Unfortunately, her illness is misunderstood. I am on a mission to help everyone who cares for her to understand how to manage my mom's hallucinations without drugs.
What I've observed is those who listen to her, have the most success with keeping her calm and with fewer hallucinations. Discrediting her and her hallucinations does nothing but agitate her more.
Acknowledging her hallucinations and entering her world, help her to release the thought. Once she's got an answer, she is easily redirected. If she is not given an opportunity to resolve the hallucination or thought, she will obsess on it and become more agitated. Agitation leads to behavior issues and night disturbances.
Following are 4 actions that I have taken with good results.
- Creative thinking
Ask simple questions, one at a time. Wait. Let the person talk. Sometimes with my mom she gets so excited that I can only hear every couple of words. I listen for clues.
I agree with my mom. Even when her hallucinations are off the wall and scaring her, I do an action that shows her that she’s “not crazy.” Agreeing with her seems to allow her to perceive that she has control of her mind when she doesn't.
Ask the individual, “What do we need to do? How do you think we should solve this problem?”
Taking the cues from the person with the hallucination allows the care giver to make up a story that is believable to the person, giving the patient a sense of control and helps calm them down so they can be redirected.
No way can an LBD patient be redirected if their hallucination isn’t addressed first.
Often, my mom will want to get up and look out the window at a hallucination. Allowing her to lead, answering her questions (even if it's a wild story) is the best way to help her remain calm without the use of any drugs.
After listening to the person ramble on about their hallucinations, answer their question. Be creative. Use your imagination and always use the imagery in your stories and actions that the patient described initially. Logic is out the window. Personal experience has taught me that fantasy and far fetched concepts work best.
Use props like a phone not plugged in to call Dream Master.
The original person who used Dream Master concept was brilliant. I found her solution and used it with great success. The woman’s husband was hallucinating one night and got out of bed. His wife said to him, "Why are you up?" The husband said, "I can't sleep in that bed, there's a man in that bed and I'm not gay!"
The wife went into the room and picked up the phone and pretend called "The Dream Master." How I remember the story...
Wife: "Hi Dream Master? (brief pause like she's listening.) Yes, I'm calling to cancel all of Henry's nightmares. (pause.) (excited voice) "OH, YOU CAN! Well that is great. Super. Thank you Dream Master, I'll tell him."
The husband went back to sleep, the hallucination of the man in bed went away.
I used the Dream Master concept on my mom when she began to wake up at 12 and again at 2am. I told her that I called the Dream Master and cancelled all of her nightmares from now on, only happy dreams. My mom, upon hearing the news said, "Oh Good... now I can get some sleep."
Dream Master is the one I call to solve all of her hallucination troubles… it works.