Dealing with false accusations made by a person with dementia

Talking Point members’ advice about being falsely accused of something by a relative or friend who has dementia.

We asked members of Talking Point for their advice about dealing with how it feels if you’re falsely accused of something by a relative or friend who has dementia.

Talking Point is a helpful community that’s free and open 24/7, where anyone who’s affected by dementia can get valuable support online.

Lawson58 says,

‘It took time, but I learned never to take all the accusations personally. When the accusations were coming, I refused to engage with him, often removing myself from his presence. 

‘He was quite able to look after himself so I would go out and leave him to it.

I think if you let it upset you while it’s happening, I think it encourages the person to continue with the behaviour. A thick skin is essential.’ 

Jaded’n’faded says,

‘I remember losing it with my mother once, after being accused of stealing everything – her money, all her property (she believed she owned several houses, sadly not!) and even some of her clothes. 

‘I said something along the lines of, “If I’d taken all your money, I’d be sitting on a beach in Acapulco not here with you now!” It worked, but only in the moment. 

‘Another time I told her that no one could touch her money. I said that although I was able to arrange payments and so forth, I had to get receipts for everything and then it all went through the courts to check everything. Mum seemed to like that. 

‘I’m afraid I spent a lot of time lying to her. But it wasn’t me who kept stealing her favourite knickers – honest, guv.’ 

Canadian Joanne says,

‘The way for me was to develop as thick a skin as possible and ignore the nasty, hateful things my mother said. Of course, I slipped up and shouted at her sometimes, but that was me losing it.’ 

Wildwoodflower says,

‘Be certain that everything of legal, financial or medical significance that you do on behalf of that person while caring for them is transparent and witnessed by professionals. 

‘Looking after my mum is traumatic and I know that it will leave deep scars on me.

‘Acknowledge that caring in these circumstances is traumatic and look after your own mental health. 

‘Seek professional help for yourself. Get counselling if you can, find groups or places like Talking Point where you can vent and share and give and receive comfort.’

Meetoo says,

‘Perhaps a thick skin is the best way to deal with false accusation.

‘It’s so frustrating to have someone accusing you of being unfaithful while believing some illusory woman is about to arrive and look after him. 

‘I am looking for better ways to understand what is happening to the person with paranoia and delusion. I can deal with poor memory and forgetfulness, but unkindness is harder.’ 

JHA says,

‘I too have a thick skin and a brick wall, which occasionally breaks until I rebuild it.’ 

try again says,

‘Learnt to ignore it, but it helped that she started saying things about other people as well. At least then you don’t worry that people believe her.’

canary says,

‘I don’t want to minimise it, but often it is a phase. I think it is born of fear and anxiety.

‘Once Mum moved into her care home the paranoia went, her old personality returned (though not her memory!) and I became her daughter again.’ 

What advice would you give to someone worried about arranging replacement (respite) care for a person with dementia?

Let us know by the end of 4 July 2022 so we can share it in our next magazine.

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Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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