Over the course of her Alzheimer’s Kate has experienced a variety of delusions. Most notably that has involved a belief that our home was her childhood home in Texas, a prior home in which we lived, or a B&B or hotel. Quite a few times she has also believed that we were going to have house guests when we weren’t.
Around midnight yesterday, she had another delusion that is much less common. In fact, I think this may have been the first or second time she has had such an experience. She said something that woke me up. I asked if she was all right. She said, “What do I need to do?” I didn’t understand and said, “Right now you don’t need to do anything. You can relax and go back to sleep.” That didn’t satisfy her. She said, “What are we going to do about him?” I told her I didn’t know who she was talking about. She couldn’t remember “his” name, but said he was someone I used to work with. I started naming people I thought were most likely. I couldn’t get the right person.
We finally gave up that line of questioning and focused on what she seemed to be concerned about. It took a lot of probing, but I learned that she thought someone who had worked with me was trying to get back at me by threatening to harm her. I suggested that it sounded like she may have had a dream. She insisted it was not a dream but acknowledged that it sounded like it could have been.
I didn’t try to tell her otherwise. I shifted gears to comfort her without dealing with who the person was and what he was trying to do or whether it was a dream or a reality. I told her I would be with her and would protect her from any harm. I used that assurance to divert her attention by talking about us and our relationship. That offered us more to talk about than if I had focused solely on telling I would protect her. This didn’t have an immediate effect. She kept bringing up the man who was trying to get at me through her. I persisted, and gradually, over what seemed like an hour but was probably 30-40 minutes, she relaxed and went to sleep. By that time, she may have forgotten about “the man” altogether.