My Mom who has dementia has been having hallucinations for some time now. She talks to loved ones who have passed away in her mirror. Is this typical of dementia?


She has been on 25 mg of zoloft for about 5 years - could this contribute to the hallucinations. Also, she has days when she is what I would call normal, very much like her old self. Is this typical of dementia?

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Hallucinations can be part of dementia. They can also be side effects of medication. It kind of depends on what kind of dementia and medication are involved. People who sundown can see hallucinations. It just depends.

If your mom has not been seen by a dementia specialist, they will know more than a regular family doctor, and can talk to you about other options, and what they will try next if this current thing isn't working. Sometimes medication is the right answer, sometimes not.

My mother had visual and auditory hallucinations for years. They would come & go, and they were primarily dead relatives who came to "set a spell". It never scared her. She also saw a squirrel running around on her fireplace mantle, and me digging around in her closet which is pretty hard to do 1800 miles away. She has seen a cat that barked and a dog that meowed, stairs coming out of a hole in the ceiling. Men with red eyes looking in the window at night. My dad in a white truck doing doughnuts in her front yard.

We will never know if there was one cause to pinpoint for her hallucinations. It could have been different things over time, or the combination of factors.

The important thing is that mom is safe from herself, the world, clean, fed, and gets her medications on time every day.
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My Mum has had dementia now for years and dad being her carer has been in denial as to their generation it meant you were crazy, thank god we do not think this way any more, dad now is in hospital and very sick we have taken mum to different specialist to get mum diagnosed, to date we are still waiting for her medication, which should be here in two days, anyway, mum therefore is on no medication for her condition just the normal high blood pressure and cholesterol med, now being alone of a night time she is starting to see her passed loved ones, her dad. passed away 30 years, her mother passed away 50 years, and her fathers new wife he had who is also gone, her mother in my mums opinion was missing last night, when I asked her which room she slept in she was adamant that it was the big bedroom where she always has been staying, so no drugs involved here, I just let her now that nan must have gone home and not to worry, make a cuppa sit back with your cat watch a bit of TV and relax everything is fine, reassure her and she is happy again, what else can you do never argue just agree their reality is theirs keep them happy good luck it can be very exhaustin
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sumlerc- u did the right thing to agree with her . whatever she says just say yep ure right mom ... that way she wont be so confuse and be all upset about it , she prob did those woodcuttin back in her days ,
i cut wood and i burn wood , so when i get old i ll prob be telling my kids we need wood !! lol
yes thier reality is the truth ,
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Last week my Mom was in and out of lucidity (?), She asked did I have enough wood to keep my house warm, she said "we" were out all night chopping wood ( we live in S.W. TX) the temps were in the high 70's. When I didn't understand and oh mom, I think you were dreaming! She grew very cross and said OH NO I'm not dreaming!!! whats wrong with you don't you remember!! I said ohh was cold last night. She settled down and changed the subject.
That was very new for me...their reality is their truth.
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Yes, this is typical of dementia. I saw it in both my late father and his older sister (both had dementia). For a dementia patient, their timeline is askew - realities from the past are as real as the present. Long-term memory is still present, whereas short-term is rapidly disappearing. That's why friends from the past are likely to "surface" instead of current ones.

While I agree that it is important to check for things like UTIs, it is also common in dementia to more lucid periods alternating with more confused ones. In nursing homes, Alzheimer's patients are often seen carrying on complete conversations with a person in a mirror.
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i have a litle different way seeing this-
i guess it depends on your beliefs-
i believe that just because someone has passed on
from this life-doesnt always mean they are totally gone-
have any of u ever felt or heard from someone u were close to
after they died?
i believe my grandparents,with whom i was very close to,
do come around-i cant see them, but i can smell them, and hear them-on some level- i guess some of u will think that is crazy-
but it is what i have experienced,and who is to say what is real and what is not?
regardless, it helps me, and that is what is important.
back to your question, my dad passed 6 yrs ago, and
a few months ago, mom started asking about him.
he is very sick right?she would ask.
he is suffering and in a lot of pain?
he cant visit me can he-
where is he?
i told her , where he is now, he cant come to visit her,
but that he wasnt far away- and even if she didnt see him,she felt him. he was with her inher heart-
who is to say that just because we cant see who they see-
that they are malfunctioning---
its connecting to people that they spent so much of this life with.
unless it is someone or something that is causing fear or anger or violent behavior, then what is the harm?
we can still learn so much from our parents, if we just allow ourselves to.
after all their perception is their reality as is ours-
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People with dementia are often confused, and her talking to the dead seems like a wish to travel back in time to a place where feels safe, surrounded by people she once knew. The confusion and moments of "normalcy" are all part of the disease process.

Hallucinations, on the other hand, might be a severe side effect of Zoloft, in which case I urge you to seek medical care immediately. 25 mg. might be too much.

Always at your service,

-- ED
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Thank you everyone for all the wonderful input here.... such great answers!! My mom is with me and has alzheimers and regular hallucinations but most of them relate to seeing friends and family that have passed but it seems to give her comfort to have them around and I realized it was silly of me to try to bring her back to reality so I've learned to go along and enjoy the fact that "they" keep her very occupied and engaged in wonderful conversations. Because her conversations seem to take place in her past, it's actually been interesting at times listening in and I feel like I've had a glimpse into her life when she was much younger and hearing the love in her voice when she talks to her Dad and others. My mom is under Hospice care and I really do wonder if God doesn't put her friends and family around her for comfort .....and to give me a break.... :o) God bless all of you for taking care of your loved ones!
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If the hallucinations are scary to your mother and are causing psychic pain or difficulty behavior, you might think of asking her doctor for a very low dose of an anti-psychotic medication like risperdol. that helped my father's hallucinations. he's on .5 mg. i'm surprised your doctor did not recommend it.
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Report can get a urine sample from her. Ask her doctor, but our doctor gave us a "pad" to put in her undergarment. Our pediatrician did the same thing for our infant. Good luck to all.
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