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I have an early grandmother, over the age of eighty. After speaking to numerous family members that lived with her, my question is likely not from a condition caused by her age. It is also not a case of a hearing problem, vision problem, nor is there any factors involved (such as money) which might make somebody act strange - many conversations are benign in nature.

Examples of conversations:

Me: Gosh, this area has become so unsafe.
Grandmother: We have a security guard that walks around though, just on our street.
Me: Oh, what, really? I never knew. How comes I have not seen him after living here for years?!
Grandmother: Yep, keeps us well protected, walking along the flat streeet.
Me: Flat street, we live on a hill? Ohhh, you are talking about another house, in another area of London, where you do not even live.
Grandmother: -Goes into deadlock confusion state you cannot recover from where she fixates on the security guard despite there not actually being one-

Another example

Me: I went through your emails to tidy them up like you asked, and it seems you have ignored me and sent your credit card number to a fraudster.
Grandmother: I lost that card though.
Me: What is the number for that card?
Grandmother: No idea, I lost it remember?
Me: So if you lost the card and do not remember the number, how did you give it to the scammer?
Grandmother: -Goes into deadlock ignorance state where she keeps claiming it was lost-

The problem with the examples above, is in each case she convinces herself that this is actually the case, like that there is a security guard and that the card is lost so scammer cannot have it.

I also fear the occasions where she does this, yet I am unaware of the full picture to identify this weird thing she does.

Bizarre conclusions: It might be off topic, but she has a habit of jumping to bizarre conclusions and once again going into a deadlock state. For example, once I called a company to purchase something, and following on from this call my grandmother seemed to believe that from now on all correspondence would happen via telephone instead of receiving letters. I tried to explain, but she went into her deadlock state and said in an autocratic way that from now on all correspondence would happen by telephone. I did ask if she wanted me to call the company back to arrange this, but she was certain that a telephone call from a withheld private number, where I asked a generic question without providing any details meant we would only have telephone correspondence. Honestly, it is like she thinks her car will start to fly because the tires were changed?

Element of stupidity: There is also an element of stupidity. For example, she used to rant almost daily for several months that "the foxes keep knocking over a plant pot in my back garden". However, even when I was outside with her, I could never get her to show me where, which plant pot, or how she even knew if it was a fox... After we got burgled, it turned out someone had been jumping our garden fence, picking up this large ceramic plant pot full of earth that I could not lift nor roll along the ground (so no fox or animal could ever manage this), about 4 meters, flipping it upside down, and then using it to climb onto a flat roof. I was even more disgusted that my grandmother was aware we had noticed smoked cigarettes on that roof, and had grown concern we might be dealing with burglars. She could not make the connection, nor even use her arm to point at a plant pot...

It gets worse. She thinks it is only me that has trouble understanding her, however this is likely because she spends little time around others, and when she does communicate with others they likely do not realise the weird things she does as I explained earlier.

Question: I would be very interested to know whether there is a term for this weird thing she does, and any ways to help manage a relative that talks this way as it creates utter chaos and confusion. Unless I already know the topic inside out, when she does this it slips past me.

Sorry: I was unsure what tags to use and I am new to this field.

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  • $\begingroup$ You mean schizophrenia? $\endgroup$
    – Doliprane
    May 24 at 8:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Doliprane Quite possible. Some of my friends said perhaps she is just being difficult, but in many scenarios there is no benefit (in terms of dignity, money, respect etc...) for her to have this bizarre way of thinking. $\endgroup$
    – questioner
    May 24 at 8:51
  • $\begingroup$ Had anyone thought of maybe taking her to a doctor? I mean obviously, it's not a "style of thinking", it's some kind of mentall illness. Having irrational thoughts, making weird links between thoughts, words, things... Paranoia, jumping to extreme (and illogical) conclusions, zoning out. What you call "element of stupidity" is actually her thinking of the most paranoic possibility (her grandson dealing with bulglars) instead of the most possible one. She's not doing it on purspose, she's confused. You have to take her to a doctor, even if you think it's too late. $\endgroup$
    – Doliprane
    May 24 at 9:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Doliprane Well, you misread my wall of text which is understandable - she assumed a fox had moved a flowerpot which not even I could move - but sure. $\endgroup$
    – questioner
    May 24 at 18:01