Follow
Share

Mom is 90 and has a great memory but she goes into these episodes of seeing things that aren't there. We have told her doctors and they gave her an anti depressant and anti psycodic but after a few days she was going bonkers and she knew it so she refused to take them. I just don't get where this is coming from. She just had a visit with her doctor this week and he agreed if the meds don't make her feel better then she doesn't have to take them. It's so strange to experience this and I don't really know how to respond. When it happened the first time I would explain to her that there wasn't anyone there but she said it's as clear as I am sitting there which kinda spooked me. But I know it's a medical thing not ghosts. I just wondered if anyone else had this happen?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
dee1863, Mom has stories also but hers are not always nice ones. Today she was talking about dead rabbits up in the back yard by the wagon, which isn't real, and that gave me chills. She knows I love rabbits and where we live there are many. I'm wondering if she said that to get my attention or if she just had another vision. Other than that she was really in good spirits and seamed fine.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

When I got home from work yesterday, the afternoon caregiver told me mom was really contemplative and quiet, so the caregiver tried to bring her out of her funk (she's really amazing, we love her!) and asked mom what she was thinking about. She said mom told her a really long, detailed story about something...caregiver said it was quite amazing listening to mom and that she felt that she was on an adventure with her. Yes, it's better than a movie or a book. It's amazing how they come up with these stories.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This is a common thing with Lewy's Body dementia. Animals and little people are the big ones. My dad has them all the time, particularly worse in evening. They call it sundowners. I have found for us; it's better to let him just have them and listen, respond best way you can. His wofe argues with him and tells him no hey aren't there and he gets VERY upset then won't talk. Where as I talk about them, answer what I can and then he's usally finished with it. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Tillie, I too would worry. Does she have life alert? Would she wear a key to her appartment round her neck, you know like the latchkey kids do? In your position I would look into assised living and find somewhere that you felt she would be happy so if it becomes an emergency you would have your ducks lined up. Unless she is declared incompetent there is little you can do when she refuses.
do not necessarily listen to the caregiver because AL is not in the caregivers best interests and if she has been with Mom for a long time she is probably very fond of her. Is there anyone she knows who is in AL that you could take her to visit and maybe have lunch with? Or maybe arrange to drop off magazines for a facility and pre-arrange for the manager to happen to be there when you arrive. Mom already lives in an apartment alone so the change would not be as dramtic for her as for someone leaving the family home. Maybe do a little volunteer work somewhere with mom in tow. She could probably read to someone or write letters for them or help with crafts whatever her talents and interests are. Where there is a will there is a way, she does not have to be forced into anything. Try and make it her choice. her own caregiver could still help her in AL.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mom was hesitant to tell me her most recent hallucination because she said I would restrict her if I knew. I coaxed her to tell me and she said she went out for walk and it was dark and ended up in a lobby, but didn't know any of the people coming and going. She sat there all night and then they were coming in for breakfast. She realized she recognized it as the lobby of her apartment, but knew nobody. Next thing she knew, she was standing inside her apartment in the kitchen. I believe this was another dream/dementia episode, but I did worry that she is wandering. She did get locked out of her apartment and says she spent the night on the bench in the hallway. I did confirm with the maintenance guy she was locked out, but not for how long. She is refusing to go to assisted living, and her caregiver wrote me a note about hoping we wouldn't send her there. Oy. I am learning not to over react.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My mom sees things and people, too. She had a stroke in 2008 and the visions started then. One night, shortly after coming home from rehab, she swore she saw a tall thin man in the bedroom with us. She says she looked right at him and he covered his face with his hand and turned away. It spooked me. But what spooked me even more was soon after that the 3-4 month old lab puppy started barking wildly in the living room, hackles raised, teeth bared - never did that before. He was barking AT THE WALL. Totally freaked me out. My mom sees little kids all the time (her guardian angels?). She also sees kids up on top of the windows, hanging off the curtains or the ceiling fan, men and women in the room, etc. She talks to them, they never answer (of course) and she gets so mad at them. She's also seen knives laying around, bears outside the house, etc. Her vision is really bad, and it's from the stroke. She does have a visual field block (left side). I've been told that our brains are wired to fill in the entire visual field, so when there's a missing spot the brain grabs a past/random visual image to fill in the blank spot. Makes sense to me. Still very disturbing, for us both. I don't tell her things aren't there anymore - she sees them and they are real to her. So I acknowledge, "handle" whatever/whoever, and redirect. It's the only thing that works for us.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My Mom has had hallucinations two or three times when she had UTI's. Seeing people in the room mainly ,sometimes people that have passed, and sometimes dogs and cats .If she tells me there is a snake in the room I would probably go through the roof myself... and luckily she hasn't told me she has seen those. She does not have AZ or dementia, but doctors thought the UTI or antibiotics she was receiving for osteomyelitis may have caused the delirium. They changed the antibiotic to a different one and the delirium stopped after a couple of days.
I hear that sometimes people near death experience this, but this has been nearly a year now so I tend to think it was the UTIs or antibiotics. When I was standing over her once she said the curtain billowed out from the window and all around me....it gave me the willies because it seemed like something from a scary movie, but I know it didn't happen and was the UTI.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

There are a lot of things that can cause these sort of hallucinations - with my dad, it was his kidney levels gettting too high just before he was due for dialysis. It had the same effect as a UTI or other very serious infection - he would start hallucinating and making odd phone calls - until we told the hospital and nursing home to stop giving him a phone to make those calls. (Sounds harsh and cruel, but he was just confusing himself more and more with the calls.) He was calling the hospital kitchen and ordering food to be delivered to his sister's house 60 miles away, calling us and asking us to come get him and bring him his clothes -saying he was sitting naked in city hall, etc.

Then came the visual hallucinations - little santa clauses dancing on the floor (don't step on them!), birds flying around up by the ceiling (and he would whistle bird calls at them, something he was always good at), hamsters running around inside the ceiling (don't you hear them?), or the always-entertaining food hallucinations - he would mime putting a spoon into his mouth, dipping it back towards his chest and back to his mouth, chewing and swallowing, as though he were eating. He swore he was eating a bowl of ham and beans, and boy was it good!

The only thing that stopped the hallucinations - and only temporarily, for about 24 hours - was dialysis. When he came to the end of his life, and required dialysis on a daily basis, the hallucinations were constant.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

OMG, I don't know what it is about babies, but YES, my mom often has mind-looping worries about babies and often says she has seen them. She sometimes talks about having talked with her Grandmother and Jesus. I believe that these things are quite possible, that they may be able to tap into parts of the brain that most of us cannot. I do pray that comforting visits like these do happen in the midst of what is a frightening experience for those struck with Alz.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Bookluvr - I guess the conversation becomes more about how to support dad through this and keep him from being scared of what he's seeing. Aaaaaand let's just check with the doc to make sure there isn't somethind medical going on at the same time. Things can bloom quickly in older people, and if he is having an infection, nobody wants it to get worse and have him end up in the hospital. No point challenging anybody's understanding of how this is working because it just doesn't matter all that much.

Is there someone in your culture who can come reassure your dad and interpret these visions for him, so he can be comforted? If these are also his beliefs, then this may help him. Not everybody needs to throw pills at things like Western medicine does.

Is there a ritual you can do in the house, with dad, that will comfort him or send the spirits away for a while? Or invite peaceful spirits in to shield dad?

I'm a dyed in the wool skeptic who can't watch scary movies either, but I do recognize that familiar ritual comforts people whether it's a prayer, last rites, smudging, chanting, or making an altar. Do what will comfort his soul, soothes his mind, and protects his physical body.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I'm torn about this. Modern-wise, my dad is senile and 'seeing' invisible people. Maybe he has UTI. However, my culture would say that he's seeing our ancient ancestors. I tend more towards modern thinking - senile + UTI. I'm a scaredy-cat. I cannot watch scary movies because it's too realistic to me. I do my best to think 'modernized.' However, if I ask oldest sis or nephew, they will tell me that the spirits in this house are bothering dad. I told sis that dad said that there's people standing around his bed trying to kill him. She said -No, they're standing around his bed waiting for him to die. Ugh!!! I really did Not need to know that. So, I guess it depends on what the elderly's beliefs were before dementia. I'm determined to view it as senility and UTI. My family will see it from our culture's point of view....
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My mom now sees an animal that she describes as both a cat & dog that barks and meows. It's black and has big paws. She wants it to come up on her bed and let her pet it. I think this is a combination of her vision degrading, existing memories of pets she had earlier in life, and her brain confusing the input it gets.

She also sees holes in the cieling up and to the left. Sometimes people come walking out of the hole. She sees a big hole in the floor about 5 feet out in front of her. Again, vision degrading.

She has had auditory and visual hallucinations in the past due to mixed up meds. She used to see dead relatives. They'd come "set a spell to visit" and it didn't upset her. I think it was messed up meds plus memories plus brain processing it all wrong.

There was also a squirrel that ran around on her fireplace mantel. He wasn't tame enough to get up on her lap, which she wanted.

I have a colleague whose mother hallucinates taking trips to foreign countries. She will say that she went to Scotland this morning and is glad to be home.
Hey, I hope I get to travel like that when my mind goes!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

We have had periods of this.

Discovered several medications, that I thought were relatively benign can cause these problems especially in elderly. Oxybutinin (used for urinary incontinence) is a big problem and mom's insurance co. required the switch from Detrol LA. Visions started within 1 month. Pepcid (for Acid reflux) can cause problems. Both are now on her allergy list...and other meds have been substituted. Most "visions" were stopped by the change. Any other weird visions definitely seem to correlate with UTI issues. Sit with pharmacist or neurologist and full list of medications and see if any have a problem with this...if so - remove them.

We also have to be careful with pain meds...
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Mom does have Dementia and had a UTI which she was treated for but I fear it has returned and she does have an appt. with the doctor next week for an evaluation. Seams like I'm hearing a lot of you saying there are visions of children, this is how it is with Mom. She sees children standing at her bed side or babies peeking around corners of the house. Though Last night it was a boa snake in her bed named John. I have been going along with it and trying to change the subject at the proper time. I don't want her to think I'm putting her off. She is very sensitive to that. My Dad who is 92 trys to ignore her comments and I feel bad for him. He is worn out taking care of her and the house though I try to help as much as I can it's a lot for him. My fear is she will have to take more antibiotics and develope C diff. My Mother in law died from complications of this and I swore I wouldn't let this happen to my Mom. It's a comfort to me to know we are not alone with this. I had never heard of such a thing until Mom started seeing things. Thank you all for helping.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My grandmother saw a yellow bird on her couch, by her feet after a nap. I do believe that elderly people will see and hear things from loved ones both from their past - and from loved ones in heaven.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My Mother went through this for several months. She was seeing children when she would go to bed at night. It got to the point she also saw them playing during the day. It was always the same little girl. The little girl was always playing on her bed. She would tell the girl she could sleep there. She was not afraid of the children and she knew we couldn't see them. The doctor could find nothing wrong with her but put her on a nerve pill. She took the pill for a couple of month. The visions stopped but Mom still thinks these were angels and they were protecting her. She may be right. She is going through some horrible things right now with her stepchildren. Her husband has dementia.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Your profile says Mother has dementia. Has that been diagnosed medically or is that based on your observations? How long has she had it and what are her other symptoms?

Visual hallucinations are a hallmark of Lewy Body Dementia. They occur very early in the disease -- they are often the first symptom noticed. Also, in LBD memory loss is not the primary problem. Usually (but not always) the hallucinations are benign. There is no need to treat the person for them unless they are really bothersome to the person. Going along seemed to work best. One loved one in my support group saw children in his house all the time. It got sticky when he wanted his wife to set places for them at the table. She simply reassured him that the children were taken care of. "Their parents are coming soon to take them to their own dinner. They can watch a nature show on tv for now."

Here is an episode from my husband's early LBD: (3:30 am, in our bedroom)

him: there are bats here
me: baseball bats?
him: no -- the little animals that kind look like mice with wings
me: are they bothering you?
him: no -- they are just on the floor next to the bed
me: how about this? we'll just let them rest tonight, and if they are not gone by morning I'll chase them out with a broom
him: OK. Good night.

Of course, by morning there were no bats to chase out. :)

Another thing that causes hallucinations is a uti, but I assume she has been tested for that.

My husband also saw his deceased brother one day. That was early in the dementia and he lived another 9+ years after that.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Yes, I believe it's part of dementia, about halfway in stage 6 is where mthr's were. It did get better, but a whole lot of bad behaviors replaced it. It may be time to evaluate homes - when the mean people start appearing, you will be able to move her away to a safe place where those bad people can't get her (memory care).
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mom, 87, is also seeing children in her bed playing or peeling apples. She says it does not scare her, and she kind of knows they are not real because they don't talk to her. I told her not to worry about it,and that she didn't need to "do" anything about it. My biggest worry is that she will act unsafely as a result of one of these visitations. Once she did put her cat outside and it ran away for three days because she thought there was a fire. It comes and goes, but my biggest question: is it related to Alzheimers or is it dimentia, and should we expect it to get worse in terms of frequency?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Veronica91: Your answer struck me so hard not in a bad way but it was what I guess I hoped I wouldn't read. You made me wake up and realize I have to face this soon. I Thank you for your gentle but straight forward reply. My brother saw angels before he passed from cancer and this is telling me it won't be long before I lose her.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Millygirl, I use to tell Mom she was just seeing things due to her meds or that she was dreaming but now that she isn't on any meds I don't know how to respond. I feel awful inside just brushing it off because she truely believes these things are there. It's very sad to see her this way she and I are best friends.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you littletonway, this is similar to what Mom see's also. Babies sitting on the floor, kittens in the house playing, it goes on and on and most of it isn't upsetting to her either just some things are alarming and scare her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you Babalou for you reply. I was thinking the same about the two meds at once and frankly was relieved she wouldn't take them. The doctor at the hospital added to what she was taking before. She was admitted for a sudden drop in BP about 2 months ago.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you all for your answers! Excited to get input for this issue. I'm not sure I'm replying in the right area of this forum so let me know if I'm doing this correct or not. To Freqflyer: Mom had an eye exam last week for the first time in 10 + yrs. long story but we have been trying to get her in to have her eyes checked, the doctor said she didn't see any abnormalties just normal aging. No MD but a cataract in the right eye. I was with her and asked it this could be causing her to see things and the doctor said she may get some reflections from the lens implant in the left eye. Moms visions are way too detailed to call them reflections. Your reply was the very first thing I thought of too.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This is very common at the end of life and can take many forms. Often it is deceased loved ones such as a parent or spouse. Don't tell the loved one they are not there. acknowledge what they are seeing and ask questions. "What color are the kittens" can you see the mama cat too?" This happens with or without dementia and can happen for some time before death so if other signs of serious decline are not present. On extremely rare ocassions a sensitive relative can also see these apparitions which I like to call spiritual visitors. Nothing to be alarmed about.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I simply agree with him and then tell him it was a dream.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My Mother had "visions" for two days before she died. Girls dancing on the walls, children playing in her room and people walking through the windows. They weren't upsetting to her. She would tell us she knew we couldn't see them but they were real to her. No dementia.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I seem to recall that these kinds of hallucinations are common in some specific kind of dementia, perhaps someone else here knows.

Her doctors started two new meds at once? In my view (I'm not a doctor ) that would be unwise. How would you know what drug was causing the problem?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Could it be her eyes? Maybe she has too many floaters and when they bunch together maybe she thinks they are something they are not.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter