Do you take care of a parent who thinks people they are scared of or do not like live in the walls? -

Do you take care of a parent who thinks people they are scared of or do not like live in the walls?


Or they come out at night and take things? Do these things disappear and come back?

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This could be a dangerous thing to do with an old person, but it worked well with my 3-year-old daughter who asked me if there were monsters living under the bed. I told her that I had four monsters under contract for under-bed-duty but they are on strike for better pay. I gave them silly names that made her laugh, and told her they normally live in the basement during the day and come up at night. She knew that I was spinning a story and begged me to go down to the basement and offer them more money so they would sign a new contract. For WEEKS, I had to call them up to the bedroom at night by name, and ask the laggard to hurry.
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My mother went through two Winter months with little sleep and the sleep that she did get was highly interrupted - about two hours per night in three minute sections. I discovered this after I took over her care when she was thought to be suffering from extreme dementia, which included paranoia and concern that "men living in the basement were taking furniture from the second bedroom and selling it." Loss via theft was a theme with her throughout her life, so her paranoia was an embroidery on this basic theme. I corrected the conditions that led to the sleeplessness within two days and then realized that she was also pushed over the edge into dimentia by taking Lunesta that she was prescribed to deal with her lack of sleep. (If you take a sleep aid, you must ensure that you do get sleep or mental problems ensue.) Now, three years later, my mother rarely strays from reality though her memory is not great.
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Thank you for answering my question. My mother is extremely paranoid she has been my entire life and it has only gotten worse. I have humored her and it doesnt work she thinks I am against her. It is not a good idea to encourage this stuff it makes you seem like they can do this 24 hours a day and no one will change them until they are thrown into a nursing home suddenly. Her doctor does nothing he knows I already asked him.
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Wow, this reminds me of my childhood, I don't know how old but before I started school. I thought there were people living in our walls because I could hear them at night. My mother assured me that people couldn't fit in the walls -- the space was very thin. But, darn it, I heard them. So I made up stories about what they were doing. Looking back I suspect there were mice in that house and I could hear them scurrying at night.

So I have an instinctive sympathy for your parent. In her mind there really are people in the walls, and no assurances from you will change her mind. Delusions about people being in the house (not necessarily in the walls) are very common in dementia. Delusions about people taking things are even more common. Usually it is the person with dementia who hides things to keep them safe from these intruders. Then they show up again when she finds them. None of this is deliberate deception. Hiding things makes sense if people come out of the walls to take things. But with dementia hiding things is soon forgotten.

None of this solves your problem, but at least you know you are not alone.

I'd first try to determine if there might be sounds that seem to come from the walls, and if so if there is anything you can do to quiet them. If you can't remove the sounds (it is the heating system going through its cycles, say) would you mother like to listen to some soothing music that would block out the wall sounds?

You say these are people who scare her and whom she doesn't like. Is this delusion distressing to her? If she is not particularly upset by it, maybe you can shrug it off and hope she moves on to a more pleasant delusion. But if this is really making her life miserable, consider getting rid of the people. Do you have a friend with a theatrical flare who can come in with a clipboard, a spray bottle of water, some special duck tape, and an ID from the Wall-dweller-riddance company? He can move furniture out from the walls, apply the special tape along the baseboards, spray a light mist of the special clear solution into corners and generally do what one does to rid walls of delusional people. Even if he is not successful and they come back your mother will at least be comforted that you are on her side and are trying to help.

Also, be sure her doctor knows that she is having these delusions. That can be very hard to treat, but her doctor may have some helpful suggestions.
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