Follow
Share

My mom has dementia and I am now caring for her in my home. She thinks pictures of people are real and waves at them. Sometimes she talks to them. Magazines at the stores are a nightmare. She does this to billboard pictures, photographs, pictures of people in stores. I saw her looking at a magazine and I told her they were not real just pictures of paper. She said how come they move, wave and wink at me. She cut out a picture of a man in the magazine and carried it everywhere and talked all the time to him. She thinks tv people are real and they can see her and that she knows all of them and they know her. Its just so weird. We go to a store that has large pictures of people painted on the walls and she waves and talks to them and calls them her friends and wants to go and see them all the time. Needless to say I don't want to go there because of her waving. She thinks that people are stealing her clothes and counts her money in her wallet several times a day. Always saying those people keep taking my things. I just ignore her when she says this or say no people mom. My mom has just been started on Namenda and Im not sure if it will work or not. It started with my mom seeing people in trees. I would say mom no people in trees and she would say I have good eyes, whats wrong with your eyes. She makes me laugh sometimes. Any comments would be nice!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Yes, my grandma thought her photos of her children and grandchildren spoke to her and that they needed to eat. She’d set food in front of the photo. Sadly the only one who witnessed this was my 10 year old daughter. My mom wouldn’t believe my daughter’s report.

Now my mom has dementia too. Grandma went to Heaven and my mom’s dementia mimics her mother’s so much!

They were 16 years apart. It’s sobering and ironic.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Memories from long ago ...

At one point, my grandmother devoutly believed that her great-grandkids' photos were real children. But ... she could not remember her actual great-grandkids -- or me.  Despite that, she was unfailingly polite when I called. :(

She also believed that the pic of William Shatner on a cover of TV Guide was actually him, and that he was napping on the couch. And she'd never been a Star Trek fan! Yeah, some twisted part of me treasures that particular memory, and finds it adorable.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mum has the same but her's is slightly different and i dare say funny she has always loved Elvis Presley and frankly who doesn't. She lives on her own in a small unit and she has posters and cut out pictures of him on her walls everywhere frankly it starting to look like a shrine to him she kisses them talks to them she has a relationship with them, i am worried for her i said to her and i was joking what would she do if i took them all down her reply to me was i would kill you and she looked serious. I have spoken to her doctor and he had know idea this was happening and i asked mum how would she feel if we had a talk to her doctor she said it's none of his business, i feel so sorry for her and me what has happend to my mum.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Please dont waste energy trying to convince your mom that people In trees aren't real or that people waving to her aren't real. Her life has become childlike again. Her world is small and your only duty is to accept that and love her. Just laugh with her and pretend you see what she sees. You can't change her perception of reality. Perhaps one day there will be help. Until then love her while you can; life is short. Do not try to argue and convince her that she needs to see things the way you do. She won't. She can't. It's all real to her. I wish my mother was here; Alzheimer's and everything.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I'm not sure if you can do what I've taken to doing. My mom is a little further along with her dementia, so it's possible for me to control what she watches. She used to be an avid news fan also, but the topics were getting to where they were so upsetting to her that she was on the edge of hysteria. I simply don't allow her to watch anything like the news or shows that contain yelling or violence. She can have as full a conversation she wants with the tv as long as she's not getting upset by it. Also, as Jeanne said, provide plenty of reassurance that you are there for her and that she doesn't have to face this alone. You can't imagine the relief that washes over my mom when I let her know this.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Yes, Sujean, dementia does change. It progresses. And, yes, it is really hard to understand this disease.

Some people want to know exactly what they have and want detailed information about it (especially in the early stage). Other people find denial their most useful coping mechanism. I think your mother has made her position pretty clear. She doesn't want to know. I'd respect that. When she does have a moment of acceptance (saying she knows her memory has been going) use that opportunity to provide reassurance. "Mom, many other people have this memory disease, too, so doctors have some ideas for how to deal with it. I'll always make sure you get the best care possible, and I'll never abandon you. I love you, Mom, and will always love you, even if your memory problems get worse."

Also, PLEASE avoid promising her that you'll never put her in a nursing home. Never is a long time and none of us can know what the future will bring. Instead promise you'll see that she has the best care possible and that you won't abandon her. If the time ever comes when a care center is how to get her the best care at least you won't be stressed out or limited by a well-meant but poorly chosen promise.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I find the thinking photos are real fascinating. My mother had early dementia and there were some things that she couldn't remember but she didn't imagine things that didn't exist. I've heard of incidents where dementia/Alzheimer's patients thinking someone is stealing from them or moving/hiding their things, as well as other accusations. I'm curious....Sujean's mother it sounds like has a pleasant exprience waving & speaking to these photos. She evidently thinks she knows them or at the minimum, likes them. Those who think photos or illustrations are real people...do they ever have a negative response? Beyond thinking the people on TV can see them...can they also be scared or angered by these images? Could that be something that happens as their disease progresses?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thats good that you can't reason with dementia. I will keep that in mind. My mom has always been a news channel watcher and thats pretty much what she likes to watch now. While watching Nancy Grace she said she just turned herself off because she doesn't like me. I never did anything nasty to her. She is just jealous of me. She saw me with blond hair and now she as it. Somethings she just says turn her off I don't want to look at her anymore. Then I turn to another new channel. Everyone on the news channel used to live by her in her hometown and she know them all. I think the zyprexa is helping some. Before the med. she saw people in any metal object. A lamp, coffee maker, lights, fire alarms. I said how can a person fit in the lamp, mom. I guess some of their reasoning is gone. When I told her she had alzheimers she said the doctor didn't tell me. I said yes mom and she gets mad, because she knows that is a crazy disease. When the doctor said yes you do have alzheimers she put her fingers in her ears. She did say to me a couple times I knew my memory has been going for a long time. Its really hard to understand this disease. It seems to be always changing. I am thankful for this forum, it does make me feel better to know others are also going thru this.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I don't laugh too often at dementia, but when I do...

Love the little bears up the pants. That is a class, Kathy.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Luckily we don't go out a lot, and my husband tends not to talk about what he "sees" except among friends and family, but he said one thing a while back that totally cracked me up. We were sitting on the deck and he insisted the black bears were bothering him, even getting up in his pants legs. (Little bears -but there's no logic, of course, about it!) So I offered to take him over to the steps and shoo them out of his pants and down to the yard. He looked over at me and said in all seriousness, "What would the neighbors think?" I really had to try hard not to laugh. I figure people with dementia are like 3-year-old : they believe what they believe, even if it's fantastic and impossible, you can't talk them out of it, and why bother trying? It's just hard sometimes when the delusion involves wanting to do something that just won't work. (Today he wants to call the "general manager"--there is no male manager- of his daycare to check about the pool they are building underneath it, which they aren't doing. I'm just trying to put him off until he goes next time in hopes he'll forget about it, or he'll tell them and they'll have to come up with an answer.) It's a constant dance to stay one step ahead of their minds.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

jeannegibbs makes some very valid and helpful points. In the beginning of my mom's dementia getting bad, I had a hard time accepting my mom's dementia. I really had no clue as to what to expect, so the odd behavior threw me off. Also, I had wanted to reject each step of decline, because I didn't want to accept that I was losing my mom. It hurt too much. So with the denial comes the embarrassment and whatnot. The thinking that you can stop it and make it go away. Once you accept the disease for what it is and realize there's no getting rid of it and your mom just can't help it, you will grow that thicker skin. You can't argue with your mom and win, dementia doesn't know reason. Acceptance is the key. And if strangers don't get it, feel sorry for them, not embarrassed for yourself. As for Nemenda, it takes time to build up in a person's system. You will very likely see some small improvement, but don't expect your mom to be exactly the way she was before the dementia. Medication like Nemenda and Aricept only maximizes what's left in the brain, it doesn't give back what has already been lost and your mom will still get steadily worse over time. When my mom first started on Aricept it made her unpredictable and mean at first and then she settled down with it and I then eventually saw some improvement. The doctor also said that the Aricept really toys with the brain at first and that scary behavior I saw is expected until the brain becomes adjusted. When the doctor started supplementing Nemenda with it, I expected the same behavior, but really didn't see as much mean come from her on that. It's a different med than Aricept, but I think maybe it's also because she was further along with the dementia and not as aware of her decline as she had been when she started on Aricept.
My mom recently had her Aricept increased to it's maximum dosage and we'll get to enjoy that for a while. Her Nemenda has been at its maximum for some time now. She won't be receiving anything more to help with her dementia after this. She will only get worse now after the "happy period" is over. How long will that take? No one can say. Do I know what to expect from my mom in the future? Not really. It all still feels like an adventure that neither she or I would like to be on. Is it all sad and heartbreaking? Oh yeah. I broke down and started crying when the doctor told me that this last dose increase was it. It was like a big smack in the face by reality. Is it still embarrassing when I take my mom out? Nope, hasn't been for some time now. Hugs and good luck to you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

"How do you get over being embarrassed when they do crazy things?"

This may take some time, but I think if you work on it you will be able to let the embarrassment go. Growing a thicker skin is a real asset when you are caregiving!

First of all, this is not your behavior -- it is hers. She is the one who is doing something "crazy," not you.

Secondly, realize that she is doing something "crazy" because she is crazy. That is, she has a legitimate reason for her behavior. She can't help herself. You really must accept that and embrace the concept. The more you are in denial, the more embarrassed you'll be.

In the third place, you have no responsibility for her behavior. This isn't like being the parent of a child who is out of control, where people may look at you and think, "why isn't she doing something ?!" People who notice your mother waving at pictures are more likely to look at you and think, "Isn't it nice that she's giving that poor old lady an outing?"

And finally, why is what strangers might think more important than being kind to your own mother? If you run into people in the store who know you from church or work or committees you've been on, they know the situation and understand your mom can't help this. And if there are strangers who are judgmental, that is their problem. Why should you care that someone you may never see again is appalled by your mother talking to magazines?

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

kathytj, I forgot about that one. My mom thinks the people on tv are real also and also was convinced they had money for us.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

If I happen to be at the front door in the evening, my mom will wave at my reflection in the window of the screen door. She thinks it's someone else. Even after I tell her that it's only me, she insists that there's someone out there and gets mad at me for not inviting them in.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My husband thinks the people on TV are talking to him, mostly the newspeople because they look right out at you. Mostly I can just go along with it, but it's tricky when he says they have some money for us if we will only contact them. And one time he knocked HARD on the new flat-screen and hollered at the news anchors! Never quite figured that one out. Sometimes a new med. will cause further problems, I've found, and you have to keep track of their reactions to see whether you want to keep them on it or not -if the negative behaviors outweigh the positive reactions. I will say that putting my husband on Seroquel and Depakote has taken away the scary man in the Indian headdress who used to glare at him or kidnap him at night. Mostly the people he sees (or animals, lots of them) are benign so, yes, you learn to go along with the visions as much as possible. I actually shooed the black bears over to the neighbor's house where he would "pen them up" -that only worked for a day, then they were back, but they don't bite -much!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Sujean, I too smiled when I read your posting. Some day you will think it was funny but I am sure you dont now. I agree with the others, if she is happy, so be it. You may see her start to say nasty things in public thou, even the sweetest demented people begin to say nasty things, just a phase. My Mom is legally blind also but when I roll her in front of the full length mirror to blow dry her hair she looks and looks and looks. I wave into the mirror and say "hello Mom, its me your daughter" and she smiles, I love it because she doesnt seem to see me inless I am 5 " from her face. I pucker up and she puckers back up and kisses me so I know she can see something. All we can do it just love and understand them as much as possible, this too will pass.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Oh my!!! Tunner0, that's just plan awful!!! You might want to watch what you have on tv when she's around!! Sometimes the programs that are on really send them on a wild trip!!! For them its real, we know its just a program. Even the news sometimes can just really upset them!! I found old programs and such that she liked when she was without dementia. Even old music seemed to keep her calm and in a happy place. I'd put on the golden girls and she thought she had company over!!! She would laugh and talk to them like they were really here!! But even that upset her one day. The story lime was a sad one and she was upset about it for days!!! God help those with this and those that care for them!!!! Nobody knows just how hard it is till they have lived it!!! Good luck to all of you who are dealing with this in the now. But just know there are others out there who do know what your going though and are here if you need us!!! I have soft shoulders and good ears if you ever are in need!!!! :)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

my mom has dementia and sees people tring to kill her its so bad she talks to them and sometimes screams she allways ends up in the hospital and usally comes out of it in a couple weeks and ten shes ok for a while
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mom hasn't done this with pictures, but she does it all the time with the TV. She talks to them, she personally knows all of them, sometimes they are best friends, sometimes they have just met, sometimes they are "bad" people and she will "shooosh" me! "They will hear you!!" Course there is always someone "standing" behind her chair (It is against the wall, no one there.) and other bizarre and disturbing things. :( Gotta laugh and enjoy it when you can or you will go insane!! :)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

"I keep thinking she can change and I guess I am the one who needs to change."

Yup. That is a good insight.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Yakak, don't be ashamed!!! Sometimes we just get to the end of our rope and well you know kind of let it out!! I've done it myself a few times, but I just have to remind myself that what we see, hear and do is so different from what they see, hear and do. And they can't help what is happening to them. He will forgive you, and forgive yourself!! Sometimes when things like this happen you might just want to walk out of the room for a moment, think of what could make this situation better. Put the wipes in a baggie ( just a few of them) so he can open them without the fuss. The poor guy probably didn't understand why you were making such a fuss!! Remember his reality is not yours. Sometimes they are like a child just learning things. Things that seem so simple to us are not so simple to them. Sometimes just stepping in and say let me help you with this. Or just try to laugh and say what happened here!!? Remember its just wipes!! There was a time near the end with grams that I just felt so bad!!! She kept saying that she needed to get her stuff ready because a bus was coming to get her to take her to her husband. She could not walk on her own at this point and kept trying to get up!! I was so tired that day and ran out of ways to distract her. So I picked her up and put her in her bed and told her they called and the bus isn't coming . The look I got just about broke my heart!! The next morning when she woke she wanted to sit in the family room so I got her there and as soon as I tried to walk away she grabbed my hand and pulled me down to knees to sit in front of her. She pulled me to her and hugged me and kept kissing my cheek and kept telling me its ok and thank you!! This was the last time she spoke and passed away two days later. Somewhere inside her I think she knew I did my best, I think this was her way of saying goodby and thank me for all I have done for her. Were just human, we get upset, frustrated, and the like. But I do think somewhere inside them they know you don't mean to fuss at them. And most likely he forgot all about it, aren't they lucky because we don't!! But if you find yourself fussing more then you feel you should its time to give yourself a break!!! Even just an hour to yourself makes a whole world of difference!! One day your going to look back and see the humor you didn't see then. And you might just catch yourself smiling about it!!! ((hugs)) to you, its not an easy job caring for someone like this. But if you can find the humor in things it just makes dealing with this a bit more pleasant!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mother thinks that a mirror is a picture...she doesn't believe the person in the mirror is her. She says "this isn't right, this is not me"...yep, it's the dementia and I pray to God that I am in the 50% that won't have it and if I do, my children have been instructed to place me on a raft and let me go down river!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Reading all these comments makes me feel so ashamed of myself. Yesterday I actually fussed at me husband because he literally tore apart a canister of handy wipes by opening up the canister main cover and trying to get a wipe out of the side of it. It really unmade my day. Yet it was so nothing. Can't think of a way I could have turned it into a "lets have fun" time but I sure did not have to fuss at him. One thing that makes me feel so bad is that he just sat there with the oddest look on his face. Now what was that? I could not read it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Now don't laugh -- I have always felt that pictures were real, so can't have pictures of people in my bedroom watching me. It has been this way since I was old enough to remember. I know logically that pictures can't see, but it doesn't shake the feeling. I can understand how and why your mother feels the way she does. I used to see on TV that some Native Americans also felt that photographs were evil because they captured the spirit of people. I guess it is something to do with the instinctive brain that develops to pick out faces (potential danger) in the background of the world.

I am glad that your mother is not afraid of the pictures. I know it is embarrassing for you when you are in public. I don't know if there is any way that you can change the way she feels, just as I know there is no way I have been able to talk sense into myself. In your shoes I would either avoid the places with pictures or just learn to grin and shrug if anyone notices the antics. Most people would probably realize something was different with your mother and would not judge harshly. Debb gave such good advice that I don't think I could add anything to it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Her reality and yours is no longer the same, and sometimes you need to just have a sense of humor to get you through!!! Sometimes you may just have to play along with what she is dealing with. If she gets upset because you don't see or believe her your going to make things difficult for the both of you. And sometimes even agreeing with them upset them, you just need to be on your toes to either play along or find a way to distract them. Grams use to see people in her bed, think people were taking her things, seeing people that were not there!!! Watching tv she would insist that that was my son playing ball on tv, that I would just go along with even though he was right there sitting with her!! Its sad when you think about what their would must be like now. Be grateful she's not seeing things that scare her like my grandfather was seeing bugs and such on the walls. To them this is all real, and you just need to find ways to cope with it yourself and make them feel safe. When I think back on the things that she use to do, it gives me a good chuckle. She would count her money about ten times or more a day, but because she couldn't remember what she had she would always say someone took it. Its sad when you think that their world is just so mixed up. But for me just keeping my sense of humor and playing along with her kept us both happy!!! Just remember for her this is real!!!! So the next time your at the store and she's waving at the pictures, just wave with her!!! If someone gives you a look just respond with they look so life like!!!! To us that have been there, we will wave with you!! But for now enjoy her, when she's gone all this silly stuff and crazy stuff you'll miss. And this stuff is what puts a smile on my face when I'm feeling sad about missing her. Who would have thought that what once drove me nuts at times brings me peace. Best of luck to you, and remember to keep the humor and you'll do just fine. And be thankful you can see who she's taking and waving to, grams saw people that I couldn't!!! I had to go into her room in the middle of the night and kick every one out because they were keeping her up!!! My husband thought I was going nuts watching me kick people that weren't really there out of her room. But you do what you have to sometimes!! lol She even insisted that they moved her room one time to the third floor and she was so mad. Mind you we live in a ranch!!! My husband would try to reason with her but she was just getting upset because to her this was real and she liked her room where it was. So I just walked out of the room and came back and told her that we had gotten everything straightened out and she has her old room back. And that was that...she sat back and smiled!!! So for now just find ways to keep her happy and vent on here when you need to because we who have walked in your shoes know just how you feel. ((hugs)) to you!!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Suejean I had to smile when I read your post. I am a proffessional carer and my client also thought pictures were real and the tv stuff was actually happening in the lounge. She could get very upset by it though so I was constantly vigilant and ready to switch off in a second. At least your mom seems to find it a pleasurable experience to interact with these images and seems happy. It is embarrasing but go along with it and try to be glad she is happy, never mind what people think. At first I couldnt help pointing out its not in our room but as time went along I found ways of getting round it. If she thought they were there I'd suggest making us all some tea and escape to the kitchen for a while, or I'd shout comments about their attire,as if I was addressing them, such as "Excuse me but do you think you could make that skirt any tighter?" She would say "take no notice of her sarcasm, you look lovely" and then we'd laugh together. She would have me put food out for the pictures of the cat on the wall and allsorts. But once when I did it unpromted thinking it would please her and she asked why. I explained that I didn't want the cat to be hungry during the night, she said "are you insane, it's a picture, sometimes I worry about you," I just said "oh just ignore me I'm not thinking straight". I began to wonder if I had got dementia by proxy, YOU CAN'T WIN! Now I have been invalided off due to physical strain and I miss her terribly. And the cat, even the ones in the pictures....
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I have a different problem. My mom is also legally blind, but can see just enough to take are of herself. She sees things that are not there though and I try to go along with her but sometimes that makes things even worse. I have spent hours looking under furniture for the "baby" that was under her chair. She also sees my dad all the I've and he hs been dead for 9years.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Jeanne, I once said to her when she was waving to stop it, because it was embarrassing me and she got mad and said no one lets me do what I want to. Then she went around to each picture and said I can't wave at you anymore. Well, that didn't happen the next time we were there, she just waved and even dances for them. My mom is totally crazy and she doesn't know it. I haven't been around people who have dementia so I guess I don't know what is common. Her sister is almost 85 and doesn't have any kind of dementia. So I guess she got the lucky 50 percent. I keep thinking she can change and I guess I am the one who needs to change. How do you get over being embarrassed when they do crazy things? Standing in front of tons of magazines at the grocery store and talking and waving at them is pretty uncomfortable for me. Thanks so much for your reply.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I, too, hope they find a cure and that I don't get it. (On the other hand, if I live past 80 I have a 50/50 chance of developing dementia, and I kinda want to live past 80.)

Please be patient with your mom, and save your breath on trying to reason her out of what she knows. Enter her world ... she can no longer fully join you in yours.

If seeing those "friends" on the wall in the store is pleasant for her, I think I'd take her there often. So what if she waves and talks to them? It is no reflection on you, and anyone happening to notice will quickly catch on that there is something not quite right about this woman, but she seems to be having a good time.

The less pleasant delusions are a little harder to deal with. "Well, Mom, I really think the money was misplaced and that no one stole it from you, but if it makes you feel safer, let's put it right here on your bed."

Your mother's behavior is very common among persons with dementia.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Yes, my mom makes me turn the tv off because she thinks they can see her when she dresses. I have to turn the photographs around also. Does she wave at pictures of people when you go somewhere? Is your mom any kind of medication? Do you think these symptoms are very common? I can't find any information on this condition. My mom thinks that tv people are staring at her and she thinks they wave and say hi. Boy, is it hard to have patience. I have to remind myself that she isn't thinking right. She is sleeping with her purse tonight because yesterday she is sure someone stole some money from it. I can never convince her that no one is taking anything. I sure hope they can find a cure for this disease and I hope I never get it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.