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My mom has hallucinations and she talks with my dad and even gets mad at him or cries because he is in jail. Tonight she wanted to fix him a plate at dinner. I convinced her not to, but it was not easy. What can I do if she insists on doing this?

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Jeanne, you always have great answers for people. Should be a therapist.
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My mom is just more into the hallucinations. She cries at the ones that are disturbing to her and this is new. She is more hunched over than before and used to go to the store with me but doesn't seem to want to get out. She has a PT appt. tomorrow and will see her neurologist next monday. I'm expecting them to just increase her meds, which will probably increase her falls. She has a walker but does not always use it.
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battathiri, thanks for the details of Hindu custom, it turns out many cultures have rituals of offering food to the deceased, and it surely brigns the living comfort to do anything that can help their loved one, when death leaves them feeling helpless. We Catholics have a tradtion of praying and offering Masses for the dead, believing we can help them in their journey through Purgatory (cleansing that prepares for Heaven) and also if I understand correctly, it is a tradition to prepare a place for Elijah with an empty chair at a Jewish seder table and even open the door for him to come in though they do not actualy put food on the plate. Maybe there is some meaningful way to adapt some of these things in a way that would help Leisa's mom too.
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Leisa1, Over the course of 3 months my mom slowly lost her appetite. Oct. 5th she was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. The dr. told us one of the symptoms could be problems with swallowing and chewing could become difficult because of the muscles in the jaw/mouth. Mom often told me she had to eat slow because her jaws hurt her, but she still had a good appitite. Around November we noticed she was eating less and less. About 2 weeks before she died (Jan. 1st), she was not eating much. She would tell me not to force her, so I wouldn't. She would drink her liquids though, but eventually she just wanted only a few spoonfuls of food. She would say she was full. The day before she lost consciousness, she ate most of her cream of wheats and had alot of juice. I guess having alot to drink is what sustained her for more than a week. I miss her so much.
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Leisa1, several times over the course of his dementia my husband's appetite decreased. Sometimes this followed an illness or infection. He lost weight. His appetite would come back and he would regain some weight, but not all he had lost. In the very end stage some days he ate almost nothing and other days he ate almost normally. The day he died he had a nice breakfast.

So your sister is right that not wanting to eat much can be a sign of the end stage, but it isn't always. What are the other changes you are noticing?
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I cal it, being in their world. They have no control over the fact that they are in a different world than they were once in. Join them, comfort them. I know with my mom, I wouldn't make an issue of it. Then I would divert her attention to something else and it would work, but she had Lewy Body Dementia, so it was easier to change her train of thought. If she was afraid of something (like they kidnapped me) I would assure her they let me go and everything was taken care of. When she would wonder how I got into the nursing home (apparently there were guards she thought were stopping me from entering), I told her they figured out I was actually a "helper" and everything was ok. Simple answers seemed to work better than trying to convince her that what she was thinking wasn't true. In that horrible world they are now in, these things are happening, so all we can do is help comfort them.
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Thanks everyone for the answers. It's strange but for the last two days it seems my mom is declining faster. Now she is not wanting to eat as much as she used to and my sister said this could be a sign she is toward the end. Is this true for dementia patients?
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My mother is always insisting to feed her imaginary "children." I just tell her that I will be more than happy to feed anyone who comes to the table; as soon as they come to the table I'll prepare a plate for them. That seems to satisfy her and helps keep her from trying to fill plates of food for them.
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I agree with diversionary tactics, 'substitutions' (such as a baby doll to care for and hold, rock, express affection to, even a visit from someone's pet), and going with the flow even if there are some white lies involved. What do we do with little kids at times? Was just talking to a guy from church this morning about his 3 and a half year old grandson asking so many questions. I have heard the average four year old asks 400 questions a day. My son used to ask "Who is that man walking down the street? Who is his mommy? Does he have a dog? Etc". I used to make simple, kind answers up for him, like, "His mommy's name is Jane". "He has a Golden Retreiver". Once when the string of questions became unending I sort of lost my patience and told him "I don't know". He got upset and said "Yes you do!". I realized that once I satisfied the question we were on to something else.
I am not advocating lying; I just think the pick your battles approach is best. Your mom will be 'on to something else' and will not be upset that you didn't hit her with the unvarnished - and unwanted - reality of her husband being dead. I think there is a reason there is a saying that people have their second childhood. If everything you do for your mom is motivated out of love and compassion you will do ok.
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I call it 'loving lies'.... maybe lie is a strong word, but we do it every day in one form or another to our folks with Alz/dementia...... as was said, pick your battles.. if it brings her comfort, then allow it.... we have no idea how lonely it is in thier world, because they do not live in ours any longer... it is hard to watch, but we can't tell them over and over that thier spouse is gone... we accomodate the world they live in and thier reality...thank you for posting this question... I feel many have the same issue... sending you hugs of gratitude for trying to make her journey as smooth as possible....
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On the day after one year of death, Bali Tharpanam is performed under the guidance of an elderly person or priest. Darbha (a type of long grass), pavithram (ring made of darbha grass), sesame (Ellu), cooked rice, Flowers, sandal powder, water and banana leaves are the important accompaniments needed for performing bali ritual. One of the noted feature of Karkidaka Vavu bali is that almost all Hindus in Kerala make it a point to perform Karkidakavavu Bali and conduct ancestral worship on this day.
Generally astrologers say frequently that you have pitru dosha, here few astrologers cheats others people for a little or huge money. 1st check a Horoscope Chart for Greh dosha, Rahu and Ketu doing same kind of results and give trouble also. If there is not any weak dosha but things are not going good, than an astrologer has things in hand, ie Pitru dosha and Nazar dosha and Black Magic. All have symptoms. In pitru dosha, the native get disturb during Amavasi or 3 days before Amavasi.
The people who do very bad karmas, not get a right place after death, person facing a critical disease with a full of frustration, Person who give trouble to always others; After death such person does not get a peace, and right place, he survive in where between earth and sky like a ghost; is called Pitru dosha. Native cannot get child in their life or facing financial problems in life and other problems are the extra burden on native along with Grahadosha. As a true astrologer 1st check out the right thing then suggest accordingly.
According to the Hindu custom if a member in the family dies the younger ones in the family have to perform Bali also called Pithru Tharpanam to make the soul get eternal peace. Usually the Bali or Pitru Tarpanam is performed calculating the date and nakshatra on which the family member died. The Bali ritual is offered by men, women and children. You can do Tharpanam right in the comfort of your home. Astrovasthulogam given below the procedure to do Tharpanam is quite easy for all Malaya lees.
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My dad would talk to my mom's picture that sat beside his recliner in the den. He would keep the TV on and when he would go outside he made sure my mom's picture was facing the TV so she could see the shows they always watched. He would ask me how he could feed her now that she was in the picture. He was so sincere and I would just calmly say I would check with the doctor and find out for him. He was always satisfied with that answer.

For the first six months after my mom passed away, my dad would call my house and ask if mom was ready to come home. One evening he asked if she was still mad at him or could he come pick her up.

My husband and I went down every evening when he called and sat and talked to him. His Alzheimer's was not bad at that time, just this issue of missing mom. We didn't go in and tell him she wasn't alive any more, we just went to visit. He realized that she was gone all on his own without us mentioning it. He would get down on himself and we would tell him it was perfectly normal and part of the process and things would get better. I would fix his supper and we would talk and he would get through the rough spot. This happened for about six or seven months, but we knew it was the Alzheimer's as the doctor had said it would get worse when my mom passed away. My parents had been married for 55 years, so keep in mind that they have lost someone that they spent their lifetime with and it is not easy without Alzheimer's and dementia, and it is far worse with these diseases.
Be gentle, understanding and patient and talk to the doctor for advice or medications that may help your loved one in these situations. I did and the doctor added Seroquel and also a mild antidepressant to his meds.
I cared for both my parents at their home every day till they passed away and I was with them both at that time. I cannot say it was easy and there were rough times and all the bad of the Alzheimer's, but I would not trade any of the time I spent with my parents in their last weeks, months and years for anything. They knew I was there with them and I knew I was there with them. We went through it together as I had promised them when I was younger. No nursing homes ever. Hospice helped in the final weeks, but till then, my husband and I were the caregivers for dad and mom. Yes it is very hard and painful at times, but they do not mean what they say or do, it is the disease, don't walk away from them because of it. Would they have walked away from you? Love them and help them, in spite of the Alzheimer's and dementia. I did, and it did take its toll on me, but I wouldn't change a thing if I could do it all over again. I hope this helps.
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My Mom sometimes wants an extra meal prepared for my brother who passed less than four months ago. Once she got so carried away, she took out four frozen meals, four desert plates, two more desert plates, and then forgot about dinner altogether. I figured, let her play house. What's the worst that could happen? I have to clean up and she'll get hungry later and eat something.
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My mom is on Seroquel. I think she declines every time she has an infection. She was bit by a cat this summer and was in the hospital for three days on antibiotics because it got infected. Then she got worse with a skin infection. She has Parkinsons and sees a neurologist.
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Is "confabulations" the word you were looking for?
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Another possibility: Is your mom yet on Anti-hallucinogenic's? It has helped my mom recently. It doesn't stop her meanness, yet has cut back on hallucinations Mom's were hurting everyone, they tore our family into bit's. My son is the only one who has stayed in contact with her, even though her accusations against him and his wife were unfounded. If your mom's hallucinations harm no-one, let her go her way with them, possibly trying to divert her attention as mentioned by the other's above. Good luck
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I think the term you are looking for is therapeutic fibbing.

When dementia patients have hallucinations or delusions it is often best to go with the flow. Set an extra place at the table. Or say, "Oh! I forget to tell you. Dad won't be coming home for dinner tonight. He (pick a fitting excuse) stopped off at Billy's/has a work meeting/went to fix the ladies toilet at the church/etc." Don't say, "Mom, you know that Dad died four years ago!"

Your goal is to give her comfort, not to teach her "the truth" -- she has her own truth. She thinks he is in jail? "Oh, Mom, that is so sad. You must feel awful. I am sure this will get resolved quickly and he won't be there long. Let's look at some scrapbooks, shall we?" She's mad at him? "Well, Mom, you know I can't take sides. I love you both. But I know Dad has always loved you very much." Again, aim for comforting her.
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Oh, yes, what was that term? I remember that conversation. I agree with tooyoung, picking your battles helps reduce stress. Can you also try and divert her attention from the delusion. Like, if she is crying that he is in jail can you bring out a puzzle or something that she likes to do to divert her away from the thought? I don't know. I know it is hard. Good luck and let us know how it is going.
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My motto is pick your battles. What difference does it make if you set dad a plate at the table, if it makes mom happy? Someone in another discussion had a good name for this other than lying. I wish I could remember! But it doesn't hurt anyone, it is her reality, and it reduces conflict.
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