My mum has been diagnosed with mild/moderate dementia. She sees and hears things that are not there. Any advice on how to deal with this? - AgingCare.com

My mum has been diagnosed with mild/moderate dementia. She sees and hears things that are not there. Any advice on how to deal with this?

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My mum has been recently diagnosed with mild/moderate dementia and I feel everything is progressing quickly in the last few months. Her mobility is so bad and her speech is getting slower and more delayed. She sees and hears things that are not there like massive spiders or children in her flat that are not there. This is really causing her distress as she really believes they are there!

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Diana, I hope the new caregivers are a help for you and your mom. That sounds really hard. I wonder if your mom will be less stubborn with the hired caregivers?
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By the way, seeing children is very common. The husband of a member of my support group kept asking his wife to set places for the children. She'd say, "Oh I gave them a snack while they were watching television. Their parents will pick them up soon and we don't don't to spoil their appetites!"
I know that other people deal with this by simply setting extra places.
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You probably know this from your own experience, but in case you haven't dealt with hallucinations before, the general advice is to NOT ARGUE about them. Accept them and redirect.

"If he has been standing at the window that long, he is probably deeply lost in thought, or daydreaming. He just didn't notice you waving at him. You know he has always been a friendly neighbor. ... I really feel like coloring now. Shall we get out the coloring box?"

"Why yes, that man did look remarkably like cousin Leon. I wish it was Leon! I haven't seen him since he moved to France. You are quite observant to notice that resemblance! After we find the lotion we are looking for, let's sit in the food court for some tea and maybe biscuits."

What she sees is her reality. If they aren't frightening or agitating her, try to respect that.
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hi folks thanks for the reply !! I meant to say she has vascular dementia, I am aware of the uti situation as I was a carer in the community for a few yrs !! she is prone to urine infections but hallucinates all the time even when she has no infection ( she thinks she sees the neighbour at his window all day but when she waves he wont wave back!! cos hes not there, or everyone she sees she is convienced this person is someone else who she knows) ! yes I live in the uk and just this week carers r coming in in the morning to help with personal carer (even tho she wont let them do anything) she has had 6/7 mini strokes over the last 25yrs which is probably the cause of the vascular dementia ! I have seen a big change in her over the past yr but the last couple of months she has got worse !! she was a big drinker all her life and the life and sole of the party she struggles with this as she was always so independent, she wont go in a wheelchair as she still thinks she can manage but she puts a big strain on me and her partner as she almost trips ever 3/4 steps she takes (SHE HAS VERY LITTLE POWER IN HER LEFT LEG AND ARM) and she always wants out and about at least 1/2 times a day!! i have cared for ppl with all kinds of dementia but not vascular !! we have been told almost nothing until now and just am greatful to hear other ppls stories !! thanks for commenting every little helps
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You will see on this site that we often suggest a UTI test to check for a urinary tract infection. This can manifest in an elder as dementia. Ask her doctor for a test soon. She may need a round of the appropriate antibiotic to clear it up. You will see an improvement in her mentally as it clears if she has an infection.
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Diana, do you know whether the doctor suspects Lewy Body, frontotemporal, or another kind of dementia? It might not make a big difference, but sometimes knowing can help guide some decisions.

For instance, there are medications that are often prescribed for Alzheimer's patients that Lewy Body patients cannot take.

Also with Lewy Body, patterned textiles, wallpaper, and carpet can trigger hallucinations. They say it's better to switch to solid colored curtains, etc. to help calm things down.

Do you notice a time of day when things are more frightening for your mom? Sometimes patients get something called "Sundowner's" -- at dusk they get more disoriented and then more panicky and clingy. There are sometimes things you can do like changing her schedule a bit or putting lights on automatic timers to come on before dusk so there's not a dramatic change in lighting.

Hopefully other people will have more to say, but these are just a couple ideas. It is a hard road. I'm sorry your mom and you are experiencing this. She is lucky to have you looking out for her.

Do you have in-home help for her? Are you in the UK? There are a couple of people on this forum from there who might have more specific suggestions about resources there.
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