Neighbour with Dementia making accusations

Discussion in 'Welcome and how to use Dementia Talking Point' started by murphynat, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. murphynat

    murphynat Registered User

    Nov 30, 2015
    Hi, I have been living in my ground floor flat for the past four years and never had any problems or issues with any of my neighbours until yesterday. My elderly neighbour upstairs came down with another neighbour (who was unaware of why she had been asked to accompany my other neighbour) to complain to my boyfriend and I about noise. She first started by saying there was a noise in the bathroom, like a wooshing noise of water. She also went as far as to say that we were creating her whole bedroom to vibrate so much her bedside tables are moving. Then she said that we are in fact waiting until she goes to bed to start making noise to keep her awake deliberately. Not only that but we are following her around her house making noises in the same rooms she goes into. We tried to reason with her as did our other neighbour that the noise must be coming from somewhere else, the roof perhaps but she insisted it was a human who was making this noise deliberately and she didn't want any help from us, just for us to stop doing what we are doing to annoy her. She also accused me of ignoring her outside our flats while getting into a black car. Neither I not anyone in my family own a black car. Could this be early onset dementia? She seems paranoid that we are out to get her and that's upsetting me the most as we are good neighbours. Not only that but she has said she will report us if it continues. I only thought it could be dementia when I calmed down and spoke to my other neighbour as in 4 years there has been no issues but all of a sudden she thinks we are following her around her house making noises that only she can hear. Also said the noises don't happen when visitors are in implying again that we are doing it to annoy her and her alone.

    Any help on how to handle this situation would be greatly welcomed. I would like to help her if possible but given she is convinced we want to bring harm to her I don't know what to do.

    Thanks x
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    Sounds very much like dementia. If you have become the target of her paranoia then I am afraid there is not much you can do except keep out of her way. Let's hope she gets some help if she comes to the attention of the social services.
  3. blue skies

    blue skies Registered User

    Sep 18, 2015
    Feel for you

    Sorry to hear about your neighbour, its very upsetting for all parties. I am currently going through this with my Mother who lives above me, what I found useful was to keep a diary, as this could be a regular occurrence for you. All you can do is to assure him or her its not happening , not that they will believe you. Once again, I'm sorry , be positive.

    LOU_JONES Registered User

    Nov 18, 2015
    Hello, does the neighbour have any family? Perhaps you could speak to them if they visit? Sounds quite strange and like dementia....
    If it is dementia she doesn't mean it - it's her illness. Quite sad.
  5. Delphie

    Delphie Registered User

    Dec 14, 2011
    I feel so, so sorry for you. My mum was extremely paranoid for quite some time and dealing with these kinds of baseless accusations is horrible and frustrating. But, as they say, you can't reason a person out of something they didn't reason themselves into. Your neighbour believes what she's saying as firmly as you know that she's wrong and I doubt you'll be able to change her mind.

    There is a chance she'll fixate on something else sooner or later, but delusions like this can take hold and be very long lasting. Of course, this may not be dementia but some other mental health issue, but it does sound like the kind of thing many of us here have had the misfortune to deal with.

    I'm not sure who she was or is planning to report you to, but might it be an idea to make that contact first, not to make a complaint about her behaviour perhaps but to log your concerns? Does this lady have any family you could talk to?

    To be honest, I wouldn't engage with her if she comes to your door again. A polite 'sorry you feel that way' is enough to acknowledge her but that's enough. She's not your responsibility and if she keeps bothering you start keeping a record of dates and times and if it gets too much contact your local social services and tell them what's happening. It's unlikely that this behaviour is her only symptom of whatever it is that's going on with her and if there's no family on the scene then a social worker ought to check out her living situations and whether she's looking after herself, so don't feel bad if that's the route you find yourself going down.
  6. murphynat

    murphynat Registered User

    Nov 30, 2015
    Thanks for the support. I contacted my Factor and also the Environmental Health dept to record this and they said that was the right thing to do. Just so unfortunate :( I pride myself on being a good neighbour and can't imagine what this woman must be going through but it's very upsetting.
  7. meme

    meme Registered User

    Aug 29, 2011
    I would be very careful here... many years ago I had a neighbour in the flat below me, an elderly foreign woman.... and she began complaining that I walked around the flat in high heels all the time...needless to say I had a partner and young child and never wore heels!! she was constantly complaining about things that were ludicrous, I was very stressed and my partner actually did not support me at all...we/I ended up fighting this in court even though she was clearly to all concerned mentally ill....
    So cover yourself by reporting this as it could escalate into something nasty....
  8. murphynat

    murphynat Registered User

    Nov 30, 2015
    Yeah you are right, I could see in her eyes that she was really angry and I got very upset in front of two of my neighbours. Quite embarrassing but the whole time she just fixated her eyes on me and didn't move them, it was really intimidating but the fact she was so convinced that we are doing something to annoy her meant that the conviction in her voice was convincing, until you heard what she was actually saying. We couldn't reason with her, and offered to show her round our house but she was having none of it. We also suggested speaking to the other neighbour through the wall to her but she is convinced it's us and not this other "single woman". I just have to try and let it lie for now and keep track of any strange behaviour and note it down. Thanks again
  9. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    I feel for you, and the poor lady, she may have a urine infection as part of some condition that is causing this paranoia. If things have been OK in the past with her it sounds like an acute onset of something. I was very unwell with acute paranoia and was very disturbed by constant noise in my flat, I called in the Environmental health and yes they all thought I was making it up despite the fact that friends who had stayed had heard it. Eventually, months later the noise was identified and guess what others had started to complain about it too. I knew I was ill and know that I am extra sensitive to noise but this really was a regular noise. The noises sensitivity becomes so unbearable at times and you can't escape it so, living alone, it can exacerbate any feelings of persecution or paranoia.

    I would cautiously try and tell her you'll investigate to see if you can identify what it is and ask others if they have been/are affected as not being taken seriously , can have even worse detrimental effects. Now I know what the noise is and that it has been acknowledged by those responsible to do something about it has made things a lot better despite the fact I still hear it.

    Maybe someone who knows her better could encourage her to visit her GP, either way wish you all the best.
  10. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    This is so sad for you and for her but it could be anything - sure it could be dementia but equally she could be having a breakdown. Does she have any close friends or visitors that you see coming or going? She could be really suffering if she has noone to help her sort things out. If anything happens it might be worth a call to social services adult care duty desk to say you are worried about her and see if they can advise.

    i just wonder if you popped up with some cakes or biscuits for her as a neighbourly gesture if you feel brave enough and don't say anything other than you saw them and thought she might like them and see if she says anything at all about the conversation (don't mention it). If she acts normally it is a sure sign something is wrong but it could be a number of things. At least trying to bridge the gap might be helpful and give you an insight into what might be going on.
    If it is dementia then she doesn't mean it!
  11. theunknown

    theunknown Registered User

    Apr 17, 2015
    From what you say it does sound as if the problem is with your neighbour's health. If she's having delusional beliefs (something that happened with my mum) I don't think it's possible to argue against them, so I wouldn't try. To your neighbour her reality is as truthful as yours. I'd reiterate what others have said and try and engage as little as possible because there'll be no logical outcome. However, if you feel able to (and I realise it must be extremely frustrating and annoying to be accused of behaviour that you know is not happening) perhaps you could keep a watchful eye to make sure your neighbour isn't indulging in behaviour that is harmful to her, and if you believe there's a real danger to get in touch with your local social services.

    Good luck.
  12. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    You sound like a very good neighbour to be so concerned.

    Whatever the cause of this delusion, you are not going to be able to reassure this lady with logic or reason with her. In her own mind she believes 100% in what she is saying so any approach you take with directly with her would need to acknowledge this.

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