her children and neighbors cannot fill -- even if they were to ever come around. Fortunately, my mother does not harass the man, but I have worried about it in the past.

Your MIL is probably trying to fill a void that was left when your FIL died. Our hearts keep looking for love, but it sounds like it is looking in the wrong place with this man. I don't know what the answer is beyond trying to keep your MIL from paying unwanted attention to the man. It might help if you could tell the workers at the day center to let him know it is okay not to apologize to your MIL if they have a spat. The calls may keep her encouraged that something is there.

I wish your MIL could find a good boyfriend who reciprocated her feelings.
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She doesn't have dementia, she has had a full assessment by the GP. What is a POA?
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Has your MIL been evaluated for dementia? Do her therapist know what is going on? I would strongly encourage a complete evaluation to see what's going on with her. It doesn't sound like she is functioning fully.

Sometimes dementia patients will become obsessed with a thing or a person and you can't reason with them about it. My loved one became obsessed with her cat. She was totally out of with her worrying, having to have the cat in her eyesight every minute, terrified the cat would escape through a hole the size the a pea. Nothing could dissuade her. Then the dementia hit.

Does your MIL display any other symptoms regarding her mental health, like repeating, forgetting, etc. She may be forgetting that she is not supposed to contact this man. And dementia can cause one to lose their inhibitions in a very uncharacteristic way. Is it possible her doctors know what is happening, but can't share it with you, since you are not her Healthcare POA?

Yelling is not going to help. I would definitely approach this as a medical/mental problem and not a moral one. Obviously, she isn't doing this on purpose. I would find out who is her POA and have them step in to get her properly diagnosed. If there is no POA, it's going to be more tricky and you will have to convince her to voluntarily seek diagnosis and help. If she's still competent, get her to sign POA to you or her son so you can help her.
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I never considered OCD. It has never manifested before, only that she becomes fixated on certain material needs she has and then nags us incessantly. As soon as she gets the thing she's nagged us for, she goes on to something else.
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Unwanted contact is called "stalking" and the family may very well get a restraining order. The judge will probably order a psychiatric evaluation. Often the offender has OCD- obsessive compulsive disorder, which can be medicated. You might want to have a conversation with her MD. She obviously does not realize she is doing something wrong, she thinks she is being helpful and caring.
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