Alzheimer`s Disease/A disease

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Question
My stepmother has been diagnosed in the early stages of Alzheimer disease. Although we got along well for many years,about 6 months ago she began making irratonal accusations against me. For example has accused me of coming into the house when they are gone (a three hour drive each way ) and stealing knick knacks. She has accused me of taking my Dad's military souvinirs, when he gave them to me years ago. she accused me yesterday of trying to "sell the house out from under" her and my dad. How do I deal with this kind of thing? I could ignore it, or I could try to reason with her. For example, I could point out that I couldn't sell the house even if  wanted to and would gain no benefit from leaving them homeless. My dad is in denial about the whole thing, so he is not much help.

Thanks

Jo

Answer
Hi Jo,
Paranoia is the worst part of this disease!  I am sorry that it is affecting your stepmother.  The best way that I know of dealing with this is to respond to her in a way that is totally convincing, ie: You stole the medals: Mom, Dad asked me to have them appraised so that he could get insurance on them.  Knick knacks: Mom you are right I did take them.  I bumped into the table and broke one so I am gluing them back together I'm bringing them home next time I come.  Selling the house: Mom, I heard that the interest rates had dropped lower than what you currently pay, so I contacted the realtor to ask if you could get the lower rate.  Whatever works!  You will find yourself lying MANY times to her to make her happy.  When my mom was alive I told people that I was the stupidest dumbest person alive, cause it was easier for me to accept the blame for whatever she said I did or didn't do than to try to explain to her reality cause it wasn't HER reality!  

I could walk away from it and who cares if she thought that I was stupid.  She would forget about it very soon.  Most important was to keep her happy. I hope this makes sense to you.  She will get over this phase.  Unfortunately for you it will hurt you the most.  But again if you can let it roll off your shoulders you will be a lot better off. You trying to point out the truth to her will only piss her off even more.  Cause her "truth" is what she believes!  
You need to go into her reality not try to get her into yours cause she cannot.  

I hope this helps I know it is hard.  Please feel free to write anytime.  This is a long journey and you need all the help you can get!  Your dad more so!  Get him a house cleaner!  Send them gift cards for restaurants. I know you didn't ask me for this advice but just getting over Christmas I have gift giving on the brain!  Take care of yourself.

Paula

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Paula Damgaard

Expertise

I can offer families and caregivers non-diagnostic answers to questions regarding the disease. I travel around the state giving courses on Alzheimer`s disease for nurses and CNA`s.

Experience


Past/Present clients
I have coordinated Alzheimer's Clinical drug trials since 1987. I have coordinated the Memory Disorders Clinic since it's inception 1994. I also have personnal experience from caring for my mother who died of AD 5/2000 and presently from caring for my mother in law who was diagnosed in March 2000.

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