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My 93 year old father is having vivid dreams and swears the events actually happened.
What does this mean? He does not have Alzheimer's, on the contrary, his mind is still fairly sharp. He lives in an assisted care facility. He is a diabetic, insulin dependent, uses a walker but has a very bad left leg which impairs his walking. Could this be a sign of dementia? Or something to do with his diabetes?

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My father is 87 and a diabetic. He sleeps about 20 hours a day. He dreams vividly and sometimes thinks he actually saw a person who is deceased. I believe his REM sleep is poor and he is waking up out of twilight sleep and confusing sleep with reality.
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Parkinson's can give you dreams so vivid, you believe they are real. You can also act out your dream in your sleep..
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Lilacalani, I liked your post about dreams... I can believe your take on it, it doesn't seem that outlandish to me, not the way I see the world..

I've always thought that my dreams were bits and pieces of real people, glimpses into other worlds and lives, somewhere... but real as can be... Even when I see myself in dreams I think of it as seeing myself in an altered reality... I've always thought I had a pretty good imagination..

I liked your comment about the person having adventures outside of this realm, and to be glad of it...I was thinking the same thing. Sometimes I wish my dreams WERE my reality. lol
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Let me give you my opinion, coming from a student of shamanism. In shamanic belief systems, dreams are a form of altered states of consciousness (ASC). They are real, just different from waking consciousness.. It does not matter what causes these altered states (e.g., prayer, meditation, drugs, body chemistry); they are still ASC. Some ASC are a means of contacting our own thought forms (which are thoughts we put so much energy into, that they take on a life of their own). Other ASC are a means of contacting the minds of others telepathically. Yet again, there are ASC in which one contacts other spirits who are not in the physical.

It sounds to me like your father is having adventures beyond the four walls of the facility he lives in. Be glad he is. They enrich him.
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Yes, it COULD be an early sign of dementia, or simply of short-term memory impairment.

This was one of the earlier symptoms of my Dad's short-term memory decline. As I understand it, dreams are not processed/stored in short-term memory ... so it gradually became difficult for my father to distinguish between some dreams and "real" (longer-term) memories. He doesn't tend to confuse the really outlandish dreams with reality, but things that feel as if they MIGHT have been or COULD have been real are harder for him.

Although my Dad does have a diagnosed dementia (FTD), and his cognitive decline is noticeable now during his waking hours, this dream/memory confusion was happening even when his memory problems were not nearly so intrusive during the day. The neuropsychologist confirmed that dream/memory confusion is not atypical in people suffering from short-term memory impairment.

Of course, whether your father is experiencing short-term memory impairment -- and, if so, whether that impairment is due to some kind of incipient dementia or to some other physiological condition or imbalance -- is a question for the professionals. :-)
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My mother is 87 andhas this problem too. My father did (he was 84) and was worse when they had him on a morphine drip. Mom's started with a bad urinary infection causing her potassium and sodium levels to drop. However, she has some memory problems, and recently had a mild seizure. Her vision isn't great either so that contributes. I just brought her to my house in KY from NC on Tuesday. Every couple of hours she would ask me who was in the back seat with us. I kept explaining that our bags were in the back seat and that was probably what she was seeing. Each time she seemed satisfied with the answer at the time. I was just patient and talked to her. Some of the things she can see can be very real in her mind and you don't want to do anything to upset them more. In NC her sights were anything from a child sitting in the trash can to seeing and hearing a quartet playing outside. She is on a couple of medications that we hope will help. One to keep her from hopefully having seizures and one that is supposed to help her brain connections work better. From what I can tell, it can just be old age, or infection, or medication or any combination.
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IF he doesn't have dementia and at his age, I would venture to guess he has some, just undiagnosed, then my professional opinion is his glucose is too high or he needed another shot. The other explanation, since you do not describe the content of the dreams, he is having post-traumatic stress disorder from the war(s) or if he was not in the military, living through the Great Depression. That event was traumatic for most in this age category. My husband used to relive pilot missions in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam when we first got married, and I got him in counseling with a VA vet counselor, and then when I completed my training, I understood where those dreams originated. Have him see the staff social worker, if they have one, who has an MSW (therapist level). He can talk about his dreams and perhaps they will diminish. But, have his medical (diabetes) checked regularly. My best to him!
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Since your Dad is living away from you and he's recalling these dreams when you come to visit, they must be sticking with him in his long term memory. Do you see him every day, few days or once a week? When I listen to my mom recall actual things that happened, she often mixes parts up different events together to make one story. If I hadn't been with her for these different events, I wouldn't even know it wasn't accurate. I stopped correcting her a while back and let her remember things the way they make her happy, and so she doesn't feel like she's being tested or attacked. If your Dad's health checks out ok, and he's living in a new reality, (from dementia or a way to spice up his life), I say...enjoy the new memories with him and ask him lots of questions about his new adventures! There is no harm in them. If he's mountain climbing this week, then ask him how cold it was at the top and if he needs any new gear for his next trip!
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I think vivid dreams are part of growing old....my dad has very vivid dreams also, and no short-term memory; perhaps his dreams have taken on this intensity because he has little sensory stimulation in real life? I feel this is why my dad's dreams are so vivid. Just remain as calm as you possibly can be, let him talk, and tell him how blessed he is to have such lovely dreams. I do this every single morning with my 93-yr old dad when he wakes up; in the afternoon when he wakes from a nap. I don't feel it's anything to be alarmed at, if he is not on any new medication or such.
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He IS 93..what else he have to do?
..if he has them they are his.
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my father also has vivid dreams and talks about them often enough that sometimes I think he thinks they truly happened. I also am blessed with having dreams every night. I truly enjoy having dreams and some are very real. Maybe its meds she is on or maybe when she is coming out of a dream (in the twilight stage), that is when she thinks they have really happened. I feel sorry for those that have "nightmares" and have had only a few. But I do feel blessed that I dream, my husband and mother say they never dream. Hope you can find the answer but check with doctors on the meds she is taking.
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My mother talks about her dreams every morning. They are mostly dreams about my father (gone almost 15 years). Her dreams are a chance to visit with him and relive some of her favorite times. She has dementia, so old memories are the best. Nurse told me however, if she suddenly had a dramatic change in memory loss or confusion, it was most likely not her dementia, but something else (meds, infection, etc) and should be seen by doctor right away.
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My mother had very vivid hallucinations that she INSISTED really happened when she had hip replacement surgery. Those hallucinations were never repeated.

I would agree that it's a medication or diabetic issue rather than dementia.
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I had vivid dreams when I took Elavil for chronic pain. They weren't unpleasant dreams but very vivid and I'd have to think about whether it really happened or if it was a dream. IMHO talk to his pharmacist, it could be a medication side effect.
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What medications is he on? Does he take anything to help him sleep?

I just Googled diabetic hallucinations and one of the links was to a diabetes forums board. Lots of folks on there said they had hallucinations or very vivid dreams at night. I'd talk to your dad's doctor about it. Sounds like it could be blood sugar/insulin levels.
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