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My mom is 75. She has not been diagnosed with any memory related disease. She is diabetic. We want her to seek help about her hallucinations but they are very real to her and will not allow any suggestion of seeking help. What can we do? Is it dementia, Alzheimer’s, a brain tumor, MS, or Parkinson’s or is she having a mental breakdown. We are at a loss at how to get her help.

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Instead of suggesting that your mother seeks help -

get her doctor on the phone, ask your mother to describe what she is seeing to the doctor, and then let the doctor lead the conversation with the aim of gaining her agreement to an examination.

There could be absolutely *anything* going on. Even if you can't get your mother to agree to this idea, get medical advice for yourselves about what to do.
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Trishsmith there is not a damn thing you can do if your mother won’t go to the doctor. What are you going to do? Force her? Drag her their? Trick her into going? Bring the doctor to her home? I know. My mother hasn’t seen her primary doctor since October 2018., Her doctor keeps refilling her prescriptions so she has no read to go!! I made an appointment for her to go this November. She doesn’t know it yet. I’m deciding the right time to tell her. She’ll end up calling and canceling. There is not a damn thing I can do about it. She is 95 years old and is fiercely independent. The other day she was looking for her purse in the house and she asked me if somebody came in the house and stole it? I said no. Nobody has been in this house except you and me!! I went upstairs and her purse was sitting on her bed!!
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I’m currently working my way through Oliver Sacks’ books, and there is one I haven’t found yet called ‘Hallucinations’. Dr Sacks was a neurologist with huge experience of behaviours that are in fact very unusual. Perhaps you could try his book. He is always very readable, very interesting, and often very helpful. Try the library.
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Does you mom trust you enough to allow you to accompany her to a diabetes check-up? If so, you could pass her doc a note to do a cognitive eval and maybe ask her some deeper questions. And if at all possible, get her to sign a HIPAA release for you so that the docs can give you and receive from you medical information regarding your mom. Good luck!
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TrishSmith Oct 7, 2019
I will work with my sister and see if we can work your suggested angle.
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Could be all or none of the above.
Alzheimer's IS dementia. It is but 1 type of dementia.
Parkinson's can also have a dementia, usually Lewey Body dementia and the dementia can have hallucinations but just the Parkinson's can have hallucinations .
The ONLY way to get the correct and very important answer is to see a doctor.
I say it is important because there are medications that can be given to patients with some forms of dementia and they do not pose a problem but some of thse same medications can be fatal to someone with Lewey Body dementia.
This is something that she needs to discuss with the doctor, or you need to bring up if you are able to communicate with the doctor if you do not go into the exam room with her.
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The hallucinations of dementia are complicated, and are often unique as symptoms of TYPE of dementia. For instance, some dementias present with very real paranoid delusions (ie "you are having an affair with him. " or "you are stealing from me".) Whereas Lewy's Body Dementia delusions are often pleasurable to the person in early stages. My brother has some of these, most often occuring in times of stress,most often at night shortly after awakening for that first "pee". He can see very unique and whole situations, such as a garden party outside his window in which he can describe each person there as to behavior and dress. Such a an "immigrant Mom huddled in the corner of my room trying to protect her baby". He is very descriptive about them and he says when he reaches out to touch them they "poof" and he is able to see what might have precipitated them (an oil jar or suitcase in the corner). Your best guide is a good neurologist who will SPEND SOME TIME. Good luck on that one. You might also research "Parkinsons delusions", Lewy's Body Dementia hallucinations, Frontal Temporal hallucinations, and etc. and see what matches. Listen carefully to the person having these. They are your best guide.
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