advertisement
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-18-2019, 06:19 PM   #1
ajr1
New Member
ajr1 has no updates.
 
Member Since: Mar 2019
Location: Cheshire
Posts: 5
Default Parents mental Health changes..

Hi Everyone, Not sure if in the right section, I wanted to ask for any advice, support or opinions regarding my mother. She’s 70 and since xmas had started talking about the neighbour to the rear of her home she belives is shining lasers through her blinds. She even called the police telling them of the lasers.

She has no proof but believes strongly it is her neighbour, so ok. Its unlikely but rational as lasers have been in the news being used inappropriately. However, I become concerned when she talked about the lasers were burning her skin, that they are putting chemicals in her body, that her eyesight has been affected by them. (her eye sight is not great and i believe maybe a contributory factor with eye flashes, possibly some damage from the flu?)

I said let me stay with you and sleep on the floor, and soon as you see them at night wake me immediately so I can see the and where they are coming from, she doesn’t want me to do this. She says they will see me and won’t shine the lasers knowing I am here.

I also said well why don’t we set a video camera up in the room to record all night so you have evidence if needed it for the police. She says no as the neighbours will know about the camera and will come and get her. She goes on to say they have contacts all around the estate watching, and says they listen in on her calls.

She says as soon as I or anyone else leaves the lasers start to come through her blinds again. She also says when she stops at her friend’s house which is about 5 miles away, she saw the lasers there and believes drones have now followed her and that somehow she’s been tagged for the lasers to shine in to her at her friend’s house.

She’s suffered with mild anxiety and depression over the years, and could cope with everyday living, however the paranoia has started a few months ago. She says her GP said he believes her but would like someone to come to visit her to talk. I get the GP is at that time accepting her reality, avoiding any shock to her state of mind at that time and I believe it is a member of a mental health team planning to visit.

However my elderly mother is stubborn and proud, she is adamant there is nothing wrong with her and I know will just march anyone out of her home who tries to suggest mental health difficulties.

She displays psychotic behaviour, in this state her mind and memory becomes slightly fragmented and struggles to process her thoughts when in a state of paranoia. When she is not in this state can have a rational and meaningful conversation.

She currently copes by either sleeping it a room in her friend house, under her table or in her bathroom with a rubber mat over her, as she says the lasers don’t flash in these rooms, the rubber mat she says is to stop any radiation from the lasers burning her body. I expect you get a sense of what she’s going through without writing a longer story.

Its very hard to hear and see her behave in this way, to hear her talk in a reality that to her without any question of doubt is completely true and should not be denied.

I’m worried she wont accept any help and in time she finds her ways of coping wont be as effective, in turn struggling to find ways of coping anymore. She’s no risk to herself or others, but cannot help but consider how she will cope when or if coping methods begin to no longer be effective and if there is risk in the future to harm herself, even take her own life.

Shes even thinking of moving home to get away, but im worried if this was her choice and she still sees lasers that she may come to consider she can never escape them,

Ive even worried about what if she is sectioned? I know this will see her off. That for her is not a thought that would ever enter her mind.

Its early days and the paranoia affecting her daily living is not yet severe as she can live a normal life when not in this state.

So, I thought I would ask what things I can do? Or maybe what kind of mental health difficulties these behaviours might signify, whats going on with her that I can explore would be a condition? or whats a good way to support her.? I accept her reality in order not to challenge her to dent everything she has created a strong belief on, and at times tactfully suggest exploring what things are not contributory to whats happening as a way for her to entertain what facts are available to validate her experiences. But careful not to show I have a different belief as to her belief, otherwise will shut me out. Any help or opinions appreciated. Thank you.
ajr1 is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Hugs from:
"Thanks for this!" says:

advertisement
Old 03-19-2019, 03:30 AM   #2
sarahsweets
Threadtastic Postaholic
 
sarahsweets's Avatar
sarahsweets Humor is my end game..
 
Member Since: Dec 2018
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 2,259 (SuperPoster!)
111 hugs
given
Default Re: Parents mental Health changes..

Has she been screened for Parkinson's or early dementia? Many times those diseases have symptoms involving delusions and seeing or hearing things that are not there. There are many breakthrough medications that can help with this. Does she have a neurologist?
__________________
"I carried a watermelon?"

President of the no F's given society.
sarahsweets is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
"Thanks for this!" says:
Old 03-19-2019, 04:35 PM   #3
ajr1
New Member
ajr1 has no updates.
 
Member Since: Mar 2019
Location: Cheshire
Posts: 5
Default Re: Parents mental Health changes..

Hi Sarah, As far as I am aware she hasn't had any tests for parkinsons or early dementia, hopefully her GP will arrange as part of his examination. Thanks for your help.
ajr1 is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 03-19-2019, 05:09 PM   #4
Skeezyks
Apparition
 
Skeezyks's Avatar
Skeezyks has no updates.
 
Member Since: Oct 2015
Location: L'Etoile du Nord
Posts: 17,741 (SuperPoster!)
3 yr Member
13.1k hugs
given
PC PoohBah!
Smile Re: Parents mental Health changes..

Thanks for sharing your concern here on PC. (By the way, I'm also 70 years old!) I'd like to second the idea of your mother being evaluated for some sort of dementia or other medical condition.

We here on PC cannot offer mental health diagnoses. Plus I'm not a mental health professional. So I can't suggest anything with regard to what might be going on with you mom. However here are links to 8 articles, from Psych Central's archives, that talk about delusions & how to respond to a person who is struggling with them plus an article by our host Dr. John Grohol, Psy.D that discusses the difficulty in treating someone who is in denial:

10 Things You Should Know About Delusions | Caregivers, Family & Friends

10 Things You Should Do With Someone Who Suffers Delusions | Caregivers, Family & Friends

Coping With Your Loved One's Delusions | Caregivers, Family & Friends

Part 1: Getting Through To Delusional Beliefs | Caregivers, Family & Friends

Part 2: Getting Through to Delusional Beliefs | Caregivers, Family & Friends

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/careg...hout-fighting/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/careg...has-delusions/

https://psychcentral.com/disorders/d...der-treatment/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/denial-...eatment/?all=1

My best wishes to you & your mom.
__________________
Speak only if you can improve upon the silence.
Skeezyks is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
"Thanks for this!" says:
Old 03-19-2019, 05:48 PM   #5
ajr1
New Member
ajr1 has no updates.
 
Member Since: Mar 2019
Location: Cheshire
Posts: 5
Default Re: Parents mental Health changes..

Thank you both for your help and support. Its certainly an area I didn't consider, Much appreciated.
ajr1 is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 03-19-2019, 09:15 PM   #6
Anonymous44076
Guest
Anonymous44076 has no updates. Edit
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Parents mental Health changes..

Hello Ajr1. I am sorry that you and your mother are struggling. She would need to be assessed and it sounds like you have arranged that but she may be living with Alzheimer's disease. There is a lot you can read about it on the internet. What is Alzheimer's | Alzheimer's Association

Respectfully, I do not agree that she's still fully functioning and safe home alone at this point. I believe she is already at the point where she should either have full-time care at home or be residing full-time at a facility with staff support. For her safety. She would of course need to be assessed by a professional which it sounds like is the plan. If that person is highly experienced and sophisticated in their approach to your mother (making it feel like a helpful visit and conversation rather than a formal test...they can tell a lot by asking questions) they may be able to get the info you need without her shutting down. Though you are right, she may grow suspicious and tell them to take a hike.

Are there other people involved here? You didn't mention a father...do you have siblings? You are going to have some major decisions coming up quickly here. Does your mother have a legal healthcare directive or medical power of attorney? Someone, such as yourself or a 3rd party, to legally help her to make decisions...or in the case where she is delusional (this sounds recurrent) that someone has the legal power to make decisions for her.

Other things to check:

medications? You'd be surprised how many geriatrics are taking multiple medications (prescribed by several different MDs unaware of the other Rx) which are actually contraindicated and can cause cognitive changes. It's worth running her med list by a local pharmacist just in case but my hunch is that she is living with alzheimer's. Do you happen to know if there is a history of that in your mother's family?

Other changes....general day to day hour to hour memory (long-term memory remains intact for a long time....you'll notice problems with short-term memory much sooner)? Language skills... forgetting names and places etc. Difficulty planning or solving problems. Difficulty with tasks at home that used to be easy?
Is your mother driving (sounds unsafe at this stage)? You mentioned vision changes...that can be caused by the changes in the brain associated with alzheimers. Your mother mentioned that the lasers are burning her skin. it could well be that she is experiencing sensory changes with the disease and her brain came up with a reason: lasers. That's called confabulation. It is very different from lying. The brain is trying to make sense of confusing stimuli.
Mood swings or changes in personality? Impulsivity or poor judgment?
Any change in physical heath or motor coordination? Sometimes helpful to screen for dehydration, malnutrition, UTI, change in swallow function, or any infection. These can affect cognition in geriatric folks but sometimes if it's a dramatic change (such as delusions) this can highlight a problem like alzheimer's which was running under the surface for a while.
Is she regularly grooming and bathing herself....cleaning and tidying her home...getting groceries...eating and drinking safely and at regular intervals?

Any sudden confusion or anger in the afternoon (see sundowning syndrome)?
Or mixing up day/year, season, month, day versus night etc?

As far as how to help....
join her in her reality as you and the doc have been. There is absolutely no value in negating her delusions. She truly believes what she's telling you about the lasers so if you were to question or negate that she would likely become anxious and fearful/suspicious of you. It is sometimes called "therapeutic truths" to accept the reality of someone living with alzheimer's.

I think between yourself and a good medical team, you will want to start planning for the future provided that they do believe she is living with alzheimer's. I think the doctor should be able to link you with some organizations who can help guide you through the next steps. Financial considerations. Care for your mother. You may even like to consult with a therapist for yourself...for comfort and coping strategies.

If your mother is assessed and found to be needing 24/7 care, there is a very important strategy you can use. It's called the "blame the doctor" strategy. Rather than you suggesting that your mother needs care, and disrupting her relationship with you, you emphasize that this decision is coming from her doctor...a medical decision. That allows her to feel angry toward the doctor (good docs don't mind that and understand) rather than you....you can continue to be the loving child.

If you do not wish for your mother to receive care at a nursing home, people can certainly come to her home to care for her. The problem is that in-home care tends to be much more expensive.

When your mother is fixated on a delusion, you can validate her concern with something like: "That would worry me too, seeing those lasers. I'm sorry you are going through this." Then redirect her with something practical...like a physical activity....something she enjoys. Can be very simple.

Music therapy is very helpful. Fond memories of yesteryear...soothing. Pull out some songs that your mother has always loved. Sing along together.

Photos. Pull out an album. Sit and reminisce with her about the people in the photos and happy memories (as well as comforting her, this will also give you an insight into her cognitive function and memory...if she starts talking like it's 1950 and a deceased person in the photo is still living that is a major indicator of cognitive decline...but again use your therapeutic truths and join her reality).

I hope you and your mother receive the care and support that you need. These situations can be extremely difficult for families...so hard to watch someone you love losing touch with reality. You have my empathy. A support network and strong medical team could be really valuable here. I would encourage you to involve siblings or friends if they are helpful.

Last edited by Anonymous44076; 03-19-2019 at 09:51 PM..
  Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
"Thanks for this!" says:
Old 03-21-2019, 04:09 AM   #7
ajr1
New Member
ajr1 has no updates.
 
Member Since: Mar 2019
Location: Cheshire
Posts: 5
Default Re: Parents mental Health changes..

Thank you so much for your detailed reply SilverTrees. Much appreciated.
ajr1 is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 03-21-2019, 11:45 AM   #8
Anonymous44076
Guest
Anonymous44076 has no updates. Edit
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Parents mental Health changes..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajr1 View Post
Thank you so much for your detailed reply SilverTrees. Much appreciated.

You're welcome Ajr1. Hope it wasn't too much information! Peace to you and your mother.
  Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:49 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® — Copyright © 2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.



 

advertisement

Psych Central Forums

Psych Central is the leading mental health website, overseen by mental health professionals since 1995.

 

Helplines and Lifelines

The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. .

Always consult your doctor or mental health professional before trying anything you read here.
Please read the full disclaimer.