I recently moved my parents to MC (3 months ago). My father has Alzheimer's and my mom has multiple physical problems in addition to cognitive decline. My mother was bedridden at home much of the last 12 years due to chronic pain, opioid addiction, anxiety, and depression. My dad did everything around the house and for her until it became too much for both of them. Now that they are in MC, my dad is getting a much-needed break. He is mobile and is often out of their room in the common areas. He has adjusted much better than my mother. I feel like he literally now has a way to escape her. My mom is wheelchair bound and is very upset that he's getting up and leaving her behind. She's also been making wild accusations that she's been raped multiple times and that one of the caregivers was having an affair with my 88 year old dad. She told one of the caregivers that the caregiver's brother had raped her (the caregiver doesn't even have a brother, much less one that had been in the facility). She claimed that a precious cross-stitch piece I made for her years ago had been broken and turned upside down by the staff who don't like her (it was hanging on the wall in the bedroom, undisturbed). Much of it is clearly delusional. Other claims are less wild - that the staff are calling her names and mishandling her during transfers. But the staff has made it well known to me how much they like my dad. He's sweet, he's agreeable, he never complains. That's who he's always been, except now he has little memory. I know they don't like my mother as much, because honestly I don't like my mother as much either anymore. But I don't want to discount EVERYTHING she says out of hand as age-induced paranoia. She asks for my dad to back up her stories, but he has Alzheimer's. Most of the time he cannot corroborate anything she says and just looks confused at what she's describing. It is getting harder to visit and see her cry saying she's being abused and she's afraid. She says the caregivers are nice when I'm there but some of them are mean when no one's around. I just don't know what to believe. But it was such an ordeal moving them on such short notice, and this place is clean, safe, beautiful, convenient for me to visit, the director is competent and caring, that the thought of relocating them again on what may be totally delusional accusations is daunting. I plan to talk to the director about the situation, but any advice is appreciated. Should I put a camera in their room? Would this cause backlash with the staff? I just don't know what to do.

No, I don't think you should worry, and your mom's caregivers have seen and heard it all. She's OK, and she'll acclimate eventually.

Here's a thought, though -- when I moved my mom into her nursing home, and any time she goes somewhere like the hospital, I send along a two-page biography I wrote about her life. I ask the staff to take the time to read it, and it helps them get to know my mom when she can't really help them herself. It was the starting point for conversations, such as "Tell me what it was like growing up in the desert?" or "Can you say the 'Och Tamale' [her college school cheer] for me?"

I've also put in little details of her reality these days, like the fact that my mom has an imaginary husband named Dan, and while yes, he was a real person -- her first boyfriend -- he was not in fact her husband. I've put in Dan's profession (telephone lineman and private pilot to the Kennedy family!), and I even brought in her high school yearbook with the real Dan's picture. I also brought in pictures of her and her real husband, my dad, to whom she was married for 66 years.

Everyone I've given this biography to has been so happy to be able to get to know my mom as she was as well as how she is. I even gave it to the hospice company, and her hospice nurse knows as much about her in the month she's known her as others who have cared for her for years.

Consider doing that for both your parents, and ask the staff to have some conversations with your mom using her fact sheet as a springboard. It might make her feel more like she's among friends and help her acclimate better. Right now she's afraid because her protector -- your dad -- isn't always around.
Helpful Answer (27)
Reply to MJ1929
graygrammie Feb 8, 2021
I love this!
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Your mom's delusions aren't age induced, they're dementia induced. Accusatory delusions are very common. With so many accusations, I know you want to separate fact from fiction ( I can almost assure you that is all fiction). If placing a camera in her room would make you feel more comfortable and help you see what is truth and what is not, ask the director about doing that. I never did but there are people in this forum that have and can speak to it. I always thought doing that would mean you don't trust the staff, and if that's the case, maybe a relocation is in store. Trust is your only option when you can no longer be with your parents, especially during this pandemic.

Addressing her delusions can be an exercise in futility unless you try to validate her concerns by learning how to fit into her world. We're no longer talking about honesty and truthfulness, we're now talking about properly responding to her worries so she feels understood. So don't ignore what she believes. You might tell her that you'll talk to the staff about them mistreating her. As for her perception that a caregiver is having an affair with your dad, you could validate her by saying something like “that caregiver has been fired.” Coming up with the responses to satisfy your mom's fears is not easy not is it intuitive. It takes practice.

It is wonderful that your dad has acclimated so well. It sounds like he is happy in his new home.
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Reply to sjplegacy

Ignore her claims... but you may talk to her doctor about prescribing something to ease her anxiety. It sounds as though she is very stressed and her behavior likely will continue to worsen.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter

Your mother has cognitive decline which is also known as dementia. Shes weaving wild stories which are obviously untrue and delusional, but if you feel there's a shred of truth in what she's saying, by all means install cameras to put your mind at ease. Because I guarantee you she'll be saying the same things at the next MC you send her to. It's the nature of the beast. Contact her doctor for calming medication, that's my suggestion, she sounds highly agitated which is also common with dementia. Check with the executive director to make sure cameras are permissible in the facility and go from there. I'm sure you are not the first to make such a request!

Good luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1

My mother suffered from Lewy Body Dementia and her accusations about the staff were almost exactly the same as your mother's.
Her carers were great with her but my worry was that it was hard to like her and that that might result in her being treated badly when I wasn't there.
We considered a camera at one point - just in case! However we didn't do that because not only did the accusations become wilder - including people who weren't there but my mother's frail body was free of any signs of rough handling and the staff did not seem to be acting any differently whether people were visiting or not. There was a kind of open transparency about the place.
It didn't stop me worrying but my rational evaluation was always satisfied - after consideration. I used to pop in at unexpected times and nothing seemed amiss.
It is so much more difficult during covid. I hope you manage to settle your worries soon. Good luck. x
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Reply to wiseowl

Has your mother been diagnosed with dementia? Because that’s what these delusions sound like.
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Reply to worriedinCali

There is no reason to move someone who is delusional as will have the EXACT same delusions in another MC. Surely since you know she is fabricating these stories, moving won’t make a bit of difference. This is the time sadly where you have to grow a very thick skin. You can use therapeutic fibs and say you are looking into it and then drop it. Do not argue with her about these delusions as that will make it worse.
be sure you do discuss her behavior with her doctor as perhaps he or she might have something helpful she can take. Depakote or Tegretol helped my dad when he became delusional and at times even combative. But you are sadly dealing with dementia.
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Reply to Harpcat

You may also want to have her checked for a UTI-whenever my MIL’s delusions like that ramped up is when she had had a UTI. They don’t present the same in elders. She would associate pain in her nether regions with being raped. One time she also had extreme constipation and impaction and went on a huge rant about being raped. After that was all clear-the accusations went away. 🤷🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ Any time she she would start back up with “they’re trying to kill me” or “they’re poisoning me” we’d always check for UTI and that was usually the case!
Another thing it could be is “hospital delirium” even though it’s not a hospital. They also refer to it as “new facility” delirium. They are so out of their normal place and routine they have a break with reality and their broken brains construct things to explain what’s going on. It sometimes resolves and sometimes stays. 🤦🏼‍♀️
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Reply to DILKimba

OMG your story sounds sooooo familiar to mine.  When mom was first diagnosed with dementia, she still lived in her home.  I was going there and maintaining everything, but she lived alone.  She would call me with wild stories of kids shining lights in her bedroom windows at night and she was terrified and not sleeping because of it. And that they were stealing her mail out of her mailbox and cutting through her backyard...etc.  She told me she let a man into her home and he gave her a pill and next thing she knew she woke up in her bed.  I was going insane with all of these alarming phone calls.  My daughter stayed the weekend with her to see if anything was going on and things were fine.  It was all in moms head.  When I finally moved her into assisted living, the storied continued.  They didn't like her and were stealing her things and having parties in her apartment when she was not there.  She would tell stories of the staff marrying residents and stealing their money.  They were jealous of her, etc... She was telling people I was dying from cancer.  Basically, if she watched several lifetime movies, we are all in it! LOL   It's embarrassing and I know if my mom were in her right mind she would be mortified.  We did talk to her doctor and they modified her medication and that seems to help with the paranoia.  Today if she starts in on a crazy rant, I drastically divert the conversation in another direction and ask her a question that she has to think about.  That usually does the trick.

I am in no way suggesting that you stop paying attention to your mom.  You must make sure that she has what she needs and it taken care of appropriately. 
You mentioned cameras in her apartment.  My mom befriended a man and he was always telling his son that his things were getting stolen, so the son installed cameras and all they showed was his dad hiding his own things.
It is so hard in the beginning because this person that you have known your entire life is telling you something and your first instinct is to believe it.  The sad part is realizing they are not mentally who they once were. 

Many posters have talked about abuse happening to their family member.  I know that it happens and if the cameras would make you feel better, I say go for it.

I am glad your dad has a way to safely move about and visit others.
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Reply to Jamesj

My mother also made some very wild claims. Including she was being “sexed” by lesbians, and thrown up against the wall every night. Her food was poisoned, her items were stolen and on and on. Bottom line she didn’t want to stay there and that was her way of rebelling. She has been in three different facilities and the claims were all the same. When she left the facilities all I heard was how wonderful everyone was. She was smart enough to change her stories depending upon her audience too. I got calls from her friends asking me clarify what happened because my mother told one person she was mugged in town, and the town was very dangerous and there were gun fights at night so she needed to move. Another person she told she went out shopping on the bus and they refused to take her home and spit on her and left her at the mall and a kind stranger took her home. In the middle of Covid when they were locked down! She never leaves the facility! She has made ongoing accusations that I stole all her money and put a gun to her head and forced her to move. She was also starting to swat and curse at the staff. It’s very disturbing and it would be easy for me to say don’t take it personally, but given my mother’s history I actually do take it personally. I deal by having limited contact.

I worked with her hospice nurse and PCP on medication management. They were able to get her behavior under better control and she is calmer. She is still delusional, but in a more pleasant way if that makes sense. Like she keeps asking for her husband Fred. She was never married to a Fred. And she thinks she works there. She’s able to be easily redirected now.

As far as the staff goes - this is something they should know how to manage. This type of behavior is not uncommon, and MC staff should have specialized training in managing this behavior. Worry less about whether they like her, I can assure you that your mother isn’t the only difficult resident, and worry more about getting her evaluated and treated so she can settle into her new environment and routine. The good news is that your father is getting a break and adjusting well.
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Reply to Mepowers

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