Alzheimer’s can often be more devastating for family members than it
is for the person who has it. Not only is it painful to watch a loved
one go through such a life-and-personality-altering illness, but many of
the behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s have a direct impact on the
people closest to those who have the disease.
One of the most
difficult of these behaviors is suspicion or paranoia, particularly when
it’s directed at you. Maybe your mother misreads your motives in
offering to help her downsize or your dad thinks your efforts to obtain
Power of Attorney are part of a scheme to swindle him.
Instead Senior Care serving the Southeast Valley, we have worked with
countless devoted family members and caregivers who have been through
experiences such as this and we have found that the following tips are
among the most effective ways of dealing with the paranoia that
sometimes accompanies Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
deflect, deflect: We understand that it can be hurtful to be accused of
wrongdoing or ulterior motives by someone when you are only trying to do
what’s best for them, but it’s important to not take the paranoia
personally. When you start to get offended, try to remind yourself that
this is simply a common effect of Alzheimer’s and visualize a flapjack
on Teflon or water rolling off a duck’s back.
• Don’t ignore or
dismiss the fears: Even though you can’t let it get to you, we do
recommend giving the person with Alzheimer’s the opportunity to voice
their concerns and trying to understand that reality. Try to be
reassuring, without arguing with them or trying to tell them that
• Take a Detour: Try to change the subject or the
activity if it seems like it’s beginning to cause problems. For example,
if you are trying to help your mother get rid of items and she thinks
you are taking her things, pick up something nearby (like a photo album
or a cherished memento) and ask her questions about it.
• Two (or
four or six) are better than one: You can’t exactly go out and purchase
multiple heirlooms or high-end items, but for the little things that
tend to get lost or mislaid (reading glasses, slippers, wallets)
consider getting few clones. This is especially helpful if your senior
immediately assumes that something he’s lost has been stolen.
more information, please contact Home Instead Senior Care serving the
Southeast Valley at 480-827-4343 or Like us on Facebook.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
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