Help for Alzheimer’s Caregivers.
Misinterpretation of situations is a common behavior in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) which results in inappropriate responses. For example, accusations of stealing their money makes sense to them because they don’t have money at their disposal and it’s easy for them to make the leap that it has been stolen. Or, if they can’t see food right in front of them, they might say that they haven’t been given any food for days. Of course, they say this when you have company!
In both cases we could argue the point with your loved one, “No one is stealing your money, Mom”, or “you just ate a huge lunch Dad, how can you say that?” Instead, step back, look at the situation and recognize how short term memory problems are a big part of the disease and causing these behaviors. Trying to reason with them only makes the situation worse. In addition, they need concrete anchors to reality because of the loss of abstract thinking. So, give bogus checks in the first situation and hand them some crackers with the promise of dinner in the second. No argument.
It’s easy to “knee jerk” and get sucked in when problem behaviors occur and simply respond to the moment, but taking a step back and going with the behavior will make all the difference for everyone involved.