Very often people who have dementia will claim that you or other family members have stolen their money or personal items or are doing something else equally horrible. These accusations aren’t true, but they still hurt and your senior is extremely upset by them. So how do you cope with them?
Leave Personal Feelings out of It
Your immediate reaction to these false accusations is probably to feel horrible and sad about what you’re hearing from your aging adult. But she’s not saying these things to hurt you. In fact, she doesn’t fully comprehend the impact of what she’s saying to you. Take a deep breath and try to remember that this isn’t about you.
Logic Is not Going to Help
Likewise, logic is not going to help you out of this situation. Your senior is not using logic and her brain is not able to work in that way any longer. Instead, listen to what your senior is saying and let her know that you hear her.
Keep Your Voice and Your Body Language Calm
While you’re talking to your family member you might feel frustrated, but you shouldn’t let that show in your body language or in your voice. If she’s already worked up, it’s not going to help for you to be worked up, too. Keep your tone of voice and your body language as calm as possible.
Make Answers Short and Simple
On a good day, your senior will likely respond better to shorter sentences and simple sentence constructions. When she’s already upset, you need to use this technique more than ever. This can help to reduce confusion and reassure her that you’re hearing what she’s saying to you.
Use Distractions, Duplicates, and Alternatives
Duplicate items can really help when your senior frequently loses something like the remote or her reading glasses. You can make that item reappear for her, which can get you out of trouble with her. Offering up alternative activities or distractions by way of things your senior loves can also help you to get through these situations.
Hearing your senior making false accusations about you or about other people can be really difficult. If you’re not already taking care of yourself, it’s going to be even more difficult. Set up some respite time with home care providers and take frequent breaks so that you can come back refreshed and ready for the next round.