Hallucinations with Dementia

Question:

For the last 10-12 months, my Mum hallucinates all the time. More so at night. How do I convince her she is safe, and there really aren’t any other people in her room? I have covered the mirrors, even kept a night light on and it doesn’t help. She converses with these people as if in a normal conversation, so I know she hears them talk, and sees them in her mind.
We spend many sleepless nights. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Dementia

Answer:

Visual (and sometimes oddly smell and hearing) hallucinations aren’t that common with Alzheimer’s disease but they are common with a form of dementia called Lewy Body

There are times when the person is talking to and seeing these imaginary people and it’s a source of activity and amusement. In these cases I always encourage caregivers to run with it and let mom talk to her friends.

When it is alarming to the person (as I gather it may be for your mom), I like to develop a “script” and try to stay on message and get in your mother’s reality.

You might try,

  • Tell me about the man. Is her blond or does he have brown hair? Did he have a friendly smile? What kind of work do you think he does?
  • Sometimes asking some questions like this engages her and moves her out of alarm
  • You can even try to put a positive spin on it. “Well you are a popular person”  When she feels your reassurance and your emotional language of calm, she may decide things are okay.

It rarely works to say, “Mum no one is here.”

Sometimes these hallucinations go away on their own. If she is truly alarmed and upset, consult your doctor for a possible medication that could help

Visit our website for more information about Dementia and dementia care