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Old 02-26-2009, 07:20 PM   #1
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My mother thinks she is being controlled by Cell Phones

Im at my wits end with my 70 year old mother, her paranoia has taken on a life of its own. It started in 2005 when she lived in a Senior apartment, then it escalated to her being followed by the neighborhood drug dealers, it got so bad for her one night she told me she ran around Santa Monica beach from sundown to sunrise and standing in a Hotel Lobby doorway for hours until she felt safe enough to go home. She started to lock up her cabinets and refrigerator and carry her bloodpressure meds around with her for fear someone was switching her medication. After several months of this she called me crying

 
Old 02-26-2009, 08:53 PM   #2
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Re: My mother thinks she is being controlled by Cell Phones

Welcome to the board Lisa. Question, is your Mom still living alone? Are their any other behaviors she is exhibiting? Has she been diagnozed with dementia? She is definitely exhibiting extreme paranoia.

My father has vascular dementia and went through a period of extreme paranoia. He would repeatedly lock up the house and refused to let anybody open a window. He locked us out numerous times and even locked himself out a few times. He insisted on having his pistol. Knowing the danger I brought it home for hubby to "clean" and he removed the firing pin making it inoperable. Dad laid ambush for an intruder once. It was just the neighbor checking his mail. He left the house at night a few times to confront the intruders. Recently he has other wandering episodes that stemed from hallucinations. He had to check on the men that were handling the meat or check on the "boys". He actually left the building to met me at the court house. I was 3 hours away, there was no courthouse near where he was, and it was 19 degrees with him in a cotton shirt. He now wears a wander bracelet.

Yes, the paranoia is frustrating to you but it can be hazardous to your Mom. She can get herself into situations that are dangerous following her paranoia. If she is living alone it is past time to make other living arrangements for her. Her doctor needs to know what is going on with her paranoia. He can determine the cause and even prescribe medication that will lesson the paranoia. I would suggest a trip to the doctor's first and foremost to determine the cause and what can be done.

Love, deb

 
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Old 02-27-2009, 03:39 AM   #3
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Re: My mother thinks she is being controlled by Cell Phones

This is a very scary situation for you. If your mother has been diagnosed with Dementia, this is something that sometimes happens in that disease, but rarely. My mother had the delusion that the landlord was renting the basement illegally to tenants. But it did not cause her any fear or irrational actions.

I would try to get a better diagnosis - is she perhaps suffering from another type of mental illness? Many of those can be controlled by drugs, whereas dementia just keeps on getting worse. Is she under the care of a competent doctor, whether a neurologist, psychiatrist or geriatric specialist? I worry about her extreme level of fear.

Is your Mom in an assisted living facility? In her confusion she should not be living alone, yet she seems far too young for the usual nursing home. Is her brain OK; was an MRI taken? Sometimes growths in the brain produce this kind of paranoia, or has she always struggled with mental illness? Somehow this seems too extreme to be just the usual Dementias of old age ...

Good luck!

Martha

PS - or, is it possible that she made up the whole 'night on the beach' story? Does she repeat herself, forget what she just said, lose things, forget how to use a check, forget to pay bills?

Last edited by Martha H; 02-27-2009 at 03:43 AM. Reason: ps

 
Old 02-28-2009, 04:03 PM   #4
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Re: My mother thinks she is being controlled by Cell Phones

For the last couple of years prior to mom's diagnosis, mom had some irrational fears and would lock both doors, even the storm door until it came to her that if anything happened to her no one would be able to get to her. Then she went to the other extreme and left everything opened and even shovelled out a path incase the ambulance needed to get to her.

 
Old 02-28-2009, 07:47 PM   #5
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Re: My mother thinks she is being controlled by Cell Phones

Dorri, I actually laugh because your description of all the locked doors flashed a funny memory through my mind. I arrived at Mom and Dad's, when they were still at home, rather early and they were still in bed. Even through I had a key all the storm doors were locked. I knocked and rang the door bell but both sleep without hearing aids. I even called the house phone from my cell phone. All the window's were locked. Dad had secured the fortress. So I went to Mom and Dad's bedroom window and banged and banged and banged until I thought I would break the window. Dad threw open the curtains with a shoe in his hand. I guess he was going to bang back at me. I saw him mouth something and then he went to the back door and fumbled with the locks forever before he got them open. He looked straight at me and said.... "Why didn't you use your key?" I had to laugh!!!

Love, deb

 
Old 02-28-2009, 08:46 PM   #6
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Re: My mother thinks she is being controlled by Cell Phones

Deb, that's funny..boy, a shoe can really scare a person off. Your dad had guts to open up the curtain in the first place. Must have scared you as much as he scared himself..hee hee. Bet you he gave it thought never to lock that storm door again.

 
Old 03-02-2009, 08:57 PM   #7
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Re: My mother thinks she is being controlled by Cell Phones

DGabriel, thanks for taking the time to answer me, to answer your first question, mom no longer lives alone she is residing with me and my 11 and 3 year old daughters. Other behavior she exibits is putting tape on the door locks so it appears we have changed the locks to anyone who tries to use a key she imagines my 11 year old lost. (that never happened). she keeps all the blinds and windows shut for days until i decide ive had enough and open them. Whenever we leave the house together she has a note pad that she writes down the plate numbers of all SUV and pickups that pass us or ride beside us and calls them our entourage. (she swears we are followed where ever we go.; She has been to see a psychiatrst but refuses to go back she says he cant help her with this problem because he cant stop the people who are after her. She has had CAT scan an MRI and numerous test all come back with nothing wrong. To top all this off she drinks wine and Brandy every day. I dont know what to do she has always been in control, never had any mental health issues before, she is a retired RN that is why i find it so hard to believe she doesnt know or realize something is wrong with her and her frame of mind is not normal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DGabriel10 View Post
Welcome to the board Lisa. Question, is your Mom still living alone? Are their any other behaviors she is exhibiting? Has she been diagnozed with dementia? She is definitely exhibiting extreme paranoia.

My father has vascular dementia and went through a period of extreme paranoia. He would repeatedly lock up the house and refused to let anybody open a window. He locked us out numerous times and even locked himself out a few times. He insisted on having his pistol. Knowing the danger I brought it home for hubby to "clean" and he removed the firing pin making it inoperable. Dad laid ambush for an intruder once. It was just the neighbor checking his mail. He left the house at night a few times to confront the intruders. Recently he has other wandering episodes that stemed from hallucinations. He had to check on the men that were handling the meat or check on the "boys". He actually left the building to met me at the court house. I was 3 hours away, there was no courthouse near where he was, and it was 19 degrees with him in a cotton shirt. He now wears a wander bracelet.

Yes, the paranoia is frustrating to you but it can be hazardous to your Mom. She can get herself into situations that are dangerous following her paranoia. If she is living alone it is past time to make other living arrangements for her. Her doctor needs to know what is going on with her paranoia. He can determine the cause and even prescribe medication that will lesson the paranoia. I would suggest a trip to the doctor's first and foremost to determine the cause and what can be done.

Love, deb

 
Old 03-02-2009, 10:52 PM   #8
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Re: My mother thinks she is being controlled by Cell Phones

Dorri... I would call every night and say "Don't lock the screen door". I would have Mom go behind him and unlock them but he would make sure he was last in bed and lock them back. Even now in AL, he has worn out that door because even if he locks it, you can open it from inside. He just keeps working on it

Lisa, one of the really cruel things, or maybe the best thing, about dementia is that they don't know they have it. They truly believe that what they believe is real, just as you believe what you believe is real. In their mind, it is REAL. If she says somebody is following her and you say they are not. She believes what she is saying just as firmly as you do because that is what her bain tells her is real. This is true for not only dementia but mental illness as well. Trying to tell them to "behave normally" is like telling someone with a broken leg to walk.

Whether the paranoia is caused by dementia or mental illness they can still be treated with similar medications. My dad is now on a medication for bipolar disorder to level out his manic behavior and I have seen an improvement. Mom is on depression medication and it has helped.

As for you mom always being in control until now. That was my Mom. She was the most level headed intellegent lady. Her accomplishments were nothing short of amazing. That was until ALZ. The bookkeeper that single handed took a business from near bankrupcy to profitable and kept multiple sets of books lost her ability to subract and therefore couldn't keep a check register. But to her that is ok because she can just call the bank and ask them how much money she has. She took a $22,000 cashed in life insurance policy and built a nice portfolio in the stock market. Her last attempted transaction was to give $250,000 to a B rated insurance guy she met in a restaurant. She made sure all of the legal paperwork was in order and then threw the medical POA in the trash and kept newpaper clippings of advertisements in her file cabinet. She had filled out tax returns for all of her friends, but the last year she did her own, she shredded half of the documentation she needed. Yet if you ask her, she is just fine, somebody else did it, it was not needed, or there was some reason for what appeared so illogical. Not to mention the fact that she was the rock of strength and stability before she started having melt downs with hysterical crying. But she is FINE! I swear I am going to have that engraved on her headstone!! It is the rest of us that are crazy! Sound familiar?

About doctors, don't let her tell you when she needs to go to a doctor. They truly don't know because they don't know anything is wrong. Yes, I tricked mom into going to the Memory Assessment Research Service where she was diagnosed. Yes, I have talked to her doctor about her symptoms behind her back. Yes, I have put her in the car and taken her to the doctor without telling her where we were going. I did whatever was necessary to get the answer we needed. With her it turned out to be ALZ. I wish it had been something with a cure. But at least I know what I am dealing.

So keep pushing the doctor's for answers. Keep a lot of her behavior so you can recognize patterns and new behaviors. Be observant and see if there are things other than the paranoia. It's a good way to get a bigger picture than jsut what you see in a moment. As for a medication to help control the paranoia. Try it and see what happened. You can always stop it if there is no change or side effects are noticed. You are your Mom's best advocate. At this point she can not advocate for herself.

Stay in touch and I do hope you find the answer that you are looking for.

Love, deb

 
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