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Casual Contributor

Paranoia in Alzheimer’s

Hi, first time post. Wondering how some of you cope with paranoia with your loved ones.  My father is obsessed with my mother’s whereabouts at all times, convinced she is stealing his money & on vacation without telling him.  His words can be quite hurtful & hard to listen to.  My instinct is to defend my mother, but I know it doesn’t help or matter to him. What do you do?


Re: Paranoia in Alzheimer’s

Hi @VeeM  thank you so much for sharing your journey. It sounds very hard to manage this behaviour and of course it makes sense you're keen to protect your mother, I have heard that when dealing with paranoia or delusion it can be really helpful to "talk to the feeling not the facts".


In other words, focus on what the feeling is behind what your father is saying not so much the specifics, is he experiencing anger, fear, sadness around the concept of money being taken? it may be easier to reason with that. I am hoping other members from the community will jump in with some insight for you too Heart. We also have our Sane Help Centre you can call between 10am-10pm on 1800 187 263, they might have some decent resources for you in managing the behaviour.


Look forward to hearing from you.

Re: Paranoia in Alzheimer’s

Hi VeeM

I just wanted to reach out to you.  Paranoia is very hard to deal with.  I have dealt with similar situations and just took each situation on a case by case basis.  My mother had Parkinson's disease and in the later stages of her life suffered with lewy body dementia.  Sometimes I could gently reassure her that what she was saying wasn't happening and could tell her why it wasn't correct and not to worry and she realised.  Other times I didn't have the words to speak or felt that I could not reason with her and just listened to her and gave her a hug.  Wherever possible I just tried to be honest in a gentle way.  I guess I just had to pick my moments.  Some days it's just harder than others and an explanation to your loved one is not always possible.  Feeling resentment is also normal especially if it about someone else you care about.  I guess you know this but just wanted to reassure you that it's ok and that you are doing the best you can.  

Re: Paranoia in Alzheimer’s

Thank you very much for your reply.  Some good insight, I’ll need to try using some of your ideas in future ☺️

Re: Paranoia in Alzheimer’s

My story isn't my own, but of a close friend who was supporting her grandmother last year before they found a good home for her to get 24 hour care. Her grandma gave her the car, as grandma wasn't allowed to drive anymore, but would call the police and report the car stolen every other week. After the first few calls, the local station realised what was happening and would play along without following up beyond a phone call to let my friend know they'd been called again. It was quite traumatic for her.

The other issue was that grandma was high functioning and smart, so she could play up situations and her friends would often side with grandma's paranoia, which added to the unfounded belief that my friend was stealing from her or using her. It became quite a tangled mess before it got any better. What she found helped was either recording grandma, for example stating she could have the car, so the recording could be played back to grandma when she was confused, or by keeping detailed diaries of conversations or agreements so there was "evidence" that confirmed the truth behind events. The confusion causes frustration, and that can lead to some nasty words being exchanged that aren't really meant.

A very tough condition to witness as a loved one, I feel for you! How are you doing @VeeM  Are you looking after yourself?

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