Confusing husband for Mom and other hallucinations. Any advice?

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My mom has had some dementia the last few years but it hasn't been a major issue until this week.

She lives with my father who my mom now thinks is her mother. She is calling everyone in the family asking if we know where dad is. We took her to the ER to check if there was a stroke and have other blood/urine testing to see if there were any physical or chemical imbalance issues. Nothing showed up though we're scheduling an appointment for her to see her primary physician tomorrow.

Sometimes, she briefly recognizes my dad which leads to her hallucinating a woman in another room. When we were going to the hospital, she would ask "what should we do with her?". Later in the day, she recognized my dad and said the woman was gone. But, the next morning, dad was again her mom or a woman and she was calling around to find my father.

Initially, my sister tried to convince her dad was not her mother. This just led to more confusion and frustration. She sometimes seemed to understand only to become confused again. I think I've convinced them that they have to go along with her, keep her calm, and comfort her as best we can. Her reality has changed and trying to convince her only upsets her.

We're hopeful her doctor can help make the hallucinations go away because my father is my mom's caregiver and, if she doesn't trust him because she doesn't see him for who he is, I fear she may do something like leave the house or something else to put him in harm's way. Dad's health isn't great either so I'm concern about him having to deal with all this.

This is our families first experience with dementia. All we've had the last few years is mom's forgetfulness and confusion. Any advice is appreciated.

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I wanted to update this since its been a while. Lots has happened since my last post.

Mom is home and doing well. She is now using a patch (don't recall the name) and is more like herself. She is not longer hallucinating so we hope that was more about the UTI. She is sometimes forgetful and gets confused but nothing like before. The meds (and not having the UTI) seems to be keeping things in check.

A few weeks ago, I received a call my father was taken to the hospital by ambulance for having an apparent heart attack. Once in, he showed stroke symptoms and had all the usual tests for that. But, within a short time, many of his symptoms returned to normal. The doc said it was likely a TIA (mini-stroke). After seeming more like himself after a few hours, he started acting confused. I asked his nurse to be sure he had a urinary test and see if there was a UTI.

By the next morning, they found he did have a UTI and it had been the cause of his TIA. I had no idea a UTI was so serious for both my parents but have gotten them test strips to use and are making sure they drink plenty of liquids. The problem is that neither noticed any symptoms.

Scary stuff. My thanks again to all for the information. I have been reading this site often since this happened and the information is outstanding.
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Sounds like you are trying very hard to take good care of your mom and dad. I can tell you this site will help you very much both emotionally and knowledge-wise! I'm sorry that the doctor feels it is probably Alz. I think he is right and this disease will be hard on the whole family, even those not giving direct care to your mom. I do agree with the advice of going along with mom when she starts to obsess about a topic...go right along and beat it to death and give yourself permission to laugh about it, also. My mom used to hallucinate when she was in the moderate stage of Alz. and I'm happy to say that unlike many, her hallucinations and delusions were never scary to her (and often humorous to those of us taking care of her). Never turn down help when it is offered to you by family and friends; because you will need all the help you can get. Please be patient with yourself and others because those with Alz. can be extraordinarily frustrating at times....as you are seeing when she starts to obsess about a topic, and it is normal and natural to get angry sometimes and when you do, take a walk, lock yourself in the bathroom or do whatever you need to do to work it out but don't lash out at the one who is sick. Most of us know what a hard road Alz. is and what you are potentially facing. Some of us care for our loved ones at home, others have opted for AL or memory-care facilities, all options where the person is safe and well cared for are good and no one on this site would cause grief to another by suggesting otherwise. These are all good and kind people trying to help others and getting help themselves. Blessings to you and your family, Lindaz
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Update: I visited Mom yesterday. She continues to seem more like the Mom I've known. She sometimes got a little confused/forgetful but seemed genuinely happy.

Today, I received the evaluation on her from last Friday. According to the report, he mentioned temporal lobe dysfunction and impaired executive functioning suggesting frontal lobe dysfunction. He mentions her MRI showing mild diffuse atrophy along with small vessel ischemic disease. He doesn't feel her performance was entirely based on vascular dementia but more consistent with Alzheimer's.

Though I am new to all this, I've found that dementia can be cause by multiple things. I don't know if they can say it's 70% Alzheimer's and 30% vessel-related or if it really matters at this point.

They've put her on Aricept though don't know why this instead of another med. I hope to find out more tomorrow. We're hoping she gets to come home on Wednesday. They also mentioned an anti-depressant and something to help her sleep.

The evaluator mentioned quite a few things like that she doesn't need to drive without being tested. He suggests a memory box/book. He mentioned trying to get Mom more physically active.

As much as I would like to be prepared, I know it's impossible. My goal is to help make Mom as happy as possible once we get her home and help Dad adjust. I continue to read this forum and appreciate all the feedback many here have been willing to share.
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jfuqua, I'm afraid that you are not going to be able to protect Dad from Mom's disease. If they live together (and even if he just visits her somewhere) the disease is going to be obvious and disturbing. Sorry. Yes, it will be great if you can cushion the impact somewhat, but it is also necessary that you recognize your own limits. You have a "lot of things to learn" and so does Dad. I hope that Dad can find a support group for caregivers of people with dementia. It is awesome to learn you are not alone!

My husband took a lot of drugs. Managing them was a tough job. One of our daughters came over and put them in the weekly dispensers (and did mine as well) which was a huge help to me. (We could only do it for 2 weeks at a time because of when the insurance considered them ready for refill.) I gave the pills on their schedule. I bought a large cosmetics box with a lock and locked up the pill bottles. You do what has to be done, for safety.

As for the obsession with one topic, sigh, that isn't easy either. You are certainly doing the recommended thing by trying to distract her. Sorry it isn't working. What about talking the subject to death with her? Boring? Oh my yes! But you are spending time with Mom, and that is part of your goal, right? So tell her about the time you had an upset tummy from coffee or you friend who only drinks coffee after she has had something to eat or discuss the way to properly brew coffee or how many people use sugar in it. If distraction doesn't work, how about joining her in her world for a while?

BTW, the topic-obsession might be a passing phase. By the time you feel you can deal with it she may drop it and be on to some other quirk.

Learn as much as you can about dementia. Help your father learn about it, too. You'll both be dealing with it the rest of your mother's life.
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lindaz, I agree. I think her evaluation will likely show she doesn't need to be touching any of her meds and my Dad will need to administer them moving forward. It would help him if my Sis or I put them in the trays for him though. We'll see.

What I don't want to see happen is Mom fighting Dad over this and I can easily see that happening.

Here's another observation that I wanted to see if others had experience with...

Mom gets on a topic and just won't let it go. For example, she mentions to me that she had some coffee yesterday and that it upset her stomach. I said I would tell the nurse to get her some decaf moving forward. Mom continues to talk about the coffee. Even when the subject has changed, she goes back to talking about the coffee. It's not like she forgets she's told us but that, once she gets onto something, she can't move on. Distraction really doesn't seem to help as she returns. It's not the end of the world she harps on one thing but I see it driving Dad nuts sometimes. :)
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You are a good daughter and definitely doing the right things for Mom! (and Dad)
I totally identifiy with the "lot of things to learn" part - it is hard and scary and a steep learning curve but you have to get as well informed as possible. Hugs, and hoe pthings continue to go as well as possible.
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J, if your mom does have dementia I think it best she not have any access to her meds unless someone competent is there to supervise her taking it. My mom had Alz. and there was no safe way for her to take her meds without being supervised. Even if you do put the meds in those day/night pill boxes unless you are watching you have no way of knowing if she does take her meds or if she is taking the right ones at the right time. Also some patients hold pills in their mouth until you leave the room and then spit them out! It can be quite a trial working with someone who has dementia. I wish you all the best, it sounds as if you are trying to do all that you can for her. Blessings, Lindaz.
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Thanks for keeping us updated! Sounds like progress is being made.
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I just got back from a visit and I'm happy to say Mom seems more like herself. I think clearing up the UTI has made a difference.

She's had a psyche exam today. I suspect we'll get the results on Monday. I am hoping the doc will begin meds to help so they can see the impact before she is discharged.

Things are progressing. I am cautiously optimistic. Our next visit is Sunday afternoon.
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