Tips For Caregiver's

People with Alzheimer's disease frequently become more disoriented after dark or when waking. Leaving a night-light on in the bedroom may be helpful.


Monday, June 1, 2009

The Truth

When dealing with Alzheimer's and Dementia patients, when does one tell the truth?

Today, since I arrived home from work, Muddear has asked me on numerous occasions... "Where is my baby?" I tried to rationalize with her, but of course it didn't work. I would ask, "Muddear, how old are you?"

"That doesn't matter. Where is my baby?"
"But, it does matter. You are 97 years old, there is no way that you have babies. They are all grown."
"No they are not. Where are my babies?"

A little later, I tried again to rationalize with Muddear as she asked...

"Did somebody take my babies?"
"Of course not Muddear, your babies are adults now."
"No they are not."
"Muddear, tell me something, when did you start having babies?"
"Oh when I was about 79."
"Now Muddear, you know you didn't have babies at 79. That's too old - not just for you, but no one has babies at 79."

It is almost 10:00 p.m. and this issue is still not resolved. She keeps asking us... "Where is my baby?" Should we play along with her? I fear that this would create even more problems.

What do you think?


Janice and Jessica said...

I would play along. I see lots of little ladies in my husbands facility with doll babies and they think they are their real babies. You can't argue with dementia and alzheimers. It is muddears reality. Try to appease her the best you can. Little white lies don't hurt in this case, they can only help.

njm said...

Janice and Jessica,

I'm sure you are right. It makes me nervous, because when I agree with Muddear, she becomes so adamant about the topic. But then again, she's adamant if I disagree, so perhaps agreeing is better!

Shadowspun said...

How is Muddear doing? Is she (and you & family) okay?

Linda Fisher said...

Tell her something like, "The babies have been fed and are asleep. Tell me about your babies." In her mind, they are babies. A doll might help.

In her mind her children are babies. She is anxious because she thinks she needs to be taking care of them. She won't believe you if you tell her they are adults.

alicerockit said...

I have been reading your blog from start to finish and found it fascinating. I work with people with moderate to severe dementia and recognize so many of the thoughts you have.
My feeling and training would say to not disagree with Muddear - this only usually leads to more anxiety and more confusion. A line of agreement then perhaps a subtle change of questioning - or distraction onto something else. I have client at work who has been asking where her mother is (she died over 30 years ago)- it seems to be more beneficial to say that her mother around or coming soon as this gives her comfort. The question of her mother then is forgotten and she is able to move on to something else. It is playing along i guess but to tell her that her mum is dead repeatedly is much more distressing - its like going through the death all over again.

Retta said...

Happy to find your blog.
My Mom(77)is having some of the same issues,this morning she asked my Dad,who he was,and what did he do with her husband(him)....last month she wanted to know what we did with her Mother....she seems to be totally in the moment,with these episodes.My Dad is on his last leg-it's taking a toll on him(as the caregiver).

njm said...

Linda Fisher and Alicerockit,

Thank you both for stopping by and commenting. It is such a difficult decision. I've noticed that if we play along, the situation doesn't get better. As in your example, Muddear will begin asking for her mother or husband (both are deceased). When we say they are deceased, she gets irate, disagrees and becomes argumentative. However, if we agree, she becomes she starts yelling for them and wheeling her wheelchair around looking for them. Then she becomes irate and argumentative, because she thinks we are keeping them apart. There have been times when she will stay up all night long, waiting for them not to mention angry with us for not allowing them to come into her room. There seems to be no win.

njm said...


I understand your dad's plight. The one thing you can do for your dad is spend time with your mom so he can have a break. He needs time to refresh, spend time with friends or other family members.

Also, you should look into respite care periodically so that your dad can have a little time to be himself and not a caregiver.

If you want to talk about it, feel free to contact me.