1. Expert Q&A: Protecting a person with dementia from financial abuse - Weds 26 June, 3:30-4:30 pm

    Financial abuse can have serious consequences for a person with dementia. Find out how to protect a person with dementia from financial abuse.

    Sam, our Knowledge Officer (Legal and Welfare Rights) is our expert on this topic. She will be here to answer your questions on Wednesday 26 June between 3:30 - 4:30 pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

Dealing with delusions / paranoid thoughts?

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by stressed-in-oz, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. stressed-in-oz

    stressed-in-oz Registered User

    Jul 25, 2013
    11
    Sydney
    Hi there,

    I’m not sure where to start on this one – basically the problem I have is that my mum is in early to middle stages of Alzheimers, and I’m an only child, and live the other side of the world in Australia. We’ve always had a very close relationship indeed, to the point where I can’t remember us having an argument since I was a child, but now the communication has completely broken down, and pretty much out of nowhere, and not the result of a disagreement. Unfortunately she is convinced that a) I want to put her in a care home, and b) I want to sell her house. Apparently this is quite a common side-effect of the disease. I'm hoping this goes without saying but I have no intention of doing either!

    To compound the problem, she has now moved in with very well meaning, but ultimately elderly friends of hers, and the communication issues have kind of mirrored the timings of her moving in with them. Although they say all the right things to me that they are trying to convince her that this isn’t the case, I can’t be absolutely sure they’re helping the situation.

    It’s now got to the point where I haven’t been able to speak to her for months because it makes her agitated and upset for days and even weeks afterwards. I’ve tried writing a letter explaining (using validate, reassure and direct) that I honestly don’t want to do either course of action (and I’m not quite sure how I would even be able to sell her house from under her given I don’t have financial PoA) – but whatever I try just isn’t cutting through, and I don’t want to upset her any more than she is.

    I’m going back to the UK at Xmas with my wife and two daughters, and really want her to see and interact with the girls. However she’s absolutely beside herself with panic that I’ve come back specifically to put her in a home, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

    I’m just wondering if anyone else has got any experience of this and anything that might have worked. I’m at my wits end what to do, and want to try and make the most of my trip back so that mum can get some long overdue quality time with her granddaughters.

    Alan
     
  2. learningcurve

    learningcurve Registered User

    Oct 9, 2015
    22
    Hampshire
    Hi stressed-in-oz. No advice really just didn't want to read and run. It's a difficult situation as you don't know how her friends are dealing with it, are they agreeing with her or trying to convince her that she's wrong, you just don't know. In my experience I have spent many hours worrying myself silly at night over things that have happened that have soon resolved themselves. I have realised with my Mum that a lot of what she says is through fear of what is happening to her and have tried to reassure her the best I can. Hopefully when you actually arrive in the UK and see her again and talk to her things will sort itself. Good luck x
     
  3. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    773
    Afternoon stressed . I am also in Australia.
    My mum had been in a nursing home since May 2014. The paranoia that you are talking about is common sadly.
    My mum is challenging to say the least Just one thing the verbal agression I have had reported definitely includes me as one of the bad guys (dad, dec, is the other ) but mum is really nice face to face she seems enjoys seeing me.
    I think my mother is probably further along than yours but your mother maybe better when you see her in person
     
  4. AlsoConfused

    AlsoConfused Registered User

    Sep 17, 2010
    1,958
    Our experience of this kind of behaviour came when my Mum took against her loving daughter-in-law, believing that the daughter-in-law had delayed Dad's journey back from hospital (after a major cancer op) by persuading him to do a DIY job for her. Mum was cold with her daughter-in-law for months over this confabulation. She couldn't be argued out of it. Eventually Mum forget what she'd imagined and the relationship returned to its earlier warmth.

    What I'd suggest Alan is that you now do everything you can to stop your Mum "reinforcing" and "rehearsing" this concern of hers. If you can have a private word (eg by email?) with the friends your Mum is now with to explain the strategy you're following and to ask them to cooperate with it, so much the better. If necessary, don't get in touch again with your Mum (however hard that is) until it's clear from her conversations with your wife and daughters she's forgotten her worries about your intentions.

    As far as is humanly practicable, don't let anyone initiate or respond directly to anything your Mum says about your evil intentions of putting her in a home. Instead distract instantly - eg "did you know Mum, X [someone known to her] has just bought a puppy ... it's ever so sweet, it's got the most lovely floppy ears!".

    Remember when your Mum actually sees you in person, she may "switch" back into the normal relationship she's always had with you. 'Phone calls and letters are sometimes more worrying and demanding than face to face contact for someone who no longer feels safe or in control of their lives. If this is the case then the visit may be more rewarding and trouble-free than you currently expect.

    If the worst comes to the worse then maybe you'll need to take the heartbreaking decision of absenting yourself much of the time and letting your wife and girls make as much of the Xmas visit as they possibly can.
     
  5. stressed-in-oz

    stressed-in-oz Registered User

    Jul 25, 2013
    11
    Sydney
    Thanks for the comments - I totally agree about the comment about how her friends are dealing with it, they say all the right things to me, but for all I know they could be completely reinforcing this view. I don't know them well enough to know for sure (have lived in oz now for over 16 years). I really hope they're not enabling the behaviour. I've actually got our local Dementia clinic to come pay her a home visit next week, so they can do a bit of an independent review of everything. Hopefully once they've done that, they might be able to help facilitate some kind of therapy or help to convince her that I'm not trying to do these things, although I'm realistic enough to know that might be unlikely.

    I think though the best plan of action right now is to lie low until I return at xmas and just try to talk to her face to face then, with the knowledge it may end up being a very short conversation indeed.

    I suppose I knew this was coming, I never expected the relationship to change so suddenly though. This really is one cruel disease.
     
  6. Misstep

    Misstep Registered User

    Oct 7, 2015
    57
    South Wales
    So familiar

    Hi there. I'm going through exactly the same thing, only I'm on hand (also an only child) and a very easy target. I'm afraid my mother got rapidly worse, started wandering, took an accidental overdose & ended up in hospital. I got her into a beautiful home from there, but now every time I go near her, she just accuses me of locking her up - actually, she agreed with the doctors she'd go there. It hasn't improved things and I've had to block her calls from the home now. I'm having some time off, but I'm starting to wonder if I should just stay away. In short, I can't offer any advice, just some reassurance that you're far from alone in this.

     
  7. Misstep

    Misstep Registered User

    Oct 7, 2015
    57
    South Wales
    So familiar

    Hi there. I'm going through exactly the same thing, only I'm on hand (also an only child) and a very easy target. I'm afraid my mother got rapidly worse, started wandering, took an accidental overdose & ended up in hospital. I got her into a beautiful home from there, but now every time I go near her, she just accuses me of locking her up - actually, she agreed with the doctors she'd go there. It hasn't improved things and I've had to block her calls from the home now. I'm having some time off, but I'm starting to wonder if I should just stay away. In short, I can't offer any advice, just some reassurance that you're far from alone in this.

     
  8. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    Hi Alan. I expect your mum feels very scared and disempowered by her illness. Your closeness to each other makes you the most emotionally significant male authority figure in her life. I think she is therefore projecting her fears on to you. It isn't anything you have done wrong. In fact, if the bond was less strong she would have been less likely to form this delusion. It contains strong emotional logic, but is not rationally logical. That's why your reassurances have had little effect. She continues to feel insecure, therefore (in her mind) you must have done something to threaten her security.

    I think she already knows she can't manage to live on her own any more. I don't know how she came to move in with her friends, but she must have accepted that she needs help. It may have been a relief at first, but she is now feeling extremely vulnerable and fears that she is in a halfway stage between her old home and residential care.

    You say you have no intention of moving her to a CH, or of selling her house (I note what you say about not having POA). These elderly friends won't always be able or willing to manage looking after your mum, will they? What is Plan B?

    I think your mum is anticipating (and resisting) a progression to residential care. I would advise that you do not, in trying to regain her trust, make promises to her that you may not be able to keep. If she is to return to her own home, her care arrangements will need to be robust.

    Someone will need to obtain POA, or Deputyship, in order to manage both her financial affairs and her welfare. If not you, then who will do it? Aim to find out as much as you can in advance so that you can make good use of your time when you come to the UK. Good luck, Katrine.
     
  9. stressed-in-oz

    stressed-in-oz Registered User

    Jul 25, 2013
    11
    Sydney
    I've got medical but not financial PoA. It was got years back before there was ever any sign of dementia, but unfortunately she got the wrong advice and only got medical covered. By the time we needed to change it she'd already got paranoid and put it off. And yes I agree about not making promises I can't keep. I've always said that I wanted her to stay out of a home until the local Dementia Centre recommended otherwise. My view's never changed on that, we had long conversations about it back in the early stages. Unfortunately all that counts for nothing now.

    I'm reading other threads where people are saying the paranoia phase can pass, however my advice from Alzheimer's Australia is that it's unlikely. Is there a chance she could get over this phase?
     

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