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Dementia and seeing things that are not there

Last post 03-21-2012 7:38 AM by arial. 14 replies.
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  • 04-21-2008 11:48 AM

    • Marina
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 04-21-2008
    • Posts 1

    Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    My mother had brain aneurysm surgery in 2004.  She has suffered from vascular dementia since.  She is currently having some aggression but the most concerning thing is that she is “seeing” people and things that are not there.  My father is trying to care for her at home and he &  I are at a loss on how to communicate with mom when she convinced of what she is “seeing”.  Suggestions please.

  • 04-21-2008 4:41 PM In reply to

    • Audra
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-21-2008
    • Posts 8

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    I can see how frightning this could be. It is going to depend on what the cause of her hallucinations are. Is she seeing herself in the mirror or shadows? Is she on any new medications? Does she take any mind altering medications? Is she catching a glimpse of something and is this being construed as a person?

    In general do not fight her when she is aggresive or hallucinating. You need to step back and give her a break from whatever you where doing. Also I would recommend seeing her neurologist to see if there could be a cause or a treatment like haldol that would be right for her. Also as a side note do not feel like she is responding to you in anyway. Family is always the people that patients with dementia and Alzheimer"a fight the most.

    It may be helpful to get a type of caregiver so that your dad can get a break. Caretaking is exhausting.

  • 06-25-2008 4:29 PM In reply to

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    I'm so sorry , Marina!  How scary!  One thing I learned to do working with dementia was to try to see what might be triggering these hallucinations.  For example somethign paranoid that someone is trying to break into the house at night actually had a large tree branch outside the bedroom window and in the streetlight when the wind blew and the branch moved for a moment you could imagine it might look like a person, but then you or I could calm ourselves down and reasonably see it for what it was:  a tree branch.  Someone without those mental abilities might get stuck at that first reaction of fear and not bea ble to mentally talk themselves through understanding the reality the way your or I could.  You might take a peek around and see if something/someone might be triggering the behaviors.  If you understand them, you might be able to help some.  Granted, you are also dealing with a medical and neurological condition that needs regular physician oversight and treatment which may include medications that will help you and Dad care for her longer by keeping her calmer and more relaxed, and thus more comfortable.  There are environmental and chemical treatments you can research online or at yoru library or Alz Association, too.  Hang in there!  Clearly you have a very loved Mom. 

  • 07-08-2011 1:55 PM In reply to

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    I just signed on to this forum and feel better already. My Mom has been seeing people in her house over the last 2 years and some of it was caused by drugs.  However, we took her off the drugs but the visitors are still there. She also thinks that people are stealing things from her:spoons, plastic bags, etc. I just don't know how to talk to her about this. She sometimes thinks it's my Dad who passed 21 years ago. If you have any specific ideas, let me know.

  • 02-08-2012 6:36 PM In reply to

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    My husband has dementia secondary to whole brain radiation used to treat a brain tumor 25 years ago.  He is 56. Last August I had to move him into a care facility.  He hallucinates frequently seeing cats, little children, birds etc.    He is also certain people are stealing his stuff and that his younger brother (whom he really despises) is riding his motorcycle and driving his car.  All I can do is reasure him and try to change the subject.  When the hallucination or fantasy is benign I talk about it with him.  What kind of cat is it?  Was your trip to beach fun? etc. Right now we are going through a rough patch where he hates "being in the hospital"  All I can do is tell him I can no longer care for him at home.  But that is a subject for another posting!

  • 02-13-2012 1:11 AM In reply to

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    I totally empathize with u. My mom is always hiding everything. She thinkseveryone steals from her. Two months in a ALP n she wants to leave. She says she wud rather be dead in the ground. I feel so sad n helpless. She is very stubborn. I don't Know what to do. I am searching for a small facility.
  • 02-13-2012 11:16 AM In reply to

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    Boy, I hear you newtek30.  Don't be too swift to move her.  Do you really think you will ever be able to make her happy?  I was never able to make my husband happy even when he was well!  Nobody has the power to do that.  People have to do that for themselves.  This illness is cruel to us all taking from the sufferer and the loved ones. 

    I don't feel so alone  since I have been logging on here.  My husband also has been recently going through a lot of sadness.  He usually cries when I leave saying things like, "You just through me in here.  I want to go home" I carry a list in my purse of all the reasons why I cannot take care of him at home.  It was my counselor's idea.  Helps alot.  The trouble with this disease it that one day they are pretty with it, knowing where they are, who you are etc.  Then the next they are just in LA LA land. My husband is convinced there are two to three of me.  He has been married to us all and divorced a couple of us. He asks where I work and says "Oh yes, my wifes a dentist too.  Gee, everybody's a dentist".   

  • 02-14-2012 1:16 AM In reply to

    • sethm
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-07-2012
    • Posts 61

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    Your advice is right. Lemme just add...another way of dealing with hallucinations is to keep the person busy and active. Hallucinations happen less often when the person is busy and occupied. However, it can be a big challenge to find ways how to keep someone with Alzheimer's or other dementias busy and active.
  • 02-14-2012 11:13 AM In reply to

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    Yes.  My husband has pretty much closed in on himself.  It is a shame.

  • 02-14-2012 7:33 PM In reply to

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    Thank you so very much for your support because means so much to me just knwing that someone can empathize with me and is feeling

    what I feel. No, I can't ever remember really making my mom happy, ever...and that's sad.  Also, thank you for that great idea about the list. 

     I am going to make one to carry with me and I am sure it will help.

     I don't know if you believe in God but this is one time that I am putting everything in his hands because it really is NOT in my hands to

    do anything, as I feel so helpless.  When I was younger I felt I held the answer to everything and could handle whatever obstacle came

    my way but it may not have been contributed solely to me.  I was always kind and fair, if nothing else,  and it could be that God knew that

    and helped me. 

    Whatever our belief, we are all suffering and seeking some solace.  May God bless you and your family.


  • 02-14-2012 10:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    Thank you, Veronica.
  • 02-15-2012 4:39 AM In reply to

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    Either you can hirea care giver for her as they know how to interact with them or you can get training from them. In such cases, my view allow to hire a person who has to care only the affected person as he can care well.
  • 03-15-2012 8:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    First, try to assess the situation. How is your Mom reacting to the hallucination? If you think it's not very threatening, you can choose not to confront them immediately about it. However, one way to address it is to tell her that you know she's seeing something but you just can't see it. Then proceed with a distraction method to you can take her mind off that hallucination
  • 03-16-2012 12:44 AM In reply to

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    I am sorry that your mom facing this kind of disease but it sometimes could be very dangerous if you do not deal properly with the patient. So, first you should have patience while dealing with the patient and read their mind and behave according to that. Give them extra affection and love becuase this is the only treatment which could help the patient in his/her criticial stage.

    Home care

  • 03-21-2012 7:38 AM In reply to

    • arial
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-15-2011
    • UK
    • Posts 33

    Re: Dementia and seeing things that are not there

    I think your mother need a caregiver who can take care of her. Caregivers are skilled person they know how to treat with the person who is suffering problem. And if you want to take care her, then first listen what she wants to tell try to understand her situation. Analyze her behavior because it might be possible that she is reacting for some specific things only.

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