Many caregivers to older adults with Alzheimer’s disease find themselves the targets of false accusations. 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.
Remember 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.
Don’t Argue or Reason
The 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.
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.