How does one handle the delusions/hallucinations by their elderly parent?

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My father is getting obsessed over his dogs and the fact that he thinks they are lost and that the neighbors have called him and told him that they have the dogs. The dogs are right there with him. Dad's caregivers do not know what to do with him and I am far away and can't do anything but call and talk to him. How does one handle the delusions/hallucinations? We are worried that he may do something bad.

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My mother was also suffering delusional thinking - she was saying the most bizarre things that she really thought were true. She also kept saying that the nursing home staff were poisioning her. The doctor put her on anti psychotic drugs which have made a big difference. I do hope you can get the best help for your dad.
What drugs did they put your mom on? I ask because we are not in love with the seroquil.... Just would like some more options if they are out there.
If it has been determined by a physician that there are no meds that will support his problem, then there may be little that you can do to change your father's mind. Perhaps, bringing in several caretakers would help share the responsibility and take off some of their stress so that they can deal with your father better. Perhaps the responsibility of the dogs seem overwhelming to you father and it would be helpful if someone else took one or all of the dogs. If his memory is affected, he might forget about the dogs and the issue could resolve itself. It must be frustrating for you to have to deal with this long distance. I hope this helps.
The drug is Ziprasidone - I've just looked it up and it sounds a drastic action (maybe your dad could benefit from some other form of treatment). My mother got really bad though over a period of about 2 weeks. It was really distressing to see her like she was. Most of the delusional thoughts seem to have gone and now the doctor is going to introduce an anti depressenant and cut down on the Ziprasidone. I do hope you dad will be able to get the proper help he needs.
Mom's doctor put her on a very low dose of Haldol twice daily. HUGE help!
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I also have found that with my father that these things can occur if he has a Urinary tract infection. It is important to see if this is happening. I am struggling with my mother. She will have these periods where she will think about an event that happened between her and my dad and she will harp on what he did wrong. How do you help someone cope with a spouse just starting in a nursing home?
Getting a proper diagnosis helps. Don't just let a regular GP doctor throw medication at the symptoms. I recently found out my dad has Charles Bonnet syndrome. It's related to brain damage from stokes and compromised vision. He will hallucinate as long as he can see a little. The hallucinations will stop if he goes completely blind, but that's not likely. Also, his condition could easily cause him to suffer dementia before this condition resolves. Sometimes medications can also cause hallucinations, so read the rare side effects. Doctors sometime discount them because they are rare. Something as simple as acid reflux medication and blood pressure meds cause hallucinations in rare cases, so I imagine a mixture would increase the likely hood from rare to less rare. My point is that aging is natural. Don't kill yourself with worry. You can't solve this in the long run. Just methodically research the condition and work with a geriatric psychiatrist, or geriatric neurologist. Worry more about reassuring your parent they are safe. Ultimately, prayer helps too.
Another reason that a proper diagnosis is useful is that some drugs that work for some kinds of dementia are terrible for others. For example, Haldol can cause permanent damage or even death for persons with Lewy Body Dementia. So if possible, have Dad seen by a specialist -- geriatric psychiatrist or behavioral neurologist -- who is experienced in diagnosing and treating dementia.

Also, especially if the delusional behavior came on suddenly, have him tested for a uti.

As for dealing with a delusion while it is happening, it is generally best to go along with it, to get into the patient's reality. For example, when Dad says the neighbors have called and have the dogs, the caregiver could leave the room, go ring the doorbell, and come back into the room with the dogs. "The neighbors brought the dogs back! Isn't that great?" That may make Dad happy for a while at least. It will NOT make him happy to be told over and over that his dogs are not missing and they are in the house. That is not his reality at the time.

This must be especially hard on you being far away. If Dad has good caregivers you are comfortable with, discuss strategies of handling the delusions. Assure them that you do not blame them, and that the goal is to keep Dad comfortable and minimize his anxieties, rather than to teach him the truth.

How do you handle his medical appointments now? Arranging for a uti test seems like a good idea immediately. Perhaps getting a more specific diagnosis of his dementia would be worthwhile arranging, too, but perhaps for a time you will be visiting him.

My Mother Has lived with me and my husband for 12 years . I have been her only care giver. She woke up one day two weeks ago saying she was in a new house asking when we moved. I told her we had not moved. She has gone from not only thinking she has moved and is now living with someone who looks like me but isnt. She thinks my sister has moved her in with a person who looks like me . she cries and fights everyday saying she wants to move back with Shelbi (which is who i am) . My brother and sister have both came over and told her i was shelbi and she had lived with me and my husband for 12 yrs. she knows even my husband but doesn't think i am her real daughter. Have you ever heard of this before? i need some help quick please
Yes, I have heard of it. In fact it has a name -- Capgras delusion, or Capgras syndrome. With a name, you can now look it up and begin to understand what is going on. In addition to learning more about it, I think your first step should be contacting her doctor.

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