Paranoia in dementia

It helps when family understand

Paranoia can divide siblings and create family rifts. Most of all it can hurt the very people trying to care. Whilst on the telephone to my sister, my mother accused me of drinking her ‘special wine’ (sherry) and moving things in her flat or taking them.

Trying to reason with her, Catherine replied: “Mary works full-time and is always very busy – she hasn’t got time to be doing that.”

Quick as a flash her response was: “You wouldn’t think so, would you!”(knowingly).

A carer’s perspective

Paranoia is unpredictable and emotionally challenging.  Hurt by the injustice and the strength of feeling which accompanied these accusations, I did not know how to deal with it. Having a key to her flat made me a prime suspect! Paranoid that I was entering her flat whilst she was out, my mother stopped attending social events.  This was very sad and the exact opposite of what I wanted for her.

Naomi Fiel’s Validation Theory

Naomi believes that paranoia in people with dementia stems from something in their past.  Casting blame resolves issues and makes them feel better. Love them by accepting this and not challenging them. Naomi says don’t lie or discuss. Successful outcomes  come from  empathy with, not for the person.  A better solution might have been  chatting about her favourite ‘special wine’ and suggesting going somewhere nice for a drink.