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My husband sees people who are not there

Jef7

New member
Jan 4, 2021
4
0
My husband has been forgetting/repeating things for years, but more recently he sees people who just aren't there. This usually occurs when he has been dozing/snoozing, but often during the evening. He will ask me how many people are coming to dinner (just the two of us, always). He will also ask who was it he was just talking to, and where did they go? (We live in a small bungalow, where we keep both front/back doors locked, so no-one can get in without me knowing). I try to just say that there is just the two of us here now, but he often wants to know where the others are, and what was I saying to them. Can get very angry if I insist no-one else here. Also, at night, he has taken to securing the bedroom door to stop others coming in - even though I have walked him round the house before bedtime so he knows no-one is there. What is the best thing to say and do?
 

Lemondrizzle

Registered User
Aug 26, 2018
141
0
Hello and welcome to the forum. You will find lots of us on here have experienced this with loved ones. I used to "send them home" or whatever was applicable at whatever time with my MIL. To your husband these people are very real and it is part of his illness that he cannot understand your rational arguments that they are not there. This happening later in the day is called sundowning.
 

Thethirdmrsc

Registered User
Apr 4, 2018
258
0
Hi @Jef7 my Oh in the morning will often ask if there is anyone down there for breakfast, like it’s a hotel, and will often refer to others in the house. He also in the summer thought the trees were people on the neighbours house, so I now either nod, or just aha, or something equally non committal, just to keep him calm.
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
3,633
0
Essex
My husband has been forgetting/repeating things for years, but more recently he sees people who just aren't there. This usually occurs when he has been dozing/snoozing, but often during the evening. He will ask me how many people are coming to dinner (just the two of us, always). He will also ask who was it he was just talking to, and where did they go? (We live in a small bungalow, where we keep both front/back doors locked, so no-one can get in without me knowing). I try to just say that there is just the two of us here now, but he often wants to know where the others are, and what was I saying to them. Can get very angry if I insist no-one else here. Also, at night, he has taken to securing the bedroom door to stop others coming in - even though I have walked him round the house before bedtime so he knows no-one is there. What is the best thing to say and do?

Dear @Jef7,

I remember when dad started doing this at first I did what you did and tried to convince him that there was no one there and then I took a different tactic. First of all I realised reflections in mirrors were an issue also that dad was going back in time so I used to figure out what era he had gone back to and talk about those times. Normally he had gone back to the sixties or seventies. It's frightening but you will get through it.

MaNaAk
 

LadyA

Registered User
Oct 19, 2009
13,678
0
Ireland
I've been through an absolutely horrendous and terrifying (for him, and for me) time with hallucinations and delusions with my husband, and now my mother started hallucinating about a year ago. While many times, deflecting, distracting, chasing them away, etc., will work, there are times when it isn't advisable, and it's best to seek help. My husband was extremely stressed and terrified, and took to arming himself with kitchen shears and knives, which was obviously extremely dangerous to my daughter and myself. My mum has lived alone for 20 years, and was also getting extremely frightened and distressed, and not sleeping, because she knew well that there should not be anybody in her house. She's always been very nervous of burglars, so you can imagine how frightened she was. In both cases, their consultants said absolutely not to just go along with it, as it would increase their distress and terror. Both were put on medication. My husband needed a much larger dose of a much stronger drug than mum has needed. And these meds are never used lightly, and need careful monitoring as they can have side effects. However, in both cases, the improvement to their quality of life was tremendous. So, if your husband is getting distressed, frightened or aggressive, then it is well worth seeking medical help.
 

Hazara8

Registered User
Apr 6, 2015
608
0
I've been through an absolutely horrendous and terrifying (for him, and for me) time with hallucinations and delusions with my husband, and now my mother started hallucinating about a year ago. While many times, deflecting, distracting, chasing them away, etc., will work, there are times when it isn't advisable, and it's best to seek help. My husband was extremely stressed and terrified, and took to arming himself with kitchen shears and knives, which was obviously extremely dangerous to my daughter and myself. My mum has lived alone for 20 years, and was also getting extremely frightened and distressed, and not sleeping, because she knew well that there should not be anybody in her house. She's always been very nervous of burglars, so you can imagine how frightened she was. In both cases, their consultants said absolutely not to just go along with it, as it would increase their distress and terror. Both were put on medication. My husband needed a much larger dose of a much stronger drug than mum has needed. And these meds are never used lightly, and need careful monitoring as they can have side effects. However, in both cases, the improvement to their quality of life was tremendous. So, if your husband is getting distressed, frightened or aggressive, then it is well worth seeking medical help.
Where hallucinations are not causing major problems then one can relate to them - never contradict - and perhaps discover any ' triggers'. Delirium or infections can generate hallucinations. Fortunately l never had to address violence or dangerous behaviours resulting out of hallucinations. But intervention by way of appropriate medication can prove to be remarkably effective. Albeit under the strict guidance of the GP, as the more powerful drugs require caution. Hallucinations can be very alarming for both parties in dementia and deserve considerable respect in that light. Sometimes they can be intriguing: l recall my late mother seeing me clearly and disturbingly in the fireplace as a small boy, whilst l sat beside her as a fully grown adult. To her it was as real as the hand on my wrist.
 

LadyA

Registered User
Oct 19, 2009
13,678
0
Ireland
Where hallucinations are not causing major problems then one can relate to them - never contradict - and perhaps discover any ' triggers'. Delirium or infections can generate hallucinations. Fortunately l never had to address violence or dangerous behaviours resulting out of hallucinations. But intervention by way of appropriate medication can prove to be remarkably effective. Albeit under the strict guidance of the GP, as the more powerful drugs require caution. Hallucinations can be very alarming for both parties in dementia and deserve considerable respect in that light. Sometimes they can be intriguing: l recall my late mother seeing me clearly and disturbingly in the fireplace as a small boy, whilst l sat beside her as a fully grown adult. To her it was as real as the hand on my wrist.
Yes. Unfortunately, in our case, they were causing dangerous issues. And were such that you really couldn't go along with them. I explained hallucinations to other family members this way: "It would be like if you went home, and started chatting and inter acting with your daughters. But your husband kept saying 'the girls are not here. There is nobody here except us two.' But you could see them. They were right there! And you can't understand why he's insisting that they aren't there."
 

Jef7

New member
Jan 4, 2021
4
0
Thanks for all your supporting and helpful thoughts. It is great to know you are not alone with the problem
 

Hazara8

Registered User
Apr 6, 2015
608
0
Yes. Unfortunately, in our case, they were causing dangerous issues. And were such that you really couldn't go along with them. I explained hallucinations to other family members this way: "It would be like if you went home, and started chatting and inter acting with your daughters. But your husband kept saying 'the girls are not here. There is nobody here except us two.' But you could see them. They were right there! And you can't understand why he's insisting that they aren't there."
Yes, it is certainly not an easy thing to address by any standards. A gentleman l knew visualised ' demons' at home and that was hugely challenging for his wife. He was living with Parkinsons. There are times when the intervention of an appropriate drug can be a blessing. The brain is extraordinarily complex and even mild impairment has significant outcome, albeit often not realised at the time.
 

Griffin89

New member
Jan 8, 2021
3
0
My wife has just having the same issue and is adamant that there are other people in the house. I have tried to pass it off as a bad dream but this is obviously not going to wash. Others have mentioned medication - is there anything that others have used that has been effective and that I could maybe mention to my GP?
 

Jef7

New member
Jan 4, 2021
4
0
Dear @Jef7,

I remember when dad started doing this at first I did what you did and tried to convince him that there was no one there and then I took a different tactic. First of all I realised reflections in mirrors were an issue also that dad was going back in time so I used to figure out what era he had gone back to and talk about those times. Normally he had gone back to the sixties or seventies. It's frightening but you will get through it.

MaNaAk
Thanks for this - not sure how to reply when he asks specific questions like "why are we having to sell the house", or "what were those forms you filled in?", when we have not seen/spoken to anyone for months. You say I will get through it, but how long will these "sights" last?
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
2,506
0
Your husband isn't thinking the people on TV are real is he @Jef7? I just wondered with comments about selling the house and form filling, that you might have been watching a programme where these things happened and he thought they were happening in your house.
I am never quite sure if my mum had hallucinations or not. She told me about seeing my dad and someone sleeping next to her in bed, but she sort of knew they weren't real. She was convinced the neighbours came in and stole from her and claimed to see them do it. I'm not sure if she really did think she saw them or it was just her trying to convince me it really happened.
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
3,633
0
Essex
Thanks for this - not sure how to reply when he asks specific questions like "why are we having to sell the house", or "what were those forms you filled in?", when we have not seen/spoken to anyone for months. You say I will get through it, but how long will these "sights" last?
As @Hazara says you have to relate to it I found these hallucinations frightening because all I could think of was my poor dad. You don't say what type of dementia your husband has but when dad was put on donepezil for the first time he seemed to improve but they the symptoms started to come as the illness progressed and I had to bring carers in before dad went into a home.

Of course I didn't Covid to contend with but once restrictions start to try looking at day centres and anywhere that can provide activities for your husband to keep him occupied. Also if symptoms suddenly get worse take to the doctor in case he has an infection and get the doctor to check his hearing (this was a factor in dad's case).

I didn't notice the hallucinations quite so much by the time dad was in the home but he had started wandering and falling. However I thought his memory improved when he arrived at the home because he was kept occupied and he had company.

I hope this helps in some way. Alzheimers is a cruel disease.

MaNaAk
 

Jef7

New member
Jan 4, 2021
4
0
My husband has not officially been diagnosed yet. He has seen our GP who recommended him to see the specialist. However the appointment was cancelled due to snow (by the hospital) and the new appointment was due in a couple of weeks. Husband has now decided not to proceed with the appointment and cancelled it, as he does not want to be "labelled" and says there is nothing anyone can do anyway! How can I convince him to seek help?
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
5,211
0
Nottinghamshire
Hi @Jef7

It's true that a label won't help but there is medication to slow the progression of Alzheimer's dementia so maybe you could persuade him for this reason. If he won't listen to reason (and not many PWD will) perhaps the specialist can be persuaded to give him a new appointment if you speak to them and you can think up some excuse to get him there. I had to use this tactic with my dad. I'd often make light of the appointment (just a check-up dad) and promise a treat afterwards (e.g. fish and chips for lunch). My waistline is still suffering!

When trying to get my dad to do anything I found this really useful when talking to him:
 

Banjomansmate

Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
2,555
0
Dorset
The Banjoman was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia after I informed the Drs that he was seeing non existent people . He was put on Rivastigmine patches to slow down his decline. Obviously I have no idea if they worked but there are medications available for certain states of dementia once diagnosed.
 

Marcustroberts

New member
Dec 11, 2020
8
0
Sorry to hear you're struggling, it really can be frustrating and upsetting when your loved one seems so confused, like many have said on here try not to challenge what they are saying as it will seem very real to him.

It might be worth monitoring when the hallucinations happen and where in particular. Sometimes the brain can confuse objects/areas and this becomes the basis of the hallucination. If you can try and spot a recurring factor then there might be something you can change to lessen/remove it.

My Grandma used to think someone had dropped off a large group of children for her to look after, initially I just assumed that it was because she was a nurse for so long and it was her mind confusing the situation and giving her something to care for. When I asked if she could point them out to me she would always point to one of two locations, one being the fruit bowl in the dining room and one being the bed covers (but only if she had the set with flowery patterns on). When I removed the fruit bowl it stopped those specific hallucinations happening in the lounge.

Things to consider may be: reflections in the window if it happens at night (as long as your artificial lighting is good then maybe draw the curtains earlier and this will remove the reflections.)
Also try and avoid the TV being left on in the background when you aren't watching it and also avoid the TV from being the main focal point in a room as it can be confusing as to whether the characters on TV are in the room or on the tele for some people.

I really hope some of that helps.
 

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