Anyone have the person they are caring for start making confessions of things they did; they think may have been wrong?


My elderly Mom, with dementia , has lately began to make these little confessions, they seem minor to me, especially in the world we live in. But, due to her innocence it is something she wants to tell me and try to rectify, not realizing the person's involved have passed. Also, lately she keeps saying, "I miss my husband."

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Hallucinations vs. Delusions in Alzheimer's from
.............quote It is important that Alzheimer's caregivers understand the
difference between a hallucination and a delusion. Each of these
symptoms can affect your loved one in different ways:

Delusions.Delusions are false beliefs caused by the deterioration of
cognitive processes in the brain of the Alzheimer's patient, and are
often influenced by misunderstandings or misinterpretations. Patients
might think they are being followed, or might accuse a family member
of stealing from them or plotting against them.

Hallucinations. These involve false perceptions, and are also caused
by changes in the brain due to Alzheimer's. Patients can literally
sense  see, hear, smell, taste, or feel  something that isn't
there. They might see and talk with old friends who aren't there, or
watch ships floating through the sky outside the window, or smell
foods they enjoyed as a child. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,end quote

Confabulations are a major annoyance  when listeners take
everything at face value, no matter how false their statements. The
danger is when banks, adult protective services, police, friends,
family, and other listeners take everything our loved ones say at
face value and react based on the statements. Know that confabulating
is distinct from lying because there is no intent to deceive. The
statements can be coherent, internally consistent, and reasonable.

Be aware there are similarities between confabulation and
delusions; e.g., both involve unintentional false statements. Realize
delusions are frequently observed in Alzheimers patients may include
beliefs about theft, the patients house not being his home, a
spouse, is an impostor, belief an intruder is in the house,
abandonment, spousal infidelity, and paranoia.

Confabulating is distinct from lying because first there
is no intent to deceive, second the person being unaware
that the information is blatantly false. Confabulating can
be coherent, internally consistent, and
reasonable...despite clearly contradicting evidence. Your
challenge: is what they say true?
Helpful Answer (1)

Oh, I forgot to address something that Black Hole and some others said. I definitely would not want to stand by anyone's side and listen to all of the hurtful things that had been done to me during that person's life! As a matter of fact, I wouldn't want to hear specifics of anything the person had done to anyone and was wanting forgiveness for. Instead of remembering the person I knew, I would never be able to forget the things the person had done! I would hope a minister or priest would be there.

One of my pet peeves along this line is, before the funeral is over, some people want to gossip with you (or anyone) about the deceased. Not only is it disrespectful to the family, you can't always believe things you hear and shouldn't repeat them, and you are proving you were not a true friend of the deceased. Why are you there?

I don't know where that came from tonight? Something I read must have triggered it. Anyway, I am glad I got it off my chest!
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HappyGal, you have really made me think about this one! When my dad was talking to my mom and me, saying he had not been as good a husband and father as he should have been, it wasn't anything close to the things you mentioned. So, it was with honesty that we said we wouldn't have been there if we didn't love him, which indirectly told him he was a good husband and father. If he had the kind of burdens on his heart that you described and I knew he was dying, I would be torn between feeling and acting as you indicate in your last paragraph and living with the guilt of withholding forgiveness for eternity to someone asking me for a direct or an indirect word of encouragement or feeling. I would be afraid it would end up hurting me more than him, because I would remember it all of my life; and, he would be dead and free of earthly feelings or thoughts. It would be very difficult and I am not sure what I would say if given a short amount of time to make that decision. As I said, you have given me something difficult to ponder. I can understand your feelings and reaction.
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Clearly they are trying to unload the guilty conscience. I can't bring myself totally to pat them on the back and say, "it's okay, dear. Beating your children up and cheating on your husband instead of dealing with your mental illness was OK." Can't do it!

All I can do is try to figure out how I can live with my own attitude from this and be responsible for my own behavior: a big enough job!!
Helpful Answer (3)

Mmm. A real confession has to have sorrow behind it, and a willingness to make amends - but as any 12 step program will tell you, IF and only if your doing so will not bring further harm to the other person or persons involved. Not to mention under these kinds of circumstances, it has to have actually happened rather than being just a guilty fantasy or a bad dream. When the judgement goes, as it can with certain types of dementia, the ability to make those distinctions as well as the normal "filter" that would stop someone from spilling the beans that ought not to be spilled. "Extra burdens" is a great term for it!

OTOH, some people take things to the grave that we might have been better off knowing...
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Roxy, we all are trying our best to deal with all the extra burdens our people are laying on us every day. I go through all kinds of variations: sometimes I am numb, apathetic, angry, exhausted, happy within myself despite everything and the junk doesn't get to me, days I decide I will ignore the insults, or I confront her gently with humor. No matter what, however, it is usually some kind of P.I.A!
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Moi, Roxy?
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"Learning things you wish you never knew about your family" during elder caregiving -- or after a death -- is truly deflating.

If an elder is in his or her right mind, it is inappropriate to use the adult child as a sin-eater. (For those of us who were handed that role in childhood.....UGH. The last damm thing we need is more gut-churning information and mental pictures that we can't erase.) If the elder has dementia, it's sad and frustating on a whole different plane.

The classic advice to stand by and take it in, give neutral "listening affiramations," etc is certainly better than debating or correcting. But it does not address the caregiver's deepening pit of despair. This true confession sh*t is deeply personal. Yet the "how to handle it" advice is the same as how to react when they fold and un-fold towels excessively.

This disconnect is what wears down caregivers in dog years. "Acknowledge and deflect" is great for the recipient. It doesn't do a damm thing for the caregiver, who is saddled with yet another ugly truth. For decades.
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My nor my mother's life was a rose bed. In fact there was a period of time that I could not tolerate her mental illness and it came to the point that for the survival of the sanity of the family she was put in a group home for 10 years. This was a Blessing to our Family. And my mother did well in this environment.

I guess each family is different and has their difficulties to deal with.
But, having the pain that you experienced as a child and the strong negative feelings you are expressing is not funny. You need deal through this now or live with it the rest of you life, or you are getting something out of it yourself.
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Juddabuddahboo - lol! "Yes mother, that really was the right decision to use me as a human shield when I was four years old - I'm sure the gun would have never really gone off".
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