Hallucinations

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Resources' started by Amy, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    This is part of a reply posted elsewhere on hallucinations, but it was felt that this would be useful to have as a resource http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/TalkingPoint/discuss/showthread.php?t=5386#post56127this is the original thread

    I think you will find that is accepted by everyone (including medical personnel) that you simply cannot "fight" hallucinations. They are real to the person having them and even though they are ridiculous to us, they simply cannot be denied. Every time you deny a hallucination you make the sufferer even more afraid - because they no longer know who to trust - their own perceptions of the world around them, or the daughter they love. How terrible this must be.

    When my husband was very ill some years ago he had shocking hallucinations during recovery (due to medication) and afterwards (when he was better and no longer suffering them) he told me "I now believe they were hallucinations but only because you say they were, and you don't lie to me. As far as I'm concerned they are still totally real."

    The best way to cope is to ignore (if possible), or "go along" with the hallucinations. I can imagine at this stage you are frowning and shaking your head. In most cases of mental illness we are told NOT to collude with fantasies, but is different with AD. Also, when you have been taught by your parents to "tell the truth" it seems very wrong to start "lying" by agreeing with what is nonsense.

    But it is very important for your mother (and you, and your family) that your Mum be upset as little as possible now. If she sees people who aren't there, thinks things have happened that haven't or tells fantastic tales, it is best to just go along with her. The Director at Mum's Nursing home says "If they think they are catching a bus to Bondi, catch it with them". By this she means, if necessary, enter into their fantasy world. You don't have to encourage it, but if she brings up hallucinations don't fight them.

    After a while you might even be able to laugh a little. Some people on TP have related stories about their loved ones that are sad at one level (because they show how their loved ones minds are failing) but quite funny at another.

    It can break our hearts to see this decline in our nearest and dearest and I think all of us dread seeing it happening and hate it. But we must realise it is part of the disease. Your mother cannot help it - any more than she could help it if she suffered pain from a broken leg. To constantly fight it is to set up an atmosphere of distrust, argument and disharmony. Your Mum needs peace now, and you will benefit from it too - despite the heartache.
     
  2. Grommit

    Grommit Registered User

    Apr 26, 2006
    2,127
    Doncaster
    It seems to be the only way to deal with them

    Jean's hallucinations seem to consist of reflections and mirror images. She will wander round the house and smile, wave and try to talk to the people that she sees. That they are real to her there is no doubt. I have tried covering all reflective surfaces but, as we are in winter, cannot cover all the windows all the time. If I do cover everything, she then spends a great deal of her time communicating with her hand, mainly the left hand, though what significance the left hand has over the right hand I do not know.

    In the car, at night, she carries on the same communication with her reflection in the side window.

    Shop windows are also an attraction to her and it can be a little disconcerting for other shop users to find that they are being waved and smiled at by a total stranger. Still, that's up to them.

    I use to find this all very disconcerting and it did take a while to get used to. Having got used to it and accepting it as part of "normal" behaviour, I do forget to warn other people that talking to her hands is to be expected and, when it happens in company, the reactions sway between disbelief and total embarrassment.
     
  3. sunny

    sunny Registered User

    Sep 1, 2006
    598
    Yes, these hallucinations are very strange. Mum who has Vas.dem. has them a lot. This though is understandable because her brain is being affected by this disease. I would liken it to her having dreams while her eyes are open, they just cut in and out even when I am talking to her. Sometimes she has a long period without and then other times quite a few. There should be absolutely no embarrassment with this disease, it is a brain disease, no fault of of Mum's and if other people are embarrassed then they need to have education about this disease that's all. I believe actually this is where A.S. is doing a very good job, because many more people are getting to know the facts of this disease and are much more understanding. A lot of research is going on re: the brain (i believe it is acting more like a computer the more I hear and see, our computers have funny moments and we don't get embarrased about them!)
     
  4. Lynn 19

    Lynn 19 Registered User

    Nov 26, 2006
    4
    Lancashire
    I do go along with all you have said Amy and without making it a big deal, and do try to ignore alot mum does with her imaginary friends (people she has met in the past mostly)But what am i supposed to do when she is leaving tv lights and fire on to keep these people happy and warm all night. As i live next door sometimes i dont get to bed till mum has gone because then i have to go and turn all off and move the sarnies and teas she has made for them all this can sometimes be 3 in the morning then i have to get up at 7 with my 10 yr old for school. The pictures mum talkes to can often be on the couch with a quilt over them. I am worried she may set fire to the house keeping thes people warm. So alot of the time i do have to try to let her no they are not real for her own good. Sometimes i wonder if the Aricept tablets are causing alot of these hallucinations and aggressive behaviour towards myself.
     
  5. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006
    9,223
    Hello Lynn, for what it's worth, my mum has been on Aricept a number of years and hasn't shown any aggression to anyone. Impatience, yes, aggression , no. But that is just my experience. She does have hallucinations. These tend to be seeing children, sometimes up to mischief, sometimes not. Quite often my mum finds her visions amusing and I have to ask her what she is laughing at.
    I think the advice Amy posted was good but when m y mum points out the children to me and asks if I can see them, I just say no, quite gently and may suggest that it is a pattern in the trees or something. She doesn't cling to the fantasies, and they pass in a minute or two. I try to avoid upsetting her.

    You must be very worrried about the safety side of things. Is it possible to get a further assessment to see if you can have some extra support at night? I hope you find a solution and are not getting too worried. Kind regards Deborah
     
  6. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    6,847

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