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Reply with quote  #601 
Dehydration at any time can cause hallucinations. Do you remember watching old westerns where someone was crawling across the desert and seeing mirages?

In the elderly, they don't want to drink much because "it makes me go to the bathroom" and then if there is any kind of infection going on, HERE WE GO! UTIs are always suspect. In Dad's case, it was dehydration due to diarrhea he got in rehab and then MERSA due to a fall trying to get to the bathroom on his own because he had diarrhea. He was hallucinating BIG TIME when he was in the hospital. He said he was in jail because he and his cousin had gone out to eat, the cousin didn't pay and then walked out, so they were both arrested. There was also a cattle drive going through our small town and they had stopped at an uncle's for the night. Bulls had started fighting through the fence and there was a big mess as a result. 

I told my husband that the best thing to do in the hospital was to just agree....and go on. It does NO good to say "Now Dad...You aren't in are in the hospital now." It only makes them more agitated because they are hearing a different version of what they KNOW to be true.

So, when Dad told us he was in jail and was concerned that his car was still in a neighboring town, we agreed to make sure we took it home. This freaked my husband out that I wasn't trying to straighten Dad out on the situation. He just kept his mouth shut and kept giving me the "side eye." Dad also kept thinking that there were other people in the room. He would sit there eating dinner and suddenly turn his head and say "HUH?" to nothing. Ooops! There is another hallucination! I guess it didn't freak me out as much because I work in the mental health field where hallucinations can be part of many mental health issues.

Rule of thumb....agree and go on to let their mind rest. We told Dad that the car was at home and that they had gotten the fighting bulls separated on the cattle drive. They got the dehydration under control, started treating the MERSA and one day we went to the hospital and.......he was talking sense. He was also telling us that he couldn't remember a couple of days, but also realized that he thought people were in the room, that he was in jail....but knew it was his misperception. He told us about the cattle drive, etc. I just nodded as he told this  and he said "It isn't funny." I told him "I know it isn't, but I understood what was going on."

We are the lucky ones....he came back mentally to what he was before. He is 92....almost 93.

Our problems are his now highly critical state of mind about ANYTHING. I have some rescue kittens "THEY WILL TAKE OVER THE HOUSE."  My husband starts dinner (he is retired) before I get home (I am not) and Dad will criticize him shucking corn. Dad wants a squirrel feeder (I have one ordered) and doesn't understand that I can't get shelled pecans at the grocery this time of year for them. He won't let his chore housekeeper help with his haircut or shaving and INSISTS that my husband or I do it, then gripes about how we do it.

I feel especially sorry for my husband. He is not in good health (2 heart attacks) and in constant pain (degenerative disk disease in his neck and back) and Dad continues to demand that he (or I) do for him things that the chore housekeeper is perfectly able to do. It is a manipulation. He wants the attention from US, although we all live together and have meals together as well. He also pouts and sabotages things when we get someone to stay with him over the weekend so we can go camping for a break. He has a "life line" bracelet as well.  He has used it once....when he sent his caregiver home because "I'm just going to bed when the ball game is over." He then slid out of his wheelchair into the floor when getting into bed and she wasn't there. He had his hearing aids out, so when he punched his wrist band and they kept asking what the problem was, he just kept hitting the button. They called us and we were 10 hours away. They had to call the 3rd person on the of Dad's brothers a few miles down the road. He went and checked and Dad was OK....just sitting in the floor. I also called the caretaker after I got the Lifeline call and she told me she had been sent home by Dad, but jumped up and drove to the house to assist, STAY there and just let him pout if he didn't like it.

Dad doesn't like it....but he WILL have someone to stay with him when we are camping (we are camping 20 minutes away.)

I am an only child, so the burden falls on me....or more so on my husband.

My FIL isn't doing well either, but at least there are 2 BILs that live in the close vicinity. We are 2-3 hours away. FIL is another typical case of a good mind and a body that is falling apart. 

I apologize! When I decided to post there were just SO many issues with which I can empathize.

Now I will sit back and listen.


Reply with quote  #602 
Originally Posted by joyce robinson
I am so grateful for stumbling across these posts...My mother-in-law is 85 and lives in Florida, my husband and I live in Michigan.  She had a UTI in April, and hallucinations and confusion were awful...after 3 days of IV antibiotics, she was much better and was discharged.  My husband and I went to check on her a couple weeks ago for 5 days and she was fine.  Now, yesterday a friend of hers found her in her garage claiming there was a dead person in her house.  Her friend brought her to the Emergency Room. 
She does have another UTI, but we were also concerned about her high blood pressure medication and diuretic.  Her doctor is not cooperative.  He did agree to stop giving her Paxil (which he did not explain to her what it is - an antidepressant, not an occassional anti-anxiety medication like valium), cut her high blood pressure to half-dose, BUT then sent her to the hospital Memory Disorder Unit!
We are trying to reach her friends who were with her, but feel hopeless as to what to do next.  She was perfectly fine 2 weeks ago!
On a side note, my father-in-law died a a year and a half ago and they were married for 63 years...she misses him terribly.  We know she is lonely, but won't come to Michigan with us. 
Any input would be so helpful.  God Bless, and take care, Joyce
Reply with quote  #603 
Originally Posted by Vicki

Hi. My Dad is 87 and in poor health. He spends way too much time in bed during the day. My Mother constantly tries to get him to get up "use it or lose it" she tells him. He's very weak and falls occassionally.  The other day she tried to wake him, and in that state of mind somewhere between asleep and awake, he said "Did you say my Mother is waiting for me at the gate?". He never talks like this. It frightened my Mother who thought he was going to die soon. I remembered hearing a woman in the hospital one time say "I'm coming Jesus" and raising up her hand to the ceiling and died right after. Is my Dad dying? Is this statement a result of him feeling like he may see his mother soon or be in heaven? I also saw an elderly man curl up into the fetal position and call for his Mom right before he died. It's so sad, do you think he's dreaming. Is it wishful thinking because his quality of life isn't so great and he's giving up? Anyone else out there who have heard their parents say things like this? To make matters worse, my 84 yr old Mom is losing her memory and writes everything down. I mean EVERYTHING. She has little notes everywhere and then forgets where she left the most recent notes. Some of it's commical, mostly just heartbreaking. Thanks for your helpful comments. Vicki

Did he die? And how soon after this post? Sorry! Your post was so interesting, I just had to ask. Looked like he had given up on life after spending most of his day in bed.
Reply with quote  #604 
My Mother is 90, will be 91 in few months.  She is experiencing hallucinations that have been very frightening to her. She has lived alone for 25 years. She has always been very alert, no disease of any kind, strong heart, etc.  The only health issue is restless legs syndrome. The medication perscribed was  Mirapex and one of the side effects is hallucinations.  She does seem to be highly sensitive to meds.  These visions got so bad that she was avoiding sleep because it was so scary. After a CT scan and many blood tests, the culprit seems to be the Mirapex.  She is now off that and taking Seroquil to stop the hallucinations. It seems to be working, but making her very groggy and weak from sleeping. It is heartbreaking to see her go through this.  She is very independent and always been strong person, so this is hard to see her suddenly be so weakened by a medication. Have your loved ones meds checked, that may be the culprit.  She has told us that she thinks she is starting to die. She saw angels and the hands of God upon her. I have her living with me right now and we are all doing the best by her that we can. God bless all of you who are going through this with aging parents, it is extremely hard. Stay strong.
Reply with quote  #605 
My 60 year old brother died of a brain tumor a year ago.  He would see a dirty little boy playing in the floor of his truck regularly.  I understand this to be caused by the tumor.

So I was scared when my mom (82), began to regularly report the same type of experiences.  A child in her bathroom, she saw my husband walking down the hall (he was on a business trip) and most recently, a small dog pawing at the the side of her bed.  The puppy disappeared when she shooed it away.  The children in her room was a repeated theme.

I spoke to her doctor, fearing a tumor, and she gave this a name.  I'm sorry but for the life of me I cannot recall what she called it.  She said it was very common in the elderly and not connected to disease or mental health.

Now, when mom tells us about her night time experiences, she hums the twilight zone theme music.
Mike Gamble
Reply with quote  #606 

Charles Bonnet syndrome is a condition where people may begin seeing visions after their eyesight starts to deteriorate. This doesn’t always happen to people as their sight fails, but some experts believe that it is more common than statistics suggest. This is because people see such extravagant things while suffering with this syndrome that they tend to think they are going mad. This condition usually only affects people when their vision first begins worsening, and after a while, it tends to go away, but for some people, it is permanent.

Some of the hallucinations in people with Charles Bonnet syndrome are fairly simple. For example, they may see a pattern in front of their eyes of moving lines or squares. In these cases, people tend to realize that they're simply having an eyesight problem.

For some people, Charles Bonnet syndrome can be much more astonishing, and they may suffer elaborate hallucinations. For example, it is very common for people to see tiny humans running around or regular-sized people standing in the room with them and staring at them. Sometimes they may see people that look strange or frightening in some way with inhuman faces or other bizarre features. There are also people who tend to see landscapes or whole scenes that play out like movies around them.

Most people with this condition start to realize on their own that they are seeing imaginary things, but sometimes they may develop delusions based on the imagery. For some individuals, the images can be so frightening or disturbing that they interfere with their ability to act normally. Even though the person isn’t actually insane, he or she may have difficulty behaving normally while suffering with the hallucinations because they seem so real.

It is common for Charles Bonnet syndrome to be misdiagnosed as a form of insanity. This is partly because it tends to happen more often to elderly people, especially those suffering from macular degeneration. Doctors often think their patients are suffering from dementia due to old age.

Charles Bonnet is the name of the man who discovered the syndrome in the 1700s. He noticed the problem when his elderly father started seeing things that weren’t actually there. Some people have connected the syndrome to sightings of things like ghosts and fairies, and some believers in occult spirituality have connected the syndrome to a spiritual or supernatural cause.
Reply with quote  #607 
My mother just turned 78. She told me that after my father goes to bed she sees tiny strips that are black and she thinks they're magnetic. They are on the blinds, the nightstand and now on her legs. She tries to brush them off but there are too many. Today she says they're on her eyelashes and she worries about them going into her eyes. Otherwise she is doing very well in an assisted living apartment with my father. He can't see very well so he doesn't see the strips. My daughter went after dark and saw nothing even though my mom did at the time. She's scared and I don't know what to.
Reply with quote  #608 
Peggy,  Has she been evaluated by an eye doctor to rule out things like glaucoma or macular degeneration?  I'm not an expert, just thinking out loud here.
Reply with quote  #609 
a torn retina, can also cause that
Mike Gamble, Publisher
Reply with quote  #610 
Hi Peggy,

I published an article yesterday that you'll find helpful:

Hallucinations and the Elderly

Reply with quote  #611 

So “relieved” to find a place where people seem to be going through the same as me. I don’t even know if this is a page people visit anymore.


My MIL, who has always been homebound since she doesn’t drive, several months ago told her son she was hearing music in the attic. She has had many health problems over the years and a long list of meds she takes. A suffer of sleep apnea and insomnia as well, husband had a stroke in October but he is OK and her mother passed away in December and this resorted to at least two long trips that really took their toll. Afterward, the noises started coming stronger. Thinking she just needed rest, we left her be since sleep is something hard for her.


A few 911 calls by her claiming murder and rape of her son, being framed and that we were all in on it, we were able to get her to the ER where tests showed her to be severely dehydrated to the point of near kidney failure. (We later learned she had kept herself from drinking in order to make the long trips so she wouldn’t have to bother us by stopping the car or wetting in the car.)


We were told the voices and such was common for the dehydration (her blood oxygen level was in the 30s at the ER) and most often would stop. Still, even in Intermediate Medical Care Unit for people with confusion, where she was for a week receiving antibiotics and other meds, she would make comments to her son that nurses had given her HIV and were going to a allow a patient to rape her, etc.


When she was released, things got better, realizing it was all in her head, but over the last few weeks, according to to my fiance, she has been thinking worms are everywhere: on her, food, in the house; in her vomit, etc. She is also seeing faces in the ceiling, walls, carpet and is beginning to think there are murders and rapes, voices, etc. She’ll take about food or try to pick them off her. 


No matter how much we try to tell her things weren’t real or things didn’t happen, it doesn’t seem to help. She has always been sharp as a tack too. Things that would bother her normally are ones that she seems to have apathy for.



In December, she was prescribed trazadone to help her sleep. Found that was a bad mistake and likely compounding the mental issues, dropped that. Doc put her back on ambien, which she never had a problem with, but last Sunday he lowered her dosage to 5MG instead of the 10MG she was on for years. She has also been recently prescribed Amitriptyline after the hospital stay. She is on BP meds, etc. AS I said the list is long and while her PCP has gone over them trying to weed out things that might be bad.


A visit two weeks ago showed all her tests to come back good, that her kidneys were good, etc., so that’s why it’s so odd.


She has seen the same PCP for more than 40 years and doesn’t see any other specialists. (Though we may change that.) A doctor’s visit today, she expressed to him the concern of the worms. Luckily, my fiance has written down everything, and before this, his mother took copious notes of EVERYTHING. Doctor is suggesting stopping Ambien altogether since there have been reports of weird behaviors, see how that works and go from there before sending her to someone else.

(I have a list of her meds, but cannot upload if it's not a web address.)

I suppose I just need to vent. My fiance is such a trooper, taking care of both parents and in a few months I will have t o have an operation on my hip that will be put me down for about three weeks. Next to that, my mother is being treated for pneumonia this week after moving closer. We could sure use some good things and relief. I’m 31 and he’s 34.


gerri M

Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #612 
My 83 yr. old Mom is having hallucinations, she sees people in her room, I have been told that Charles Bonnett - Syndrome is a possibility, which from what i understand there is no cure for. I feel terrible cause they are so real to her, was actually a little relieved to see how many people suffer from this. Any suggestions on this topic would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You,
Gerri M

gerri m
Reply with quote  #613 
Does anyone else have a parent with charles bonnet?
Reply with quote  #614 
I don't have a parent with this, but I was curious about the syndrome, so I read a little bit about it online.  It sounds as though this syndrome is associated with a loss of vision, and involves hallucinations that are "tiny" in size.  From what I read, the person having the hallucinations pretty much knows they are not real and often finds them pleasant.  This syndrome is not associated with any psychological conditions, and the visions often go away or become less frequent after a year or 18 months.

I do have a mother-in-law with Alzheimer's, but her hallucinations are much different.  She experiences lots of bugs and people who come into her bedroom.... 

Reply with quote  #615 
My mom is 83. She cant cant do anything for herself anymore and she just started seeing things all the time and she stays in her bed sleeping and talking in her sleep all day. The dr says bring her in but im 62 myself i cant physically pick her up and make her go. What do i do what is gonna happen if this continues.
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