Quick Clips From an Acadia-Sponsored Symposium at AAIC 2019: Impact of Delusions in Dementia on Caregivers

DR. CUMMINGS: One of the things that you’ve made clear to us as we’ve gone through is that some of the delusions are falling directly on you. The examples that we’ve looked into: “You’re stealing my things; you’re going to abandon me; you’re not my spouse; you’re an imposter,” of course directed to the spouse. Or spousal infidelity: “You’re having an affair.”

So these are all things that often fall directly on the caregiver. It’s amazing how often delusional content is directed at the caregiver, and I think, “Did you have that experience? Were you part of the delusion ever?”

MS. GREGORY: Initially she was very concerned that my sisters and I were in collusion against her. Then she told me: “You just want my money; you just want my house.” She definitely thought I was stealing her things, which was really hard for me to balance, because there were things I was taking from her house. I took all of her jewelry, because she had this costume—she has a fetish with jewelry now, and she has all this costume jewelry. She had a lot of real jewelry. So I took the real jewelry. She had firearms in the house. I obviously had to take those.

Faculty

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health
Las Vegas, NV

Additional Contributor(s)

Caregiver of her mother, who is living with Alzheimer's disease dementia and experiencing hallucinations and delusions

Faculty Insights

I feel that it becomes necessary to address disturbing symptoms of psychosis in dementia because they are distressing to both the patient and caregiver.

–Davangere P. Devanand, MD