Mom is "seeing" & "hearing" things. What do I say to calm, and help her?

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What tactic should I take to put my Mom at ease? My 98 year old Mom has macular degeneration in one eye and is deaf in one ear, with not so good hearing in the good ear. She belives she sees people in the yard, but on investigation there is no one there. However, she insists there was. She "sees" trees and bushes in the yard that she belives to have been cut down or back and they have not been. Mom complains she is "hearing" music come from the house next door all day and all night. At this time of year the windows are all closed & there is no way she is hearing music coming from outside. She asks me can't I hear it and I have to say no. She is amazed that I can't. So I just say that her hearing must be better than mine for music. Mom gets very upset and mistrusts anyone who tries to convince or explain away what she knows she is "seeing" & "hearing" . I would appreciate any suggestions what to say to calm, and help her.

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Top Answer
sunsetSheila
I am going to tell you a story about a friend was caring for her mom (she passed) and pertaining to your question....
My friend's Mom had dementia, hearing problems, wore glasses, etc. She recognized her family members she even remembered me and how I met her daughter and we were in our 20's when we met, not youngsters. Her Mom was for the most part sweet and sometimes childlike with the dementia. She began seeing people who weren't there, a lady with a baby in her bed, the red dot on the TV had people in it, and her husband (Daddy to my friend) at the table whenever she sat to eat. So my friend "went with" the unreal visions and told her Mom does the lady in bed bother you, her Mom said "no I just don't want to wake them". The red light she covered with tape, so that wasn't an issue. She acted as if her Husband were joining them at every meal. The one day she said to her Mom, Daddy's in the kitchen at the table waiting for you! Her Mom rubbed her on her shoulder looked her in the eye and said "Oh Honey, Daddy's been gone for a while now he went to heaven!"
I am telling you this because there is no solution per-say to your question. There are ways you can reduce your Mom's stress by agreeing or finding a trial and error solution, like the tape covering the light. You can't change the way your Mom's brain is working but you can change the way you react to what's going on.
I have learned on this site that there are other factors that may be an issue, such as UTI's, medication, poor circulation, lack of oxygen or from heart trouble or diabetes sugar levels, etc..
I see my Mom quite often in the Nursing Home and most residents on her floor have some type of dementia. You would be astounded at the fantasy land reality that most of them have in their heads and there story's never change day to day, for the most part. I do know what works the best for distraction for about 95% of them.... Music or old movies, like Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire etc. Musicals from the golden oldie days, and they become more peaceful and even belt out songs you didn't even hear yourself before. You'll be surprised at the behavioral change. This is a common comfort zone!!!
Good Luck!!!
I don't know if your mother will understand it, but you can tell her about musical ear syndrome. Some people hear music in their ears. Since your mother has much hearing loss, she is probably a prime candidate for it. I can sympathize with her. It would drive me crazy. Many times I have "cricket ear syndrome," I guess you would call it. I hear crickets when I lie down at night.

I have a feeling her visual problems come from the macular degeneration. Her peripheral vision, which is mostly black/white vision that is ill defined is picking out things. Everyone uses this vision in the dark. Often ghosts move around and bushes do things that seem menacing if we look at them. Our eyes are just not made for good night vision. People with advanced macular degeneration experience this type of vision throughout the day.

I hope this helps some.
Is this fairly new behavior? It is important to rule out a urinary track infection, which can cause hallucinations and which is treatable.

It could be the kind of physical causes that Jessie describes.

It could be dementia, as wuvsicecream suggests.

A visit or at least a call to the doctor is in order.

I wonder if you could distract her from the music she hears and which annoys her by playing some music she might enjoy?
my mother has poor vision and is ill with dementia. she is forever seeing vehicles in the yard , motorcycles circling the house, hearing someone beating on her window, and just generally trippin balls. you can try to show her nothing is out there and about the time you turn your back shes getting her shoes on to go outside . its gotten much better since shes gotten off the hydrocodone. her years of pain issues seem to have subsided too. i think the hydro dependancy was causing her pain . the narcotics block the production of your brains natural pain chemicals and then as you develope a resistance to the pain meds they dont work either and your left with horrible , random body pains. dopesick..
Thank you all for the help! Wuvicecream, thanks for sharing the very sweet touching story & great suggestions. As you all know, and I am now really discovering, no matter how much I try to make things easy, normal and the way they use to be.... it just can't be that way anymore. Thank you for reminding me the only thing I can do is change the way I relate to Mom's every changing life. JJessieBelle, this behavior has been creeping in for about a year. Just a little, but now it is alot. Thanks for the info reagarding musical ear syndrome and the "ghosts". It gives me a place to start reseaching. Yes, she has said she has seen ghost,too. jeannegibbs, thanks for the idea to change the musical venue, she has a special cassette player that she can use with big buttons. I will sugest that she use it when the "other" music gets to be too much! capnhardass, thanks for sharing your Mom's issues. My Mom has also complained that someone was beating on her window. At 98 she is only on 2"lite" meds. One for blood pressure & one for mild geriatric diabetes. Perhaps, the dosage on those needs to be changed.
Thank you all so very much for caring and sharing! I was really starting to think maybe she was "seeing" and "hearing" things that was real and I must be the one who is missing the reality of what is going on! In a way I am, because she has been having these "issues" and I haven't picked up on what it all may really mean. I will get her to the doctor for a full physical and make changes in her enviroment that may help. I will also, give myself the the opportunity to, "go with the flow" and just play "pretend" when she has her visitors. It was so good to have you all to hear me, and share your experiences with me. I am shedding tears at this moment, knowing that I am not alone...
It sounds like your mom is having hallucinations. Does she have dementia? Hallucinations are a huge part of dementia! Mom used to drive me crazy at the beginning of the disease. Someone is under my bed. Someone is in the closet. Who moved my furniture? It's a very scary situation for them and the best way to handle this is to not make an issue of it. If she see people outside, tell her you will go see what they are doing. Give her some kind of reassuring answer like they were at the wrong house looking for someone. If she sees trees and bushes that aren't there, just say uh huh, I see it too.
My best answer to you would be to "redirect" her attention to something else. Change the subject, or just go along with what she says! No sense working yourself up or her. Talk to her doctor and see if she is indeed having the beginnings of dementia then go from there. Good luck!

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