How do you cope with their auditory hallucinations without going mad?

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I think to myself every night. Stay calm. Don't resist. Don't correct. Go along with it. But how do you do it, night after night without going crazy.


My dad is 94 and in good health physically, but mentally he is not doing as well. He is diagnosed with dementia. For the past few years he has had auditory hallucinations of people out to get him. Much worse lately. We sit in front of the television at night, and most times it has to be turned off, so he can hear what "they" are saying better, and he will go on and on for about two hours about what they are saying. When he asks me something, and I answer him, he gets upset because then immediately the "people" outside have heard us and they know what we're talking about. Tonight he went checking for wiring because "they" can hear us and can see us.


He was in hospital for a week after going off to find the woman who was calling him one morning. Since then they started him on 2.5mg Olanzapine daily. I was using it before, but only on an "as needed" basis, but as this was becoming more frequent, I had contacted Aged Mental Health (Australia) for help about this, but then he did the wander and ended up in hospital. The decision to use Olanzapine is against his Dr's wishes as she is concerned it could cause a stroke or heart attack. In hospital we discussed this but decided his quality of life was more important. He had been so scared he was barricading himself in rooms, or I had stoped him another night hiding in the garage.


So how do you not go raving mad coping with it night after night after night.


He's just gone to bed, but I'm waiting, as the usual pattern the last few nights has been that he gets back up again because he's scared of what they are saying. They are going to break the windows and come in and kill him.


I have no support really. If I'm really ready to lose it, I call a nephew to come over, but he's not always available. There is a meeting with aged care mental health this week and I'm hoping they can help me to cope better with dad.


So, how do you not go crazy yourselves?


Val.

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Hi Hopless52,

I am so sorry for your situation, I experienced similar last year with my BIL, I know this may sound daft but have you checked for UTI? This was the cause of my BIL's behaviour.
Ok, to answer your question I have Dementia with Lewy Bodies, 95% of the time I can accept after my delusion has passed that that is what it was. Though while I was living it, nothing could convince me it wasn't real. One of my worst delusions is burning flesh (I was tortured as a child by my parents) and nothing at all will convince me that I am not on fire. People have to wrap me in blankets/coats to put out the fire and even after that I'll smell singed flesh for 2-60 mins. During that time this is 100% real for me. Afterward I can see that I'm not burnt, but it's still hard to shake the feeling. Some hallucinations I know are just that even at the time, though I've had to learn this. Elephants putting donuts in people's pockets during important meetings, a Roman soldier glaring at me in my pottery class, a little girl doing acrobatics on shelves of pottery. Others are harder, notices of sexually transmitted diseases around the necks of little old ladies, nuns, tiny children. Every time I open my front door I have to talk myself through the fact that the birds are not Secret Agents who will carry my location to people who will hurt me.
I would try to be positive about visiting your Mum, I know it's hard but she is locked away somewhere in the stranger you see. If she's ok enjoy your visit, if not leave straight away and do something you enjoy while remembering good times with her. This will help You not to always view visits with fear. Lucy
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Val,

My dad went through something similar although not to the extent your dad is going through. But it was horrible to watch, heartbreaking, and exhausting. We know there's nothing to be afraid of but what your dad is going through and what my dad went through is very real to them. I used to imagine what it would be like to know that there are people in the shadows who are out to kill me but no one will believe me. It's the stuff nightmares are made of.

The one sure way to keep from going crazy yourself is to get some distance from your dad. Get away for a day or two or three. Is there anyone who can step in and relieve you for a little while? You mentioned a nephew. Is he able to stay with your dad for a few days? If not, my suggestion would be to take your dad to the hospital the next time he begins hallucinating. Tell the nurse that you need a break, you have to have a break. Tell the Dr. Ask for a social worker and tell the social worker. Get them to admit your dad for a few days so you can rest. Don't take no for an answer. I did this with both of my parents and I was able to get a few days off. Tell the hospital that your dad isn't safe at home when he's hallucinating and you would like him stabilized before he comes home again.

Val, you need a break. That's how you don't go crazy.
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I agree with finding the right medication. What he is taking is not working. My mom stopped the hallucinations when she started risperdole. She slept a lot, but at least she wasn't all wound up and out of her mind. She heard babies crying too, she would look for them. You can't talk them out of it and they won't snap out of it. Seeing her like that was the most horrible thing I have ever experienced.
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You were using the Olanzapine "as needed" by whose recommendation? From my reading these kinds of meds need to build up in the body before they become effective so I would be leery of taking advice from anyone who prescribed it that way.

Now that he is using it correctly he is only partially better? Has he been on it long enough (12 weeks) to see it's full benefit? I have no personal experience with paranoid delusions, but many others on the site have mentioned the need to find a competent geriatric psychiatrist who is willing to add and subtract medications until the best drug or combination is found, it doesn't sound as though you have that. The poor man is living in terror and your life is h*!! as well, in my opinion rather than learning acceptance you need to push harder for a solution.
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Thank you very much for your replies. Tonight has been a good night and I'm hoping...(pleeeeease stay in bed dad).

I had come across this site some time ago when I started googling delusions and hallucinations in elderly and really grateful to find real people dealing with this.That's why I decided to join.

The Olanzapine was originally prescribed by a GP in a medical centre after witnessing dad in an episode. The dose was actually raised to 5mg (2.5mg BID) after dad's GP discussed it with a geriatrician. It did work then and dad did much better. He ended up with an infection and went to hospital and the geriatrician then changed the dosage to "as needed". I really can't remember why, it may have been due to heart risk.

I'm a bit worried that we're only using 2.5mg this time though. He only started taking it daily 2 weeks ago, so this is still early days. It's just that this has been going on for years and I guess I'm just tired.

We are seeing a geriatric psychiatrist tomorrow and I'll go over drugs with him. I've spoken to him on the phone a few times and he sounds lovely but I'm very nervous about tomorrow and that it will make things worse. I'm a worrier on a good day.

Again, thank you very much for your responses.
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My MIL has both auditory and visual hallucinations. Sometimes she keeps us up all night talking to (or yelling at) "those people out there". She thought she saw people walking in her yard, and on her roof. She can see her house from ours and has reported several such things. They upset her. I feel like she just has one foot in this world and one in the next, and the boundary is getting a little vague in spots.
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Thank you. Saw a nurse today from the Mental Health Community Team, not a Geri Psychiatrist, as I thought, but that is now being set up. Dad told him all about the "people" which is good as he's ashamed of what they say about him. Last night and tonight (touch wood) have not been bad. I know it's early days but maybe the medication is starting to do something. I so very much hope so.
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The geriatric phych. Dr. will help. My Mom is on Depakote now and takes out in the morning and at night. She thought teenage drunk kids were in her house and she was always seeing babies. She fell and broke her pelvis so I had been staying with her and she actually climbed the stairs and woke me up and was yelling at me that I had left the baby. She could hear it crying and she was mad at me. I of course was not fully awake, not home in my own bed with husband and was in my childhood room. For a hot second I forgot I was 55 and my children were grown! This took a couple of weeks to work on her. They tried halidoll and seraquil (excuse spelling) and those did not work. It may take a little trial and error to find the right meds but they will help. Hang in there!
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my mom is staying with my husband and I after getting out of the hospital for severely infected cellulitis on her legs. For months now she has been having very lengthy hallucinations-latino men crawling from the attic with their children and putting them to sleep in her bedroom on the floor. NIght after night. In the hospital she told everyone about these chipmunks that were living in the bathroom. She insisted my hubby take pics of them so she could have a pic to take home. The above responses have really helped me know what the next step to take is.
Gonna take her to a neuro guy and see what they can give her. She is very against medications and it is a daily struggle to get her to take her bp medicines and antibiotic. Even the nurses in the hospital had to give up one day.
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You have received wonderful advice and insight from previous posters regarding steps to deal with his hallucinations. So all I would encourage you to do is get time away. Do you have Power of Attorney for him? Does he have the funds for you to hire a caregiver? You have been doing this for awhile. After two years I needed some break time. It helped to know that each week I would have five hours off. My situation was not as demanding as yours, five hours might not be enough. Getting a break will help you have more patience. You need to treat yourself as a priority.  
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