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My mother lives on her own and recently she's become very paranoid. For example, she believes the power does not work in her condo. How can I help her?


Question:  My mother owns her condo and lives by herself in Edmonton (Alberta). For the past 18 months she has been very paranoid. She believes the power does not work in her condo or will catch fire if turned on. She cannot go down into her basement because, “the guy told her not to.” Her two bedrooms on the end of her condo are going to fall away from the condo building, etc. She has heat, power, water and phone. I tell her the power works for me. If you spoke to her you would think she is one step away from being out on the streets. How can I help this situation or is this simply a cry for more attention?

Dr. Amy:  There are a number of possible reasons for your mother’s paranoia. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can sometimes cause paranoia, and so too can mental health issues and even certain medications. I encourage you to take your mother to the doctor right away to talk about this matter and have her assessed. Make sure you bring complete details about any medications she is taking, as well as any changes in her health or lifestyle in the past two years. If mom won't go to the doctor, you can call Community Geriatrics. As well, you can call an assessment worker at the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton (SAGE), at 780 423 5510. They can provide you with support and suggestions.


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