Mother is seeing & talking to people that are not there. Do I go along with this?


MY mother who has dementia for last 7 years has started having conversations with people whom aren't there. She insists that I acknowledge whomever she talks too even wanting me to give them tea, coffee, or etc. Question, do I go along with this scene or let her know no one is there. My sister & I are her caregivers. And she is never alone. What's the best solution? She has even tried to give us invisible money that she gets from her pretend boyfriend.

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My daughter-in-law's mother had imaginary visitors, and sometimes thought my DIL, my son, or grandson were old friends or long-gone family members. At the end of the day she might comment on how nice it was to have seen so-and-so, she really enjoyed the visit. She was happy. No one tried to convince her she was mistaken.
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Reply to realtime

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, It helps but still hurts seeing what she's doing and not aware of what's really going on. Doctor did take her off one of her medications. More noticeable sense she's been off if it.
This group  is a life saver for me.
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Reply to Jpl473

As long as the delusions aren't the result of new medication or a UTI, go along with them. Mom would get them (why most often in the middle of the night?) when she had a reaction to a new med or once with a UTI. She also had encephalus (sp?), which also caused them.

As long as I knew there was nothing I could do to resolve the hallucinations (like get a urine sample to see if she had a UTI), then I'd make a great show of throwing that man standing the kitchen without her permission out of her house, slamming the door behind him, and locking it. Mom would nod her and say she felt better with him gone. Then there were chickens loose in the I'd gather them up and put them in the coop. Mom would carry on conversations in the night, but I just let her have her conversation...especially the time she chewed someone out for screwing up. No way was I going to interfere!
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Reply to MountainMoose

I like FF's suggestions. As long as the delusions are not upsetting your mother or harming her physically, I think that it is okay to "play along" with her. The local Memory Care Unit had a resident that insisted that she was at a hotel and insisted on paying for her room before going to bed at night. So the nursing staff gave the resident some "play money" and the resident "paid" for her "hotel room" each night. After paying for her "hotel room", the resident was very cooperative and went to bed willingly.

Sometimes delusions are the result of medications. My Mom started having conversations with people who were not there when the doctor gave her a stronger pain medication. Once the pain medication was stopped, then Mom stopped see people and having conversations with them. (This is completely separate from the other delusions that my Mom was experiencing at the time.) So if your Mom started seeing other people and talking to them AFTER she began taking a new medication or after a medication dosage was increased or decreased, then I think that you need to contact the doctor and let him/her know what is happening.
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Reply to DeeAnna

You've received good suggestions. It's rarely helpful to argue with someone who is hallucinating or having delusions. It's useless and it can agitate the person. Towards the end my dad, in end stage liver disease, was having delusions that people were out to get him but in his mind he was on to them so he wasn't afraid. I didn't take any steps to help alleviate these delusions for my dad. However, the delusions turned threatening which caused my dad to become agitated and afraid. He needed reassurance and comfort which I provided. I didn't try to explain to him that it was all in his mind, I just tried to keep him calm and feeling safe. That was his reality and I could no more talk him out of it than someone could talk me out of my reality.

I didn't reinforce my dad's delusions by agreeing with him or participating in them like we would with a small child playing pretend but I made sure my dad stayed calm and felt safe with lots of love, respect, and reassurance. 
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Reply to Eyerishlass

This is one of the most difficult things to accept with our loved ones. Delusions and hallucinations are so common and frequent with some, we could spend our entire day trying to set our loved one “straight” and then start all over again the next day. I love ff’s advice. I played along with my mom too. Her red winter jacket was a satin cape that she wore on stage in New York because she was a famous stage actress. She saw men coming through her walls and hiding under her bed.

As long as Mom isn’t upset by these episodes, let her engage in them.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

jpl, the best thing to do is go along with this scene, acknowledge the people that Mom thinks are there. If she asks for you to get tea, ask her what type of tea, etc. Then if Mom asks where is the tea, just tell her the water is heating up. Eventually she will forget about the tea.

When she gives you invisible money, just thank Mom, telling her how sweet of her to do that.

Ah, she has a pretend boyfriend, actually that is so sweet. I realize this seems totally off the wall, but that is now your Mom's reality.
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Reply to freqflyer