my 98 year old mother is in an ALF and insists that she has to buy clothes for "the children" and that they have to be fed. When i asked where they are, she nods toward the closet. I am her only child so there aren't any from the past..

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On one occasion she became overwrought when she couldn't find "the baby" and the staff had told her the baby was safe and at the nursery. She went on and on demanding they take her to the nursery. They tried to make things better by getting a 'baby' from the memory care unit and she took one look and stated "That isn't real!" The mind is certainly amazing. Thanks for your response. She was checked for UTI a while ago but probably should do so again. Thanks again.
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Having delusions about children is extremely common in dementia, and it is also often a symptom of having a uti. I'd have Mom checked for a uti first.

Assure Mom that the children eat during a special shift in the cafeteria, and that their shcool clothes have already been purchased for this year. You aren't going to be able to reason her out of those children. Might as well help her be comfortable and stop fretting over them.
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