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Grandma discussion points
newtexan11 posted:
I'm new to the world of Alzheimers; my grandma is in stage five and the first in our family to ever be diagnosed. I'm looking for pointers on how to best converse with my grandma when she calls me and is upset saying my grandfather is mean to her and has been hitting her and that she's afraid. He is not harming her physically or mentally. I've tried steering the conversation to another subject, which is fine for awhile and then she'll come back to the subject of hitting and meanness.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions.
davedsel57 responded:
Hello and welcome.

My dad has Alzheimer's (mild - moderate) and is living in a great Assisted Living Facility. He calls me and tells me things that I know are not true. I usually just say "uh, huh - OK dad" and then change the subject. If he tells me something like "the nurses won't give me my insulin shot" I say that I will talk to them and call the head nurse right away. I always find that he is making that story up too.

If there is truly no abuse happening then you do need to try and convince your grandmother of that and then change the subject. Don't argue with her or make her upset.

I understand how difficult it is to have a loved on with Alzheimer's. I hope your grandfather is getting help with caring for your grandmother, such as someone coming in or taking her to adult day care periodically. Help and support from family and friends is essential and I pray your grandparents are getting that.

You may find it very helpful to go to the Alzheimer's Association web site at
There are pages for your local chapter, message boards and a great deal of excellent information.

I pray your family is able to effectively care for your grandmother.

Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.

Blessings, Dave
cjh1203 responded:
Hi Newtexan-

The next time she starts talking about your grandfather being mean to her, maybe you could try asking her what she would like you to do to help her. Perhaps you could also say you'll talk to him about it and tell him to stop being mean to her. That might be enough to satisfy her, at least temporarily. She obviously believes that what she's saying is true, and she may feel that nobody is listening to her (even though you are), so she just keeps bringing it up.

I don't know that there's a way to completely get her to stop talking about your grandfather abusing her, but it's probably a phase that will end on its own at some point.

Good luck to you. Having an Alzheimer's patient in the family is so full of challenges, and you never know what each day will bring. I hope you'll continue to let us know how your grandmother is doing.

Judith L London, PhD responded:
Hi newtexan11,

How upsetting for you. Often people with this disease respond to inner fears or misperceive what is happening because it confuses them.

As I suggest in my book, your grandmother needs to talk about what is on her mind. Tell her how sad you are to hear that she is having such a hard time. Ask your grandfather when does she accuse him of this behavior. Something as simple as him helping her get dressed may bother her. If she accuses him of being mean, he should apologize to her even if he has done nothing wrong. People with Alzheimer's cannot change their behavior; it is up to us to change to reassure them that they are safe and their feelings matter.

Because your grandma needs to talk about these things, changing the subject doesn't resolve what's bothering her. Keep talking to her.

Keep us posted,


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