Advice on delusions please - I'm new to this!

Discussion in 'Recently diagnosed and early stages of dementia' started by Cath59, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. Cath59

    Cath59 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2015
    My mother, who I can honestly say was no more than a little forgetful at the beginning of December, is now in hospital. She has deteriorated incredibly fast, has been very confused and although we don't yet have a formal diagnosis the doctors are talking about vascular dementia. I know we'll have much more difficult dilemmas than this one to face, but I'm unsure how to react to delusions. She is quite sure that she is spending a lot of time on a farm. A health care worker rang me this evening as she was so anxious to talk to me. She'd been riding! So far, I've been gently telling her that these are dreams, and that she's in hospital - but she's so happy when she's telling me about her adventures that I'm beginning to wonder if it would be kinder to go along with it. Any ideas?
  2. Lynneamba

    Lynneamba Registered User

    Aug 23, 2014
    Hi, I remember this situation with my dad before he was diagnosed. He would say all sorts of random things but since being on donezipil dad has settled and has very few of these episodes in the last year. Stressful situations have triggered the few he has had. For me I have found that not questioning dad helps, just listening and reassuring is all dad needs.
    Wishing you all the best

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  3. springchicken

    springchicken Registered User

    Nov 9, 2014
    Hi Cath59,

    It is very distressing when these delusions happen, especially when you haven't seen it happen before.
    My dear MIL deteriorated very quickly when she was admitted to hospital and this seems to be very common due to the unfamiliar surroundings.
    My MIL would tell us that she had been out on a minibus, or had been to a dance , been to work and had been very busy, she would point to the nurses station and tell my husband he could get a pint of beer.
    We never knew what she would tell us when we went to visit but the way we coped with it was by just going with the flow. We would say "Oh that was nice" or " I bet you enjoyed that ".
    We found that this worked best for all of us and she seemed quite happy when we went along with her .
    There didn't seem to be the need to correct her although we had some pretty bizarre conversations but it seemed to keep her calm.
    I hope you find a way to cope but agreeing with MIL was the best way for us on most occasions. The only times we didn't go along with her was if she had told us something that was upsetting, such as that her sister had split up from her husband ( which she hadn't) on these occasions we just gently changed the subject to something happy.
  4. Cath59

    Cath59 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2015
    Thank you both of you. Springchicken, it's good to hear examples that are pretty similar. I haven't really managed to find much about this on the internet, so it's helpful to know that it's "normal". Lynneamba, the thought that they could be a reaction to stress is useful - and gives me some hope that she might get back to reality, at least for a little while. Being in hospital is certainly stressful, but she also hasn't lost touch with the fact that my severely autistic brother had a stroke shortly before she was taken into hospital herself. He's doing better than we thought he would, but the situation has been extremely distressing for her.
  5. Soobee

    Soobee Registered User

    Aug 22, 2009
    I know other people will be able to advise more but there are a couple of factsheets that relate to hallucinations.

    on the second link, to Dementia with Lewy Bodies, there is a section on Delusions and some suggestions as to how to help. Here's the most helpful paragraph:

    "If someone is having hallucinations or delusions, in most cases it is unhelpful to try to convince them that there is nothing there, or that what they believe is untrue. What the person is experiencing is real to them at the time. Instead, carers can offer reassurance that they are there to support the person, and perhaps try distracting them."
  6. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
  7. Lyncus

    Lyncus Registered User

    Oct 30, 2014

    My mother has had Alz for the past 3 years and we have seen a steady decline, but have experienced all kinds of delusions, mainly the one is she reverts back to a house in a street, when she was first married, that no longer exists today, she also relates to my father as a little boy and wonder what he is doing in the house the list goes on. It use to upset us a first, but we now just go along with the flow and discuss things as if still real, just so not to confuse/worry/irate her if that makes sense.xx
  8. jen54

    jen54 Registered User

    May 20, 2014
    my mum has started confusing dreams with real memories, I only realised because she rang me in the morning telling me she had had a bad dream, and by the time I got up to her house she was relating it to me as real, so real she took me to show me her emptied drawers!(which were full, and shocked her)
    I was speaking to a carehome manager yesterday and she said it is very common for dreams, tv programs, books read, old memories to get jumbled and come back as things the person has been doing now. I know I have thought I had done something, but then -being able to analysis it logically I remember it was a long gone dream, mum doesnt seem to be able to analysis things to sort the confusion in her memory these days, so going thorugh and pointing out how things cant be true even while showing her etc, she just can't run it through, she couldn't recall ringing me to tell me about this dream and she has no points of reference in time, as she just cannot recall anything short term ,
    I just say that's nice, or agree now, I have no idea what it would do to her if I called her up on the fact ie she hasn't been out on her own for years and hasn't walked down through town to visit one of dads old friends the other day,:( of course, she may have visited this person many many years ago or it may have been a dream?
  9. KatieMc208

    KatieMc208 Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    Early signs of the problem now diagnosed.

    My partner's dementia(mixed Alzheimer's/vascular) was diagnosed following two episodes of acute "delirium". The first was triggered while we were away on holiday, by Tramadol (given for pain), however, my partner became suspicious, disorientated and withdrew from the group we travelled with. He had had previous short term memory problems and "finding words" difficulty. One year later, again on holiday, he had what appeared to be a transient ischaemic attack which was followed by very similar symptoms to the first delirium. This one was thought to be triggered by dehydration or "being out of his usual surroundings" Subsequent testing found no signs of a stroke/TIA and dementia was diagnosed. The diagnosis has not helped either of us come to terms with the difficulties. Until now, I guess I have been in denial, but reality has set in and I realise we have a long, long road to travel and it is going to be very difficult for us both. Where do all the wonderful people I have been reading about on the various forums get their patience, understanding and empathy from? I guess it can only come from inside me but currently I do not feel I have what it takes to be good carer. Do we learn as we go along? Can patience be learned with understanding? I have read a lot and it is very scary.
  10. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    Hiya Cath59,

    I care for my Mil (Mum in law) and the delusions are a massive part of our lives - from innocuous little things like she is convinced that has just been baking and she must get the cake out of the oven, through to delusions that are really difficult, like she is convinced that her son (my OH) is her husband - which leads to her saying and doing some very innapropriate things! I'd say that at the moment, the vast majority of what she says and does is based around some delusion or other. Wherever it is possible I distract, or I try to be non-committal, just mumbling anything that sounds like agreement. A lot of the time, that works pretty well, and she doesn't seem to get any more than momentarily and mildly agitated. But, we get the odd instances - thankfully rare at the moment - where the delusions are paranoid, she gets angry, disruptive and verbally very abusive. Often they are about her believing we have stolen something from her, or kidnapped her, or have been poisoning her, or that we or someone at day care has hit/hurt her. With delusions like that, and with the one involving her thinking she is her son's wife, not his mother, then distraction doesn't usually work, and agreement just feeds the belief and she gets more and more worked up, or (in the last instance) her behaviour becomes very innapropriate. We just have to be very firm with those, explain she is wrong, and then refuse to discus it - which is a lot easier said than done. But you can't reason with her, especially as she is very confrontational when this type of delusion strikes, and she will just argue and get even more agitated. We've also had periods where the delusions have been very frightening for her, and its been really hard to reassure her. Medication has helped to take the edge off all the delusions, in terms of reducing the severity and frequency, but nothing has ever stopped them completely :(

    Hi Kateforce208,

    I doubt there is a carer on TP that hasn't found it all really scary and doubted their ability to cope. I think we all just do our best, and learn both as we go along, and from the information and advice given by others on the forums. I know I get most of not only my information, but also emotional and mental support from others on TP, so please keep posting and asking questions - there will always be someone who can offer some support and advice xxxx
  11. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    Ann, I was interested in what you say about medication taking the edge off delusions but not changing them. My husband's obsession with still being employed - 82, bad knee, glaucoma, alzheimers - led to the doc prescribing Trazodone. He drives me to despair every morning wanting to pack his tools - ex carpenter - prepare his sandwiches for lunch, organise his transport etc. It matters not a jot that he can hardly walk. The meds have made it easier to talk him out of going but the belief that it is all true is still there. These delusions are exhausting for the carer.
  12. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    Hi marionq - 'taking the edge off' is as good as its got, unfortunately - the substance of the delusions that cause upset and the sundowning hasn't really changed at all, its just we get periods of upto 10 days where it is so much easier to distract her when she starts worrying about 'going home', or her husband (actually her son) having an affair. Its like its all toned down. Then we might get up to 3 days where she is very agitated and we all have a rough time - though again, no where near as bad as pre-meds, when a sundowning/paranoid delusion bout could last up to 22 hours, she would sleep for 4 hours - then start again!

    Oddly, Mil also stresses about going to work or finding a job - though she is just as likely to be convinced that she still goes to school, too!

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