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My mother has started to talk to herself and answer back as if she really is having the conversation


New member
Feb 7, 2019
Sometimes at night my mother is very unsettled and not sleeping. Last night I listened to her and she is having conversations to herself and answering as if the people where really there. I spoken to carer who said this has happened in morns too. Is it just tiredness that causes it? As other times she is great! I find daytime mum and evening mum are 2 different people. She has been prescribed a sleeping tablet now from last night.


Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
N Ireland
Hello @Anderson, you are welcome here and I hope you find the forum to be a friendly and supportive place.

What you describe sounds like a behaviour named 'sundowning', which tends to happen as the day comes to an end and decreasing light, shadows, reflections and tiredness cause confusion. My wife also talks to non-existent people and animals.

Do take a good look around the site as it is a goldmine for information. When I first joined I read old threads for information but then found the AS Publications list and the page where a post code search can be done to check for support services in ones own area. If you are interested in these, clicking the following links will take you there



You will see that there are Factsheets that will help with things like getting care needs assessments, deciding the level of care required and sorting out useful things like Wills, Power of Attorney etc. Changes in behaviour, such as sundowning are also covered.

Now that you have found us I hope you will keep posting as the membership has vast collective knowledge and experience.


Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
Victoria, Australia
My husband talks to the dog and answers himself on her behalf. The conversation can go on for quite a while and tends to be pure nonsense most of the time. I guess most of us talk to our pets but a running conversation in which he plays both parts is something a bit different. My husband doesn't experience sundowning so I think for him it is a regression back to childhood a time when kids will pretend to be various dolls or toys and talk for each one in turn.

Perhaps for your mum it is her way of trying to make sense of so much that she can't understand. Most of us have running conversations or inner talk in our heads as part of our thought processes so maybe she is verbalising that internal chatter.

Chrissie B

Registered User
Jan 15, 2019
North Yorkshire
I find it ingenious. I used to worry when my mum read the same page of her book out loud again and again, especially as she kept forgetting to turn the page, so she didn't get past the introduction. When we go out in my son's car, she reads signposts out loud, and quite often after reading a place name she may have remembered once, the conversation would run like this, "Darlington" "No I don't want to go to Darlington" Barnard Castle" "No I don't want to go to Barnard Castle"
She gets cross if she has an accident and doesn't get to the toilet on time. She looks at me and says very angrily "Now look at the mess you have made!" I used to think she was blaming me, but eventually, I came to realize that this was an out of body experience so that she didn't get upset about what had happened, so in a way, it was a self-defense mechanism.
Thanks to your posts I now get it. I think that time is moving at a different speed for them.
Imagine if you are alone for what you feel might be for hours, it doesn't matter if someone else is there, in your mind you can feel alone even if in a crowd. If you were in solitary confinement for days on end, one thing you should try to do is to imagine you are with other people who can speak to you, and to whom you can speak. To help even more, you should speak out loud. This means you are controlling your voice and having control over the answer. If you can speak out loud and hear an answer through that imagination you are stimulating something both imaginary and physical as well.
That's why sometimes if you are busy doing something physical, you might find it easier to complete the task if you play a song and sing along with it, or is it just me that does that?


New member
Mar 29, 2020
Hi I’m Mollie I’m only young but have been faced issues with my mum as she has depression and anxiety I have sealed with this in the past when I was younger I’m here so I can get help from you guys and get answers


New member
Mar 29, 2020
I get what everyone is talking about I have heated my mum talk to herself for years and deal with depression and anxiety so please don’t hesitate even though I’m only young I have a lot of experience.I have tryed self harm at the age of seven so I need help to


Registered User
Jan 7, 2015
North West
Hi Anderson,


My OH did this as soon as the bedside light went out. It was like listening to one side of a telephone conversation. He did not speak much during the day so I rather liked hearing his old voice chatting away. I wrote about it on my long thread on "dealing with difficult feelings".

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