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With my dad - the Alzheimers meds and pain meds caused hallucinations, as soon as we took him off of them he was fine, well as fine as could be expected. Meds can do things to the elderly, especially those over 90, that would have never bothered them before.
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Is your mother vision impaired? It is common for the visually impaired to see what are know as artifacts. It is the brain's way of keeping the mind entertained in the absence of visual stimulation. This was confirmed by Mother's ophthalmologist and by my psych instructor.
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Mom had visual hallucinations that were charming but when the auditory hallucinations started (repetitive music - same songs), that was another matter altogether. She was very upset by them. They woke her up and she couldn't fall asleep because of them. After being sleep deprived and totally not herself, her doctor found the right medicine, Exelon patch which turned out to the perfect meds. Now she doesn't hear them and finally looks more rested and herself. BTW, she never did test positive for UTI.
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Do you wish to be happy or right? Simply pick one....
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That is paranoia she is experiencing. Perhaps you could say something to get her attention on to something else, like "Oh Mom look at this dress isn't it beautiful dont you just love the color?" It can be hard to do all the time but you do what you have to.
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I like what DaveIFM said & get to a physician, ASAP...make an appointment with a Psychiatrist too....
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Have your mom checked to make sure she doesn't have something medically going on with her that could be causing her hallucinations. Be very careful about the use of antipsychotic medication to treat her hallucinations, because if she has Lewy Body Dementia, the use such medication for her can be deadly. Lewy Body Dementia should be diagnosed and treated by a neurologist, not a psychiatrist. Other than this, I concur with the others here who have advised you to go with the flow regarding your mom's hallucinations. Just keep reassuring her that you have taken care of what she is seeing and that what she sees isn't going to hurt her.
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GayleinJaxFL is right!
==Hallucinations stem from unknown brain glitches--there's no external physical thing being mistaken.
==Delusions are triggered when someone sees something, and the brain perceives it as something else.
EITHER can be caused by drugs of many kinds, nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar issues, UTI's, elevated inflammatory issues in the body, chemical exposures, even pain or fear.
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It sounds like she may be delusional as opposed to having hallucinations. You didn't say whether or not she thought she saw a real person following her or just thought someone was following her. Sounds like a UTI to me. Mom gets delusional as the only symptom of a UTI - said the office at the nursing home sent her a notice not to drink the milk because the kitchen was trying to poison her, etc. - delusional but not hallucinating. Also, vision might be an issue. My mom's vision is bad but at this point, she could not even answer the questions to be fitted for new glasses so sometimes she sees things (shapes) and thinks they are something they are not, such as a large flower pot in the distance being an animal that's about to get her - things like that. A doctor will always prescribe one medication or the other for mental issues, however, on little old ladies, the side effects are much worse than any benefit. Good luck
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Be also aware: many classes of medications they may already taking, can cause delusions or hallucinations!
Sometimes, it takes some questioning to learn what might be triggering the assumed hallucinations.
One patient kept seeing a monkey in his room.
Staff kept charting "hallucinating", due to Morphine.
I questioned him more, and it turned out that the bolts holding the metal support plate for the TV wall-mount, actually looked like a monkey-face.
Once he knew what it really was, and that his mind was a bit loose due to morphine, he calmed down, relaxed; it was no longer a problem.
Evaluate the medications the elder is taking!
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All good answers.
Add: Sometimes, people are in a state of fear, and can imagine people following them related to the major life changes they are experiencing, the small amount of life they have left, etc.
ASK her: Do you know who it is? See if she can answer clarifying questions.
IF she has been listening to too much fear-inducing programs on TV, or other media, for instance, see about blocking those programs. Substitute programs that are uplifting, pleasant, fun, comedic, etc.
Sometimes that is all it takes.
IF her fear-related perceptions of people following her persist, some have tried making a game of spotting the color of car or the license plate, or trying to be the first one to see the store or destination one is going to---those types of games require paying acute attention, and distract from the other fear-focued followers.
Bottom line: one cannot reason logically with someone who's mind is affected with any kind of dementia.
We can distract them from things, or block things that trigger those delusions or hallucinations, and we can check for UTI's and get those treated;
OR we can give pills that have side effects to control them if they get too far out-of-hand [like running or trying to escape those followers..]
People with compromised minds can and do have some odd perceptions--sometimes, those perceptions can trigger them to doing things that might endanger themselves or others--THAT must be watched out for, to do what's needed to protect them and us.
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I just need to say how this is such an amazing community that helps people so much, I love reading the advice and learning how to be a better caregiver from so many perspectives. Hugs and thanks to you all!
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why does my 96 year old mom that is pretty sharp and does not have dimentia insists on pulling her diaper down when she is in bed therefore in the morning she is all wet and so is the bed. she insists that it is not her that does that. has anybody ever gone through this.
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Sorry for the misspelling. "Aricept"
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Hallucinations, as well as Paranoia Type A and Type B are serious mental illnesses, not to be ignored nor taken lightly. A pychiatrist whom she likes is the best person to handle this problem. There are medications for this which should help her very much. Good Luck!
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Go with the flow and have her taken off Arecipt!
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Drug related, change the drugs.
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Not sure if this falls into the category of hallucinations per se but my 91 year old mother complains long and loudly that her keyboard is not in tune. We have brought the keyboard to a well known and respected music store that specializes in this and were told that electric (digital) keyboards) cannot be tuned but the pitch can be adjusted. So, we did this and she is still complaining. To be fair, my mother sung semi-professionally when she was in her twenties but her hearing is now so impaired, and the arthritis in her hands so significant, that we really don't think she can play and/or hear the chords accurately any longer. Of course, this doesn't stop her from fixating on this until I want to tear my hair out. We may just cave and take her to the local store to play some new keyboards (not an easy feat as she really doesn't want to leave her apartment) but we simply won't invest in replacing the current board with another unless she signs off on it, so to speak. Anyway, that's my contribution to this thread, for what it's worth.....
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My mom had dementia she would often see my father after he past. Then after her dementia progressed she would talk to him, her late father and other relatives that had past on. It gave her comfort so I just went along with it. If you try to correct her she would get upset and more confused. So unless she is sick or scared just go with the flow.
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I agree as well, go with the flow as long as they are not scaring her. My mom sits and has conversations with blast from the past, I just say hi and let them visit. I tried explaining, it either made her upset or angry so I don't do that anymore.
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I would definitely keep checking for UTI's, and if there are none, I would keep doing what you are doing. They don't seem to be that bad, and putting her on meds might give you side effects that are even worse. My mother does that also, and when they really get bad then I know its time to check for a UTI.
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I wonder what medication she is on because some psychiatric drugs can cause hallucinations in the elderly and rather than put it down to her dementia you could check out her medications Sometimes these drugs interact with each other and especially antipsychotics can have strange effects on an older person . Also any infection can effect the brain. Im sure that having you constantly in her life will help her feel loved and secure and I hope she will improve soon .
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I really don't have a good answer. Because she has this condition, it is no use telling her there is no one following her. Tell her that you will check it out and if so, you will have him arrested. May that might help. What do her doctors say about it? Verna
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my friend's mother has hallucinations about being a young girl in Czechoslovakia. When she was a girl they caught the last train out of the country before Hitler invaded. Her hallucinations are about having to catch the last train she's packing her bags and is very agitated. My friend just consols her and repeats that they don't have to catch the train. It's difficult situation, sometimes she wakes them up at 2 or 3 in the morning telling them they got to catch the train. I think go with the flow is the best advice. She also thought she saw her son walking in the hallway so that was kind of weird too. It certainly is strange and I think we have to have compassion and yes these are our family members that we love so we do the best that we can to try and calm them and comfort them.
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The thing is, it IS true - true, that is, that she does have the constant feeling of being followed. Try explaining to her that her brain is making her feel uneasy like this, but that there is nobody there and nothing to be afraid of. (You will probably have to do this rather a lot, I'm afraid).
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Have you talked to your mom's doctor? My mom has spells like this and the doctor advised us to go with the flow if at all possible. She most likely will not understand if you try o explain. Just reassure her that she is safe and that you are watching out for her and will keep her safe. Each day brings a whole new set of problems with people with this problem, so do yourself a favor and try not to stress yourself out about things that you can not change, God bless you and your family. Know that there a lot of us out here in the same circumstances and know just how you feel. We are always here to listen, so vent when you need too! Smile and laugh when you can, it really does help!
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If she is physically OK then it would most likely disturb her more if you tried to explain it. Sunnygirl's explanation and those like it are quite good. Diversion works most of the time. Change the subject or activity. It's called "de-railing". Get her thoughts on a different subject. Recap: Doctor first, then deal with mental issue.
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I agree with the doctor's appointment, it never hurts to get things checked out, especially if this behavior is new or has worsened in a short amount of time. If she has dementia, what I do if someone thinks they are being followed or people are out to 'get' them, I just say that I'll watch out to see if I can catch them. Every case is different, if she has dementia you can contact the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association for information on how to deal with difficult behaviors. A sudden change in behavior can indicate an illness such as a UTI or pneumonia or some other medical issue. First order of action is to see the doc. Good luck.
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One of my concerns is with the horror stories you hear about nursing homes and the type of stories mom tells even though I know they cannot be real is something else going in that I don't see that is causing them. She keeps telling me they have me fooled. This is not the first time she has gone through this and it has been other places. But it's always in the back of my mind what's going on when no one is looking. Maybe I'm getting her paranoia.
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Vision loss can cause them to see things that aren't there. This is called artifacts. My mother's Opthamologist confirmed what my mentor/teacher, a prominent psychiatrist told me in our course on grief and aging.
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