My mom insists that her dead aunt and grandma are still alive. What do I do to convince that they are not? - AgingCare.com

My mom insists that her dead aunt and grandma are still alive. What do I do to convince that they are not?

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She gets angry and then cries and cries as if they died yesterday. They both passed away many years ago. She's so shocked that no one told her that they are gone; but of course she knew years ago. Also, she starts packing her clothes to get ready to go back 'home' , which is South America! She's been in this country for 49 years, yet she insists she only stays here to visit for a few months then has to leave. My poor dad has to hide suitcases and carry on luggage to keep her from packing but she does it anyways by using plastic bags! How can i convince that she is home and her family is here?

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IRENE:

Her perception is her reality, and the only thing I can suggest is to play along and act "as if." As dementia progresses, sometimes memory loss for recent events is severe and the person may appear to be living in the past. In your Mom's case, there's a sense of safety and stability in those vivid, palpable memories when everything else around her is one big, scary jumble. When you're running from yourself there's no place to hide; except, perhaps, in your own head (where you can refine memories etched in your subconscious into a sort of truth that allows you to live with yourself and endure everything else you have no control over).

So play along ... even when it hurts. Good luck.

-- ED
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go with their world- i agree-

u do have to watch and check up on the meds though-
my experience with meds is that the doctors we have, seem to love to medicate!!
too much...over doing it- i wanted my mom not to be so depressed, not so anxious,nervous, and the dr went crazy with antipsychotics- and other
heavy drugs, that when i checked them out, most say- not recommended for elderly with dementia or not approved-- i felt they just wanted to sedate her,
i wanted to interact and keep her mind( the parts that are able) active-
instead , the bit of memory she does still have, isnt being used-
she just lays in bed and mumbles to herself- i hate this disease-
i am so bitter- and most likely you are not going to run into this- but..
just had to add my 2 cents- it doesnt hurt to ask what the meds are- for what? and side effects, and dosage, and how long she wouldneed it-
anyway, huggggs are always given to u-
k
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One of my concerns with my mom was that along with her thinking she was younger, she thought she could do the physical things she could do when she was younger. I worried about her having a heart attack because her heart was weak and she was being so active during these spells. She had been hallucinating and then the doc put her on some meds and that stopped. That was a good thing. The only down side was she was a bit sedated. Unfortunately there are no perfect answers sometimes.
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At different times I am different people. If Ruth thinks I am her dead brother Benny, than that is who I am. She calls me Mary. I respond with Yes Ma'm. I did notice when she was more depressed than usual, more aggitated, that is when she wanted her mom and dad to come pick her up. I would just tell her they got a late start and would be here tomorrow. As Linda says, little fiblets. sometime within just a few minutes she was off on to something else.
As far as the packing, can she get out of the house?? If not, then let her pack. But you may also consider an appt with her DR. to explain changes in her anxiety and depression. That is very commom, and there are meds that help them to calm down, not overmedicate them...I wish you well and as was said, about thier reality, I just go to her world, she no longer lives in mine. Hugs to you.
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lie alot only makes them happy and we feel quilty
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that is a great idea-
but i know with my mom, too much info only made it more difficult to follow-
i guess it depends what stage she is in. i found, the simpler the explanation, the easier it was to compute- and body language!!eye contact, quiet voice...
good luck- u r doing fine-
love
k
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PR, As others have mentioned, the truth will just hurt her, then she'll forget, then the truth will hurt her again. Your idea of writing a letter from her Aunt is great. You might want to mimic the handwriting (if you have a sample) or she may have more questions. Could you include in the letter, that their phone isn't working? She could then write letters or ask you to write letters to them etc. Then you could write her Aunt's (or whoever) reply. You could also try to distract her with the things she loves whenever she starts. Her own forgetfulness can help you to help her feel better. It could help you feel better too. Hugs :) Care
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This may sound dumb, but is it possible to tell her she is in South America, that you all are? When my father in law had dementia, he thought it was Christmas, in April, and we were going to put up a tree and wrap things up around the house, as if they were gifts. He suddenly got worse just then, so we didn't do it.
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Thank you all for your input, concerns, and well wishes.Globaloke, do you have the must read book you mentioned?
Currently, I'm constructing a letter to my mom from her 'aunt' telling her that she and her grandmother will be visiting her soon. I sure hope this helps to calm her down and maybe keep her occupied in prepping the house for 'their visit'. I feel rather guilty on deceiving her but, I'll have to look at it as a 'fiblet .
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I know these events must break your heart each time they happen. Perhaps a picture album with postcards and photographs with family discussions of each individual's picture will help. I also found old magazines at Goodwill stores and used books stores. I always felt guilty when I thought I was deceiving my grandmother, but then I felt better after I realized how happy she became when she talked about "old times" and events. I learned so much from her while listening and started asking for stories that I now treasure. Your are being loving instead of manipulative, but I respect your concern about wanting to be honest. I started finding music and television shows that made my grandmother feel more secure. ( She loved Lawrence Welk.) Reality is an odd thing ,and I have stopped trying to understand it with elderly people and my students who have emotional issues. I think the bottom line is simply love. Write to us whenever things become overwhelming. This site has been my lifeline. Take care. Rebecca
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