Finding it hard to understand


Registered User
Sep 17, 2007
Dad visited today, he seems to get an obsession about something these days and whatever I say or do it makes no difference.
He seems to have a great stubborness about him that I do not remember, he gets very determined and he will do something regardless!
I feel very depressed about it as there really does not seem to be any reasoning with him and he almost gets very angry and argumentative about it especially when he wants to buy something that does not exist but will spend weeks looking for it then actually does not buy it or find it, what a life!
Family members say to me - oh leave him to it!, he wont find it anyway! But it feels such a waste of his life, so unlike him.
Is this part of the disease?

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
steviel said:
Is this part of the disease?
I believe it is Stevie. There is no reasoning, logic or explanation that will help.

I have found with my husband that, as long as it doen`t put him at risk, if I agree with everything he says, there`s no conflict, no anger, no argument.

It isn`t easy to do, because if effect you are not living in the real world, you are trying to live in the world of dementia.

So if your father wants to buy something that doesn`t exist, I would offer to help him find it. Tell him you`ll see if you can buy it online. Anything to appease.

Nothing can be done about the waste of his life. He has a dreadful condition that`s irreversible. But quite a lot can be done about the quality of the life he has, and agreeing to try to meet his unrealistic demands is one way forwards.

Take care xx


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
As Sylvia says: yes, it's part of the disease. Not for everyone, not all the time, but not uncommon. Why, when someone has a problem remembering what would seem to the rest of us, the important things, but has no difficulty returning over and over again to the same obsession, I have no idea. Sometimes I think the thing, whatever it may be, represents in their mind a fix to their real problem, the dementia. If only they could find object A, all their problems will be solved. In a sense, it's easier if the object doesn't exist: it is particularly difficult if the obsession is a course of action as Sylvia can attest to.

I realise you feel that this is a waste of his time and energy, and I do understand that this is difficult particularly as it seems to be so out of character, and inevitably doomed to failure. However, no matter how odd it may seem from the outside, if this search doesn't distress him, I think you do have to let him be. I know that sounds patronising, but you're not going to be able to persuade him that object A dosn't exist and you'll cause both of you real distress if you try.

Best wishes


Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
Wigan, Lancs
Hi steviel,

I think it is very difficult when dealing with a previously very rational person, not to try and make them 'see sense'. Eventually you start to go along with them as arguing with them only makes them more upset and more confused.

MichaelE recently posted about a technique being used in his wife's care home where questions are answered with questions. I can't say I've tried it yet but it may be easier than always trying to come up with the 'right' answer.

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Hi Steviel, yup - know the 'obsessions' well.... (in mum's case she seems to go on and on about something for a few weeks - then it is completely forgotten and she moves on to something else)

And the absolute hogwash mum can come out with backed with a stern, 'And I know I'm right'! What I've tried to learn is that she IS right - in her world at least.

Very difficult.

Love, Karen, x


Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
steviel said:
Is this part of the disease?
Yes. And your family is right.

There is no point in trying to use reason or logic. Just go along with it or leave your Dad to it.

There is no point in exhausting yourself, getting him agitated trying to get him to "see reason" as he won't, and then your having to cope with the fallout of that agitation. It'll be like arguing with a brick wall, as no matter how nonsensical your Dad's reasoning, he will be as convinced he is right as you are. He will not be able to see the irrationality. The more you hammer at the walls the higher and thicker he'll build them.

I think in part it's a protective denial thing too; admitting he is wrong means admitting there's something wrong...and something wrong with that most sensitive of subjects, the mind. Most people readily admit they have a broken leg and can't walk. But admit to having a broken mind ...never...hence the determination to do (whatever it is). It;s to prove to themselves, as much as to us, that he was right and there's nothing wrong with him...

It may be possible to distract him, but possibly not either.

Obsessive behavior is certainly something we've had - and probably the most useless piece of advice from a medic was "he'll probably forget it". No. Can't remember what day it is, or what he had for lunch (or even having had lunch) but those darn "trousers I know we have" go around and around.

I think sometimes my dad remembers he wants something but has entirely forgotten the search for it and finding it five minutes ago.

We long ago decided to just agree, with dad's ludicrous walks along the great wall of China, the visits to countries he has never been to, his serving on a London paddle-steamer. etc etc. So long as we just nod and agree, he;s happy and we're happy.

It;s not easy agreeing with someone who is spouting what is so obviously nonsensical rubbish but to him the memories are real so it;s very upsetting to have someone say they aren't (or worse still, prove it).


Registered User
Feb 24, 2007
South Wales
Hello there, yes we have this too! And lots of it. Its taken me an awful long time to realise that trying to convince her otherwise is a total and complete waste of time and energy.

At the moment we are going through a "tin" phase. She keeps insisting on buying tins of food. She has cupboard after cupboard full to breaking point, but still insists she has none. We can show her, tell her she bought such an such yesterday etc etc etc but still she wants more!

So last night the dear old driver from our local supermarket braved rain and high winds (not to mention navigating his way around several tons of top soil we'd had delivered and dumped in the yard, which incidentally has now turned to mud :mad: ) to bring her more!

At least she's forgotten the "don't like the ceilings, walls, garden", etc that we have gone through over the past couple of months......


Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
leigh lancashire
Hi Steviel,Whose right and whose wrong?My dad has this stubborness,he always was stubborn and thats where i get it from!I have mellowed in my old age!I witnessed a confrontation between mum and dad today.He insisted that when they attende a funeral on Tuesday that it was P****** down (his words),Mum said "no it wasn't it was nice but cold".Well,all hell broke loose.Them 2 arguing about the weather!.I think sometimes the problem is we forget their problem.Agree if you disagree is my policy!Whats the point of an argument you know you won't win and end up wound up?love elainex


Registered User
Sep 17, 2007
Hi All
Thanks for the advice, You probably think I am a winger but some of these things are new to me as my Dad is only in the early stages and I know you guys seem to be very experienced at it all. I will learn to give in and agree as I know it is easier that way but sometimes you just feel as though you have to try!!
Fruitless I know!


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
but sometimes you just feel as though you have to try
Fruitless I know!
No what you mean . Mum use to get so frustrated in trying to explain , then me frustrated in trying to understand , never use to get angry with her , but just had to agree with her go along with it , then when she was proven wrong . she start on something else , this was in the early day that I never really understood what was happening to mum

Now would say who know maybe it does exist just can't find the wright words to explain it . My mother says to me she wants the heavy thing for breakfast, then I work out that she meant porridge oats :)

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Steviel, one of the best pieces of support I ever had - and I'll now pass on to you -is that the 'early stages' are in their own way as frightening and bewildering as others .... in a different way, yes, maybe ...... like caring for a parent or other family member is very different from caring for a partner, to some degree but not others .... or worrying about what a diagnosis might suggest to worrying about not having a definite diagnosis (as definite as one can ever be) ........ like all coming from from different geographic/financial/cultural backgrounds ......

If any of us were experts, we wouldn't need TP? It's the learning together on our individual journeys which make this place special ...... some are further on the journey admittedly ...... and to them huge thanks for the wisdom they share ...... some of us are treading a completely different path but sadly to the same destination ...... it's good to have the all the travel tips we might need!!!!!

And one day, who knows..... we'll pass them on too ......:(

Much love, Karen, x