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Not long ago, my mom woke me up at 2:00 a.m. and wanted me to make all those children in her house go home. She said that someone had dropped these kids off for her to babysit last month and the parents just never came back. I told her that I would call the parents and that she should go back to bed and I will care for the kids until the mom gets there to get them. She said, "What about those two that are asleep in my bed?" I almost had to laugh! I told her I thought they had already gotten up to get ready to go home. We went in the bedroom to make sure and she agreed that they were gone and went right to bed! As with all the others who comment on this site, I, too, have found that trying to convince them that they are not seeing what they "know" they are seeing is a waste of time. Only makes matters worse. Sometimes, we just have to laugh and go on down the road..........................
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Gwens1stchild, I know exactly what you're going through. My father began having hallucinations when he got his first UTI back in late 2014, and as the infection recurs he continues to have them. He sees people coming in at night through a hole in the wall behind a picture. He thinks they're trying to steal his musical instruments (he was a professional musician). Usually he'll call out, "GET OUT OF HERE! PUT THAT DOWN" and that's when I know I need to go to him. Telling him that it's his imagination would be devastating, furthermore he wouldn't believe it. Very often I'm at a loss as what to do. I've told him that I've spoken to the Police and the FBI and that the police patrols this street all night to make sure no one breaks in. A few times he's ordered me to call the police that minute - I go out of the room for a few minutes and then come back in telling him I've spoken to the police and that they knew about it and would come by our street and patrol all night. The other day he asked, "Why can't they come in here so I can talk to them?" I fished in my head and said, "They can't come investigate inside here unless they have a warrant." Happily, he believed this and went back to sleep. So, I have to constantly improvise when these things happen. I'm just as in the dark as you are, nothing prepares us for these things. Big hug and hang in there.
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I know you want to say,"oh yeah i see her/him" When i spoke to the doctor about things like that he said to gently tell her ex. shes sees her brother whos been dead for years,"now mom you know kevin has been dead for 20 years or sister lives in california. I don't envy your position, I did it for 10 years. Broke my heart over and over
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Our mom who has been given a neurologist's diagnosis of Alzheimer's (I think Lewy Body, though, sorry, Doc! 🙂), for the past 8 months has reported a "peeper", who visits just about nightly and "puts his face right up to my window and looks in as if he owns the place". He sometimes sits in the yard on a white sheet or hangs from a tree (!). She also hears music playing from her attic and, so, at her insistence, my brother went up there to assure her there was no radio, no electrical outlets to plug any device into. She also sees dead relatives - for example, my deceased dad brought a strange woman through the house one night, and that kind of ticked her off - and she hears people whispering and talking at night, often in the wee hours.
She says she isn't frightened at all - I ask her frequently if she's afraid - but she did go through a period early on when she called the police a couple of times. Not necessarily a bad thing - although we certainly didn't encourage her to call again - because the local police are now aware she has dementia and lives alone, and they assured my brother, who is a law enforcement officer, they will watch her house and check on her from time to time. (On occasion she'll threaten to call the police again but then decides, no, she doesn't want to get anyone in trouble.)
On some level, I think these visitations or hallucinations are sort of comforting to her. She seems not to mind their "presence". I have never tried to tell her she's hallucinating or delusional. My brothers attempted that. Afterwards, they would call me and tell me that, it's ok now, we convinced Mom there's really no one there - and then she would call me the next morning and say, in an exasperated tone, well, your brothers don't believe me, but I'm telling you he was out there again all last night! And I would just laugh and say, well, Mom, he must have a cold butt, because it was 15 degrees last night! And then she'd laugh, too, and we'd talk about something else.
So, we're learning to roll with the punches. It's actually not all that disturbing to me any more. I'm more concerned by her mood swings comprising - alternately - unhappiness, anger, depression, and crying, along with her frustration, as she is increasingly more confused and cannot remember.
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I received a call from the ALF where my mother lives yesterday. She apparently told one of the caregivers that "Frank (her deceased husband) told me to take some cough medicine." Who's to say he didn't tell her that very thing? Not everything is a 'hallucination', and towards the end of life, it's very common for elders to speak to their loved ones who've passed. That's not to say all elders are really speaking to their deceased loved ones, or that all elders are having 'hallucinations'. Who knows, really? Obviously, if a loved one is seeing scary monsters or getting upset, then the doctor should be consulted. But if they're just talking to a spouse or another deceased loved one, let it go........if it brings them comfort and peace, great! Angst and fear, that's another story.
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Especially when given Hydromorphone, this drug will give the elder VERY bad hallucinations.
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My mom had Lewy Body and was convinced 'people' were sleeping in her back bedroom or in the basement bedroom. Her parents. Her mother in law. My father, my brother, people she used to work with. The Kardashians came to stay for quite a while, their kid was running up and down the hall all night. It didn't bother mom much, she was more puzzled as to how they were coming and going, how they were getting around without a car. She said my brother had an office in her house, behind the fireplace, where he did paperwork. We just smiled and nodded, changed the subject. Our wonderful caregiver assured her, 'everyone is where they are supposed to be, nothing to worry about.' It was more worrisome for me as I would get looney phone calls at 2, 3, 4 a.m. (she didn't know day from night) and she would tell me the latest. Who was in the house today, and why didn't they eat the sandwiches she made and left for them in the refrigerator? She would be whispering because she didn't want to wake them up. (oh, and she wrote notes and letters for them, left them taped to the cupboards the refrigerator, the bedside nightstand. My brother, living in a group home, would get a long list of instructions as to what to wear for the day, what to have for lunch, and where she (mom) was going for the day. I would show him and we would laugh, he hadn't been living in her house for years, but she was still dressing her baby boy so he wouldn't get wet in the rain.) ..... As long as mom wasn't upset by the invisible people, it was just something we lived with. She would forget about them for long lengths of time, but someone new would always be coming along.
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My mother had hallucinations they were very real to her. Do not try to convince her otherwise. I agree with Hugemom, you have to humor her and try to comfort her when she's upset or afraid. Distraction might not work in this situation. Good luck
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The way I dealt with this issue (my mother suffered from it, too) was when she would say "there's a man sleeping on the floor" (of her NH room), I would turn and look at the floor and say "mother, there is no man there."
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I agree with everything here. There is also a book called Final Gifts by a couple of hospice nurses that says the same thing--how people nearing the end of their lives often see people the rest of us can't see, and how this can be a very positive and spiritual experience. I found the book very comforting!
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No UTI here.

My mom has been talking to imaginary people for some time now, off and on. About a month ago I heard her talking to people in her room. I opened the door and told her that it was past her bedtime and her friends needed to go home. Mom motioned to the "friends," walked to the front door, opened it and said, "you need to go home now but you can visit another time." She closed the door and I didn't hear anymore "talking" for a few weeks.

Last week I heard her talking, in the hall, where there is a full length mirror. She was asking how the kids were to this person who looked just like her. It didn't seem to bother her so I walked away.

That night I was talking to my 3 year old grand-daughter about Mom and she said, "Don't worry, Old Mam is just playing Mirror, Mirror on the wall."

To my grand-daughter I am Mam, Mom is Old Mam.

Grandchildren can put things in perspective!
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My mom is legally blind. Charles Bonnet Syndrome can occur where people can see people and animals because of lack of vision.
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Soon after my mother became a resident in a NH, she began to hallucinate. She didn't just see imaginary people, they were stalking her and having sex in the bed next to her. One was actually morphing through a secret passage in a wall in her room. One day when I was visiting, my mom's aide came into the room and my mom told her about this man (who she apparently thought worked there). Thinking "on her feet", the aide told my mom, "Oh, he got fired. He's not allowed in the building any more!" My mom accepted it and never mentioned the man again. If your mom is obsessing, like mine was, feed into it and tell her the person went on vacation or moved away. You cannot reason with them. It's frustrating and pointless. Just smile and move on.
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That was happening to my dad...no uti ....his shrink told me it's part of dementia which he is in beginning stages of and prescribed seroquel and after trying different Mg's happy to say it works & only once in a while I have to give him an extra pill but NOTHING like the first few times ......hopes this helps totally helped me
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Speak to a good psychiatrist regarding meds. You can do this without the Mother present so you can speak freely. (Insurance/Medicare can cover this). There are medications that quell (or actually remove) delusions (even the worst, scary delusions). Side effects? Yes, for some. But in my mother's case (minimal side effects), the trade-off was more than worth it because it took away the fear that comes with scary delusions - still is effective after all these years. One trip to a professional for medical advice is well worth the price.
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How you deal with it will depend on her actions or reactions.
Are these people frightening to her or a comfort?
Let's do the easy one first.
If she is comforted by these imaginary people then go with it, talk to her about them. Are they family members? If so you might get some great family history. Are they long time friends?
Many, at the end of life will "see" family members. And who are we to say that what they are seeing is imaginary or not. Just because you can't see something does not mean it does not exist. Isn't that what Faith is all about? (Typically we can not see germs but we know they exist..maybe they just have not yet developed a tool to enable us to see what we just brush off as a hallucination)
Now the tough one.
Are these imaginary people frightening to her? If so again talk about it try to reassure her that she is safe and no harm will come to her. Do not tell her that they do not exist. First you will never win an argument with a person with Dementia and if she does not have dementia it is like trying to convince a 2 year old that there is no monster in the closet. Still not gonna win!
You can talk to her doctor and see if there are medications that may help to relieve some of the anxiety.
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One thing I did was buy the book "The Story of A Lifetime" which chronicled her life. It was almost 400 pages but together we did it. I asked the question and I wrote her answers. It was the best thing I ever did for her. I learned a lot about my mom and I treasure this book more than anything. It was a journey we took together. It's well worth the price!
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As my mom's doc said "just go with the flow". It is better to do this than to say no one is there, etc. It will only confuse her and not trust me. So I went with the flow. I would ask her questions about that person, etc. and she would elaborate. We created quite a conversation this way and she was pleased. We learned to laugh about quite a lot and it was refreshing versus fretting over every little detail.
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My grandma also sees people when she has a UTI but normally she talks to my mom. I think that's because she just assumes she's there as she was always there with her. I do different things depending on the time of day and her mood. Sometimes I'll remind her it's just us who live here. It's sometimes harmless as she asks if I put the baby to bed (we have no baby) or if that's a baby crying (again no baby). I assure her the baby is sleeping or that someone else is with it. If it's that she is talking to people about the bathroom I just tell her that I will help them after I help her. She forgets almost immediately. Sometimes she wakes up talking about people she saw in her dream I'm guessing and I just reassure her that they are fine and she is with me. If its about her mom I just tell her that she's 87 and her mom would be 112 and that people don't live that long. She usually gets distracted and says that 112 is really old.

It depends on the person and the situation. I just usually go with whatever she's seeing or saying and try to work around it.
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My mother started seeing things. Once my husband snuck into her room behind where I was standing and stole something out of her dresser. It was so real to her and she obsessed about it for weeks. I took her to her neurologist, she was tested for a UTI and was clear, and the neuro dr, after speaking with her and mom insisting it was real, put her on seroquel. What an amazing drug. I have my mom back, not some nasty, accusing, ugly woman. All I can say is it worked for her.
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My father had a very vivid hallucination when he first went to a rehab. He was convinced that he was in my old college town about an hour away from where he actually was. More that that, he thought the rehab was my sorority and the nurses my sorority sisters. Even more - he thought they were all scantily clad in lingerie! A wishful thinking hallucination?!! Even so - he called me very upset and wanted me to come get him.

The whole thing scared the hell out of me as nothing like this had ever happened before and I thought he was loosing his mind.

After he was caught trying to escape by climbing out a window they tested for a UTI. Yep, positive. At the time I hadn't a clue what an UTI can do to the mind of an elderly person. It's truely terrifying.

Long after my father was released and cured of the UTI my father could recall this hallucination and while he knew it was not real - he still said it seemed so real to him he still found it difficult to believe it never happened. If this is new behavior for your mother, get her tested for an UTI as soon as possible.
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Hallucinating is a common symptom in some kinds of dementia. Often the objects seen are people, especially children. The general advice is not to argue about whether what she sees is real. To her they are very real! You cannot reason her out of this belief.

If what she sees is not upsetting to her, just go along with it. One member of my local caregiving group had a husband who always saw children. He would ask her if she was going to set places for them at the table. She told him something like, "Oh, their parents are coming for them soon. I gave them a little snack earlier but we don't want to spoil their dinners." He was OK with that. If your mother is seeing a bad guy she thinks is trying to harm her, or a child who is lost and needs help, then you have to be very creative to not argue with her but to reassure her she is safe, the child is safe, etc.

Hallucinations are hard to treat. I know there is a drug in test stage now to address hallucinations in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia. But I'm not aware of anything currently available. If mother's hallucinations are disturbing to her and she is agitated or anxious in general, treating the anxiety may help.

Hallucinations can also occur with a uti. If this behavior is new it would be worthwhile to have her tested for that. My aunt did not have dementia but she did see young children in her house when she had a uti.
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