A client called me yesterday. They have gone through numerous caregivers in the last few months. At first her mother, Abby, is fine with the new caregiver and then suddenly she is accusing them of stealing the family silver or a valuable necklace.
She becomes quite verbal and insists they leave the home. Several times she has even called the police to report an intruder in her home going through her drawers. In reality the helper was putting away the clothes she had washed. The caregivers can put up with it for a while but they often are insulted being treated this way and finally refuse to work for us.
It is very common for someone with Dementia or Altzheimer's to become very paranoid. This is part of the disease. My client knew that but the question remained, what do we do now??
You have a couple of choices. Find a caregiver who is trained to work with people with dementia. There are a number of home care companies who have special training in place for their care staff. These care professionals are trained in techniques like re-directing and also know how to engage your parent. Rather than just babysit they have activity programs to help someone with dementia engage and participate. With the right caregiver you will see a big improvement in your mom's paranoia.
The other choice is to place your mom into a memory care facility. This is a community where all of the residents have some form of Dementia or Alzheimer's. It is a locked facility but before you panic at the thought of putting your parent in some sort of locked facility understand that this is not anything like a mental institution you may be envisioning. Your parent will probably not even realize the building is looked because the staff is all expert at re-directing.
Most of the places I have been to are light and bright and have wonderful outdoor areas where a resident can come and go as they please. Of course all of the outdoor areas are secured so there is no need to worry about wandering. There are activities all day for residents to participate in and the goal is to help each resident be all that they can be. All staff members are required to go through specific training to learn how to communicate with residents. There are always caregivers ready to help even at 3 AM when some residents may be prone to wandering.
Remember no matter what challenges you may be facing there are always choices and solutions.
If you are in the Houston, Texas area and think it may be time to place your aging parent or spouse with Alzheimer's call me. There is no charge for a consultation. Call Kathryn @ 281-827-7090 or email