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I've come to regret when my mother goes in the front yard now. She has started going out with her mind on a project that she can't do well. That is okay, since it doesn't really hurt anything. The bad thing is that while she is out, she gets madder and madder. She thinks the neighbors are sending water into her yard. She has it in her mind that there is a big mud puddle between our two yards. Where she gets this idea, I don't know.

I tackled some of the project by doing one project we needed and one we didn't. A company came in and built a drainage trench to help the water run off. It works super well. I also put up a large flower bed with liner. It doesn't do anything. It is just visual.

Still she goes out and gets mad about the mud hole between the houses. There is no mud hole except in her mind. She thinks that her shoes and socks get wet. She comes in and takes them off, saying they're drenched. They are dry.

I can't do any more to address this delusion of water coming into our yard. She tells me the things she wants me to do to fix it. I can't do anymore. It's just stupid crazy what we've done already to address the visual part of her delusion. When I tell her there is no problem, though, she just gets mad and starts yelling. I don't know how to work with this delusion. This makes two major delusions now -- inside the house, the floor is on stilts and outside the house, it's flooding. I wish she would forget these delusions. She forgets lots of stuff, but not these delusions.

I told her the best answer was to move. I do wish that she was sick enough that I could justify a nursing home for her. Almost every day I am pushed to the edge with the same old delusions. I save sanity by staying away from her.

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Okay - I'm on a roll with my clearly untrained analysis that these delusions are related to the subconscious similar to dreams. Mincemeat - I found this for your father: "To see water in your dream symbolizes your subconscious and your emotional state of mind. Water is the living essence of the psyche and the flow of life energy. It is also symbolic of spirituality". So NOT wanting to water things - could it mean a lack of what's referenced? And JessieBelle - more for you on water: "To see muddy or dirty water in your dream indicates that you are wallowing in your negative emotions. You may need to take some time to cleanse your mind and find internal peace. Alternatively, the dream suggests that your thinking/judgment is unclear and clouded. If you are immersed in muddy water, then it indicates that you are in over your head in a situation and are overwhelmed by your emotions." How's that for freaky, weird accuracy?
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What is it about water? My dad had this delusion that all the water dried up everywhere and we needed to save water. He refused to water his chickens and cats saying that those animals did not need water. No amount of arguing could convince him. I had to water the poor things every day on the sly......
After a while I came to understand the obsessions...it was always something or someone to dwell on....in a very negative view......like it was a big project or something.

This is so frustrating, hang in there Miss Jessie Belle!
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I wanted to say thanks again. It is good to talk. A lot of days are like torture. I feel bad that I get mad. I'm just dog paddling along, trying to keep my head above these flood waters she imagines.
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Thanks, everyone. The delusions wouldn't be so bad except that she wants me to act on them. Much of it is visual, I'm sure. She really can't trust her eyes or her mind, though she is not accepting it. I've tried to show her that things were dry, but she got very angry at me. When I try to talk or show her something, she shuts me out, talking over me to make sure she doesn't hear me. It's a bit like the old thing of someone putting their hands over their eyes, with the "Nyah nyah nyah, I can't hear you." She doesn't want me to challenge the delusions. They are correct and anything I see or say is wrong.

I tell myself that she can't help what she's doing. She now wants me to put up a garden liner between the neigbor's yard and ours. That would look weird indeed. I already put the flower bed in -- two days work + planting and maintaining -- that separates most of the front yard. And we had a 30' drainage trench put in that was needed to route water coming off our own house. I can't do or give any more to this delusion. We'll have to deal with it in other ways. Antidepressants we've tried make things worse.

ACK! Maybe I should just get a little boat and a bunch of little animals and make a sculpture out there. Then I can say, "They're ready for the great flood, Mom." I really think she may have a personal grudge against these neighbors for being young and active. Maybe the waters they are sending are just emotions they stir up in her. Or maybe her brain just gets stuck in loops that no one can break her out of.
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Jessie the only thing I can think of is embracing the delusions!!!!!!! The water is clearly a problem so include her in finding a solution. Make her chief 'water measuring officer" give her a yard stick with her name on it and make up a chart so she can record the depth of the water each day. It can even include a graph if she is capable of filling so she can joint the dots and see how the level rises and falls. You can even include a rain gauge and she can record that too and then compare the daily rain amount with the inches of water in the pond. Set a definite time to do this each day and remind her to put on her waterproof boots before she goes out to do this.
Sorry Jessie none of that was probably helpful, but I like to let my mind wander.
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Could there be a visual element to it, JessieBelle? - some dim bell ringing in my mind somewhere about sight deterioration making things seem to flash (or, I suppose then, shine?). I'd agree about the "let's go and have a closer look at this alleged mud" idea, except that when you 'prove' the delusion wrong they either get madder or sadder, so then you've got either an elder who's completely barking or one who's miserable and depressed because she can't trust her own recollection. Sigh. Is there anything nice in the garden right now you could get her to come and help with?
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No experience myself, but the father of one of my local support group friends had this kind of persistent and consistent delusion. In his case it was benign but even then it caused his daughter problems.

He believed, among other things, that he had just been elected governor of North Dakota. Well, this is a fairly pleasant fantasy and something one might go along with in a low-key way. BUT he lived in assisted living in Minneapolis, so he always had this compulsion to get packed and prepared to leave for his inauguration. He needed his special stationery to write proclamations. Etc.

His other delusions involved ownership of care dealerships, new housing developments, etc. All of it perfectly pleasant for him, but not always easy for his daughter to deal with.

My husband's delusions were fleeting. There was a dead body in our bed and he was waiting for the crime scene folks (and was not disturbed by this) -- and then it was over and did not come up again. I think that is the more common variety of dementia delusions.

But this persistent kind is quite different. I find it fascinating, but I'm sorry for those who have to deal with them -- especially when they are unpleasant for the person having them.

I'm quite sure you cannot talk or reason or "prove" your mother out of this. When Coy thought our living room was a train station I tried to "prove" it wasn't. He agreed that those were our photo albums, that was the lamp we bought with wedding gift money, etc. etc. But that didn't change his mind that we were in a train station. A psychiatrist explained that when the brain is not working correctly it is perfectly possible to believe two contradictory ideas.

Jessie I think you have done a remarkable job of coping with these persistent delusions all these years. Can you feel the hugs I'm sending? (Speaking of delusions ...)

Maybe someone will come along on this forum and explain this phenomenon to us. Wouldn't that be interesting?
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Hey BlackDogMina - I've been thinking about your question - why a car - when your mother has had no special associations with cars prior to her dementia. Just out of curiosity I looked up "car" on a dream analysis website I visit - kind of interesting what it said: "To dream that you are driving a car denotes your ambition, your drive and your ability to navigate from one stage of your life to another. If you are driving the car, then you are taking an active role in the way your life is going. Overall, this dream symbol is an indication of your dependence and degree of control you have on your life." I wonder if delusions are like dreams in how they express the subconscious?
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Hey JessieBelle - okay, this will probably fall into the "stupid question" catagory - but have you ever had her walk over to this area of standing water with you and ask her to stand in it with you? Maybe kneel down in it and stand up - have her touch your clothes to see that they are dry? Or would she continue to perceive that you are wet? Swish your hands around in it to show no splashing? I guess I'm having a hard time understanding how she might be able to continue to see water when clearly there is none - or you would be soaking wet yourself. This is one I thankfully have no experience with - well, not yet at any rate! I can see how the air coming up under the house would be harder to disprove as you can hardly drag her underneath into a crawl space...or maybe this is like when they see children in the room and your suspose to play along? But then again - it sounds like if you play along with this water issue it just further works mom up. I don't know, I'm stumped. Lol - maybe on the next hot day put on some shorts and get a blow-up mattress and tell mom your going out for a float? Maybe you could get an hour of peace and rest "drifting" in her imaginary pond! Sorry - I know it's making you crazy.
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Ohhh, Jessie....I am so very sorry that you are having to deal w/this (on top of everything else). My Mom, too, has these recurring obsessions. I call them her "Dementia/OCD" incidents (not a medical term, lol)....

In my Mom's case, it's always focused on driving and cars. Last time I visited her, she said to me, "So, you have a rental car?" And, I thought (optimistic idiot that I am), a good day....she remembers that I now have to rent a car since she quit driving 5 years ago and we sold her car. Then, she immediately says, with a big, beautiful, totally sincere smile, "Hey....can I borrow it? I just want to run across the street to the grocery store." This woman is 94+, moderate dementia, after numerous falls, breaks, surgeries, now wheelchair-bound, cannot even get in or out of a vehicle as a passenger w/out at least 2 people's assistance, etc.....and, of course, there is no "grocery store across the street"....

Well....numerous other similar incidents, including the "purchase" of new cars, worry about where these cars are parked, need to wash and wax these cars, etc....BUT....my Mom is in a lovely ALF and no longer mobile....plus, my Mom is still generally sweet (she has had some outrageous moments but that's another story).....

I totally share your disbelief that otherwise incredibly impaired people who cannnot remember what has actually occured in their life 5 years or 5 minutes ago, can still "remember/hang on to" their bizarre personal obsessions....for years....for that matter, I have no idea why my Mom is so focused on cars! of all things....she is a well-educated, successful and popular local journalist, published author, longtime active advocate for good causes, big volunteer in retirement....but....cars???

Regretfully, I have no answers to offer....just commiseration....
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