Sujean Asked August 2012

Wondering if anyone else have these symptoms of thinking pictures are real people?

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My mom has dementia and I am now caring for her in my home. She thinks pictures of people are real and waves at them. Sometimes she talks to them. Magazines at the stores are a nightmare. She does this to billboard pictures, photographs, pictures of people in stores. I saw her looking at a magazine and I told her they were not real just pictures of paper. She said how come they move, wave and wink at me. She cut out a picture of a man in the magazine and carried it everywhere and talked all the time to him. She thinks tv people are real and they can see her and that she knows all of them and they know her. Its just so weird. We go to a store that has large pictures of people painted on the walls and she waves and talks to them and calls them her friends and wants to go and see them all the time. Needless to say I don't want to go there because of her waving. She thinks that people are stealing her clothes and counts her money in her wallet several times a day. Always saying those people keep taking my things. I just ignore her when she says this or say no people mom. My mom has just been started on Namenda and Im not sure if it will work or not. It started with my mom seeing people in trees. I would say mom no people in trees and she would say I have good eyes, whats wrong with your eyes. She makes me laugh sometimes. Any comments would be nice!

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HolidayEnd Jan 23, 2018
Yes, my grandma thought her photos of her children and grandchildren spoke to her and that they needed to eat. She’d set food in front of the photo. Sadly the only one who witnessed this was my 10 year old daughter. My mom wouldn’t believe my daughter’s report.

Now my mom has dementia too. Grandma went to Heaven and my mom’s dementia mimics her mother’s so much!

They were 16 years apart. It’s sobering and ironic.
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Confounded Jan 23, 2018
Memories from long ago ...

At one point, my grandmother devoutly believed that her great-grandkids' photos were real children. But ... she could not remember her actual great-grandkids -- or me.  Despite that, she was unfailingly polite when I called. :(

She also believed that the pic of William Shatner on a cover of TV Guide was actually him, and that he was napping on the couch. And she'd never been a Star Trek fan! Yeah, some twisted part of me treasures that particular memory, and finds it adorable.
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Susanne9 Jan 22, 2018
My mum has the same but her's is slightly different and i dare say funny she has always loved Elvis Presley and frankly who doesn't. She lives on her own in a small unit and she has posters and cut out pictures of him on her walls everywhere frankly it starting to look like a shrine to him she kisses them talks to them she has a relationship with them, i am worried for her i said to her and i was joking what would she do if i took them all down her reply to me was i would kill you and she looked serious. I have spoken to her doctor and he had know idea this was happening and i asked mum how would she feel if we had a talk to her doctor she said it's none of his business, i feel so sorry for her and me what has happend to my mum.
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Momof11 Jun 2017
Please dont waste energy trying to convince your mom that people In trees aren't real or that people waving to her aren't real. Her life has become childlike again. Her world is small and your only duty is to accept that and love her. Just laugh with her and pretend you see what she sees. You can't change her perception of reality. Perhaps one day there will be help. Until then love her while you can; life is short. Do not try to argue and convince her that she needs to see things the way you do. She won't. She can't. It's all real to her. I wish my mother was here; Alzheimer's and everything.
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victoriak68 Aug 2012
I'm not sure if you can do what I've taken to doing. My mom is a little further along with her dementia, so it's possible for me to control what she watches. She used to be an avid news fan also, but the topics were getting to where they were so upsetting to her that she was on the edge of hysteria. I simply don't allow her to watch anything like the news or shows that contain yelling or violence. She can have as full a conversation she wants with the tv as long as she's not getting upset by it. Also, as Jeanne said, provide plenty of reassurance that you are there for her and that she doesn't have to face this alone. You can't imagine the relief that washes over my mom when I let her know this.
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jeannegibbs Aug 2012
Yes, Sujean, dementia does change. It progresses. And, yes, it is really hard to understand this disease.

Some people want to know exactly what they have and want detailed information about it (especially in the early stage). Other people find denial their most useful coping mechanism. I think your mother has made her position pretty clear. She doesn't want to know. I'd respect that. When she does have a moment of acceptance (saying she knows her memory has been going) use that opportunity to provide reassurance. "Mom, many other people have this memory disease, too, so doctors have some ideas for how to deal with it. I'll always make sure you get the best care possible, and I'll never abandon you. I love you, Mom, and will always love you, even if your memory problems get worse."

Also, PLEASE avoid promising her that you'll never put her in a nursing home. Never is a long time and none of us can know what the future will bring. Instead promise you'll see that she has the best care possible and that you won't abandon her. If the time ever comes when a care center is how to get her the best care at least you won't be stressed out or limited by a well-meant but poorly chosen promise.
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waddle1 Aug 2012
I find the thinking photos are real fascinating. My mother had early dementia and there were some things that she couldn't remember but she didn't imagine things that didn't exist. I've heard of incidents where dementia/Alzheimer's patients thinking someone is stealing from them or moving/hiding their things, as well as other accusations. I'm curious....Sujean's mother it sounds like has a pleasant exprience waving & speaking to these photos. She evidently thinks she knows them or at the minimum, likes them. Those who think photos or illustrations are real people...do they ever have a negative response? Beyond thinking the people on TV can see them...can they also be scared or angered by these images? Could that be something that happens as their disease progresses?
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Sujean Aug 2012
Thats good that you can't reason with dementia. I will keep that in mind. My mom has always been a news channel watcher and thats pretty much what she likes to watch now. While watching Nancy Grace she said she just turned herself off because she doesn't like me. I never did anything nasty to her. She is just jealous of me. She saw me with blond hair and now she as it. Somethings she just says turn her off I don't want to look at her anymore. Then I turn to another new channel. Everyone on the news channel used to live by her in her hometown and she know them all. I think the zyprexa is helping some. Before the med. she saw people in any metal object. A lamp, coffee maker, lights, fire alarms. I said how can a person fit in the lamp, mom. I guess some of their reasoning is gone. When I told her she had alzheimers she said the doctor didn't tell me. I said yes mom and she gets mad, because she knows that is a crazy disease. When the doctor said yes you do have alzheimers she put her fingers in her ears. She did say to me a couple times I knew my memory has been going for a long time. Its really hard to understand this disease. It seems to be always changing. I am thankful for this forum, it does make me feel better to know others are also going thru this.
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JessieBelle Aug 2012
I don't laugh too often at dementia, but when I do...

Love the little bears up the pants. That is a class, Kathy.
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kathytj Aug 2012
Luckily we don't go out a lot, and my husband tends not to talk about what he "sees" except among friends and family, but he said one thing a while back that totally cracked me up. We were sitting on the deck and he insisted the black bears were bothering him, even getting up in his pants legs. (Little bears -but there's no logic, of course, about it!) So I offered to take him over to the steps and shoo them out of his pants and down to the yard. He looked over at me and said in all seriousness, "What would the neighbors think?" I really had to try hard not to laugh. I figure people with dementia are like 3-year-old : they believe what they believe, even if it's fantastic and impossible, you can't talk them out of it, and why bother trying? It's just hard sometimes when the delusion involves wanting to do something that just won't work. (Today he wants to call the "general manager"--there is no male manager- of his daycare to check about the pool they are building underneath it, which they aren't doing. I'm just trying to put him off until he goes next time in hopes he'll forget about it, or he'll tell them and they'll have to come up with an answer.) It's a constant dance to stay one step ahead of their minds.
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