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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2005
    Posts
    2,813

    Default Paranoia & suspicion in the elderly

    How do you work with it/get past it?

    I dealt with it to some extent with my grandmother a few years ago, but she was suspicious of people *outside* the family, not me.

    I am currently having to deal with an elderly person who thinks I'm out or working with people (including their spouse) to screw the elderly person over financially. Absolutely not the case, FYI.

    The suspicion seems to come and go, but has gotten worse lately on an every-other-day type of schedule.

    If you have any tips or ideas, they would be much appreciated.
    It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2012
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    3,304

    Default

    Has the individual been evaluated for dementia?
    All I can say (easier said than done) is don't take it personally!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    355

    Default

    My Dad is 96, and has gotten very suspicious the last 5 years. Mainly of DISH Network-he thinks they mix up his picture signal, etc. He calls them and yells. I cannot reason with him at all on this-just cannot get through to him that they don't intentionally mess up his signal. He lives alone, still mows his lawn, drives, cooks, puts out a garden-functions just fine, but for this one thing. Have kind of given up, but would love to hear what others think.
    Edited to add: You don't work for DISH Network, do you Slewdledo? :-)



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    10,230

    Default

    My mom is now beginning to lose some of her mental acuity. A lot actually. One of the things she says is that no one tells her anything, when in fact it's been discussed. To get around that I repeat myself and make announcements that we have discussed this, then have her repeat it back to me. It's the same sort of technque you'd use for clarity of instruction in the workplace - say it three times three different ways sort of thing. She isn't able to take notes so I do, and I'll refer back to my notebook and show her - I don't think she always believes me but she won't argue over notes.
    As far as the suspicion about money, that seems to be a sign of impending senility, sometimes it's multiple medications reacting too. They'll pay for a hundred years of magazine subscriptions but the money is vanishing because *you* took it. Again that's going to requre multiple explanations, and then multiple explanations the next day, etc. All I can say is that you will need all the patience you can muster and try not to take it personally. As you pay bills make sure they see you do it, make sure you explain and also if it gets bad take make sure they get to the doctor and have their medications adjusted - my mother takes almost ten pills a day, for pain, for restless leg, nutritional supplements, and then if you add OTC remedies it's a wonder she isn't catatonic.

    Good luck.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    17,014

    Default

    Oh lordy, been there done that with my recently "over" grandmother.

    Bless her heart, she'd live in a nice part of town, read in the newspaper about car jackings in bad part and carry an ice pick in her car... right by the Certs breath mints and pack of tissues in the middle console.

    You reassure as necessary.

    You ignore as something about your personally.

    Over and over.

    And this is assuming you *know* the person isn't losing other cognitive function. For my grandmother, we knew she was "still her," but just even more worried version of a woman who had always been smart and circumspect.

    If the elder wants something specific-- or you can suggest that-- like having him/her sign all the checks you have written, do it. Sometimes older people who have anxiety about a lot of things (and their approaching death is the big elephant in the room!) do need to latch onto little worries. It won't prevent that anxiety from choosing another topic, but you can feel that you did the right thing. It can help to turn it down a notch.

    Best of luck to you.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2005
    Posts
    2,813

    Default

    Thanks. No, I don't work at Dish.

    It's come up in past conversations with this person's family members that they have always been a jealous person. I believe there are also some alcohol/drug abuse & withdrawal components to this.

    What's sad is that the person is aware enough to know that they're not as sharp as they used to be.

    I forwarded an email to the person tonight in an attempt to illustrate that no, I didn't actually do what I was accused of doing. We'll see what happens tomorrow. One thing that I cannot and will not put up with is being treated like dirt - I will distance myself from the situation before I'll allow that to happen.

    Thanks again for the support. Hugs to everyone going through this.
    It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
    Location
    In Jingle Town
    Posts
    35,165

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slewdledo View Post
    Thanks. No, I don't work at Dish.

    It's come up in past conversations with this person's family members that they have always been a jealous person. I believe there are also some alcohol/drug abuse & withdrawal components to this.

    What's sad is that the person is aware enough to know that they're not as sharp as they used to be.

    I forwarded an email to the person tonight in an attempt to illustrate that no, I didn't actually do what I was accused of doing. We'll see what happens tomorrow. One thing that I cannot and will not put up with is being treated like dirt - I will distance myself from the situation before I'll allow that to happen.

    Thanks again for the support. Hugs to everyone going through this.
    Oh Dear, I am feeling for you.
    DH's Grandmother gets on that kick now and then.
    She used to proclaim the mechanic had stripped her Volkswagen Beetle of all original parts and put fake new ones on....that was 20 years ago, when I first met her.
    lately, when her daughter moved in with her a few years back, a lot of stuff was moved around in the house, much given away. (she also fell a while back, broke her hip, leading up to hip replacement etc, leaving her on a walker were she can't get around well.)
    She started accusing the neighbor lady and her daughter of stealing things, wearing them out (washing, starching and ironing clothes AND putting the tags back on, mind you! )

    Surprisingly the lady did not go off on her and still called her a few times each week or every day, checking up on her.

    The only think I can tell you, think duck and water and let it roll off your back if it has no other impact on your life.
    It's terrible, but the people who know you and this other person will know which side is up!
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
    GNU Terry Prachett



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2004
    Location
    Rixeyville, VA
    Posts
    7,113

    Default

    I think that the hardest part of aging is losing control of the choices in your life. Your world becomes smaller and the choices become less. It has to be darn hard to handle, particularly if you have lead an independent life for many years.

    I remember my mother's last years were focused on her finances. She was always asking "Where's my purse?" because it was something she could control. And I understand the concern about money -- she was in a very nice assisted living center and with limited assets save her long term care insurance and pension. For her, controlling that purse was controlling where she lived.
    Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    46,920

    Default

    Grandma was wonderful, even when she started losing it a bit, she was polite and sensible, not paranoid, we were so lucky.
    She passed on at 99.
    The last three years, she was in a wheelchair, but didn't know she was in one.
    She thought any minute she would get up and go do something or other, but never tried to get up, thankfully.
    She sounded perfectly fine when you talked to her, until you realized the "music room" next to her room, as in the old house she grew up in the late 1890's, was not really there and that we didn't come and go horseback or in the horse buggy.
    Seems that we had cars escaped here any more.

    I hope you can find a way to handle the situation without added stress of unfounded accusations.

    If this is about money, how about letting an accounting firm handle her bookkeeping, so there is no question with the rest of the people involved about where her money is going?



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    4,461

    Default

    man, this sounds like my father shortly before he had to move into the nursing home. he was convinced my mother was trying to have him committed. vascular dementia. a physical and a neurologic exam is definitely called for. good luck.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 27, 2011
    Location
    Waaaaay back Slaughter Holler
    Posts
    1,501

    Default

    This is actually listed as a symtom of dementia or Alzheimer's.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 27, 2005
    Location
    KY
    Posts
    4,878

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    She used to proclaim the mechanic had stripped her Volkswagen Beetle of all original parts and put fake new ones on....
    Sorry, but I really laughed at this one.

    My aunt (she wasn't really related) started getting so paranoid, she would call the police.

    I remember one time she called me (after calling the cops) saying that someone had been in her apartment in the middle of the night, stolen her dentures and keys and locked her in. She lived on the fifth floor.
    The police were pretty much used to her calling about these "mid-night intruders" and searched the garden below. They found her dentures and her keys.
    Apparently for some unbeknownst reason she had thrown them out of the fifth floor window and in the morning, not finding them, this was her explanation.

    Another time she had me escort her to her long time bank to take her money (physically) to another bank, because bank number one was stealing her savings.

    Scary to think we all may act this way when we get to be their age.

    I simply comforted her when she came up with these wild stories, told her to call me no matter when and, that I would come over anytime.
    Police and neighbors were also asked to call my Mom or myself in case of future incidents.

    ************************
    \"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"



  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2011
    Posts
    1,565

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
    I think that the hardest part of aging is losing control of the choices in your life. Your world becomes smaller and the choices become less. It has to be darn hard to handle, particularly if you have lead an independent life for many years.

    I remember my mother's last years were focused on her finances. She was always asking "Where's my purse?" because it was something she could control. And I understand the concern about money -- she was in a very nice assisted living center and with limited assets save her long term care insurance and pension. For her, controlling that purse was controlling where she lived.
    This really sums it up. DH's grandma has severe dementia right now, and it's heartbreaking.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
    Location
    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
    Posts
    9,349

    Default

    Some days I have to talk my husband down after a conversation with his mother in which HE tries to make some sense of what SHE is saying. For some blessed reason, it doesn't bother me. I always found my grandparents version of reality to be rather fun. I'm sure when it's my mother, fur will fly because she is one person who can push my buttons.

    All I can say is I have no idea how the assisted living and nursing home staffs cope. One person going around the bend I can handle. If I had to keep track of close to a hundred alternate realities in the course of a day's work I'd totally lose it.
    People are crazy and times are strange.
    I used to care but, things have changed.



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