Mistrust and suspicion

Memory loss and confusion may cause the person with dementia to perceive things in new, unusual ways. Individuals may become suspicious of those around them, even accusing others of theft, infidelity or other improper behaviour. Sometimes the person may also misinterpret what he or she sees and hears.

How to respond

• Don't take offence. Listen to what is troubling the person, and try to understand their reality. Then be reassuring, and let the person know you care

• Don't argue or try to convince. Allow the individual to express ideas. Acknowledge his or her opinions

• Offer a simple answer. Share your thoughts with the individual, but keep it simple. Don't overwhelm the person with lengthy explanations or reasons

• Switch the focus to another activity. Engage the person in an activity, or ask for help with a chore

• Duplicate any lost item. If the person is often searching for a specific item, have several available. For example, if the individual is always looking for his or her wallet, purchase two of the same kind

Did you know?

1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will die with a form of dementia.