Mom (79, in assisted living) is talking to imaginary people more often. Sometimes she asks me to talk to them. I try to change the subject but she's hard to divert. Is it okay to ignore the imaginary people, or has it made things easier in your experience to just play along and speak to them?

Sometimes she's really clear, other times she's deep in a muddle. I'm still leaning toward thinking it's Lewy even though there's no tremor. The other residents in her AL who they say have alzheimers are always repeating themselves and can't remember if they ate lunch. Mom doesn't do that (yet). She remembers what she ate and with whom, including the people who she hallucinated were at the table. Delusions and hallucinations for 6 years, phew!

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I think the key is first to find out why your moms hallucinating.

Then depending what it is figure out weather or not you want or should talk to people that aren't there. If it is lewy body, I see nothing wrong with going with the flow.

Best of luck to you on this very hard journey we are in
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Reply to Anxietynacy

A week before my mother passed in the NH she was hallucinating about a very handsome German man in his early 70s (she was 95). She said he had blond hair and great posture. She said she had to tell him she was married and that her husband was on this floor just down the hall. She also said it was nice that the nurses were singing German songs. She went back to a happier time. It sounded lovely and I went with it, telling her that it was all wonderful. It was better than the sad reality.
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Reply to Hothouseflower

First, you should be really glad that the imaginary visitors are friendly, not frightening or nasty.

I’d ask about them, so that M can talk about them. What’s her name? Does she have gray hair? Oh, I thought it looked a bit red-ish! Where does she come from – has she got an accent? Etc etc. It can make M happy, and the conversation possibilities with M are endless. Just pretend the visitor is an interesting pet in human form. It’s easy to comment to the visitor, as long as you can avoid a pretend conversation....Thank you for coming, M really enjoys your company. You must tell her more about your childhood. ....

I remember my dear MIL while coming around from an anesthetic, seeing snakes on the hospital walls. I reassured her that they were right up near the ceiling, and wouldn't come down low enough to be a problem for us. It would have frightened her to be told that she was 'seeing things', she would have thought she was going mad.

I think I’d have more trouble pretending that I hear the hallucinations talking to me!
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Reply to MargaretMcKen

I don't think there is any right answer - just go with your gut feeling.

Personally, I just can't say I see something I cannot see. If someone has delusions or hallucinations I usually say something like, I believe you... I hear what you are saying.. I understand you can see *that thing*. If they ask directly if I can also see *that thing* I calmly say that I can't see it myself. It is hard if they get upset with my answer, or accuse me of thinking they are crazy. I try to be bland & say we all have different eyes.. then try to change the topic.. or if they persist, ask them if the *children or animals* are friendly. This can lead into memories to discuss about long ago children or long ago pets.
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Reply to Beatty

As with all dementias, we as family members need to meet our loved ones where they are at, not where we think they should be or were we'd prefer them to be.
So yes, you should speak to your moms imaginary friends when she wants you to. And then you move on to something else.
It's really not worth upsetting her over something that is very real to her. Your life will be a little easier if you just go along with her.
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Reply to funkygrandma59

If hallucinations or delusions are very severe, telling the person experiencing them that they aren't real may not help. It could lead to conflict and is unlikely to be effective. You should instead acknowledge their experience and try distracting them from it, helping them focus on reality.
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Reply to Sendhelp

You really need to find out what Dementia she has. Some medications are harmful to certain Dementias.

My Moms Neurologist said if Moms hallucinations did not bother her, then don't worry about it. If they upset her, then there were meds to help.
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Reply to JoAnn29

I don't see any harm in pretending that imaginary people are real. They are certainly real to your mom, so why not meet her on her level? Make up some of your own! It would be more fun than confining yourself to conversation about bowel movements and complaints.

Maybe someday when I'm in my dotage, my imaginary childhood playmates, the two lions and the twin girls with rhyming names, will be with me again. I hope so.
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Reply to Fawnby

BlueHeron, first have your Mom checked for an Urinary Tract Infection, as such an infection can cause as types of strange occurrences. Check with the nurse at where she lives. Otherwise, if mobile, take her to see her primary doctor or even urgent care where a test can be completed while you wait.

If your Mom doesn't have a UTI, then just experiment with seeing what happens if you do speak to your Mom's imaginary friends.
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Reply to freqflyer

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