Mom's imaginary people

Started by

My Mother thinks that a man, woman, and child come to her house every night around 9:00pm. She says they have no face and they can just come and go thru the walls, They don't have to use the door. This has been going on now for 3-4 months. She says they use her phone, sometimes they leave their child with her, They sleep on her floor or in her car and leave early in the morning. She is not scared of them but doesn't want them there and they won't go away. She gets mad at me if I don't see them and I really don't know how to handle this. Her stories about them are so consistant and I am wondering if this is common and what I am supposed to say to her when she wants to talk to me about this all the time.

24 Comments

3930 helpful answers
My mother-in-law used to do this - only it was "the kids." She had once been a teacher. She even told me not to sit on "the kids" once, so I had to move to a chair as her couch was "taken."

She had developed paranoia and dementia by then. Once she moved from her condo to a nursing home, she was much better. I think she needed the company and she felt safer, so her paranoia was better and she made real friends.

However, I must say that arguing with your mom won't likely work. These people are real to her. Maybe it's time for a doctor appointment (again), or maybe it's time for her to be around more people in assisted living of some kind. Loneliness can cause a lot of problems.

Even though I visited my MIL every day, it wasn't enough to curb her loneliness and paranoia. She needed more.


Carol
I agree with carol seems like when this starts it isn't long they go down hill faster. Unfortunately for some fortunate for others. depends on your stress level and the relationship you had in the past I suppose. My mother did this so that is why she lives with me now but she still wants her own apt and everytime I say okay and bring boxes she changes her mind, she said this four days ago again this time I am ignoring it She can't live alone anymore so we just have to live each day and take it as it comes than make decisions on the progress of the disease we have to remember that lots of times it is the disease not the person The person may not even remember what happened that day or the hour before If we look at it that way we don't stress so much over the person. And try to respond not to react even if you can't respond immediately think it over some times the best response in none.
My Mom use to see "bugs" and would spray them with water !
Since she's been in a nursing home, she's been busy and the bug problem is gone.
My father sees people but only for a split second. I was told this is part of the progression of the Parkinson's disease he has. I would certainly make an appt. with her doctor.
Hi Patio,

my Mom would see 'ghosts' coming out of the closet (gay ghosts?) and call for me and after a few nights of this I decided to have a 'ceremony'. Of course I knew that my Mom was hallucinating so I put on a piece of theater including candles for my Mom 'releasing' her ghosts and she was happy that they now had another place to go. So far no more ghost sightings.

All background for the ghost ceremony obtained from watching Whoopie Goldberg in the movie, 'Ghost'!

Good luck and don't get upset that she gets mad at you.
I was a CNA before entering into my PhD regime. I worked in the Alzheimer's ward at a few nursing homes. This was very common. Especially in those who did not take respiradol or some other kind of hallucinigenic.
If she is on a medical regimen, has the doctor prescribed sleep aids like Ambien or Zolpidem (generic version) or some other sort of benzodiazepine like Valium? When taken in excess, they can create extremely vivid hallucinations and the individual often gets mad because no one else sees what they see. I suggest going through the monographs that usually accompany prescriptions, paying particular attention to side effects. If any medication or painkiller designed to help her "relax" has been added within the last 3-4 months I'm almost a 100% that's the reason. Also, don't be afraid to ask about the medications and the schedule. Perhaps she's taking them too close together. And have a psych evaluation done just to make sure everything is okay. The brain, when faced with stimuli it can't quite process as usual will tend to rewire itself to maintain balance. Let us know how it goes.
what do you do when they refuse to have a psych eval?
Has your mom been diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimer's? My mom has had those times of saying there are others in the room or that she is watching the children play or talk to a cat that isn't there or will ask about the baby. My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's & Dementia. After the loss of my sister, brother & then recently my dad, my mom's dementia increased severely. It is extremely difficult to watch someone you love so much and knowing how your loved one was before getting ill to have this happen to them. Remind your mom how much you love her and that you are there for her. Even though you know noone is there, just sort of go along with what your mom is saying, even if it means saying you see them if she asks. Believe me, I know it is not easy to do. Did your mom lose a sibling/a child that was young and/ her parents? I know with my mom, her thoughts and dreams are reality to her. I know that to them, they are seeing things, as well as having actual conversations with them. With different stages of Dementia, there will be anger and they will wonder why you are doing these things to them. Just know that it isn't you or that you have done anything! They are unable to control what is happening to them and it's very scary for them too. (I know that I feel so helpless and wish that I could just make my mom all better). I will be praying for you! Sincerely, eacorinth
My mom would think that someone was at the door, she was more into hearing things. Would imagine that the phone was ringing and try to answer it. One night she imagined that she dialed a number on the phone and was talking to my father (who died fifteen years ago). Sometimes she was come into my room in the night, ask me to get her dressed to meet someone who was going to pick her up in the parking lot. That one scared the pants off of me, what if she hadn't come to my room and actually gone out to the parking lot? Oh well, the nursing home is dealing with that now.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support