My mother tells terrible lies and will not stop. Is this really the dementia talking, and how can I manage this? - AgingCare.com

My mother tells terrible lies and will not stop. Is this really the dementia talking, and how can I manage this?

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A man, always the same one, breaks into her room. Tonight at dinner time, he came with a knife to attack her. I called, and he was in the dining room. Apparently, he steals her belongings. Cookies, candies, dolls, stuffed animals, jewelry, etc. She calls crying YOU HAVE TO GET ME OUT OF HERE...IM AFRAID, AND THE NURSE IS BEING MEAN TO ME...COME AND GET ME! She has attacked him, leaving bruises on two occasions. This man is in a wheelchair, but is able to stand, but not walk. I was a care giver to her at home for 43 years...the last 5 were a nightmare. I told her I would NOT come and get her... we are seniors and can't lift her wheelchair, but she just cannot seem to understand that! It is one of the best care facilities, known for their care and understanding. She just will not leave me alone to have some happiness for myself. I tend to believe everything she says... my sister tells me it is the dementia talking. At my wits end here. I just want to FINALLY spend some time with my husband, but every time I have a happy day, she ruins it with these dreadful accusation... pleading with me through her tears. It is so very hard! I cannot look after her, as she falls daily, and abuses mess if given the chance. Has ANYONE had an experience like this? It is sapping me of my ability to have any kind of joy in my life. 😢

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Please get her seen by a geriatric psychiatrist. It sounds as though she's having delusions.
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Your mother is not lying. Because of her broken brain she is telling the truth of her world and it sounds right now that her world includes hallucinations and delusions. Some of the things you mention are very common in dementia.

Although residents wandering into each other's rooms can be a problem, most likely her fear of attacks from this man are not based in reality -- but the fear is very real. Focus on the fear, not the details. Try to comfort her. Also say, "As soon as I hang up I'll call the head nurse and tell her what is going on. She'll make sure that he stays in his own room tonight." And then do call whoever is in charge at that time of day and explain the situation. Perhaps someone on staff could go visit her a bit and help her calm down.

I assume you have already checked into the accusations she is making. It is always possible that what she says is real -- someone is coming into her room, someone is stealing her things. But if you've ruled that out, then you sister is right. This is the dementia talking. Again, dementia-based or not, her fears are very real and she needs comforting.

Is she taking anything for anxiety? That might help with this problem.
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Is this an Assisted Living or a nursing home? I will assume a home because an AL should not deal with this behavior. If a home, you should request a care meeting. A doctor should be assigned to your Mom. At Moms facility there is a psychiatrist who can be consulted about Moms behavior. Just recently she started humming to the point she got louder and louder and was doing it continuously. When the Nurse practicioner came in the head nurse explained Mom to her and Lexopro was ordered. This has calmed her down. What I am saying, is the facility should be active in Moms care and they can order her an eval. I am surprised that Mom still knows how to use a phone. Take it away. Tell the staff you r only to be called concerning a fall, skin tear, bruising or emergency. They should be handling all other things. If she is in an AL I recommend you get her to a facility that can care for her. Believe me, a lot has been taken off my shoulders now Mom is in a NH on Medicaid. All I do is visit 3x a week. She is fed, bathed, dressed, clothing washed, and taken care of. I now feel I can take a 10 day trip and not worry. You do need to get your Mom on meds for her problems. Ask the facility to try and keep this man away from Mom. I did it.
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I agree with Barb. Delusions and hallucinations are very real to the person having them. I am sure she is truly frightened. My mom had quite a few starting in the mid stages. She is now stage 7...I think she still has a few but her expressive language is so impaired that she can't tell them to me anymore. When she is upset, I often just have to sit by her and tell her everything is okay and I will keep her safe.
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I was you from 2013 to November of 2016 when my mom passed. Her delusions were continual and rampant and began the day she was transferred from the hospital to the nursing home. Her delusions were about 95% about men and sex. After visiting her and hearing her talk like this, I always felt like I needed to shower. This sounds crazy in itself, but you need, in permanent marker, to draw a line between your time with Mom and the rest of your life. You know there is no man where she is, just like I knew that no teenage boy who road a bike up and down the hallway was having sex with my 90+ year old mother and then stealing her underwear. I got upset, too. But when I left the nursing home, I mentally put all those ravings of her's in an imaginary black box and threw it in the trash can out in front. A few times, I actually did push the lid on the can and visualized throwing the box in there.

To their credit, the nursing home kept her on the regular floor as long as they could. But, eventually, when she became combative, they had to move her to the Alzheimer's unit for her safety and the safety of the other residents.

Shortly after my mother arrived at the home, I had to pull the phone out of her room. It was for my own sanity due to hysterical 3AM calls multiple times a week. I am my disabled husband's caregiver and I need my rest. I assured her that if she ever needed to use the phone, there was one at the "hotel desk by the restaurant". She thought she was living in a hotel/apartment in Chicago in the 40's and she was a famous stage actress.

Distance yourself however you need to from Mom. Put on your thick skin when you visit her. Let her lies and delusions bounce off you and leave all that at the door when you go. I am actually planning to go to therapy. There are no support groups close by. You may want to consider it as well.
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Is she contacting you via phone...do you have a do not disturb button on your phone..set some boundaries with her....are if she is doing this when you are visiting her...limit your visits to what you feel is appropriate for your mental health...set boundaries..that is the only way you can take care of yourself...and find peace.

It does sound like the dementia...my mom experiences similar issues...and to her it is real as the sky is blue...and there is no convincing them that it is not so.....limit your visits and phone calls to protect yourself and enjoy your life before you loose your sanity.   Good luck.
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I am not a doctor but it sounds like the dementia talking, specifically hallucinations and paranoia. It must be difficult to hear your mother so upset but obviously these events are not actually happening (I'm assuming you checked them out) but she is not lying. These things feel very real to her. Perhaps you could take a vacation and leave strict instructions with the facility to call your sister during that time.
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Sometimes as we age, suppressed experiences and underlying fears creep up again. If you have the energy and time, investigate whether she had any traumatic incidents, when she was young. That would help with your understanding of your mother's behavior. Play her some soothing music that she likes to calm her down. Star night lamps, watching movies...anything that would take her mind off her fears of isolation/ personal attack would help. Her reality is as real as is your reality to you. But, there are only so much one can do.
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It is all unfortunately a part of this horrible disease. Before we got mom into a facility there were people standing in the parking lot shooting at her apt, someone put a hose in the apt and was pumping gas in, the picture on the was coming to live and people in it were going to kill her. At first it is very hard to understand but it's just another part of it. I hope you find peace
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How difficult for you. I would remove her phone, or refuse to answer mine, even change my number. A psych eval. sounds necessary for her also. I hope you find some peace.

DigitalBanker - Anne111 already said she checked out the truth possibilities, and checked out the facility. "It is one of the best care facilities, known for their care and understanding."
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