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

9 answers | Last updated: Nov 29, 2016
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 Answers

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!


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

And what if he was a Millionaire....and wanted to give away his fortune to the "poor children of China" ???? then what ????


Silvia isabel answered...

Take out his checkbook, write a check, have him sign, put in envelope, seal it, and then say you will mail it. then don't. Let him have his dream.


Skyeblue answered...

My Dad thinks he's loaded too :) and that he owns every business, knows everyone. Yes, it's a bit embarrassing at times when we're out and he wants to tell everyone how much money he has.

But I had no idea that some have negative delusions, so thank you and will just be glad he is entertaining himself with "grand" delusions.


Ozge answered...

My grand mom thinks ,she composed all the songs that she sings and she has got also another house at the next street.She tells us that -every time she gets bored- she will go there.She thinks she is rich,and she tells the same story everytime.But we only listen her,and we always smile on her speech.Because we know, it is useless to say her wrong and when we do this,she is getting nervous and stubborn. I reccomend everybody to be calm in these situations like that,and if you are getting bored,try to change the direction of the conversation.


Ozge answered...

My grand mom thinks ,she composed all the songs that she sings and she has got also another house at the next street.She tells us that -every time she gets bored- she will go there.She thinks she is rich,and she tells the same story everytime.But we only listen her,and we always smile on her speech.Because we know, it is useless to say her wrong and when we do this,she is getting nervous and stubborn. I reccomend everybody to be calm in these situations like that,and if you are getting bored,try to change the direction of the conversation


Ca-claire answered...

Well, we have the opposite. Our father has a couple million in investments, and it keeps growing, even though he now spends in a month more than what he used to spend for a year in their own home. Although he talks a good game, when you actually ask or need assistance, he "can't afford to help". It's just the way things are for the Great Depression generation. Just nod and say thank you Dad. Or that's great that you have such resources Dad. Who knows why we have the quirks we do.


Mylifewithdementia answered...

Be blessed that he has a positive experience. Our father is convinced he is broke and can't afford the assisted living location. He packs his clothes weekly because they have, "told him that they will kick him out because we haven't paid the bill". Even their telling him we pay on time , we receive 30 phone calls a day about this problem from him. I wish we could have a dream where he thinks he is loaded.


A fellow caregiver answered...

you are blessed that he's still a "millionaire". My father was also diagnosed with alzheimer. He thinks he WAS a millionaire; according to his memory, my mom and his children has stolen all of his fortune and once in a while, he demanded we pay him back, he has threaten to burn the house down, kill us if we don't pay him the millions $ back ..........in cash .............and deliver it in a suitcase :-) count your blessings!