false memories

Monday’s child

Registered User
Aug 24, 2022
104
0
Good morning everyone just looking for some common sense advice for something that is starting to get me down. I have been reading a lot about false memories and confabulation to help me make sense of our situation.
My mother's false recollections about herself and everything to do with her life and capabilities are annoying but I can put up with them as I feel she has always been self centred, however totally out of the blue the other day she began ranting that I had bought all her new furniture from a junk shop, it is all second hand, damaged and she hates it all ( I had the house redecorated 4 years ago and she chose everything with my help) She is still having this rant days later and her face is like thunder when in the throws of it. I have just been walking away but it has upset me.
Any experience of this behaviour as it seems to be getting worse.
With everything you are all dealing with I know this is really trivial so just looking for coping strategies really.
Just to add she is not ill, no infection, healthy appetite
 

northumbrian_k

Volunteer Host
Mar 2, 2017
4,492
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Newcastle
Hi @Fil it is by no means trivial. Dealing with confabulated stories and beliefs that are unshakeable and untrue is one of the worst aspects of supporting someone with dementia. All I can suggest is to try not to worry about what is being said. You will never convince your mother. In time she may move on to some other - perhaps equally false - obsession. In the meantime, try not to take things personally. You don't have to agree with or endorse what she says. But you can try to shift the focus rather than paying much attention to it.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
25,048
0
South coast
Im afraid that they dont realise that the false memories (confabulations) are not true as they seem like the real thing to them, so if you try and tell them that it is not true it will just make them angry - because, you see, they know its true, because they remember it.......

I think that not engaging and just walking away is the best solution. I hope this passes soon.
xx
 

Mumlikesflowers

Registered User
Aug 13, 2020
206
0
I agree, that sounds so not trivial in terms of your morale. And indeed for her, in her level of upset about it. There certainly is hope in the phases of it all. Mum used to be paranoid but not at the mo. It's also that she is a happier bunny on memantine. My response, if I can muster it, to things that are 'below the belt' or not happy news for me are 'sorry you feel like that'. I've no idea if it makes a difference to just acknowledge it before shifting focus or walking away but I'd like to think it did.
 

yvie1

New member
Oct 31, 2022
9
0
I found it very difficult to redirect my mum yesterday. She was talking about my dad ( deceased 2014) and being cross about him. I thought it was going to be that she had not seen him, which I've had many times, but she was adamant that he had a new woman and had two girls. I said well, his brother had two girls and I named them, thinking we could get a divert going about the family in general. She repeated what she was convinced of. I tried to be reassuring and say no dad just had you, pointing to the wedding picture, and you and dad just had me! No she said, she could prove it. I probably shouldn't have but I repeated what I had said, adding that they had a wonderful long time together and she had been his only wife and was the only one for him. We were looking a old photos and I could also point to a photo and try to redirect again by saying look, here he is being a granddad for the first time. It got to her being cross and me sticking to my guns and then just letting her say what she wanted to, but with me feeling upset. Redirection was finally achieved as I persuaded her it was time to go downstairs ( care home) for lunch.
This false memory was hinted at one one other recent visit before this one, so I think it may come up again.
It made me emotional: angry and sad, to have dad's life misremembered like this. I don't think I am as good as some people here and I did get cross and contradicted her.
Afterwards I had a chat with care staff and they were supportive and reassuring.
I find "not telling the truth" very difficult. Does anyone else?
I'm finding this particular false memory about family hard to take.
 

SeaSwallow

Volunteer Moderator
Oct 28, 2019
5,808
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@yvie1 It is difficult when something like this happens, especially in your case as the false memory is about your dad. Try to remember that it is the dementia talking and not your mum and that might make it hurt a little less.
As you found, it’s no good arguing, but at the same time you don’t have to agree. Try neutral comments like, is that so, or even just something like - hmmmmm. You could then try distracting with a cup of tea and cake, or some chocolate. That works for some people.
 

marieantoinette

New member
Feb 8, 2021
7
0
I found it very difficult to redirect my mum yesterday. She was talking about my dad ( deceased 2014) and being cross about him. I thought it was going to be that she had not seen him, which I've had many times, but she was adamant that he had a new woman and had two girls. I said well, his brother had two girls and I named them, thinking we could get a divert going about the family in general. She repeated what she was convinced of. I tried to be reassuring and say no dad just had you, pointing to the wedding picture, and you and dad just had me! No she said, she could prove it. I probably shouldn't have but I repeated what I had said, adding that they had a wonderful long time together and she had been his only wife and was the only one for him. We were looking a old photos and I could also point to a photo and try to redirect again by saying look, here he is being a granddad for the first time. It got to her being cross and me sticking to my guns and then just letting her say what she wanted to, but with me feeling upset. Redirection was finally achieved as I persuaded her it was time to go downstairs ( care home) for lunch.
This false memory was hinted at one one other recent visit before this one, so I think it may come up again.
It made me emotional: angry and sad, to have dad's life misremembered like this. I don't think I am as good as some people here and I did get cross and contradicted her.
Afterwards I had a chat with care staff and they were supportive and reassuring.
I find "not telling the truth" very difficult. Does anyone else?
I'm finding this particular false memory about family hard to take.
I have this with my mum too. She has no memory of my dad (they were married 70 year s when he died 5 years ago). She’s convinced she was married twice and often thinks she’s engaged to someone in the care home. I find it so upsetting to have my darling dad erased

But it makes no difference whatever I say, how ever many photos I show her or anecdotes I tell.

I’m afraid it’s yet another heartbreak of dementia. Now I change the subject and don’t try to talk about dad ~ but it makes me so sad. I’d love to chat about him.
 

Scarlet Lady

Registered User
Apr 6, 2021
582
0
@marieantoinette , this is one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. I’m so sorry, both for you and your mum, who seems to have no recollection of a 70 year old marriage. That really is the cruellest thing.
 

NickP

Registered User
Feb 23, 2021
115
0
It really isn't trivial - it is such a hard thing to deal with. My MIL has confabulations about several family members, but mainly my husband and me. She has accused my husband (her son) of all sorts of awful things. She won't let either of us visit now (she's still in her own home) and when my husband has tried she becomes hysterical & shrieks all sorts of things at and about him. He has decided it's kinder to her at the moment not to visit so his eldest daughter is currently doing all the visits, helping etc. It's a horrible situation for everyone.
I'm sorry I've got no helpful ideas but hopefully knowing you are not alone may help a bit.
 

JoannePat

Registered User
Jan 24, 2019
212
0
The false memories are one of the worst things I think and I like you @yvie1 find myself doing exactly what I know I shouldn't! Not so much contradicting but questioning and trying to correct my dad.

Me and my husband have a safe word now 🤣 🙈 🤣 , just in case one of us can see the other going down the rabbit hole!

Today my dad was borderline, he accused me of losing my keys for his house and when I was about to say "I never lost them", he just said at least you have found them now!? Where the heavens did they come from??

We have to remember they are unwell, we just can't put a bandage on them.

Jxx
 

yvie1

New member
Oct 31, 2022
9
0
@yvie1 It is difficult when something like this happens, especially in your case as the false memory is about your dad. Try to remember that it is the dementia talking and not your mum and that might make it hurt a little less.
As you found, it’s no good arguing, but at the same time you don’t have to agree. Try neutral comments like, is that so, or even just something like - hmmmmm. You could then try distracting with a cup of tea and cake, or some chocolate. That works for some people.
Thank you. Yes, I do use those sort of replies! I think it was difficult this time because mum was angry with me.
 

yvie1

New member
Oct 31, 2022
9
0
I have this with my mum too. She has no memory of my dad (they were married 70 year s when he died 5 years ago). She’s convinced she was married twice and often thinks she’s engaged to someone in the care home. I find it so upsetting to have my darling dad erased

But it makes no difference whatever I say, how ever many photos I show her or anecdotes I tell.

I’m afraid it’s yet another heartbreak of dementia. Now I change the subject and don’t try to talk about dad ~ but it makes me so sad. I’d love to chat about him.
So sorry to hear about your mum forgetting your dad. It is such a sad thing when this happens. My mum still remembers my dad and family members and friends and I am so grateful for that. But she only talks about them when I bring photos or talk about them, unless it is to worry about something and that is usually linked to my mum thinking people are alive who aren't. I think you just have to hold on to your own memories and chat about your dad with other people who can share those memories with you.
 

yvie1

New member
Oct 31, 2022
9
0
It really isn't trivial - it is such a hard thing to deal with. My MIL has confabulations about several family members, but mainly my husband and me. She has accused my husband (her son) of all sorts of awful things. She won't let either of us visit now (she's still in her own home) and when my husband has tried she becomes hysterical & shrieks all sorts of things at and about him. He has decided it's kinder to her at the moment not to visit so his eldest daughter is currently doing all the visits, helping etc. It's a horrible situation for everyone.
I'm sorry I've got no helpful ideas but hopefully knowing you are not alone may help a bit.
Thank you. So sorry to hear about your MIL. I agree about it being hard to deal with, particularly when a false memory maligns someone. Until my mum's dementia got worse I thought that it was mostly to do with losing memories and confusion. It wasn't until I began to read more about it that I found out about false memories and confabulations. I sometimes think about my mum's memory as being as delicate as lace and like lace, having holes, but it was a shock when she began starting to talk about things that she believes are true and are not.
 

yvie1

New member
Oct 31, 2022
9
0
The false memories are one of the worst things I think and I like you @yvie1 find myself doing exactly what I know I shouldn't! Not so much contradicting but questioning and trying to correct my dad.

Me and my husband have a safe word now 🤣 🙈 🤣 , just in case one of us can see the other going down the rabbit hole!

Today my dad was borderline, he accused me of losing my keys for his house and when I was about to say "I never lost them", he just said at least you have found them now!? Where the heavens did they come from??

We have to remember they are unwell, we just can't put a bandage on them.

Jxx
Thank you. The safe word sounds like a good idea! I visit mum on my own nearly all the time. When my daughter comes over and goes with me, she is really good at redirecting and being supportive of both mum and me. She is very empathetic and it comes naturally to her.