advertisement
Question
Posted by: Tebo | 2011/03/28

Old age?

Good day doc

I stay with my 90+ years old grandmother (I am 34 years, a wife and a mother to two young sons). Two years ago she started talking about occurences that never happened. She says she is scared people are planning her death. She would accuse some people for insulting her and trying to chase her from her home, etc. How do I deal with this? What must I do? How do I respond to her " imaginative"  mind? This could be old age, but do Ineed to take her to a doctor for proper diagnosis and medication?

She lost her husband 29 years ago, her beloved daighter (my mother) 27 years ago, her own parents 24 years ago. She never showed any emotions or pain. She is shy in nature and not very talkative. She brought me up and I always knew her as an anxious and untrusting person to other people. She did not have any friends except for our neighbour and her sister-in-law whom she also did not trust much. She would make sure the door and windows are locked even when I have locked them.

Thank you

Not what you were looking for? Try searching again, or ask your own question
Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Yes, you do need to arrange for her to see a psychiatrist for a proper assessment to decide what's going wrong. This sort of paranoid and confused thinking can be part of dementia, and there are some specifically paranoid types of disorder associated with old age.
Treatment can help significantly, including medication, some of which can have dramatic benefits, though some may increase the risk of heart attacks or stroke - its a dicey ethical choice, but for many of us we would ourselves choose to run such risks to be more normal and content in even a shorter late life, than to live longer in a terrified and confused state.
One needs to be re-assuring rather than challenging, but this is far from easy. This can be discussed with the psychiatrist.
As you so eloquently describe, if she was always a shy person with difficulty trusting others, this background may have made it easier to develop this more exaggerated form of those traits at this stage of life.
Havin someone like you accessable, who she has known for a long time, and may trust more than anyone else, will be very helpful, too.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

3
Our users say:
Posted by: Been there too | 2011/03/28

Shame, it is so sad My old Mom was quite " with it"  even in her 90''s and then one day when visiting and just chatting away, she suddenly said, " you know what?"  and then went on to explain a whole story about an incident that had taken place, quite normal, with the usual expressions. Then suddenly she said something quite impossible and THEN I suddenly realised that she was confused and the whole story was just a fabrication. It broke my heart to suddenly realise that my dear old Mom was suffering from dementia. From then on it got worse until she died quietly. It was so sad to witness that happen. Her Mom was the same before she died, also in her 90" s

Reply to Been there too
Posted by: Purple | 2011/03/28

She might be starting to develop dementia.

My gran is also this age and suddenly one day started making wild accusations against people and warning us she was afraid she would harm our children and so on. We took her to our GP who referred her to a psychiatrist and she was put on meds which although they have not made things " right"  have certainly helped her a lot as she no longer thinks her food is poisined or warns us not to visit in case she harms us. She also said she sounded funny when she spoke and that she looked lopsided (there was a visual processing problem - as she spoke just fine and looked perfectly normal) but that has also resolved with the meds she''s on. She''s gone from being an active woman in her 90''s to being someone who sits in her chair and stares vacantly, though now when she does speak she is a bit more aware of her surroundings than she was before she was put on the meds.

Its probably best you speak to your doctor and see a psychiatrist.

It is so sad when this happens, but just as some people''s hearts or kidneys or other organs fail with old age, for some people it is their brains.

You are probably going to need to arrange care for her even if it is just part time, becuase remember that if you are giving 24 hour care, you are just not going to be able to keep up and then you can''t do the best for her. Even if you just have someone who comes in 2 mornings a week to give you a break it is something to give you time for yourself and enable you to go back to your grandmother more refreshed and able to care for her again.
From here sadly things do start to get worse and worse.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/03/28

Yes, you do need to arrange for her to see a psychiatrist for a proper assessment to decide what's going wrong. This sort of paranoid and confused thinking can be part of dementia, and there are some specifically paranoid types of disorder associated with old age.
Treatment can help significantly, including medication, some of which can have dramatic benefits, though some may increase the risk of heart attacks or stroke - its a dicey ethical choice, but for many of us we would ourselves choose to run such risks to be more normal and content in even a shorter late life, than to live longer in a terrified and confused state.
One needs to be re-assuring rather than challenging, but this is far from easy. This can be discussed with the psychiatrist.
As you so eloquently describe, if she was always a shy person with difficulty trusting others, this background may have made it easier to develop this more exaggerated form of those traits at this stage of life.
Havin someone like you accessable, who she has known for a long time, and may trust more than anyone else, will be very helpful, too.

Reply to cybershrink

Have your say

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
advertisement