Deb.. my sympathies on losing your Mom to this disease. It is a difficult journey.
Yes, there are actually many different types of dementia. Each is different and why it is so important to get a correct diagnosis. We have had post from those who have loved ones with Lewy Body. My Mom has Alzheimer's and my father had Vascular Dementia. They were very different. I will say that my Dad also had delusions and hallucinations... which can happen with Vascular Dementia as well. So the best thing to do is get the best diagnosis possible. Thanks for the heads up
Parkinson type dementia, Lewy Body, and Vascular Dementia are the three types where hallucinations are more prevalent. But diminished visual perception can occur in any dementia. Genuine visual hallucinations involve seeing things that are not present, as opposed to seeing something poorly and mistaking, misperceiving or misinterpreting what is seen. A loved one with Alzheimer's can misinterpret what they actually see because of vision changes and visual perception. Just because your loved one with Alzheimer's can not acurately describe or explain what they see doesn't mean it is a true hallucination. They can see a shadow and think it is an intruder But these are just visual mistakes. Dad seeing relatives that were not there was a hallucination.
My husband is at this stage too. He sees things and talks to inanimate things like shelves. The doctor said it was normal and to let them know if any of the hallucinations and delusions feel threatening to him. I don't worry about it but will ask him once in a while if all these things made him scared or felt threatening.
Mom never acted threatened. Thank God! I would sit with her and she would act like there were things laying on her stomach and she would pick them up and put them in my hand. Sometimes during the hallucinations like this, she was really out of it mentally and at other times she would be able to tell me what it was that she was seeing, like people or fire on the ceiling etc. You know even though it was a terrible situation, I felt blessed to be by her side while she was in these stages. Sounds strange I know.
I am new to the board also. A year or so ago my Mom would say that my Dad is glaring at her at night time(Dad died 14 years ago) who am I to say theres no such thing as ghost-so I fluffed it off. Then she started seeing little children that had no faces-now its getting creepy. She had a horrible time learning things like how to work a new cell phone. When we would have plans to do something, she would come down with severe IBS, she just seemed like she was afraid to leave the house. This past Sept she ended up in the hospital from dehydration from the IBS and everything changed. Her hallucinations were coming on really strong, these little kids were always there, her memory for finding the right words were getting more apparent. With some tests done, doctors have diagnosed vascular dementia primary and frontal lobe secondary. Just after Thanksgiving she had seen 'men' in her living room and heard babies crying so she called the police. 2 days after that she moved her furniture all over the place and made a mess of her house then went to her neighbor and said someone broke in and took her stuff. Then changed the story to the people were moving her out. She went to the hospital, which seemed to make things worse because now she is agitated, aggressive and talks of nothing but how her day was at work(she retired 6 years ago)and other things that make no sense what so ever. When I drive her to her appointments she thinks I'm dad. In 3 short months I have 'lost' my mom. I found an AL w/memory care for her, but is having a hard time adjusting but I am hopeful that new meds are easing the anxiety and confusion. I have been blown away by the rapid state of this ugly disease that is so new to me and the fact that my mom is only 69 years old and her brain has betrayed her and tormenting her. I am a mess most days as I struggle to keep it together.
Deb1125... not strange at all. I feel the very same as you do. This is a disease that nobody wants and nobody would wish on a loved one but if it is present we have to look beyond the sorry. I have often said it has been not only a curse but a blessing as well.
debburton... I am so sorry that your Mom has this disease and you are having to deal with all this.... but glad you found us. No matter how much you know about this disease, when you realize that a loved one is slipping away it is difficult to grasp. The disease is slow and insidious. It is our acknowledgement of the situation that rushes in on us. Then we struggle through the acceptance. There is a point where the learning curve seems to point straight up and wants to overwhelm us. It sounds like you are doing good things and probably not the mess you think you are I remember being where you are now. I can tell you, even if it doesn't get easier, you will find ways new ways to deal with you have been given. Above all, remember to find the blessings in each day and enjoy the moments you have with your Mom. Find a smile, and give her a smile, as often as you can. There are blessings in the chaos!
The Following User Says Thank You to Gabriel For This Useful Post: deb7442 (12-12-2012)
Hi Deb, welcome to the board. I totally sympathize with everything you're saying. My "ditzy" and over emotional mom suddenly started repeating the same words and sentences over and over when my 3rd son was 3 weeks old. And then I noticed she could barely lift her feet or cut her food. A month later she was diagnosed with Parkinson's and a couple months after that a dementia diagnosis. By the time my son was 6 months old my 69 yr. old mom was in assisted living. I have no siblings and my father passed away 15 years ago, so it's all been up to me to navigate these waters.
I'm 36 now and she's 72, and after plateauing for a while, she's declining quickly again. You just have to deal with each challenge as it comes. There are no "right" answers to a lot of these challenges. Just get help when you need it! If I had not acted quickly and found my mom a safe place to live I don't think she'd be alive. And I knew I wasn't equipped to handle her at all. I do battle feelings of guilt, but it's really lessening now as I slowly realize how truly helpless we all are in fighting this disease. Just trust your instincts, you're making all the right decisions.
For the first 25 years or so of my life my mom had untreated mental illness, which robbed a lot of enjoyable time I could have spent with her. When she finally sought treatment she was like the mom I never had, and within a handful of years she slipped away again to dementia. I totally understand your feelings of loss. Please keep participating on this board, everyone is SO understanding and helpful. Support is essential, however you can get it!
The Following User Says Thank You to Annieland For This Useful Post: deb7442 (12-12-2012)
@ Annieland, I agree, that accepting there is nothing we can do and instead of dwelling on the what will happen, I took each day and made sure I was doing everything I could to help her, be with her and also my father who chose to take care of her at home which we did between the 2 of us. It was rough but I know we would not have it any other way. Everybody has circumstances in their life and feeling guilty is so hard not to do but like you said and I said, finding the blessings in it is the best you can do! Just a few words I hope will help debburton.