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What can I do about my husband's hallucinations?

Answered by David Troxel

October 7, 2014

My husband has early onset Alzheimer’s, and is going into the late stage. He is keeping me up about every other night, thinking there are cars, people in our room going to hurt us. Is he hallucinating? Is there anything I can do or he can take?

Hallucinations can be common with a form of dementia called Lewy Body but can happen with Alzheimer’s disease as well. Persons like your husband also have delusions which are defined as “fixed, false ideas.”

His beliefs are very real and potentially frightening to him. Offer lots of reassurance—he will read your emotions, and be calmed when you can offer a calm response.

Don’t try to argue or convince him that he is wrong—that rarely works.

You mention this happens at night, but not every night. Is there a way to keep him busy during the day with an adult day center program or lots of exercise and activity (perhaps hiring someone to be with him for part of the day)? This might help him sleep better at night.

I’m sorry you are going through this since lack of sleep can make it almost impossible for you to keep him at home. You may want to hire someone to help in the evening or consider a placement. But there is potentially a silver lining—sometimes after a period of time, these delusions go away. Particularly if his dementia is advancing, he may get through this difficult time and be easier to support later.

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. October 24, 2014 at 12:49 pm
    Posted by Lola

    My mom, who had Alzheimer's, hallucinated a lot in the middle stage. One day, while sitting on the front porch, she was convinced the house across the street was on fire. I just assured her the firemen were putting it out. She also saw children peeping out behind furniture all of the time, and talked about how cute they were. I agreed. Just reassure and agree, don't get upset, impatient or excited, and it will pass. She no longer had them toward the end. I will say that this stage marked the end of her being able to have much clarity of thought.
  2. October 23, 2014 at 11:00 pm
    Posted by Erik

    get a bio light and have on in the am from 8-10 this will help with evenings

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