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KHulsey, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 0
Experience:  Licensed Psychotherapist. 25 Years Experience. Babies, Children, Families, Couples
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A friend's mother stays in the house all day with her

Customer Question

a friend's mother stays in the house all day with her grandaughter. Divorced 6 yrs ago she moved in with her only son who rarely spoke to her as he resented her moving in with him. She does not go out exept for a walk, doesn't drive or have friends. Her two sisters visit on Sat. and take her shopping for food on Fri. This has been for yrs. She sits on the sofa with a Bible, writing a book about men.   This has been going on for years. Lately she has become delusional. Says to shut off the TV because "they are watching", and she has made remarks that one of her sisters (the elder one with a strong personality) wants to kill her. One night her son saw her standing over his feet and was awakened. Told her to go back to bed. She makes remarks unrelated to the conversation at times. What do you say to someone when they say bazaar things? What is going on here?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  KHulsey replied 8 years ago.
Hi Nan,
Well, what a difficult situation. I'm guessing that since the friend with the mother is talking to you, that the family has become worried. Perhaps someone could suggest that the mother be taken to her doctor for an evaluation. Her doctor could then make a determination as to whether the symptoms are physical or mental and then make the appropriate referral for appropriate treatment. Sometimes, what sounds like a mental health problem can actually be a sign of dementia or some other medical problem. So, the first place to start would be with the doctor. Once a medical evaluation has taken place, the family would have a clearer picture of how to proceed.

In the meantime, as to your question regarding a response to bizarre remarks, the best course of action would be to be generally respectful of the mother. It is usually not helpful to argue or try to be rational with someone who is irrational. However, if she sometimes responds positively to some logic, then the people who speak with her can make the attempt to help her "test out" her irrational belief of the moment or repeat their conversation to her in a different way so as to make sure that she is understanding what is being said. When I'm in counseling with someone, if the client does not seem to understand the meaning of what I am saying, I will say it in a different way so that they might understand better what is being said or asked. In your particular case, I would be respectful, try to re-state what I am saying so that she can understand better, then if that doesn't work, I would not engage in a negative argument. The bot***** *****ne is that she needs to see her doctor about these symptoms.

I hope this helps and answers your question. If it does, please click the Accept button. I can be available for further questions as needed. I hope everything goes well.

K Hulsey, LCSW
25 Years Experience