What's Making My Mother Paranoid
April 15, 2009 6:42 AM Subscribe
My mother has become increasingly paranoid recently. How can I help her?
My mother is in her late seventies. She had a mild heart attack in the early part of this decade, but now that she's stopped smoking and my siblings and I have gotten her out of a rotten housing situation a few years ago, she's been doing pretty well. She's still mobile, if achey, and is still quite sharp for the most part.
However, the situation we got her out of, where there were drug dealers living next to her, seems to have stuck with her. She has frequently told my brother who lives near her (and me a few times during visits) that the drug dealers are still after her, even though she's now living in a senior community and has never interacted with the police about any of that. We've seen no signs of it at all.
Just last week, it got worse. My mom moved in with my brother for several days, as she was too afraid to stay at her condo at the senior community. She also thought there were lurkers about outside at my brother's house.
AND to top it off, she started thinking that his wife was wanting to hurt her. I'd gotten concerned when I heard she'd left her condo and I had wondered if she was going to get worse, and it seems she has.
My brother's done what he could to talk her down. I've talked to her too by phone, but I'm nowhere nearby to offer much help other than reassurance and advice. I'm told she's going to be moving back to her place and my brother's going to be going with my mom to her doctor.
I've done a little reading online about this kind of issue with aging people and it seems that it could just be something that can be lived with, could be an early sign of oncoming dementia or it could even by a side effect of taking statins (and my mother does take some sort of cholesterol medication, but I haven't confirmed what it is). The thing is that for health stuff, the internet is often full of anecdotal bullshit and snake oil. And since I'm not a medical professional, I know I have a tough time sorting the wheat from the chaff there.
I know you are not my mom's doctor, but I would like to hear from anyone with experience with paranoia affecting the elderly so that I can figure out what information might be helpful to pass on to my brother for when he visits my mother's doctor. I have no idea how good or bad her doctor is, but it is my experience with my own GP that going in with some foreknowledge can be helpful.
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