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Imagination how do others cope.


Registered User
Aug 23, 2006
I mean imagination and not hallucination. Susan imagines others are in the house or garden. She was angry with me yesterday because I "would not help someone who was ill". (I think the ill person was me - I was sneezing)
I tried to help this "person" and in the end I said "he has gone home now". She was not entirely happy.
Sitting in the garden on a bench I went in doors and when I returned she said "someone is sitting there".
I said "ok he can have it back when he comes out." Again I think the someone was "me".
I can sense that there is growing imagination (I guess hallucinations may start later) and while at the moment they are easy to work around there will more difficult situations.


Registered User
Mar 22, 2007
Depends what is being imagined. If it is something where it doesnt matter that much if mum believes her claim to be true, I either agree, or just say, Well, im not always here (mum is in a home) so I cant really comment.
But if it is something I think is harmful to her or others, I say to her that is not the case, and try to explain why it cant be the case.
Sadly this isnt a very sucessful tactic..she either gets aggressive or she then invents other people who all believe her.
However I sill feel however old, ill, confused someone is, it is not morally right not to try and correct things which could be harmful to others. (Perhaps this is because Im actually the victim of a lot of her imaginings and would hate to think of people believeing her)

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
I don`t know cris, how it`s handled. I have to play it by ear.

My husband is still, at times, surprised that we are the only people who live in this house. He often asks about the others. In this respect I keep trying to convince him we live together, by ourselves, with no-one else, as I think the thought of others in the house makes him nervous.

Other things he says, whether it`s day or night, I tell him he`s dreaming. He accepts it.


Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
Mum has the most amazing imagination, not so much to do with people, but, for example, she can be totally connvinced that the NH is hers, she has bought it, and will one day leave it to me!! Even so far as to tell a resident if he didn't behave himself, she would evict him:eek:

At other times, she seems to grasp the situation and goes into a total panic about how much money she is spending living at the NH, and there will be nothing left to leave to her family, on these occasions we fib big time, we just tell her that its free. I tell her because dad worked until aged 70, and she 63, they have paid enough into the 'system' for her to be taken care of in her advancing years. She does accept this then.

I have come to realise, and it was a difficult journey for me, to just go along with anything mum says, it keeps her happy and calm. At the onset of her AD I used to correct her on everything, I do think now this was my way of trying to keep mum as she was, I hated it when she got things wrong and when she imagined all sorts, theft of her belongings etc., peoples names, places, the list goes on and on. Not anymore, I do what I have to, just so that she is happy as she can be.


Registered User
Nov 1, 2006
I must admit Cris that when it comes to my Dad's wandering imagination we mostly just play along and don't try to correct him. I find it demeans him to always correct his mistakes and I can tell from the expression on his face that he feels foolish to be told he's wrong about something. The other night he had somehow muddled up a souvenir t shirt, dated 1995, with HIS father's World War I uniform - what can you say to that? It would wear me down to be constantly trying to explain the truth to him and I need to reserve my strength for bigger issues, like his violent outbursts. If his confussion is upsetting him (like not understanding why he can't leave the care home on his own) I do take the time to sit down and explain things to him, likewise if I felt he or someone else was in any sort of danger as a result of his imagination.


Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
These are delusions - false beliefs. The most common ones are "phantom boarders" - ie thinking people are in the house when they aren't, believing that people are having affairs, believing that others wish to do them harm. Etc.

These are distinct from hallucinations which means actually seeing, hearing, smelling things which do not exist.

It's obviously difficult to separate the two, but the former nearly always take the form of "there were people in the house but they aren't there now" ie, a belief which contradicts the evidence, whilst the latter would mean actually seeing/hearing the people and saying "there are people over there now I can see them".

Like other people, we have long ago learnt not to bother to try to contradict. Dad clings to his delusions very hard, and it's not worth the agro of trying to reason with him. "I am right and the rest of the world is wrong". The obvious exception to this is when delusions result in dangerous or unacceptable behavior.


Registered User
Apr 13, 2007
I noted everyones comments with interest.

My mum keeps talking about people in the garden. The first time she claimed that there was a nun praying. Turned out she was talking about the shape of the bushes. She was talking complete sense but just struggled to communicate.


Registered User
Aug 23, 2006
Thank you to everyone for your comments. I learnt a long time ago it is pointless to try reason and logic. I just play along where i can. I agree with Natashalou that where danger or harm to others is involved we have a duty to consider these.
Right now Susan is asleep after not wanting to bath, clean her teeth or put her pyjamas on. So she is in bed in her good day clothes. They will be all creased tomorrow. What the heck, my eyes are red and I've had enough.

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
The world will not fall apart if Susan occasionally sleeps in her day clothes. In fact, whatever makes it easier for both of you is good.

We live with a lot of little conventions (nightgown, brush your teeth before going to bed, there isn't anyone in the garden) that we can let go with AD. They are not that big a deal.



Registered User
Aug 3, 2006

Louse, You bring me back some memories of about six years ago. Jean was often seeing people on our land, in the house etc. Always I accepted what she told me and tried to understand. Once when she said there were two girls down on our land, I said, "Sorry I can't see them, what are they wearing?" She discribed their outfits, when I asked what about their shoes? She told me she couldn't see them, the grass was too long. That made sense to me.

One evening we were sitting outside, she was quietly gazing across the hills. When I asked what she was looking at she told me a large dog! Try as I might I couldn't see it. Asked, where? "Over there in the distance". After a while I could make out the shape of a large woolly dog. The trees on the skyline formed the perfect shape, so the dog was there!
How I wish those days were here now. As for her wearing her cloths in bed, she's doing that right now, having her nap after breakfast.
When I put her shoes and skirt on after lunch I'll use the hoist to lift her into the wheelchair and take her for a walk, then another nap before tea.
In in any other situation she would be considered bedridden (because her body is stiff and requires everything doing for her) and left in night attire as she was over four years ago in the NH.
It's my belief she's allowed me to be welcomed into her world, because she knows I want to be there to try and understand to make her feel safe.
You can't fight AD, go with the flow and join it, accept it. Padraig


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Lonestray said:
It's my belief she's allowed me to be welcomed into her world, because she knows I want to be there to try and understand to make her feel safe.
You can't fight AD, go with the flow and join it, accept it.

So beautifully expressed, Padraig. Of course Jean wants you in her world, you have always been part of it. We want you in ours, too.:)



Registered User
Aug 23, 2006
Thanks to all.
Hi Joanne, I don't worry too much if Susan sleeps in her clothes and sometimes if she wants keep her pyjamas on, I leave it until she tells me that she wants to get dressed. (Unless of course there is a need for her to get respectable).
Hi Padraig. I again don't worry too much about imagination, but it occurs to me that sometimes Susan gets angry if I do not help this person who is ill or give them a dinner, or ask them to come in. Again I think it is me who she is confussing "me" with. I can sit with her in the garden, if I get up, go in, and come out again. She says "someone is sitting there". Other things lead me to the same conclusion. Trouble is small issues don't worry me but a larger issue may, but I know I will not win whatever. Still take it as it comes.