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Do you correct your relative when they remember something incorrectly?

Queen Bee

Registered User
Jan 3, 2014
8
0
Kent
My Dad is now home but went missing tonight after getting confused & lost after a row with his wife.

The row was about their home which my Dad believes belongs to an old friend. He is convinced they will be thrown out of their home soon as the friend now wants their place back. This is not true as they live in rented accommodation through a housing association. His wife said no no this flat is ours but my Dad would not have it. She also wants to change some furniture but my Dad says they can't because the furniture belongs to the flat owner not them so they can't sell it!

As my Dad gets so agitated and in this instance, the row resulted in him walking out, I think that is is better to keep Dad calm. WHilst I know it is difficult, I think it would be easier to go along with what Dad says. Reassure him that although the flat does belong to this friend, this friend has agreed to let them stay and change furniture if they wish, or something like this. If Dad firmly believes this, trying to tell him otherwise will only frustrate him. Through no fault of his own, Dad can't be reasoned with.

His wife has now told me in no uncertain terms that I am not to 'go along' with things Dad believes and that I must correct him. She wants him to be told the truth always. Whilst in everyday life, I am the most honest person, with Dad I don't feel it's as cut and dry as truth and lies. My priority is keeping Dad calm and as happy and safe as possible. As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, why should I constantly correct him frustrating him further?

ANyone else had experiences like this and what was the outcome?
 

FifiMo

Registered User
Feb 10, 2010
4,705
0
Wiltshire
It is ok telling the truth (in this case you're wrong and I'm right) if the person has the ability to discern that their understanding was wrong and that the truth is in fact correct.

Once someone like your dad loses the ability to apply logic and rational then there will be no resolution possible no matter how wrong he is. If his reality is that he is living in a friend's house nothing is going to change that. Even if there is a fleeting understanding how long will it take for him to forget this and revert to his previous position. As his wife has found out today, the only product of blindly sticking to the 'truth' is an argument that can rage on and on. Sometimes resulting in temper which could in future result in physical harm!

You're right in trying to keep dad calm and contented. One way to achieve this is to take responsibility for dealing with the problem. In this scenario, in a loud voice lift the phone and talk to the friend. Say there has been a change and he is now happy that they stay for as long as they like. Are you happy for them to buy new furniture, yes, that is good news. Finish with something like 'ok I'll tell dad you're asking for him and will be in touch soon'. With this approach, you're honouring your dad's understanding of the situation but are taking action to sort things out for them.

Maybe you can print out the following thread for his wife. This explains and gives tips about communicating with someone with dementia. http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/show...ionate-Communication-with-the-Memory-Impaired

Fiona
 

jan.s

Registered User
Sep 20, 2011
7,353
0
70
I am sorry to read about your Dad. I, like you, am totally honest and have always been so with my husband, until the point that dementia skewed his views!

I found it better for him, less confusing and distressing to go along with his false impressions. One night he accused me of having knocked down our neighbour's house and he was worried that the neighbour was cross. I told him I would sort it, went outside for a few minutes, came back in and said that I had talked to the neighbour and he was fine about it. We then just moved on with our evening.

I think it must be very distressing for someone to constantly be told they are wrong - none of us like that. Clearly your Dad was worried about their future and he truly believed his thoughts. My view is "pick your fights". Correct him only when it's important, otherwise why does it matter? I totally agree with you that it's better to keep him calm and contented. This is just my view.
 

Onlyme

Registered User
Apr 5, 2010
4,992
0
UK
In his mind bad world he knows this place isn't his, he would remember it if it was therefore he must be renting it until he goes back home (probably from 20 years ago). Telling him otherwise is the lie in his world.

Tell her to try both answers and see which gives him the most peace.
 

Queen Bee

Registered User
Jan 3, 2014
8
0
Kent
Thank you all so much for your replies. It's really useful to hear your experiences and that I might be doing something right. I feel so helpless especially when his wife shouts at me and tells me that I'm not to lie to my Dad.

Thanks for the link. I will have a read through.

All your words have been such a comfort. i cannot say how they have helped. Thank you.
 

Not so Rosy

Registered User
Nov 30, 2013
578
0
I never correct my Dad, I just go along with whatever he says.

Dad also went AWOL tonight (third time since New Years Day). He ended up banging on the door of a house called The Retreat, not sure if that was by accident or maybe some sort of cry for help as he too doesn't believe his house is his home.
 

Queen Bee

Registered User
Jan 3, 2014
8
0
Kent
Sorry to hear this is the third time this year. This is the second time my Dad has gone missing. The police were brilliant both times in finding him and bringing him home. I'm very grateful to them.

So hard isn't it? Thanks for replying too.
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,289
0
SW London
Unfortunately, correcting someone with dementia so often just leads to even more stress and hassle than you have already. It is usually far easier to go along with whatever it is, though I know this can be easier said than done.

At one point my mother became convinced that her sister had 'stolen' their mother's house. Nothing on earth I said could convince her - when I tried I was just 'in league with her' and a dreadful liar. it was so hard listening to her endlessly going on about how wicked my poor innocent aunt was, but even cast iron proof from the High Court would not have convinced her. In the end I just started saying, Dear me, that's awful, I'll get on to a solicitor first thing tomorrow.

What was a lot harder was when she became convinced that she and her cleaning lady had taken my father's dead body miles away in the cleaning lady's car, and just dumped it. (!) This had been triggered by something on TV followed by a dream - she was most terribly distressed and nothing I said, not even the lovely cleaning lady telling her she'd never taken her anywhere in her car, could convince her. And I didn't see at the time how I could go along with it when she was so distressed, though in hindsight I suppose I should have said that I knew, it was OK, we had found him and he'd been buried properly. She could not at all remember his funeral, or that the whole family had been there.
Thankfully this vile 'bee' buzzing round her head buzzed off after about 48 hours.
 

jeany123

Registered User
Mar 24, 2012
19,035
0
73
Durham
Our life would be just one big argument if I corrected my husband all the time,
He says things and imagines things all the time , his whole conversation is about untruths, for my own sanity I either, when appropriate ignore or agree , change the subject or give him a solution,I was brought up a very honest person and this goes against all I have been taught but if it is for the sake of my husbands happiness and my sanity i will go along with it,
 
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Noorza

Registered User
Jun 8, 2012
6,542
0
There is something called confabulation that you may want to read further on.

Confabulation is where there are memories left but also parts missing, so they confabulate to fill in the missing parts, which becomes what I call their "new reality". They believe it to be true, they are not lying, so to contradict and correct them is in my limited experience not just useless but leads to anger and agitation.


You can't convince a person something is true when they believe the opposite.

So when mum thought my brother was five years old and taken by a bad family, I had to assure her he was fine, get him on the phone and tell her he was on his way home.

There are times for truth and times for lies, when Mum processes information like the old mum, which is a lot of the time, it's best to be truthful but when she is misremembering, then I go along with it.

If his wife really does not want to lie, would she acknowledge and change the subject? Something like "I'm sorry you don't think we can move the furniture right now, shall we have a cuppa", no lies but hopefully less agitation.

It's really hard when family differ on what's best for the person so I do feel for you.
 
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rajahh

Registered User
Aug 29, 2008
2,791
0
Hertfordshire
your problem is not with your father, your problem is with his wife!!

Whatever you say is going to be undermined by her until she can be convinced that she is wrong to confront him all the time.

I do not know how that will happen.

Jeannette
 

snap draggon

Registered User
Aug 27, 2011
24
0
When we were at hospital once I mentioned this to hubby's doctor and said that I found it frustrating not being sure when to correct hubby and when not to as I didn't want him to look foolish in front of other people, she looked at hubby and said Mr...... you have to realise that you are not always right and then looked at me and said Mrs .... you have to realise he cannot always help it and only to correct him if it was really important. For some reason and I don't know why it seems to work although I must confess that I do occasionally slip up and it does sometimes cause a row but I just remind him what the doctor said that day and it seems to calm us both down. Hope this helps.xx
 

snap draggon

Registered User
Aug 27, 2011
24
0
your problem is not with your father, your problem is with his wife!!

Whatever you say is going to be undermined by her until she can be convinced that she is wrong to confront him all the time.

I do not know how that will happen.

Jeannette

Just a thought maybe his wife hasn't really accepted what is wrong with him or doesn't want to accept it.
 

flowerpot

Registered User
Jul 27, 2010
2,450
0
63
Rural North Northumberland
That's what I thought she's still in denial and can't accept it! She has to realize that you can't argue with someone with dementia as it doesn't you or certainly the person with dementia any good at all!
 

Queen Bee

Registered User
Jan 3, 2014
8
0
Kent
Thanks again for the replies. I feel like I'm not alone with all of this!

The trouble is I think his wife is struggling with the fact he doesn't always remember her and reverts back to when he was married to my Mum. It must be so hard for her in that way. However I feel that if she persists on correcting him, then my Dad may lash out and then he will be forced to move into a care home. His wife is quite certain that she doesn't want to be without him and doesn't want him going into a home. I don't think she realises that unless he can be kept calm and happy, she will force the issue.

She is his main carer and as they do not live close to my family, my Dad relies heavily upon her for his everyday existence. I do not want to fall out with her but I feel that she should seek help in understanding this condition. She is given a carers allowance but I think she needs support, someone to talk to that understands. Maybe a care professional could get through to her better?

I was wondering if in these circumstances, do people with dementia get assigned a social worker or similar?
 

zeeeb

Registered User
Sounds like she's going to get a very sore head, banging it against the same walls over and over again.

It's hard when you are in it, to see out, and to see the logic that arguing over things is purely a waste of time, and that by correcting someone is a complete waste of time if they are just going to forget again an hour later.

It's hard to not correct people when they are wrong, but if it causes agitation, we must learn not to otherwise we'll spend a lot of time arguing about things that are beyong comprehension to the dementia sufferer.

My nanna was similar with my grandpa (deceased a very long time ago now). She used to get so angry at him for forgetting and used to just think he was doing all these silly things to annoy her. It took her a very very long time to accept that he really did have alzheimer's wasn't trying to make her angry and that he couldn't control some of his actions.
 

tom0591

Registered User
Dec 18, 2013
59
0
I do not want to fall out with her but I feel that she should seek help in understanding this condition. She is given a carers allowance but I think she needs support, someone to talk to that understands. Maybe a care professional could get through to her better?

I was wondering if in these circumstances, do people with dementia get assigned a social worker or similar?

The problem is that your Dad's wife does not understand anything about Dementia.
What you have written here is exactly correct.
Your Dad's wife will have to realise that her husband has an ailment that affects his judgement - it is not his fault.
Also she must understand that over time, unfortunately, it will get worse,

If your Dad has his wife as a carer you may get some help, but you will have to push for it.

But your main immediate problem is with your Dad's wife.
She will simply get your Dad wound up, irritated and unhappy.

The WORST thing you can do with someone with dementia is to try to correct them
because :

- it will make them think they are being lied to
- it will make them unhappy and stressed.

People with dementia lose track of time and place, and live in a world of their own making as their memory becomes fragmented.

You need to get your Dad's wife to talk to someone who knows about dementia so that she can keep your Dad happy. At the moment, she simply does not understand and she can't help your Dad without knowing how dementia affects a person's memory and reasoning abilities.
 
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Queen Bee

Registered User
Jan 3, 2014
8
0
Kent
Thank you. I need to get her some help/support from a care professional. She won't hear this from me or my family. That's my next course of action.

I know I'm stating the obvious but what an awful condition this is for my Dad and for his family to cope with. So very cruel.