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My 84 yr. old mother has lived me me for 5 years, since my Dad passed away. Over the last few years, I've noticed her forgetting a lot of little things, but lately she seems to make up horrible things that are happening to her and "assumes" it's someone in our household doing this. It's me, my husband and my 11 year old son, and the accusations and stories are unreal and so stressful. My husband is a saint and tries to console me, but sometimes she thinks we are hiding her medication or swapping out her pills, but she can never show me the proof of what she found. Just yesterday she said she found a tissue in her bathroom filled with semen. I tried to assure her that it was most likely from my son who had been home sick with the flu and that he either went up to her apartment and dropped it or the dog carried it up, but all she said was "I knew you would never believe me" and then it ended up in a full blown argument in which she said she wanted to leave and knew I just want her dead. She didn't even have the tissue. She said it was in the garbage and she already took it out. I don't know where to turn, I've been so good to her and make sure she has everything she needs, but she still feels she is independent and nothing is wrong. This is tearing me up and I just want her to get the help she needs, but I don't know what to do.

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Sad821 - I'm so sorry you are going through this too. What you are experiencing is what my husband is going through, but my mother lives up stairs from us. I know he loves me and has supported not only me, but everything my mother needs to, but what is the limit. It's so hard to convince her to go to a doctor. She just insists nothing is wrong. At times, like today, I'm almost afraid to go home because of what she will say or how uncomfortable the conversation will be.
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I have had a similar problem with my mother in law for years now. She lives across the street from us and has been blaming me for breaking into her house and stealing things and switching things out. But because she can somewhat still live on her own my husband thinks there is nothing really that wrong with her and will not get her checked. I have had to cut off relations with her because every time I was near her all she talked about was my being a thief and it was getting viscous with physical threats.
- Sad one
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Teepa Snow videos are good. Check youtube. find a way to agree with the underlying emotion she's showing . . . validation of her feelings. For example on the semen situation, "Mom, that sounds like it was gross." I'm sorry you had a bad day." If she persists, "Mom, I'll look into the situation." If she brings it up again in the future, "Mom, I haven't found anything yet."

And the one that covers a lot of sins, "Mom, I'm really sorry that I haven't been there enough for you. I'm trying. I hope you'll be patient with me because I'm having a difficult time, but I know you understand because you've always been there for me." People at every stage of life need validation and like to be valued. When our buttons are being pushed, we have to turn to playacting to make them happy and keep our own lives from becoming miserable.

Also, at a calm time, get her to update her POA, Living Will and execute a Medical POA as well. The Medical POA will cover you at all of the doctor's offices
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In case no one suggested it have her checked for UTI. Just went through this with my dad. It can really make dementia worse.
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Thank you everyone. Reading your responses does help.
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What you describe is consistent with dementia, and actually pretty common in that disease. Nothing in their world makes sense. There must be an explanation. So they blame others. Often they take to hiding things to protect them from "theft" and then don't remember that they've hidden them, reinforcing their delusion that someone is stealing them.

I agree with the others who say it would be best to have her evaluated medically. It is possible there is something wrong that could be treated.

Meanwhile, learn how to deal with this stage if it is dementia. Applying those techniques can't hurt, no matter what the actual cause of the behavior is. Also take some consolation that if it is dementia this stage does not last forever.
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This behavior could be the beginning of dementia. I took my mother to be assessed at a psychiatric hospital that had a floor called Geri Psych. And yes, I had to do some real talking to get her up there voluntarily but she agreed after a two hour sincere talk about how she’s not feeling well and how we need to have her checked out.

A psychiatrist talks to the patient, a half dozen various social workers, psychologists, etc. examine them and tests are done, verbally I believe. My mom was in Geri Psych for six days. Then she was discharged to AL to see how the new meds were going to work. Ultimately very well I’m glad to say, although mom has sundowner syndrome pretty regularly. The staff manages that and says she’s a doll. Mom likes AL and believes she’d like to stay there.

So now we have dad running loose which has never been the greatest idea, he likes to spend money. Except for buying a new Honda he’s handling the house maintenance and bill paying well. Responsible spending apparently.

So get mom assessed. Medicare pays for most of it.
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NeedsHelp start by watching Teepa Snow videos on Youtube. She has wonderful videos on dealing with folks with dementia. It sounds like your mom has some kind of diminished capacity happening, whether it's from illness or medications. Has she added or changed any medications recently? If not, I'd try to rule out purely physical causes. I'd get her tested for a UTI (urinary tract infection) ASAP. Those kinds of infections in seniors can make them appear to have dementia with crazy behavior and hallucinations.

On a longer-term basis, could you take her in for a flu shot or the pneumonia vaccine or the shingles vaccine as a pretext to getting her more fully tested? Or take her for her annual physical? Before you do that, you write out what you're telling us and you get that to her doctor and ask him to read it before her visit. He needs to understand what is going on with her, even if he can't discuss it with you.

Polarbear is right - arguing with her won't get you anywhere. You need to "join her in her world" and try to distract her instead of telling her she's wrong. But you first need to get her assessed, if at all possible, to figure out what you're dealing with.
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NeedsHelp, On a couple of occasions, I have called one of my mother's doctors, told the doctor or his nurse that I understood they couldn't talk to me but I wanted them to have some information about Mother before her appointment, and laid out my observations or concerns. This works.
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polarbear - thank you for the quick response, but I've tried talking to her about seeing a doctor and she will snap at me and say nothing is wrong. I was on her health proxy, but when it was time to redo it, she took me off. I had called the doctors office the last time this occurred and wanted to talk, and they informed me then that I was not listed to discuss her medical conditions. Unfortunately, when she sees her doctor, she seems completely lucid. I wish I could get them to see this and help us at least get a proper diagnosis.
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She needs to go see her doctor. And the doctor needs to know what is going on with her before going in.

Obviously, something is very wrong with her mentally. Her doctor will be able to help her or refer her to a specialist.

Trying to reason with her is a lost cause. It will gets you both more upset.
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