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Old 07-14-2011, 06:44 AM   #1
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Mother-in-law keeps telling lies--dementia?

My 89 year old mother-in-law has been acting very strangely the past few years. She now rants and raves about almost everything and is extremely negative about everything in her life. In addition to this, she keeps coming up with lies about family members, and mainly me. The latest example: She has been telling people is I am trying to get her to grow marijuana in her garden--"I don't know what has gotten into this girl wanting me to do such a thing." This wouldn't be too much of a concern, but I work for a government agency! Our family can't figure out where she comes up with some of these stories. We suspect she has dementia but she refuses to go to a doctor. What suggestions do you have to deal with all of this negative behavior and lies?

 
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:11 AM   #2
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Re: Mother-in-law keeps telling lies--dementia?

nwilly... my first suggestion is to get her to the doctor for a complete physical and evaluation. Tell her whatever you need to tell her to get her there and ask them to please do a Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE). That will give you a baseline on her cognitive abilities at this time. The test is just 30 questions, she gets a point for every questions she gets right. Most will make a 30 and find it easy. Anything less, warrants further investigation. If necessary, you can find the 30 questions online and discretely ask her the questions. There are many causes of behavioral and cognitive changes other than dementia and why she needs a complete physical. You also need to do a review of all her medications and their possible side effects. At the age of 50 I truly believed I had early onset dementia... and it was only a side effect of the Statin Lipator.

Behavioral changes are usually the first symptom you see. Yet it can mimic depression symptoms (and why you need a professional medical evaluation). Does she have vascular/coronary problem? Blood flow, blockages, strokes, and other vascular problem can cause dementia symptoms known as Vascular Dementia. Or it could be blocked carotids which can be corrected. Drinking or medication can cause the symptoms you are seeing.

Are there other cognitive problems? Is she repeating the same stories over and over? Is she forgetting things that have recently happened? Is she still doing the things she was doing previously with the same effectiveness? Is she eating properly? Can she take her medication correctly without prompting? Is she paying her bills correctly and handling her money ok? Is money disappearing? If she goes to the store and buys three items can she tell you what she bought? Is she still driving? Does she tend to get lost? Watch for other signs beyond the behavioral changes.

If there is dementia then the "lies" that you see are not truly lies. They are her reality and just as real to her as your reality is to you. If she sees a story on the news of a lady who is growing marijuana and that lady looks a little like you... in her hazy cognitive abilities she may think she was seeing you! Or her brain may insert you as the person in the news. It is very difficult for them to separate TV from reality. My Dad thought every bad weather event on the Weather Channel was or had happened in his back yard So don't just consider Mom a liar and let it go at that. Find out why.

My best advice is to have her see a physician. Tell her it is a condition of her social security. Tell her that it is at the request of her insurance company. Do whatever you have to do to get her to a good geriatric physician for evaluation!

Love, deb

 
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:38 AM   #3
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Re: Mother-in-law keeps telling lies--dementia?

Thank you for this valuable information. Unfortunately my mother-in-law is a socialphobic. She does not go to doctors or go out to stores etc. Her life is on 12 acres near a national wildlife perserve. Her life is what she sees on TV and hears on the radio except for the weekly visits of our family. It has been up to her two sons to bring in her food etc. every weekend and she will not stand for outsiders to come into her house.

 
Old 07-14-2011, 01:39 PM   #4
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Re: Mother-in-law keeps telling lies--dementia?

You asked about how to deal with her. First of all, don't get upset by the lies or her reality. It is her own world. Don't get upset about it. Rather, you could laugh about it.

But you can never correct it in front of her or she would be very upset. Just calm down and go with her flow, and tell her, no, of course I won't do it again.... I know it sounds like you "admit" it, but you just need to distract her or comfort her by telling her white lies back...

It is how we handle the dementia elders. We tried to be reasoning with my FIL, but it only ended with him wanting to go out in the dark to find the "truth"!! So we "agreeed" with him.... (He said his lady friend is a 2 people person and he still thinks so.)

I know too well how hard it is to get her diagnosed. Maybe you can call the home care service and the professionals will know how to talk to her or pamper her.
Or find a pastor or priest to talk to her nicely about it.

Good luck,
Nina

 
Old 07-14-2011, 01:51 PM   #5
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Re: Mother-in-law keeps telling lies--dementia?

I wouldn't say that I wouldn't do 'that' again regarding growing pot. I just wouldn't talk about it. As you say, you have a govt. job and any admission, even false, could pose problems. I would see though if someone could convince her to go to the doctor. Does she have any other health issues? Does she ever need to see a doctor? If she gets too delusional, you could call 911 and have her taken to the hospital. Wouldn't they do an eval there? Does anyone have power of attorney, etc to help her?

 
Old 07-14-2011, 02:14 PM   #6
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Re: Mother-in-law keeps telling lies--dementia?

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Originally Posted by mitsy View Post
I wouldn't say that I wouldn't do 'that' again regarding growing pot. I just wouldn't talk about it. As you say, you have a govt. job and any admission, even false, could pose problems. I would see though if someone could convince her to go to the doctor. Does she have any other health issues? Does she ever need to see a doctor? If she gets too delusional, you could call 911 and have her taken to the hospital. Wouldn't they do an eval there? Does anyone have power of attorney, etc to help her?
Of course you are right, when it comes to serious legal issues, don't admit it.
My FIL once accused us of killing him in the hospital so we ignored him.

Ignore her but distract her with other acitivities so she can talk about something else.

Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 07-15-2011 at 07:40 AM.

 
Old 07-14-2011, 02:23 PM   #7
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Re: Mother-in-law keeps telling lies--dementia?

It always dumbfounds me how people are supposed to take care of the elderly, when you can't get them to the doctor by any means and there is nothing in place that allows you to just take over. I see it so much where everyone's hands are tied and you struggle to do the right thing but sometimes the right thing isn't what you're allowed to do. I understand and individuals rights need to be protected, but when they aren't fully capable of making those decisions, what can be done? This event seems to be a recurring thread on the board. I always read the board to see what can be done if something like this happens to my parents. I worry about this alot.

 
Old 07-14-2011, 05:02 PM   #8
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Re: Mother-in-law keeps telling lies--dementia?

If thre was one thing I wish I had known back in the beginning of this disease with my mom was that her accusing me of things was all part of the process. When you are new at the game of dementia it is extremely stressful and hurtful to hear these lies (truths to them!) told about you.

My mom is way beyond this stage now but when it was still happening I would just agree to anything. If she said I was growing pot in the back yard I would say that i read it is supposed to be delicious in a salad...or the next miracle "weed" to rid the garden of pests.
l don't mean to make light of this..but we have all been through it.
I stole all of my mother's pictures...my daughter in law took my mother's table cloths.. I was after her money so she had me written out of the will and didn't speak to me for almost two years. Some here have had their parent call the police on them! Believe me when I say that the authorities understand.

As for getting her diagnosed....you have to do what you have to do. She won't go out. Get someone in and if she goes off the deep end then they will see that and take it from there. If she is already showing signs of dementia it won''t get easier so do what you have to now.

I am so sorry you are going through this. And even more sorry that your MIL is suffering from it.

Love, Meg

 
Old 07-14-2011, 05:24 PM   #9
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Re: Mother-in-law keeps telling lies--dementia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitsy View Post
It always dumbfounds me how people are supposed to take care of the elderly, when you can't get them to the doctor by any means and there is nothing in place that allows you to just take over. I see it so much where everyone's hands are tied and you struggle to do the right thing but sometimes the right thing isn't what you're allowed to do. I understand and individuals rights need to be protected, but when they aren't fully capable of making those decisions, what can be done? This event seems to be a recurring thread on the board. I always read the board to see what can be done if something like this happens to my parents. I worry about this alot.
Mitsy, I would suggest that you get all the legal paperwork done for your parents. Get the POA from them and get the wills and living wills done by them. This way they can better prepare for the family to help them out.
It is always a surprise and you cannot prevent it. When it comes, it comes....
Make sure your parents' GPs are alert enough about the info. on dementia. If you suspect it, get the diagnosis by the specialist ASAP. If they refuse to do so, ask a professional to talk them into it.
I sure hope your parents will not have dementia at all.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 07-14-2011 at 05:26 PM.

 
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