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Many home caregivers to older adults with Alzheimer’s disease find themselves the targets of false accusations. How do you deal with false dementia accusations that hurts your ego and caring heart for them?

Delusions, which are false beliefs, are a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors sometimes accuse the people around them of doing things they would never dream of, such as stealing from the older adult, poisoning them, or holding them prisoner. These accusations can be very hurtful to caregivers. Knowing how to handle them can help you to resolve the situation without so many hard feelings. Here are some tips to help. 

Firstly, it’s crucial to recognize that being on the receiving end of a false dementia accusation can be both bewildering and hurtful. Whether it’s a misunderstanding from a family member or a misjudgment by someone else, it’s essential to approach the situation with empathy, patience, and a sprinkle of knowledge.

How Do You Deal with False Dementia Accusations – Tips and Reminders

How do you deal with False dementia accusations social and featured image with the word alzheimers

Best to keep in mind that their accusations are a symptom and not personal. When your aging relative accuses you of doing something, try to keep in mind that this is a symptom of the disease. It is not personal. The symptom is a reaction to the confusion and anxiety losing one’s memory causes. Remain calm and remind yourself that the senior cannot help themselves.  

he older adult truly believes what they are saying is real. Arguing with them about it won’t change anything. You also won’t be able to reason with them because their brain no longer works the way it once did. By arguing, you may make the older adult even angrier and the situation could escalate.

Understand the Root Cause

Like detectives in our own life stories, our first step is to gently uncover why the accusation came about. Sometimes, it’s a result of genuine concern mixed with misinformation. Other times, stress or even unresolved issues can lead people to make such statements. Understanding the why can guide you on how to respond effectively. T

Armed with empathy, initiate a calm and caring conversation. It’s like building a bridge over troubled waters—your goal is to connect, not confront. Express how the accusation made you feel but do so without assigning blame. Use “I” statements, such as “I felt confused when you mentioned dementia because I don’t see those signs in myself.”

Seek Clarity Together

Invite them to share their observations that led to their conclusion. This step is like putting puzzle pieces together. It helps to understand their perspective and provides an opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings. For instance, maybe you forgot a couple of appointments, and they took that as a sign of memory loss. Explaining the context (maybe you were juggling too many things!) can help clear the air.

Educate and Share

Knowledge is a powerful tool. Sharing information about dementia, its signs, and how it’s diagnosed can dispel myths and alleviate concerns. Consider visiting a healthcare professional together for an assessment if the accusations persist. This can provide peace of mind to everyone involved.

Set Boundaries with Kindness

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, misunderstandings may persist. Here, setting boundaries with kindness is vital. You might say, “I understand you’re concerned, but I’ve checked with my doctor, and everything is okay. Let’s focus on enjoying our time together instead of worrying.”

Practice Self-Care and Seek Support

Navigating false dementia accusations can be emotionally taxing. Remember to take care of yourself. Lean on supportive friends or family members, or consider joining a support group where you can share your experience and gain insights from others in similar situations.

Reflect and Move Forward

Finally, reflect on the experience as a growth opportunity. It can strengthen your communication skills, deepen your empathy, and even improve relationships through understanding and patience. Dealing with false dementia accusations requires a blend of empathy, patience, and proactive communication. By approaching the situation with understanding and seeking clarity together, you can navigate these choppy waters with grace.

Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Surround yourself with support, and don’t hesitate to seek professional advice if needed. Together, we can face challenges with compassion and emerge stronger on the other side.

Create a Sense of Control Over Finances

One common accusation caregivers may hear is, “You are stealing money from me!” When an older adult accuses you of stealing, you might respond by saying something like, “Oh no! Your money is missing? Don’t worry. I’ll help you find it.” Then, help them to “look” for it. You might keep a small stash of money that you can “find” to resolve this situation. Some things that might prevent the accusation are: 

  • Give the senior an old checkbook and register so they can “track” their money. You could even let them write checks from the old checkbook to pay their bills, then secretly destroy them later. 
  • Keep old bank statements for them to look through when they are worrying about finances. 
  • Allow the older adult to keep a wallet with a small amount of money in it.  

Prevent Paranoia About Poisoning

If the older adult accuses you of poisoning them, try responding to the feelings behind the accusation. The senior is worried about being poisoned because they are afraid. Remind the senior that you are there to help them and would never let anything harm them. It may also help to: 

  • Take a bite from their plate. 
  • Cook meals together, letting the senior do whatever steps they are capable of. 
  • Sit down and eat the meal together.


If you or an aging loved-one is considering a Caregiver in Levittown, PA please contact the caring staff at Correct Choice Home Care today at (267) 323-1700. 




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Joshua Walker, MBA