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Hallucinations - Carers UK Forum

Hallucinations

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Does anyone else's person they care for have hallucinations?

My dad has a tree outside his flat. It started off that there was a man in the tree (I suspect it was the effect of light and shade from the lamp post beside the tree). Then that became a team of men with golden buckets who bring the lights each evening when it gets dark and collect them all in again in the morning. Then there's the woman who knits the leaves off the tree together. Then there are the two people living inside his chair and the person who is often lying on his bed, stopping him going to bed at night (we've gotten round that one - I tell him to punch the bed hard, he soon discovers there's nobody in there). Then there are the people in his flat watching his telly. Then there were the people in his kitchen who messed up his bin. Then there was the large evergreen shrubby thing from the house opposite that walks up and down the road and the wall that moves. And now there is the theatre company putting on plays on the grass verge outside the flats each night. I've checked with the warden of his flats - nobody else has reported anything at all and some of the ladies on the ground floor are the type who write to the council if someone farts after 9pm, so you just know there would be complaints if a whole play was on!
The thing is, Dad is utterly adamant that every single one of these things is there and won't hear a word of anyone saying otherwise.

I suspect some of it is his eyesight - his brain is taking the messages from his eyes and rearranging them into whole scenes, which he is then adding a back story to.

In his more lucid moments, he asks me why this is happening.
I told him the best explanation I have is that the messages between his eyes and brain are like a runaway train trying to jump the points - sometimes it'll make it, sometimes it'll derail and sometimes it'll end up in flipping Barking.

He laughed at that, but I guarantee you one thing - that damn play will be on again tonight...
Hi pope pourri,

It sounds like your dad is having a busy time of it! I was going to suggest seeing if your dad may have a urine infection: they seem to be a regular thing with some older people, and can cause the type of issues your dad has.
Hope today is a good one for your dad and you x
Hello Pope Pourri

What kind of dementia does your Dad have ? Dementia with Lewys Bodies is the one that usually presents with vivid hallucinations although My Mum (Alzheimers) often used to see and hear things that weren't there - a squirrel living in the grand-father clock; opera singers in the garden late at night; church choir practising etc. The squirrel was a trick of the light and the auditory hallucinations were down to tinitus and deafness.

Perhaps it's time for another assessment from his GP ?
Hi Pope Pourri,

My mum had them all the time. We had children in the living room, stepfather "with his fancy woman" in the basement :roll: etc etc. She had mixed dementia (Vascular / Alzheimers). Yes, it is worth checking that he does not have a urine infection but if not, unfortunately it is just a symptom of the awful disease.

Definitely worth playing along with it as far as possible. In dad's reality these things exist and I suspect noone will convince him otherwise.

Sending ((hugs)), Anne
Thanks for the responses, guys - glad I'm not the only one!

We have no diagnosis as yet, but we're due to see the CMHT doctor again on Monday for Dad's follow up (he had a CT in May), so hopefully we'll get some answers then.
When we last saw her in April she suspected "something vascular" (she didn't say the D-word in front of my dad) or "something with Lewy bodies." Dad's new GP said the same when we saw him Monday, but with the relatively young (he's 67) and quite quick onset and the stepped progression, the GP and I are both leaning more towards VD than LBD. I did wonder about Charles Bonnet syndrome too, but we've been to the optician and they had no concerns.

We sometimes have a bit of a battle with "Dad's people" because when it's bedtime he doesn't want to switch the TV off because "they're watching it" or he doesn't want to sit in his chair because they're using it or his bed has someone in. Either that or he's awake until very late watching what's going on out the window.
When we last saw her in April she suspected "something vascular" (she didn't say the D-word in front of my dad) or "something with Lewy bodies." Dad's new GP said the same when we saw him Monday, but with the relatively young (he's 67) and quite quick onset and the stepped progression, the GP and I are both leaning more towards VD than LBD. I did wonder about Charles Bonnet syndrome too, but we've been to the optician and they had no concerns.
Unfortunately LBD does often present at a relatively young age !
If you haven't already found it, do have a look at this topic
https://www.carersuk.org/forum/specific ... -blog-8635

It's written by Norms McNamara who has LBD (I know there's a lot to read but probably start half way through will give you a good idea). Norms was diagnosed when he was 50, he's 58 now and writes very eloquently about living with LBD and the effects of his hallucinations.
Another new one to add to the mix - Dad rang me at 4:30 this morning to tell me he'd been down to the laundry room and done his washing (this was after he'd spent all day yesterday telling me he'd spoken to the warden, who'd told him people are allowed to use the laundry room between 8am and 8pm). When I reminded him of the time and about how he shouldn't be wandering around the flats at night when there's nobody about, he said well there were a couple of the ladies having a punch up down there...
All you needed at 4.30am!
My husband tells me all sorts each visit. Yesterday a nurse had taken him to a place somewhere else in Birmingham to help him with having a bath!! He actually had been helped with a bath the day before, to try to help with his sore bottom. The bathroom is next door to his room in the nursing home. He has en suite shower room. Luckily he enjoyed the bath wherever it was. He's been somewhere different every day. From lands end to John O' Groats! Something has happened each day which is impossible in reality.
I accept it now, with a heavy heart but smile on my face.
So long as the confabulations/hallucinations are 'happy' ones (or at least 'neutral') I guess that's a sort of blessing in disguise.

My elderly neighbour's wife was in a care home with dementia, and he told me that when he visits, she greets him with a smile and says 'Oh, there you are! Jean and Fred (or whoever!) have just gone off to play deck quoits! (or whatever)'.....apparently she's under the illusion that they are all four of them on a holiday cruise! :):)

I wonder what it is about some people with dementia getting confabulatory? My MIL shows absolutely no sign of it at all.

It's almost as if they are 'dreaming'.

That said, the 'There's someone in my bed so I can't go to bed' does have a slight reminiscence of 'invisible chums' that children have that enable them to get out of doing things they don't want to do?? ('Teddy doesn't like spinach either, Mummy!)????

How strange strange strange the mind is. It reminds us how much we take 'normality' and even 'reality' for granted, yet not one of us can actually 'prove' that 'reality' exists, or that we are truly perceiving it correctly if it does. It's quite humbling and sobering.

I wonder whether, with dementia sufferers, there's an element of 'self-entertainment'? Their lives have become very 'dull and routine and confined', so maybe their minds go wandering to 'find' something 'more interesting going on'?????
(Not that that philosophical speculation helps at all when it comes to dealing with confabulation.....)
I worked with elderly people for years, and following on from the previous comments, I do remember one training session where we were told that the brain can invent things when its under stimulated.
This was years ago, and training changed very much over time, so maybe this is now not relevant, but we were told that particularly when other senses are less sharp - hearing etc - the mind can self stimulate. Its probably all considered poppycock now, but its an interesting theory.