My mother keeps hearing people outside her window at night, but there's no one there. Could dementia cause this paranoia? - AgingCare.com

My mother keeps hearing people outside her window at night, but there's no one there. Could dementia cause this paranoia?

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Sometimes she hears people whispering and other times she thinks there's two men on a ladder trying to get in through her window. What can we do? I live with her and I always check to try to comfort her but she still seems upset and then can't sleep. Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

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Encountered same situation as other replies when caring for my mom, who is now 91, UTIs and hearing (see audiologist) should be first things checked. The symptoms are very similar, lived through this, wish I would have known earlier, would have been much better for my mom and myself.
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When my Mom fell into the dementia downhill slide, it was due to a sudden death of her other sibling. Along with the dementia, she was diagnosed with Psychosis. That 2nd one was the culprit of all the things she was seeing and hearing that were not there. See if her Dr can prescribe her something for that.
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As a nurse, I agree with the others to have your mom evaluated by her doctor. Many things can cause confusion (dehydration, infections, etc.). Has she had a hearing test lately?
As a daughter of a mother who "heard noises and conversations" in her apartment for over a year, it turned out to be Alzheimer's. I lived in a different city and would call her every night. She would tell me that the conversations were bothering her. The landlord and the owner both came to her apartment and stayed for 4 hours. They heard nothing. I visited her to investigate and also heard nothing.
We went to the grocery store. When I went back in to get something, she "heard the noises and conversations" in my car. That proved to her that it was not sounds of the apt. building.

She has told me she has a "headache" for the past 6 years. (coincidentally, about the same time she's had Alzheimer's). No medications have helped her "headaches". We've gone from simple hearing tests to appts. with brain surgeons and no reason was found as to why she hears these sounds. (During this time she tested positive for Alzheimer's.)

I saw a presentation on You Tube about 2 researchers studying Alzheimer's. They mentioned that sufferers hear muffled noises and soft conversations in their heads. I can only conclude that this is what my mother is experiencing and she explains it as a headache.
Maybe this is a possible reason for your mother hearing things that aren't there. Blessings to you both.
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Based on my experience with my mom and talking with other caregivers in my support group, this is the norm for many people suffering from dementia. In some instances it's imaginary, in others it might be a shadow from a room, even a reflection from a mirror or you name it. For my mom, she had to have a night light on to go to sleep. So, once you identify a pattern, my suggestion a) don't argue that the situation doesn't exist - because to them it does and will likely increase their fear/agitation, b) try to make them feel safe and comfortable as possible- if it's something you can change or rearrange do it, and it will also save your nerves as well.
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My suggestion would be to check any nearby appliances such as any heaters, refrigerators, air conditioners, humidifiers, or air purifiers and see if your mother is mistaking the noise that these machines are making for conversations. While a person is on the verge of falling asleep that person is in an altered state, so hearing is also altered in a way. You just aren't yourself as you are when fully awake. Try changing the setting on the fridge, if that's the culprit. The noise coming from heating vents, in particular "forced air," can be very loud and disturbing for some sleepers.

Have you had your own hearing checked? Maybe your mother hears neighbor's radio, TV, or telephone or boom box that you aren't able to hear.
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So good to know that other people are going through the identical things with their loved ones as I am. Mom is in an assistive living facility in her own apartment. She says she has people taking showers in her room; stealing her food; bugs in her bed; people coming into her room when she is gone and screwing up her TV; people bringing back her screens which they had but didn't know were hers (when all the time they were in her closet, which she was hiding); people stole her wallet and it gone (when she hides it and we always find it; and the list goes on and on. I think it is time for an eval with a gerontologist, cuz Mom says her mind is clear and that I am making her worse than she is. Thanx for all the input.
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Dementia. Either organic or caused by a UTI. Get a geriatric doctor eval. He will do blood tests and a psych eval. There is medicine. The same thing happened with mom. First she started losing things and blamed us for stealing them. That was rough. We took her nail scissors, we stole her dental bridge, her nail file, her pad of paper. I was recovering from cancer. I was bedridden. She stood by my bed and badgered and demanded on and on until I got up on my skinny legs and looked for her items. This went on every day for a week until my husband said no more or you LEAVE. You will not do this to your daughter. Then it progressed to a man was stealing from her purse at night. Nope. A man was going to jump through the picture window and steal her purse. No mom. Not with the security cameras and all of us here with you. Nobody can even see your purse on the floor from the road waaaay out there. You are safe. She constantly repeated this spiel. Before we took her in with us she was driving. Ohhhh God. My husband found dents all over her car. Everybody is always hitting my car at church. Nope. We got a doctor eval, he yanked her driver's license and put her on medicine. The delusions are gone. We have different things going on now as her disease progresses. It was h*ll. Buy the book The 36 Hour Day. It will save your sanity.
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My husband does the same thing. Ten years ago he had extreme surgery, and six months later he said people were streaming through the house all day. This slowly faded away, however it returns occasionally. He thinks I've been smoking because he smells cigarette smoke a lot. He wakes at night and sees someone standing by his bed. I tell him it's his guardian angel, so that settles him down.
As to someone breaking in, I tell him it's the wind banging things around. I like the idea of white noise in the room and will try that if it continues.
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I live with my 94 year old mother who thinks the next door neighbor is spying on her and " opening and shutting her blinds" ( that is not happening) however, I cannot convince her that the blinds are not opening and shutting on their own. She is angry with me because " I don't believe her" I have stopped arguing with her and walk away when she starts trying to "convince me" . Really sad.
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Read about Lewy Bodies syndrome. Causes hallucinations.
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