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mother--paranoid behavior

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Old 09-07-2008, 06:31 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Jackson, MI, USA
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jannar HB User
mother--paranoid behavior

My 91 year old mother is having a difficult time. She lives in a life-long care facility. Up until two months ago she was in an independent apartment but has been moved into the health center while she waits for a room in the assisted living area. She was diagnosed with Alzheimers last month. For the past five months she keeps repeating the same story about her neighbors on her apartment floor gossiping about her. She is convinced that one of her neighbors broke into her apartment and took her laundry basket out into the hall. In addition, my mother also claims that this same neighbor has told everyone on her floor that my mother is walking into other's apartments. When my mother relives this story over and over, it always ends up with my mother in tears. She has recently been put on Aricept but this behavior continues. My family is at a loss as to how to deal with this repetition. This paranoia is in addition to her obsessive/compulsive disorder along with confusion and deminished mental capacity. It is difficult to watch this once very brilliant educator become so fearful and upset all the time.

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Old 09-07-2008, 08:26 PM   #2
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Location: Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY
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sunnydaze1 HB User
Re: mother--paranoid behavior

I definitely can relate to what you are going through. All I can say is that when your mom starts her story again, try to distract her so she doesn't get so upset. That's all I've been able to do when my mom starts in on the fact that she's not home to let the "little one" in the door when he gets home from school. Her "little one" is 50! Doesn't do any good to tell her that she's not right...the fear still remains.

I will get her up to walk; grab some photos; talk about what I bought at the store; or even make up stuff to get her mind off of herself.

How blessed you are to have a mom that is 91! All my best to you, and keep your chin up. I know how difficult it can be trying to get a glimpse at reality through their eyes.

Last edited by sunnydaze1; 09-07-2008 at 08:28 PM.

Old 09-08-2008, 08:42 AM   #3
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Re: mother--paranoid behavior

Welcome to the baord JP. Hate that you have to be here but glad you have found us. What you have described is classic dementia and all of us have delt with it in one way or the other. It is a horrible disease with no cure and no way to make it better. Aricept claims to slow the progress of the disease but it does not make it better.

She repeats stories because she didn't remember that she has told you all of this before. She doesn't understand that her behavior is bizzare so she doesn't understand why people react differently to her. Therefore they are talking about her. She doesn't remember that she put the laundry basket in the hall. Somebody had to have stolen it. How else would it have gotten in the hall? She may be walking in other's apartments and have no idea that she has done such. With limited current memory she is trying to make sense of what is going on around her. Since one of the incidious symptoms of ALZ is that the sufferer doesn't have an awareness of their limitation, it can't be her fault that the world around her has gone crazy. This upsets and scares her.

I am dealing with much the same myself. My mom is a brilliant lady who spent her life caring for others. She was a diving force in many organizations and an accountant. She was always upbeat..... until ALZ. A year ago my mom agreed to go to Assisted Living. She was unhappy at home. Her life there didn't make sense to her. She was having major difficulty dealing with the responsibilities of the house and dealing with Dad (Vascular Dementia). The onset of her ALZ was also the onset of her depression and anxiety. After she ran off the sitter in an irrational rant we had no choice but to move them to AL. She agreed it was where she and Dad needed to be. She signed all the papers herself. Now, she is sure that it is a consipiracy between us sisters. We are keeping her there against her will. There is nothing wrong with her. If we would just let her and Dad go home all would be fine. It is that place that is causing all the problems (just like it was home causing all the problems before). She obcesses, she pouts, she rants, she cries, and her is almost impossible to distract. It is her reality, both when she was home and in AL. It makes her angry and scared and she reacts to HER reality not where she is physically.

So there is nothing you can do about her repeating herself except distract her the best you can, when you can. The recent move may have her upset because they do not do well with environmental changes. Hopefully when she is settled in her new living arrangement, after a period of adjustment, she will settle down. Remember the first rule of ALZ... don't argue with them. Don't try to make them see your reality because all they will see is their reality. You have to join them on planet ALZ because they can't come back here.

There is no medication currently available that will reverse dementia or any of the symptoms experienced because of it. The approved medication for ALZ only claim to slow down the progress of the disease, not even stop it. Other medications may help the anxiety. If the anxiety is causing her continual distress you might want to talk to the doctor about medication help for the depression, anxiety, or paranoia. On the right medication she will not be "zonked" but will be calmed. I agree that it is so difficult to watch our once intellegent well adjusted parents go thought this horrific disease. Hang with us. We do understand. There are great shoulders to lean on, ears to listen, suggestions, and understanding here. This place has been my sanity over the last year...... hopefully you will fine the same here.

Love, deb

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