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My dad is almost 94. Ever since my mom passed away almost 5 yrs ago he has been having more & more vivid dreams. This past week it has gotten much worse. He picked up the tv control (fell asleep in his chair) & threw it hard, just missing his tv. Then even though he opened his eyes, he said he was trying to throw the rock into the hole. He slowly came to & was in a daze, then realized what he had done. Just last night he was saying there was a man in front of him that wanted a ride to another town. Then a woman appeared in front of him but he couldn't make out who she was. I forgot at this point to ask my brother, who was w/him if his eyes were open or closed. But later he came to, like before & was dazed for a bit. He says he can't sleep good at night so he sleeps during the day a lot. He doesn't seem depressed but I know since he can't get around like he used to & get outside it brings him down. I know he misses mom so much. My brother or I are with him 4 to 5 hrs every day. More me than my brother. I'm terrified it could be Lewy Body Dementia. My dad would go into a severe panic if it turned out to be that. If he ends up in a nursing home he would go into severe depression.

Along with these good answers, remember there is no way to determine with 100% accuracy whether it is Lewy Bodies except a post-mortem autopsy. My Mom had enough of the symptoms that I decided to “act as if” it were Lewy Body and see what impact it had. That worked well enough that I’m sure it was that, even though we didn’t have an autopsy done. The big deal is to not give Alzheimer’s medication if it is Lewy (or, I would say, if you are reasonably sure it might be Lewy). The other thing I did that worked re the hallucinations and/or vivid dreaming was that I didn’t tell her it wasn’t real. I just told her that unfortunately, I could not see what she was seeing, but if she would tell me what to do to help, I’d be glad to do it. So, if she saw a huge bug on the carpet across the room, she would describe it to me, direct me to it, then 1 of 2 things would happen: (1) It would have disappeared by the time I got to the right place; or (2) I could (according to her instruction) either pick it up in a Kleenex or towel and take it outside or just squash it and throw it away. With the people who came and went, I’d say I must have missed their visit and I hope it was a pleasant one for her. If she wanted to know whether they’d be back for dinner, I’d tell her they weren’t sure, but would see her again whenever they could. So in a nutshell, try your best to enter their reality because it’s less scary when you are there with them. It’s a waste of energy to tell someone that their vivid experience is “not real”; just tell them it is not something you seem able to access, but you’re willing to help if they will describe it to you. Seemed to work most of the time. She stopped “going wild” and started responding much more calmly. (It wasn’t the hallucinations or dreams that upset her, turns out. It was my insistence that they weren’t real that got her going because, of course, she “knew” better.)
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to lindabf
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This acting out during sleep is called a parasomnia. It is a sleep disorder which does occur with dementia. While the frequency is more common with Lewy Bodies dementia, it can occur with all types of dementia. Such experiences can occur during the day during napping as well as night. My mother experiences them quite commonly and these often involved grabbing for an animal or small child. She is unaware of them generally.
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Reply to KAWnurse
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No, it could be a UTI, a side effect of medication, sleep deprevation or other medical explainations, take him to the doctor.
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Reply to tacy022
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Get your dad to a doctor and try to find out why this is happening. Apparently it is common in dementia but people have also been known to hallucinate if they don't get enough REM sleep or have a bad medication reaction- so get a diagnosis and work from there.

Dementia sucks. But you and he will deal with it if that's what it is. There's lots of support here for you. Try not to worry about what it might be. Worry does nothing but rob pleasure from today. It doesn't change the future one bit.
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Reply to anonymous594015
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Do the dreams scare him? If so it could be night terrors. This happens with people who have Dementia. As tacy said, it could be a UTI or a med. He needs to see his doctor.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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My 89 year old mom got these whenever she took anything with codeine in it. To this day she insists that they were real. Check meds.
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Reply to janlee
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There are people who are taking no drugs who still have nightmares and night terrors. Stress and/or anxiety often have something to do with it. Remember that not everything is a disorder. Your dad is 94. He is old and his wife is gone. He may be processing his own fears about death and dying.

The brain is a very powerful organ and we hardly understand it. Modern neurology is only scratching the surface of the brain, its health, why we sleep, brain disorders, and brain diseases.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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My MIL had something very similar and we realized some of the versions were from the TV shows. We used the parental channels to get rid of the more violent shows. Now that she is in memory care the only TV they have is for the evening movie.
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Reply to Jarsting
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Check his medication list. Some medications can manifest into bad hallucinogenic thoughts and actions. Also night terrors can be a part of it.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Good answers here. I'll just add that sleep deprivation because of frequent urge to urinate has brought on vivid dreams with my Dad who has FTD (Frontotemporal Dementia). I am hoping the urologist will be able to help with that! He wakes up to urinate every 45 minutes to an hour! His PCP and I think it is caused by his BPH. The lack of sleep is really getting to me, so what can it be doing to my poor 86-year-old Dad? He insists the dreams are real and gets angry if I try to explain he was just dreaming.

As others have mentioned, it could be a UTI or side effect from medication, too. Hope you and his doctors can sort it out and cure this. I know it is a hard thing to live with for both patient and caregiver.
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Reply to Laurellel
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