My mum has alzheimers and one of the problems she suffers with is hallucinations. She sees people in her house touching her stuff and it makes her very stressed and upset. What do we say to her to help her?
I'm assuming that she's either reached the point at which she can't be convinced they're not real, or she's heading in that direction.
I like the cup of tea idea and indeed anything that would distract her.
Another thing you can do is to come up with an explanation that's not about them not being real. Do you have a cleaner/paid caregiver/visiting relative she could be indirectly reminded of?
"I saw her going through my things."
"I saw Jane rummaging all over the place earlier for a clean hankie."
Or could you convince her it was you?
"I saw her going through my things."
"I've just been tidying your drawers."
With Dad, I've also rammed home the idea that some things in particular disorientate him. A lot of the time I respond to things like this with "have you just woken up, Dad?" I reckon there's a good 70-80% chance he has or thinks he has. "You sleep very heavily when you take a nap these days and I've noticed for some time that quite often you wake suddenly in the middle of a dream. I do that sometimes and it's very disorientating. The dream seems very real."
It really seems to help. It's far easier for any of us to accept that the person we just saw wasn't there if we think we were dreaming/half asleep than if we think our mind is playing tricks on us or if, as Dad sees it, he's going gaga/mad. (I really hope that as time goes by, however frightening the symptoms of dementia may be, people will gradually be less frightened of being seen as 'mad'.)
'Slippers' unfortunately she sees these hallucinations often and she is always 'on the go' around the house, sorting her belongings out and hiding them as she thinks these people she is seeing is going to take them. She gets very stressed with it all. She lives with my dad. She is very physically active and its not possible to get her to sit down with a cup of tea. She doesn't want to sit down, she is just doing something all the time. She gets herself very worked up. Thank you for your suggestion though.
'Petrina' yes she really does believe they are real. We don't know what to say to her. Obviously she can see them so us telling her they are not there simply does not help. She says there are men and women and they take her stuff. We know this is normal with the condition but just don't know what to say to her to help her.
My mum lives with my dad. It is just the two of them. They don't have any carers or cleaners coming in so we can't say its just them mum is seeing. Mum doesn't sit down in the day or sleep so we can't convince her it was just a dream.
Just don't know what to do. We all hate seeing mum in so much distress.
My Aunt has similar symptoms to your Mum. My Uncle passed away 3 months ago so I don't know how long she has been having the hallucinations. After 3 weeks living on her own she ended up in hospital. Basically to cut a long story short she doesn't know where she is and can get very anxious. She was constantly losing her medicine/money in the flat.
She is now on Quetiapine which is designed to make her less anxious and less likely to imagine things. It does seem to be working but the nurses are now giving it to her twice a day as she does seem to wander quite a lot in the short term care home she's in.
My husband's cousin Agnes had Lewy Body dementia which caused hallucinations - or as she called them her Lucys.
She told me that the people looked very real to her but she knew they weren't really there. I asked what she did about it and she said she told them to go away and stop bothering her. When I asked if this made them go she said not really but it made her feel better!
Maybe try and help your Mum to take charge by speaking sharply to them. It's worth a try.
My Husband had very bad hallucinations. From my experience I had to get involved by rolling up a newspaper and 'hitting' them out of the house and 'phoning' the police so they would 'keep an eye on the house and move them on if they came back'. They were very frightening hallucinations. Never ever say they aren't real-that just causes more distress. If the hallucinations were 'friendly children' I used to talk to them
It may be worth while asking if there is any medication to help. Are you involved with a CPN/SW/Consultant?
As far as being on the go all the time-well as long as the risk of falling is not too great-that's not such a bad thing. Could you distract your Mum by asking her to do some 'sorting'. Perhaps give her a couple of rummage boxes full of buttons etc to try and distract?
Mum has had hallucinations since before being diagnosed. Some 3 - 4 years later they are getting much worse and some of them are frightening her. She sees people and things in the outside garden and we have people living in the house, including upstairs (in a ground floor bungalow!!). It is getting harder to get her to go to bed and sleep but why I don't know. She hasn't got a uti. Mums also has people who come in and steal things, which they put in their pockets. She has been refered back to the memory clinic but what they'll do I don't know.