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My mother has macular degeneration and the past 1-2 years suffered with seeing dark marks and hairs on the walls and floors of our townhome. She can't clean them (as they aren't really there) and at times gets a little distraught about not being able to clean them. She has spoken to her eye doctor and it is most likely Charles Bonnet Syndrome...so we had been dealing with that and have had many people confirm that the marks are not really there.


Recently, she started seeing animals laying on our bank (alive and dead) and around our patio deck (skins and dead animals under deck stairs). She has called neighbors to come down to help her and they don't see anything of course but she either doesn't believe them or says they didn't say they saw nothing. We have even had relatives (grandson, nephew as well as myself) tell her that nothing is there. There is mulch, rocks and black plastic exposed on the ground of the bank which someone with eye issues could probably construe as taking some shape.


She put a call in to the Property Manager this morning before 6AM leaving a message for him to call her in the AM...and she will be asking him to do something about this.


I try and convince her that I understand she thinks she sees something, but that nothing is truly there...but to no avail...and at times her frustration causes her demeanor to become stern and stubborn and we have words...and I try and contain my frustration but it bubbles over and I try and not speak in anger but it happens sometimes (and I agonize over that after these episodes happen...but we always come back together after a little time). Overall, we have a great life and enjoy each others company and travel some a couple times each year, go to movies each week, go shopping as well as visit friends and relatives and of course go to her doctors appointments. She has lapses in memory like most other elderly people but nothing major so far...knows everyone who is in her day to day life (family and friends).

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This page:

https://www.macularsociety.org/visual-hallucinations

includes a link to a downloadable leaflet explaining the syndrome and suggesting approaches such as eye exercises. I expect you will already know most of it, just hope there might be something helpful you haven't already tried.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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As an addendum...on the day I posted, she called Animal Control without my knowledge and they stopped out. She walked them around our townhome building to the back in the pouring rain and cold (of course she had her winter coat on) and was showing them where the animals were. The female officer was very nice to her and explained she didn't see anything and my mother also acknowledged that at least one of the animals she was seeing was just a pile of rocks. I think this interaction with the officer did her a lot of good...she still sees them (and I tell her I understand she thinks she sees something which isn't there). She still sees them, so will have to keep an eye on her.

Thanks to everyone for the responses...they mean a lot to me. :)
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Reply to IrishMcC
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I would double check for any infection in the system, as the blood brain barrier is permeable in the elderly (as it is for newborns) and everything gets into the brain, medication and viruses. Bladder infections, pneumonia, can cause hallucinations and paranoia. My mother was able to accept that what she was seeing wasn't real, she said, "okay, I trust you, but they SEEM so REAL!" Also the homeopathic arsenicum album helped, at one point it completely relieved the symptom. I gave it to her every day at 4pm to also head off any tendency to "sundown" which is when the face closes into a frown and attitude gets stubborn at 5pm every day, and it worked. (homeopathy is safe because it doesn't interact with any medications)
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Reply to Singingway
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Mom may have Lewy Body Dementia. My mom did and seeing animals as a hallucination is a hallmark of Lewy. Lewy tends to also has other visual distortions, especially as to how they see flat surfaces, floors especially. Lewy also has a “shuffling” style for walking.

If your mom already has macular degeneration and has Lewy, the problems your dealing with now will only escalate. My MIL had macular degeneration and was eventually declared legally blind but had Alzheimer’s and it was very different type of care situation.

If your mom is not on a Dementia drug, try to get her an appointment with a gerontologist to be evaluated as to possible dementia type and go onto a RX. Excelon is the usual Lewy RX and for my mom made a obvious difference for first and middle stages. Lewy tends to have them stay pretty competent & cognitive longer than Alz or FTD, which is both good & bad.

I’ll also suggest that You may want to change the lighting through her living space including porch / deck. Like solar lights evenly through the yard. Torch style floor lamps on timers throughout the house. We put those narrow ledge style shelves throughout my mom’s IL & put battery operated candles on 2 sets of 6 hr timers so lighting was constant throughout night and there wasn’t opportunity for shadows to form. As shadows become animals. Hers were cats & rabbits, they just existed over in a corner, she did not set out kibble or go to pet them either. But they were just there & non threatening. When mom was still in her home and told me abt animals, I totally took it as real as there were feral cats, possums, etc in her ‘hood. It was after she moved to IL apt, that I realized it was actually hallucinations. Also I got rid of her big tall dark heavy deep bookshelves / furniture & got inexpensive shorter narrow light “wood” stuff from IKEa. As this too cut down on shadows.

Has as anyone described to you, how you mom probably sees things?
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Reply to igloo572
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My mother does not have macular degeneration but she does have dementia and sees animals walking in the yard - now is seeing cat on sofa, etc. Her visions do not seem to bother her ( seeing dead animals is another story) but I think that all you can do is tell her that someone has been notified to remove the animals, so she won't worry. Let everyone know that they need to play along. There is medicine that is supposed to help but may make her feel worse since it has lots of side effects. Good luck!
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Reply to LivingSouth
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