My mom says she sees men and people in her house, but there are none. Could it be from her hypothyroidism?

She is 90. She also moves her hands in strange ways. eg. she will pick up something from the floor and hand it to me. There is nothing there. I am scared. She has Hypothyroidism and I know this can do strange things to people. Just started her on a med for this. I suspect she has urinary tract infection but I cant get a urine sample from her. It's hard to catch it. She occasionally takes an anti-depressant. I give her 1/4 of the pill. I don't want it to knock her out for 2 days. PLEASE PROVIDE ANY INPUT OR INSIGHT even though it may hurt. I cried last night. Just 2 weeks ago she was much more alert and feisty and eating a lot. The past few days she has no appetite and not taking in much liquids. We have tried everything from ice cream, ensure, Italian ices, baby food.

Answers 1 to 10 of 14
Sounds like Dementia to me - there are all different types. My Mother, rest her soul, had dementia due to a type of bone cancer that she had which didn't allow the red blood cells to mature - which prevented enough oxygen to her brain - which caused the brain to slowly die. She would hold conversations with my father and other relatives who had passed many years before ... as if they were right there before her. She would also hold audible conversations with them in her sleep. We decided that since she had always had a problem with death, that our father and various other relatives were helping her with the process of crossing over - so that she wouldn't be so frightened and fight it.
Top Answer
First, deal with your suspicion of a UTI. If you can't get a urine specimen is her doctor willing to treat her based on other evidence? Both the mother of a friend and my dear aunt hallucinated people in their homes when they had UTIs. These cleared up when the infection was treated. Neither woman had dementia. On the other hand, what you describe often goes with dementia. I'd rule out the UTI first!

On a different subject, (because I don't think this is related to the hallucinations -- but it might be to the disinterest in eating), why aren't you giving your mother her anti-depressent as directed by the doctor? (I can't imagine that giving 1/4 tablet occasionally is the way it was prescribed.) One of the symptoms of Hypothyroidism is depression. Depression is an ongoing condition. It is not like insomnia, where you can occasionally take a med when the problem arises and not take in on other days, or a pain pill you take when you feel a headache coming on.. Depression is there all the time, and it needs a more consistent treatment. If the prescribed dose "knocked her out for 2 days," then you need to discuss with the doctor whether this effect will gradually go away after she's taken it a short while or whether perhaps she needs a different kind of medication or a different dose. If you don't trust her doctor, take her to someone very qualified in this area, such as a geriatric psychiatrist. And then please follow the doctor's directions.

My heart goes out to you. It is very difficult to see our mothers hurting, and it is scary when they show alarming symptoms of mental confusion. Don't despair. You can advocate for her with her doctors and you really can make a difference in her quality of life. Hang in there!
Have you seen the article about UTIs on this site?
My mom was in rehab in November and kept telling me a strange man kept coming in her room at night. I really got upset with the rehab thinking "who are they allowing in here?" Came to realize at night, she is seeing and hearing things that are not there but feel very real to her. I think this is a somewhat normal progression with dementia. Mom is 86.
Welcome to the wicked world of dementia and false beliefs.

I'd rule out the UTI first & foremost.

Some types of dementia do hallucinations more than others. My mom has Lewy Body Disease. LBD is different than Alz and one of LBD hallmarks are hallucinations.

My mom saw/sees small animals - cats & rabbits. They don't do anything like want to be petted to ask for food, they are just "over there in the corner in the shadows". When she moved from her home to IL about 3 years ago and had the first cat "visit". I believed her and went all about her floor to the other residents to see who's cat it could be....they all seem to leave their door open during the day.
NO cats on her floor at all. All pets are on the first floor apts only. After the 2nd cat visit, I changed the lights so that there was no more dark corners. Still believed her. Then the rabbit showed up. Actually this all was good as it was able to provide for another clue at to what type of dementia she has.

Also I agree 100 & 1 % with jeanne that not giving her the whole prescription is an error. These meds REQUIRE a certain level in their system to be effective and you have to do this consistently for a set amount of time - usually 3 - 4 weeks - to get the proper titer of med's in her and take it daily to keep the level set. She needs to take it as prescribed. Taking it off & on or partially in my experience causes more harm than good.

That being said you IMHO have 2 choices: try what she has for a couple of weeks as prescribed and go with it. IF she sleeps alot, that probably needs to happen till the levels get balanced in her body OR take her to a geriatric psych for an evaluation and then really give her whatever they prescribed.

My mom is on Remeron. It is an old-school style anti depressant and anti anxiety drug. For her it works well - 1 pill at night & has the side effect of increased appetite, a deeper sleep as well as quelling anxiety (all good things). But she has to take it every night otherwise there would be full-blown anxiety episodes, like
people coming in her apt to use her room while she was a lunch/shopping......
Her inability to take the med as prescribed was one of the reasons why she is now in LTC. Sometimes she would decide I don't need this and go off - well about 4 -6 days later there would be an incident, like a robbery or wandering the halls. Then she would go back on Remeron and double dose so became kinda low key manic
in which she would go thru her drawers or closet and move things around so that the next day find stuff had been "stolen".

In her LTC she get's the med like clockwork and she is just so much more even
still totally demented but calmer. For her Remeron works.

Another thing you need to think about what you're seeing with your mom is anxiety or depression. They are quite different and so are the meds for them.
Good luck.
Ludwig, if you can't get a urine sample and the doctor requires one, I'd call the local urgent care center, explain the situation, and see if they could do tests if I bring Mom in. If they are not equipped for that, I'd take her to the ER. I wouldn't want to wait until Tuesday myself. Does her clinic have a nurse help line? If so, perhaps you could pose your question to them and get advice.

Good luck to you! Come back and post how it is going.
Igloo, I have to smile at you going up and down the hallway trying to figure out where the cat came from! I probably would have done something similar if my hubby with LBD saw a cat. He saw people coming up our sidewalk. And at 3 am one morning he woke me to tell me there were bats in the room. Baseball bats? I muttered sleepily. No, flying bats. See? They are on floor here on my side of the bed. Hmmm. What are they doing? He thought they were just resting. I asked if they were bothering him or they worried him. They didn't. OK, I suggested, would it be OK to wait until daylight and if they are still there I'll chase them out? He agreed to that plan we both went back to sleep. My sleep was very fragmented in those days and I really didn't want to get up and chase even hallucinated bats! :) Often the hallucinations in Lewy Body D come very early in the disease, and they are often (but not always) beniegn. They do not frighten or distress the patient. Hubby hasn't had an hallucination in years. Better living through chemicals, I say! :)
JG better to see a bat than to be an old bat......

LBD is strange that way in that, for her, the hallucinations are totally unthreatening.
Yeah just there resting - that would be her take too. There is something with LBD that involves a change in perception of & lighting on surfaces. My mom went thru a phase while in IL where the hallway floor, which is carpeted in real life, was cobblestone and she found it hard to keep her balance on. Now LBD has that shuffle to begin with so it would take her forever to go down the hall to the elevator for lunch as the floor was bumpy because of the rocks.....

In the past when she was still in her home, she had 3 falls that were all the same,
moving plants that were on a brick patio. On retrospect, I bet she "saw" the brick floor not as a brick floor.

Do you know what a lighting "cookie" is? They are those large rectangles used on film sets that have a bunch of "random" patterns cut out on them - it diffuses the light and most often is used to textured or to dappled the light or if the cookie is close to what's being filmed it makes shadows really sharp and pointy.

LBD seems to do that in the brain. I think they see some sort of shadow and they have to rationalize it so it becomes bats, cats, rabbits, the mailman, whatever.

For her, Exelon patch = no rabbits!
I think we are little off topic here, igloo, but, yes LBD definitely involves visiospatial impairment. As you know, not all victims have all symptoms, but if I looked at the entire list I would pick depth perception and spatial relationships as the LAST things my hubby, a mechanical engineer, would experience. But early on this man who I relied upon to pick out conatiners for leftovers because he was such a master at judging volume could not get himself into bed so that his body fit neatly between the headboard and footboard. It was amazing.

I understand that usually the hallucinations in Alzheimer's come later in the disease, and can be quite frightening. Some people with LBD can have the frightening kind in the later stages, too. I sure hope we miss that!
Ludwig, Been caring for Mom for over 3 years and hallucinations are a very big part of our days and nights. She has Parkinsons, advanced dementia and depression and anxiety which are a part of both diseases. She couls very definitely have a UTI which will cause all kinds of crazy behavior. Go to your local drug store and ask the pharmacy for a "hat" that will fit under toilet seat and catch the urine when your mom goes. If she is incontinent and incapable of going on the toilet, then maybe the ER is the answer. They could get a sample by inserting a catheter. Have had to do this with Mom before.
As for the hallucinations, some are caused by her PD meds and part of it is the dementia at work. As for her eating, if she does have a UTI, that could cause the lack of appetite, but if her doctor has prescribed anti depressants and you are not giving her the full dose, you need to make sure she gets it as prescribed. Depression in dementia patients needs to be treated in order for them to have mental balance. Mom started eating much better after her depression was finally controlled by the right medicine and dosage. Once on an anti depressant, you have to be slowly weened down from certain meds or there could be problems. Definitely get her to the ER if she gets worse before the holiday weekend is over. Good luck!

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