How can we deal with my father, who has Alzheimer's, being obsessed and believing he is a millionaire?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My father had been diagnosed with having Alhzeimers/Dementia approx. 10 years ago. I would say he is at the moderate stage and am amazed how long he has been diagnosed and hasn't gotten much worse. He does take several medicines for the disease. One thing that my family and myself find annoying, yet amusing, is he thinks he has a lot of money and constantly reminds us of it. He always tells us never to borrow money, that he has it and to ask him. He has his speech memorized word for word. He thinks he owns banks in all these different states. Unfortunately, my father is not wealthy man like he thinks he is. Infact, my parents have just enough money to get along. We just can't understand why having a lot of money is so important to him. I was wondering if it could stem back to a childhood memory of being poor. We are getting so tired of the same dialog but humor him to make him feel good. I guess my question is - do you have any idea why he would be so obsessed about thinking he is a millionaire? It is driving us crazy.

Expert Answer

A social worker and geriatric consultant who specializes in dementia care, Joyce Simard is based in Land O' Lakes, Florida, and in Prague. She is a well-known speaker and has written two books, one focusing on end-of-life care and the other, entitled The Magic Tape Recorder, explaining aging, memory loss, and how children can be helpers to their elders.

You may not believe this but you are fortunate that he thinks he is a millionaire, a very happy place for him to be.  Many times the delusions are very unhappy places..  We can' t say why he believes this to be true and at this point it's not important.  You and the family are responding in a very appropriate way by listening and agreeing with him.  He continues to need to be the head of the family and take care of everyone.  Eventually this will fade away so for now enjoy having an "Alzheimer's millionaire" in the family!