Dad with diagnosed early stage dementia called and left a message that a son I did not know was with him. He wanted me to come over and meet him. Then called my husband and told him the same, husband asked to talk with him and Dad said he was born with an affliction and could not talk but smiles a lot. This is doubly upsetting as before I had my 2 children I had miscarriages. Could this be hallucinations or an attempt to bring us over to his house? We were there twice yesterday bringing groceries and such.

Why did you need to visit your father twice in one day yesterday? Was he behaving normally (for him) then, or looking back could you spot any subtle signs?

Just about the message - did your father mean a son of his, or a son of yours, that you did not know? It must have been a worry anyway, but if he was referring to your hypothetical child, I can imagine that it would have felt both eerie and very upsetting.

What I think is very unlikely is that your father has any intention to manipulate you and your husband. When was the diagnosis of his early stage dementia made? Jeanne is right on all counts, that it would be best to get him checked out and see what's going on.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Countrymouse

Assuming there is no secret son, your dad is having delusions -- believing something that is not real. If he is seeing this imaginary person, that is called an hallucination.

Many medical conditions can cause hallucinations. In most kinds of dementia hallucinations, if they occur at all, come very late in the progression. That is why MargaretMcKen wonders if his dementia is progressing very rapidly. But in Lewy Body Dementia, hallucinations are often one of the first symptoms -- and the one that starts the process of looking for medical help. Start keeping a journal of these delusions/hallucinations. It can be very difficult to determine the kind of dementia in the earliest stages. It will help his doctor a lot if you can share specific symptoms.

Persons with dementia cannot typically live safely on their own. Since behavioral issues start so early in LBD, that is one kind of dementia where supervision is needed from the very beginning. What kind of a facility is he living in now? What level of care, if any, is available there? What are your long-term plans?

It is possible that there really is a person at his facility that smiles a lot and can't communicate by talking. It could be only the explanation -- that he is a son -- that is pure fantasy. Or the person may not exist at all. I think I would go and investigate as well as you can. All of this is an attempt to determine what is going on in his brain, to refine the diagnosis, and to guide what happens next in your care plan for him.

I am sorry to say that you may have multiple visits on multiple days before this is all sorted out. Is there staff at the facility that could help you with some of this, or is it more an independent living setting?

By the way, hallucinations in LBD are often benign to the person having them. It doesn't sound like your dad was distressed by suddenly having a disabled child show up. My husband wasn't bothered at all when he hallucinated a dead body in our bedroom. He just wanted me to stay out until the CSI arrived.

Don't argue with a person having a delusion. Don't say, "Oh Dad, you couldn't possibly have a son there." Try something more along the lines of "Will he be staying overnight? Could we meet him in the morning?"

He needs more supervision than he currently has. I'd like to caution you against bringing him into your home. If we were talking about your spouse having these symptoms, then, yes, it might be possible to successfully live together, unless/until the progression of the disease made it unsafe for either of you. But when it is a parent who has dementia I think the parent/child dynamics make it very difficult to establish a therapeutic home setting.

Another condition that can cause hallucinations in older people is a urinary track infection. Given the situation I'd bet on the dementia, but in the interest of being thorough you might ask about having him checked for a uti.

Keep in touch here! We learn from each other, and we care.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to jeannegibbs
DixieCz Oct 16, 2018
Thank you so very much, looking back Dad has been this way for quite awhile. After my Mom passed he knew I was so sad, called and told me he brought her back!?! Before the dementia diagnosis. His whole family has had it or is suffering from it. He is living in an independent senior housing now. I need some help with words to get him someplace safe Thank you so much for responding,
It almost sounds as though it could be a joke! Please put your past miscarriages out of your mind - they aren't relevant, and you don't need unhappy memories as well as current problems. I think you need to go over and see if it makes any sense at all (eg a new pet?). If it is a joke, ask him not to do it again! If he has suddenly gone from 'early stage' to full blown hallucinations, you are moving very quickly into a new set of options to consider.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen

Yes, it could be a hallucination. It maybe time to transfer him to an AL.
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Reply to JoAnn29

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