How to handle repeated, obsessional worries?

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by lesley1958, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. lesley1958

    lesley1958 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2015

    My dad is 90 and was diagnosed with alzheimers/dementia bout 2 years ago. Most of the time as long as he is in familar surroundings he is not too bad but recently he has repeatedly been telling my mother that he wants to go and see his parents and refuses to believe her when she tells him they are dead. Once the episode passes he does not remember being upset and knows they are no longer with us. Does anyone have any advice on how best to try to distract/interrupt this train of thought when he starts to obsess about it? A dementia nurse is coming to do an assessment this week and I am going to ring her tomorrow - should I press for more medication in the form on antidepressants/tranquilisers? My mum does a wonderful job in caring for him but this is really wearing her down and I want so much to do something, anything to help her. I would be grateful for any feedback. Thank you so much. Lesley
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    I don't think it's wise to tell him repeatedly that they are dead. You just make him grieve all over again. Try fibs like they are on holiday or out shopping, whatever sounds believable. Then distract him with a cup of tea or an activity.
  3. lesley1958

    lesley1958 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2015
    Thanks, that's really useful. I'll suggest that Mum tells him they will go and see them the following day or as you say, with an activity of some kind. I think she resists doing that because she doesn't want to lie to him - maybe we are both a bit in denial about his condition - but it's not really lieing is it? Just getting through the moment. I am so grateful for your reply. Thanks.
  4. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    It may help you to think of the 'untruths' as 'love lies'. It helped me. My OH used to fret over his Dad not being there to pick him up from daycare:( I used to give him a variety of reasons such as 'the weather is bad so the trains aren't running' etc. ANYTHING to help someone over their anxiety is justified in my opinion.

    You and your Mum seem to be doing a terrific job.

    Take care

    Lyn T X
  5. Onlyme

    Onlyme Registered User

    Apr 5, 2010
  6. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    It's interesting that you say that he eventually 'knows they are no longer with us'. I had this issue with my mum at a certain point and hadn't come across the 'love lies' approach so told her that dad had died some years before. She always looked initially puzzled but was not unduly upset - she was someone who generally accepted good and bad things without too much emotion - and she was certainly not obsessive about it. I suppose, as with so many other issues, the best approach will vary from person to person.

    I would say try and steer clear of meds. It's useful to read the factsheets on the AS website on some of the meds used in these circumstances.
  7. Adcat

    Adcat Registered User

    Jun 15, 2014
    Tomorrow is the most useful word in my world. When my dad wants to go home to see his parents ( they died in 1964 and 1966) long before I was born, I say tomorrow and it seems to do the trick.
    Take care.
  8. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    I agree with the rest, my wife keeps asking about seeing her mother who died when she was 8 (so over 50 years ago) and her dad who died about 40 years ago, I just go with any number of delays like: we'll ring them tomorrow, they're away on holiday this week anything and you can keep using the same excuses over and over.
    I did try to go down the telling the truth route but it always ended in tears and there's only so many times you can do it, if anything it added to her misery.
  9. lesley1958

    lesley1958 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2015
    I'm so grateful to everyone who has taken the time to post these answers. I feel not quite so alone and I hope my Mum will feel that too.
  10. julie.49

    julie.49 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2015
    take the journey

    I am so gratefull to have found some thing I can relate to. My mum is 94 with dementia diagnosed about a year ago. Recently she has been getting rather anxious about the fact that my sister and I arnt home and we havnt even told her where we are. She is refaring to us when we were teenagers. She speaks to me as if I am a different person to the one she is worried about. She also frequently asks where my dad is. Although he passed away 18 years ago she thinks he is coming to take her home (she lives in her own home and has done for 30 yrs). I have found, although very difficult and upsetting that if I enter into her reality and pretend that these thing are in fact real it defitely helps to eleviate her worry. After all if my mum has no memory of my sister and I growing up or my dad passing away, in her reality it has never happened and would only upset her if I tried to bring her into my reality.
  11. Essie

    Essie Registered User

    Feb 11, 2015
    #11 Essie, Mar 25, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
    Just wanted to add that I agree with the 'go with the flow' approach - as someone else on here wrote, imagine if you when you said something others just kept insisting you were wrong, it never happened, it wasn't like that etc. it would be endlessly hurtful, confusing and upsetting if you were quite sure you were right.

    As Adcat said tomorrow is a great place, where everything will happen - tomorrow, when the car's fixed, when the weather's better etc etc

    But do also check with the dementia nurse to see if she feels your dad's agitation level is 'OK' or if medication could help him to be more settled. She will also be able to advise, if you want to ask, on extra help for your Mum if that's something that may now (or sometime soon) be appropriate - if your dad is 90 your Mum probably isn't decades younger than that so she's doing amazingly well to still be in a caring role.
  12. caseylouise

    caseylouise Registered User

    Nov 29, 2012
    My husband is in a care home and over the past few weeks he is becoming agitated telling staff and family that I am ill,in hospital and last weekend he was convinced I had died. He gets vary distraught and cries. I go to visit regularly and he is always pleased to see me. Have other members had this experience?,lo

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