Imagine having a lovely afternoon with a relative with dementia, listening to music and playing a game of cards together, when suddenly the person’s mood darkens. When you innocently ask what’s wrong, you get a forceful and unexpected reply: “I know you took my favorite jacket! How could you do that to me?”
If this is the first incidence of false accusations from a loved one with Alzheimer’s, chances are you’ll feel as though you’re swimming in unfamiliar waters. How can appropriately correct and reassure the senior while restoring their trust?
Why Untrue Allegations Occur When a Loved One Has Alzheimer’s
To start with, it’s vital to bear in mind that feelings of paranoia and delusions are not personal affronts. They are symptoms of the disease, and in no way demonstrate the true nature of the person. They are a coping mechanism to make sense of something that feels very real to them.
Even while your first impulse might be to defend your innocence, it’s possible that disagreeing with the individual will only further frustrate them. Instead, try these tactics from our providers of senior care in Oakville, MO and the surrounding areas:
- Project a sense of calm. From your tone of voice to your gestures to the environment around you, do everything you can to reduce the agitation and stress the individual is feeling. Use a gentle, comforting tone. Put a reassuring hand on the individual’s shoulder or offer a hug, if physical contact is welcomed. Shut off the TV and minimize any other distractions in the room. Put on some comforting music.
- Respond with simple, straightforward answers. Now is not the best time for long explanations and reasoning. Acknowledge and confirm your loved one’s emotions. Then divert with an engaging activity the person takes pleasure in. For instance, you might say, “I can see you’re feeling angry. Let’s go to the kitchen for a snack.” Or enlist the person’s assistance with an important job, such as folding laundry or filing papers.
- Plan ahead. If there is a certain object that triggers the person into “lose and accuse” mode, buy one or more extra, identical items to keep with you. Then guide the individual into assisting you to “find” the alternative to the missing item.
Above all, make sure you have a strong system of support from other individuals who can empathize with what you’re going through. It can be incredibly painful to be wrongly accused, even if you know the reasoning behind it. Connect with a caregiver support group locally in person, or find a virtual one online where you can receive further helpful advice and the opportunity to vent your frustrations.
At Compassionate Nursing Services, a trusted provider of senior care in Oakville, MO and the nearby areas, our caregiving experts are skilled and experienced in the countless complexities of dementia care. We are here to work with you to make sure a relative with dementia gets outstanding care while you have plenty of opportunities for downtime and self-care. Reach out to us at 314-432-4312 for more information.