This is my first post. My mother was recently diagnosed with alzheimer's as well as cerebral vascular dementia. She is experiencing auditory hallucinations. Specifically, she says she can hear her neighbors talking about her when she is in bed at night. She also hears people singing, which, is no big deal. My concern is how to approach the former. I don't want her to be alarmed about the neighbors "talking about" her. She is mostly just annoyed at this point. although I think she is starting to feel a little unsettled by it. But I want to alleviate concerns she has about this. Because she has severe hearing loss and refuses to wear her hearing aid, I've tried to point out that it is unlikely she is hearing anyone. I've tried suggesting maybe she dreamed the conversations and I've also attempted to reassure her that even if the neighbors are talking about her, they mean no harm. I try to live in the moment with my mother and try to accept her reality the way it is. But I don't want to exacerbate anything and make this more upsetting for her. Talking to the neighbors is out. The house next door is vacant. If anyone has advice, I would truly appreciate it.
Hello and welcome April's mom. I'm glad to meet you but sorry you have reason to be here. You will no doubt get better advice from more experienced folk later, but I'll offer up what I know. You probably can't fix this. Even on a perfect day, in a lucid moment, your mom will forget any explanation you offer by the next morning. My mom does not have auditory hallucinations, but can for sure come up with some strange stuff. I also have an autistic son who rambles about odd fantasies. Sometimes the best response really is just "Uh huh".
All the best,
Welcome to the board. Sorry I can't help you out with auditory hallucinations but my mom has had hallucinations where she sees things..sometimes horrible things. Does your mom actually hear the neighbours talking about her, or does she suspect they may be talking about her? Maybe in her mind it's all the same, but it is possible she could be hearing the voices?
You mention that she has hearing loss? does she have tinnitus? It sometimes accompanies Hearing loss. Tinnitus can cause one to hear all kinds of annoying noises which are very real but I don't know if that would apply to voices tones specifically? To your mom, what she hears is very real.
I suggest a visit to an ear, nose and throat doctor. I agree that there may be 'sounds' coming from the inner-ear but if your mother has fillings she could also be picking up sound waves from radio or TV transmissions. Don't laugh it has been documented that this could occur. So once you rule out ears you can have dentist involved, if you want.
Otherwise, I'd just become a bobbin-head doll like Deb here. You bob your head, smile and say hmmm or huh huh. You just agree with everything.
then change the subject.
if your mother likes music then put a radio station for continous noise on in the background when she sleeps, etc.
One of the aspect of the disease is hallucinations and/or other things such as this.
My Grandma had auditory hallucinations for about 2 years. Not every night and at times she would go weeks without hearing things. But when she did, nothing could convince her that people weren't fighting outside her bedroom window. We had caregivers 24/7 in her home and they tried to tell her and show her that no one was yelling. It didn't help. Gram was never put on any meds to help her with these hallucinations. Her Dr. at the time said there was nothing that would help without side effects. He felt she was too fragile at 94 to try them. I wish I knew then what I know now. I would have insisted that she be given something to help. She was in torment. She never slept through the night because of these "people". Eventually they stopped about the time Gram started to play with dolls and think she could play the organ and sing. Grandmas hearing was perfect. It was her Alz mind that heard the people.
Is your Mom living alone? If so, do you have plans to move her somewhere so that she'll be safe? Gram tried to go outside and she would have if someone had not been there to stop her. She would yell out the door for the imaginary people to stop yelling and go away. It was just awful for everyone. I don't mean to sound negative but no amount of explaining will do any good. Its their reality. Maybe meds would help her at this point?
I'm so sorry. Your Mom will not get better, only worse.
Aprils, let me add my welcome to the board as well. I am sorry you are having to deal with this horrible disease but you found the right place. We are all in your shoes. I hope you continue to post. We are here to share each other's burden. It's always a little easier when it's shared
I am dealing with my dad's hallucinations now. His are a combination of auditory and mind created situations. He has to go check on the boys, he can hear them. Did anybody do anything about that baby crying, he could hear it. He became so bad that he was getting up at night and wandering to fix whatever was in his mind. He was found repeatedly wandering around different floors in the AL facility and at least twice got out of the building. Once he was walking down the street, it was 19 degrees and he had no coat on, because he had to go to the court house to find me. I had told him I would be there (only in his mind). Some night he just babbles all night about what he needs to do about these hallucinations.
On night in particular, I was there and they gave him an antianxiety medication. He continued to talk right through the med effects. He lost his words but the intensity never deminished. At that point the doctor gave him a new medication to help and it does seem to have helped.
So my best suggestion is to be sure to mention this to her doctor. Be sure the doctor is aware of the the dementia and is knowledgeable about treating complication of dementia. You might want to consult with a geriatric neurologist or psychiatrist on this one. Psychotic control medications do have side effects and you will need to know what to expect. They also work differently in the elderly so be sure whoever prescribes them is knowledgeable in elderly medicine.
Otherwise you are doing what is right. Don't deny that she hears them but reassure her that they are ok. When Dad would say he needed to go check on one of his hallucination I would assure him that I had already done it and would do it again. It may only help for the moment, and I would have to say it again in 2 minutes, but it did give him comfort in the moment.
My mother-in-law often "hears" things, too. She once got up wandering in the middle of the night, which was a new behavior for her, and when I realized she was up she told me she had gotten up because she heard the Christmas music. (This was not at Christmas time.) I was actually able to convince her that she had been dreaming. But for those times that I can't convince her, I just tell her, "oh, did you hear that? I didn't. What did it sound like?" Or whatever will pacify her. So far, she hasn't "heard" anything that has agitated her. I imagine that's coming down the road!
This is just part of the disease. You probably won't be able to reason with her. I've come to accept that lying to her is for her safety and good. I'll say whatever I need to in whatever situation! And then confess my sin to my hubby --- just so he knows what's going on!
My grandmother has "visual" hallucinations, probably auditory as well I'm not sure....but either way, I feel so awful for them going through that. The reality of these hallucinations must be so frightening for them.
My grandma almost always sees "children"....little children, cold and hungry. She will get angry with my Uncle if he doesnt get them a blanket, and bring them in and feed them. She also will see people in the room, even outside the window. It has gotten so bad, that sometimes my Uncle closes the drapes in the middle of the day so as not to trigger them. This is to spare her, but makes for a very dark and depressing home for him......
Hopefully someone here can recommend maybe some medication or something that would be helpful...
Is anyone who is hallucinating on Namenda???? Because I found my mother saw her mother and brothers when she was taking this.
Also, just know that not only will they start to see or hear things but get blankets ready because light from the sun will hurt their eyes as well as any mirrors will have to be covered because when they have an opportunity to pass by a mirror or a glass that is reflective, they will probably scream thinking 'who is that person!"
Just wanted you to know. Our house looked like we were living with a vampire because all the mirrors were covered.
My spouse was on Namenda for 15 months and is currently at end-of-life stage on Hospice. I told the physician and Hospice to stop/wean this medication in early January this year and he did. I also had him cut the dosages of two anti-psychotics.
Today she is more awake than in the last 16 months - her 'utterances' have been transformed to intelligible words - constipation, moaning, agitation have all lessened greatly. Her nourishment/fluid intake has doubled. I visit her daily and noticed that the 'zombie' is now a viable person. I understand that this behavior modification may be short-lived but to the NH staff and me - she is more comfortable - and that's all I can expect at her stage.
Namenda is prescribe for memory 'retention' for AZ/Dementia mid-late stages - I just don't know if I incur this condition that I want to remember how life used to be - maybe 'never-never land' is not as bad as the side-effects of this med.