How to deal with a parent with dementia who is in denial?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 12, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My fiance's mother is 81 years old and has had dementia for about 5 years now. Her husband passed away last year and since then my fiancé has been doing his best to take care of her. We've asked her repeatedly about having someone come into her home to "help out" for a few hours a day as we're concerned about whether she's eating properly, taking her medication regularly and just being lonely in general. She refuses to let us have someone come in and says that she's "okay". My fiance goes to see her a few times a week (we live an hour away) and calls her every evening to make sure she's eaten and has locked up the house for the evening. He also has POA to help with her finances but still tries to involve her in them but the process has become increasingly frustrating and she constantly accuses him of taking money from her account which couldn't be further from the truth. Her short term memory is almost gone and she repeats the same questions over and over again, can't remember who comes by to see her etc. However she can tell you who sat next to her in her first grade class. My fiance is having a difficult time dealing with her when she gets hostile about him helping her with her finances and takes it to heart when she accuses him of stealing from her as all he's ever trying to do is help her. We've had conversations with her doctor who says she's ok living alone as long as we felt like if there was a fire or emergency in the house that she would know to get out or to call someone but that "test" doesn't seem to give us much assurance. How do we help her when she doesn't think she needs it but we know differently?

Expert Answers

Hello kmh0217, This is a great question -- thank you for posting to our community.

Here are a few resources from that may help you research this common conundrum: also has free, customizable resources for caregivers of a loved one with dementia and Alzheimer's called Steps & Stages, with care guides, online support groups and more.

Hope this information is helpful. All the best to you and your family.

Community Answers

Ca-claire answered...

Hi khm0217 - it sounds like it would be best for your fiance to just take care of his mother's finances and leave her out of it. From your explanation, it's pretty obvious that the math is beyond her, and reminding her that she can no longer handle her finances is too hard on her.

Ask the Primary care physician for a referral to a Neurologist to determine how best to 'treat' her dementia. The Neurologists are better equipped, and don't have the personal attachment that the PCP might. It's probably time to find Assisted Living or Memory care for your fiance's mother. I hope she does not have access to a car....