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Mom is seeing and says talking with dead relatives and is very upset because they don't answer her. What do I say?

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I absolutely loved jeannegibbs idea about saying something like "you know how he is - won't wear his glasses and didn't know it was you," or "he/she is just so delighted to see you that nothing more is needed."

The main thing is not to deny that she see them (she does - how or why isn't the issue). So the issue is to try to explain the reason that they don't respond since that seems to be what upsets her.

Validation is one of the most challenging and creative things a caregiver must do in order to help the loved one. Sometimes it's not possible to provide enough comfort, but do what you can and then try distraction.

Good luck to you. You sound like a wonderful caregiver.
Carol
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From what you've written, Ggii, your mom is not "seeing dead people."

She is having hallucinations and/or delusions about relatives, some or all of whom are deceased but without her acknowledging that they are dead. That is quite a different matter.

The most common advice for dealing with people who are hallucinating or are delusional is not to argue about the experience. If they see Harry, they see Harry. Try to reassure them about any aspects of the experience that are distressing.

(My Mom recently asked me if I knew when Dad was getting back from his fishing trip. I did not point out that he died 18 years ago. I merely said I didn't know but I sure hoped he'd caught a lot of fish ... and then turned the discussion topic to fish fries!)

It seems that the disturbing part of these experiences for you mother is that these hallucinations don't speak to her. Reassure her about that. "Oh Mom, you know that Bill is too vain to get glasses. He probably didn't recognize you!" You don't need to know or explain anything about "Bill" being there at all. Accept your mother's version, but give her some comfort about why they aren't talking to her.
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Suggest to your mom that the dead relatives are there to bring her comfort and peace with just their presence, that they don't speak, but if your mom would like to talk to them she may as long as she knows they can't respond.
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This may be a dumb question but please bear with me. Does your mom realize they are dead? Or does she think they are really there? The reason I'm asking is that if you know you are receiving a "visitation" from the other side, you would also know that you can't control that visitation (I.E. they may not answer/speak, may just emanate a peaceful aura). If you don't know it's a visitation...and you think the people are really there....then of course you would be mad that they aren't answering...how rude of them! She probably thinks they are really there...she probably doesn't realize they are dead and gone?? Maybe she believes she is much younger than she is, and that these people are still alive?

Incidentally, I am a believer...and have heard hundreds upon thousands of stories of the dead visiting when the time to pass for the receiver of the visit is near...

Angel
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Yes she does not remember they have died many years ago. I too thought they may appear to her because they are waiting for her. Her favorite her husband, mom and sister. I told her they are keeping close watch because they love her.
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As my mother lay dying in a hospital bed in her living room, she was on morphine. She went in and out of consciousness for many days and was under the care of hospice. When awake, she kept asking why there were so many people there. I explained the grandchildren came to visit her. She said no, the others, the ones around her bed. Then she began to name them. They were relatives who were long gone, grandmother and aunts, etc, people I had never met but had heard of them. She also said there was lots of food everywhere. If I had not see it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. It raises the hair on your arms. Real? Hallucinations? When her end time came closer, we encouraged her to go with those people to the 'bright light' that she had also mentioned. My mother was a very strong believer in Christ.
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As a bible believer, I understand Luke 16:26, where Jesus tells us there is a "great gulf fixed" between the dead and the living. I gently tell my mother, when she insists frantically that dad needs her help (he's been dead since 2003), or when she sees people who are not there, that God is taking care of them and/or that her mind is playing tricks. If she's extremely upset and walking the floor at night with this kind of hallucination/delusion, that's when it's time for some medication. As a bible believer, I know we are to communicate the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15 and comfort the feebleminded (I Thessalonians 5:14). Of course, the truth doesn't always comfort people, well or sick. So I pray aloud with her or for her, which does help most times.
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When elderly people see or hear from dead relatives, it's not 'hallucinations' but real contact! Right before my Uncle passed, he sat bolt upright in bed, smiled broadly, and yelled MOM! I have no doubt he was seeing his deceased mother who was bringing him comfort and helping him with the transition to the Other Side. This is a very common occurrence and should be celebrated. My Mom sees and hears my deceased Dad on a daily basis, and the last thing I'd do is pooh-pooh it away. It's a wonderful reminder that death is not the end, but a brand new beginning.
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You can try guided imagery. Can she give them a hug? Can she talk to them and just let them listen?

BTW, if she's close to the end, she may start to be able to interact.
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When I was hospitalized so ill that death was a possibility I had what I will call an
experience. maybe it was a dream maybe an hallucination who knows. but I went to a place where my dead mother was. i did not see her but i distinctly heard her say "Don't think you are coming in here" from that I assumed she meant her current abode. As I said I never saw her but I did see her sister and knew they were all really there but the one aunt was the only one I recognized.
Was I dreaming or hallucinating who knows but just thought i would share that.
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