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She accuses my dad of telling everyone she's crazy. He's told me for quite some time that something was wrong with her, but now it's clear she has dementia. I don't know if anyone has told her that. I don't want to intrude on my stepsisters' space, but it's getting ridiculous. When I visit, I don't know how to handle her constantly repeating questions and accusing my dad of things. He is just getting better physically, and it's taking a toll on him. I feel so sorry for both of them. I can stand it for my short visits, but my dad is with her 24/7, so I can understand his frustration and anger.

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Telling her she's already asked that question won't help and will just create tension. Try to distract her with another topic. Your father is the one that needs some help. I'd contact the Alzheimer's Assn. and ask about support groups in your area. Maybe you can take him to meetings. If your stepmother's daughter hasn't taken her to a doctor, she should. There are medications that may help slow her decline. Also, infections and medication reactions can mimic dementia, so a correct diagnosis is vital.
Good luck to you and your dad.
Carol
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Please get them medical help. Call the Dr ahead of time, take your dad in to talk to your mom's Dr, or call. Someone needs to speak up! I am 50 and for 3 years people watched me decline with apparent dementia and just "accepted" it. My friend from out of state visited and got involved. I was having a reaction to a medicine I had taken for years, but because of age and changes, I became allergic. The only things the Dr.s were asking my husband: Are there any new medications?
What if this could all be fixed, or at least helped by a thorough, HONEST Dr visit? If not for her, for you and your Dad and your Stepsister. Good luck, this family stuff is so difficult.
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continued.... I tend to do the 'you already said that' because it is my mother who I grew up with and I guess it is me not understanding the disease in a family member. I constantly have to work on this and try not to do this, as it does not help. I have always had some communication problems with my own mother and with this disease, obviously, I have to really accept it and change my attitude,
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My dad died in 2007. for at least 10 years prior to his death, maybe longer, my mom accused him and my sister and I of trying to convince everyone that she was crazy and that we were plotting to put her away. At the time, I was angry and hurt. My aunt (my mom's close friend who is also my dad's sister) actually intervened. I have come to realize that my mom, who has always been a very smart and capable woman was aware of what was happening and was terribly afraid. When we moved her to the ALF, my sister and I had to clean out the house. There were notes, calendars and partial journals everywhere. She was trying as hard as she could to keep control of her life. My dad realized something was wrong but was in denial as far as it being dementia. He had continued to let her drive. We found notes with little maps drawn on them so she could find her car in the parking lot. My mom repeats herself and although it does get under my skin, I know deep down in my soul that if she could quit, she would. I would imagine your stepsister, if she hasn't acted on this, is also in denial. You can assist your dad and take them to the doctor. If it is dementia, along with medications that slow it down, there are medications to ease the aggression and paranoia. Don't wait for the stepsister. If you can't get your dad to a support group, you should at least hook him up with this site.
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Your stepmother is not repeating her questions to intentionally cause you stress. She does it because she doen't realize that her question was already asked and answered. Ahe can't help herself. She is losing her short term memory due her illness. Confronting her will only increase her anxiety and agitation and make the situation worse for both of you. It is up to you to be patient and understanding.

My mother asks repetitive questions as well. It's gotten to the point that I know what and when she will ask. I just keep answering the same question until she eventually stops asking or I try to distract her or redirect her thoughts elsewhere. The reality is that you as a caregiver must learn to adapt to the changed circumstances. Your stepmother can't.

It sounds like your father could use a regular respite from his caregiving duties. If possible, consider helping him to find someone to come in for several hours at a time (an understanding, friend, relative, church member or a private hire) so that he can take a break and take care of himself by doing something he enjoys. It will ease his burden and better equip him to care for your stepmother
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It does no good, and they do not mean too. My mom with dementia talks under her breath like Brick on The Middle. It is often hurtful things, but I don't have dementia and I know she cannot help it. As a caregiver, give yourself time in another room, but after a while, you just have to ignore it.
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Dear waiting for change,
I know what you are going through. Mom started doing the same things before we finally knew that it was dementia--and of course the dementia got worse and the same repeating and asking the same questions over and over did not stop, but only got worse. At first, I would get irritated and tell her that she already told me that story a million x and asked it a million times too. I was wrong, ignorant and unsympathetic to her illness. Now I feel very guilty about being so uncaring and ignorant. But nobody gave us a book on how to learn to be a caregiver to parents in the first stages, we learn as we go on. And I've learned the best thing to do is never try to explain to her that she already asked it or already told the same story. Their lives get smaller as they age and they say things that they do not realize that they've already said. They can only talk about things that they know, for they do not go out into the world as we do and have new experiences to talk about. They lose conceptualization. Explaining does not help at all. All I did with Mom was to agree to whatever she said, not argue or dispute about anything. Let her talk, it makes her happy. Just do not respond, unless its appropriate and makes your Mom happy, for it would only bring more repeating stuff anyway. At this stage of Mom and Dad's life, they deserve all the happiness that her kids can give to her. After all, she went through tough times with you and she never gave up on you.
Your Dad needs a lot of help. As others said above, check with local agencies for the elderly, or hire caregivers to give Dad a break. He's too old to be doing this job. Its hard enough on young or middle aged children to be doing it and your Dad is far too old to handle the physical and emotional stress. Look what it does to us younger people, and Dad cannot do this. He will go downhill real fast and then you will have two people to care for instead of just one. Take care of Dad, he needs all of you right now whether he admits to it or not. You must step in. Who else will be your Dad's advocate or your Mom's help?
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The past 3 years I have been a Care Giver for my mother who is 83 years of age.
I completely agree with lefaucon Give a Hug Oct 29, 2012 . This person has a great deal of experience of being a Care Giver. Each new day you learn more about being a Care Giver. The best thing you can do for your mother is to just let her talk. You do not want to argue with her or get her upset because this makes her dementia get worse. Take time to think before you react. You need to make your mother feel as secure and happy as you possibly can. I know this can be very hard for you to do but you need to do it. I have found that it is better to act as a "friend vs. daughter" and just have a good time talking with her. She is the only mother you have. If you don't take the time to listen to her and the two of you just have a good time talking together, one day you may wish you had done this. If you stop and think about it, there are many people living today who don't have dementia and they constantly repeat what they are saying. Since your mother may already be taking several meds to help her with her life, I would be extremely careful about asking a Dr. to give her an Antipsychotic. Do your research on the Internet that discusses the good and bad about an Antipsychotic med. I agree with what has been said about helping your father. Check with your local area for Care Givers. If your parents have limited funds, there are people in your area who can help you and your father. He definitely needs time to himself. Before I close, I would like to add that if either of your parents need to go into the hospital for any reason, you need/must be there with them. Depending on your father's age, you might talk with your mother and father and have you written as the POA in both Living Will. My prayers are with you and your family.
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Dear waiting4change and EvaLynnPearl,
Yes, now after years I wished I had more patience with Mom in the beginning and not been so selfish and irritated with her repeating herself. But at that time, I was ignorant and stupid and selfish of the fact that it was the dementia. I mean, I knew she had dementia, but didn't put the two and two together as lovingly the way I should have. Now, I love it when she repeats herself.Why? Because it MAKES HER HAPPY TO TALK. And when Mom is happy, I am more than happy, thrilled actually. And now I do anything just to make Mom happy and I know that I will never regret this feeling that I have. Yes, I agree with as EvaLynnPearl said, be a great friend to Mom, a true friend, instead of or less of a daughter.
Anti-phsychotic drugs are super strong and should only be given, in my opinion, as a very last resort. Per what you wrote, Mom doesn't need anti-psychotics just yet.
Every day you will learn something new because Mom's condition will change month by month, then day by day. As in my Mom's case right now, things could change hour by hour even minute by minute as the dementia progresses. Even now, she can change minute by minute, but now I understand her illness so well and can just laugh or shrug it off and know when Mom is speaking through the illness or just being silly or many times, quite the clarity! So, expect or be ready for lots of changes because they are going to happen no matter what you do. If you know this, you will not be taken by nasty surprises and be incapable of dealing with them as they happen.
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My 90 y/o mother has been doing this for years, and I am a caregiver to a 96 y/o and she also does it. Funny I can listen and be very accepting to my client, but with my mother
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