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She lives in an annex of my brothers house and we share her care. She seems to think she is at the centre of a crime syndicate, there's an evil woman with 30 henchmen trying to kill her. I repeat she is safe but she begs me to give her a lift to get away from these people. She is inconsolable and clearly fears for her life. Help!

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What kind of doctor is telling you that she cannot be prescribed meds?

Have you read Atul Gawande's "On Being Mortal"?

A very wise geriatrician who was treating my mom gave us, as a family, some very good advice, which was that as a patient ages, you have to make "the least bad choice". And that quality of life is more important than longevity, for most of us.

Does you mom deserve to live in mortal fear? Does not THAT increase her risk of stroke, heart attack, chronic inflammation? What is THAT doing to her body?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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is she on anti-depressant? my mom took sertraline. it helped with that most of the time.
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Hilsmymum Dec 29, 2018
i asked her doc about meds ages ago but as sbe had a stroke 2years ago he is reluctant to prescribe anything as it may trigger another stroke. UTI was ruled out.
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My mom has vivid dreams that she wakes up yelling for me or my long passed dad. I try to reassure her that it's a dream, if that fails, I promise that I will check it out and handle whatever she thinks is happening. Sadly they get in a loop sometimes, and can't get it out of their head. I try to distract or direct her on to something elsè.
Medications can be prescribed for this. I am not there yet, my mom is still able to function somewhat independently.
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ArtistDaughter Dec 16, 2018
My mom has those loops too, where she keeps returning to the same worries. For a long time she thought she had only $400 left and so the bank was coming to take her away. She insisted a relative of ours who works at the bank (we have no one like that) called to tell her she had no more money and she had to be put somewhere. She wanted me to help her pack and wondered if they would let her take her dog. Then it went away, but returned to be the exact same story months later. She seems to remember her imagination and dreams way better than she recalls actual events.
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Oh, this poor lady. She must be so frightened of these things that are simply pure fabrication, but her mind can't help it. Seek the help of her physician.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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My father has has hallucinations for when he goes to bed for about a year. They are not threatening so he knows he is having them (because I have explained it to him (96 yrs old and slight dementia age related). One of the drs asked him if he ever felt threatened or if they were scary to him, he said no but it was causing him to lose sleep. He put my dad on medication. There are meds to help with this AND anxieties which should help tremendously but be aware you might have to try different ones due to side effects or dosage. Does this happen at a certain time of day or always. If it is in the afternoon it’s called sundowning. It’s very hard on them and YOU. Talk with her drs about this and medication if you haven’t already. If so tell them that the meds aren’t working and switch or larger dose. Good luck and may God Bless.
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Reply to pargirl
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Talk to her physician.

When my DH was hallucinating, it turned out to be his Benedryl. Go figure, Benedryl makes seniors hallucinate.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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Agree with BarbBrooklyn test for a urinary tract infection. Common in older adults. A urinary infection was discovered in the hospital after mom fell. Causes imbalance in some.

Consult with a geriatric physician about what drugs can be given to help with the delusions. Ask a lot of questions on drug interaction. Make sure any doctor your mother goes to, has a full list of drugs she is taking including over the counter drugs and vitamins.

Your mom is lucky to have you in her corner as her advocate. Get a lawyer to advise you on what steps to take so you are able to handle mom's affairs both health and legal.
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Reply to Roscoe2118
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My mom struggles with anxiety, paranoia and delusions also. She has a mental illness but also a dementia diagnosis, which makes figuring out how to treat it more complicated. She's had several med adjustments; most recently, a small increase in one of her psych meds. I agree with getting your mom to a geriatric psychiatrist. It may take awhile before they find the right med combination that works for her, so don't be surprised if there is some adjusting and changing meds in the interim, but the meds will start to help her anxiety and paranoia given time. My mom's anxiety level is better than what it was even a couple of months ago, though she still does get the panic attacks from time to time and her paranoia is still there and flares up, but I'm hoping the new adjustment will help.
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My mother in law had bipolar disorder for her whole adult life. Generally stable with a few rough patches of manic episodes.

When she got to be senior-aged, things changed. She developed paranoia and hallucinations that people were hiding just outside waiting to shoot her. Her physical health was clear, but she needed psychiatric care to assess the situation and get her on the appropriate medications. The right meds made a huge difference in her quality of life.
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I want to reinforce what others have said. Get her to a geriatric psych nurse. He or she may recommend a week in a ward while they work out the best medication IF they feel she could harm herself or others, but if they do they will work out the best medication and dosage in a safe environment. I fought adding an anti-psychotic for a long time because she also had CHF but ultimately a low dose did wonders for her. Without medication it will only get worse and she and you should not have to live like that. One thing I will warn you about is to watch for drug side effects. My mother could not tolerate Namenda, which actually made the paranoia worse. While I understand that other elders tolerate it quite well. So always observe carefully after a new medication is added. The geriatric nurse visits, every 3 months, were covered by medicare but there may be a copay, billed later. It was well worth it.
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Reply to LetitiaA
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Look for “Montana cellist” on YouTube. Amazing calming music.

Also try some lavender oil. Not much. Either on her skin or in a diffuser.

Good luck.
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Reply to PMA6479
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I agree with your respondents, all good answers, it's going to be a medication that's eventually going to help your mother. You need to be careful as these psych drugs can cause worse symptoms or even death especially if your mother has Alzheimer's disease.
Best wishes that you both have a better holiday season.
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Reply to Johnnym1964
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You might want to consult a doctor about this. If it's only occasional, can she be distracted from these thoughts? If it's all the time, there may be some medications to calm her down. It may be a choice between living with these anxious thoughts or sedating her. There are some mild medications like melatonin that don't have serious side effects. My mother's doctor said that melatonin has to be taken every day. It builds up in the body and is relatively benign.
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Reply to NancyIS
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You’ve already gotten some very good information to consider. When this happened with my mother, her geriatric psych doc put her on an anti-psychotic med. He started with a very low dose and had to bump it once before the delusions finally went away. She went from accusing dad of awful things (the delusions) to saying he is wonderful, thanks to the help from the doc. Sending you and you mother wishes for peace.
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Reply to MelissaPA2AZ
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I got my mother one of those security cameras that has the red blinking light on the front and told her the red light blinking ment that I was watching her and she was Ok because I was also watching all the doors/Windows on other camaras and I could b there in under 2 minutes if anyone was trying to get in and.seeing that red light blinking did seem to give her some peace of mind!!!
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Reply to Clark215
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Anti anxiety medication can help but it may take a little while and maybe a few different prescriptions.
There may not be much you can do to relieve her anxiety but maybe try one of these....
Get a button she can press and tell her that will set off a silent alarm that will notify police that someone is outside and the police will get there before anyone gets in.

Much like you would do for a child that fears "monsters" can you get a spray bottle and fill it with vinegar and water (that way it has an aroma if she smells it) and tell her it will mark anyone that tries to harm her so the police can find them.

Can you set up cameras that will detect motion, might be a good idea anyway, and tell her that you and your brother will be alerted if there is anyone that tries to get in. I probably would not tell her that you could watch her as this may intensify the paranoia.

Is it possible that she could have a dog? It would provide companionship as well as alert her if anyone tries to get in. Please do not do this if it means more work for you or your brother. But a companion animal can clam people in ways that other things can not.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Seroquel helped both of my parents with their paranoia.
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Reply to GertrudeH
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I witnessed this at the assisted living where my mom is. The same thing one poor lady goes through every day. Trying to clam her down just created more suspicion, that others were on the side of the bad people, until she would trust no one around. Add in the memory problem and it became impossible to have her around the other residents, because she started convincing them that there was danger. She had to be moved to Memory Care. Was your mom moved from her own home to be where she is now? Hopefully, she will adjust. Her doctor might suggest some kind of calming medication. Is it just at night that she becomes afraid?
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Hilsmymum Dec 13, 2018
At present she is at home in a granny flat at my brothers house with he and I sharing care. I have had her urine tested for a UTI but it was clear.
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Definitely time to see her doctor.  Hopefully anxiety medicine can help or some other kind of medication.   How scary it must be for her.  Talking to her probably isn't going to work because she won't understand.  I pray you find the right medicine to help her have peace again.  Best of luck.
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Dexieboy Dec 14, 2018
Can Alz dem patients take anxiety meds? For some reason that I cannot put my finger on right now, I recall someone telling me they cannot, but I do not know the details.
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My dad had very similar delusions. At first, in his mind, he just knew about some shadowy government plot but he wasn't in danger (in his mind). But then it changed and this government shadow agency was coming after him and he was terrified. I knew it was no use trying to convince him that it wasn't real because to him it was very real so I reassured him constantly that I would never let anything happen to him, that I would take care of it and he had nothing to fear. I just reiterated this to him every time he expressed his fear and tried to comfort him as best I could. It helped some while I was with him (he was in a NH) but at my next visit it would begin all over again.

Comfort your mom. Don't buy into her delusions but respect her fear, it's very real to her. Don't contradict her or try to talk her out of what she believes but let her know that she is safe where she is and that your family will not let anything happen to her.

It's an upsetting situation, I know.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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1. Is this new behavior? If so, get her tested for a Urinary Tract Infection immediately. They can cause these kinds of symptoms in the elderly.

2. If UTI comes back negative, please consider having her seen by a geriatric psychiatrist. There are meds that can help with paranoia. Your mother doesn't deserve to be in this terrible psychic pain.
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