Why do Alzheimer’s patients see ghosts and spirits?

Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash

Caregiving for an Alzheimer’s mother for four years has taken its toll. After a lengthy battle with her backaches and delusions about ghosts and spirits for two weeks, I adjusted my routine with her today. We prayed and read scripture together as soon as she woke up this morning. Today was a special day since I could see she was having fun doing what we were both doing.

Weeks had passed since she had her urinary infection, and she could see various ghosts and spirits around her. At first, there was fear, but later, she confronted them. I decided that this was not right. After one week of UTI treatment, she became prayerful today. The spirits stopped, God intervened and delivered her from those images, and she was peaceful the whole day. Your patience and compassion will be tested as a caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient. Caregiving has its ups and downs, and I am not immune to them.

Why do Alzheimer’s patients sees people whom we cannot see?

Don Duitz“Just let it go. If she has Alzheimers she may not remember the delusions very long. You must keep an eye on her for wandering and not knowing you or where she may be. Be sure you take care of your needs. Caring for her will get very trying and you need someone to fill in so you can get some piece.” (https://www.quora.com/profile/Don-Duitz)

Cherie French — “I’ve never in my long career heard of this particular hallucination by a dementia patient the brain is so fascinating! I’m so sorry she is bothered by this or is it those around her that are upset by it? If she is distressed please contact your alzheimer specialist that cares for her (here in Canada they are called Geriatricians) and let them know what she says and does. She may need an antipsychotic to bring her relief. If she is of a particular religious faith, having somone from that faith come and see her and do a familiar ritual is very soothing and calming. My own father immediately folded his hands in prayer when a minister from his church came by in the last weeks of his life when his dementia was bad, and he’d bow his head when the minister said let’s pray, then I got a call as I worked at a different hospital because after prayer he kept saying to the minister Littles. His speech had failed so much. Dad didn’t recall he ever had children, so i knew he didn’t mean us his daughters. So they put him on the phone with me (?), so I said “ Dad name little?” He said Edwin. OK. So then I could tell the minister he was thinking his 5 siblings were still young kids, he was the oldest and he wanted prayers for them. Then I told Mom to get on the phone and get those siblings in to visit Dad. He calmed after prayer. So often their memories are distorted because the timelines are gone. So vague memories of 75yr dead grandparents are ghostlike to them. So that’s why I ask if your mom is distressed and fearful, or just talking/seeing old memories? Use the medical expertise to keep her comfortable. As the parts of the brain are affected by the alzheimers, things change in behaviour and thought processes. Primarily you need to reassure her that all is well, you have everything in control, she’s safe and loved. The core needs of all humans. Blessings on this hard journey.” (https://www.quora.com/profile/Cherie-French-5)

No Way N YoUr Way, Only One Way, Gods’ Way“It is normal for people that are living in a state of fear by demonic oppression after the lost or disconnection of human faculties associated with cognition or motor skills. Sometimes extreme trauma from a wreck or catastrophic event will cause the mind to slip or go into a “safety zone” mode to deal with the adverse effects of the tragedy. It is as the person has to disassociate themselves from reality in order to deal with what has happened and sometimes this is with or without their consent. The effects of shock without an outlet to absorb the full effect sends different people over the edge mentally and others may recover. When the mind slips into passivity, spirits are able to come in and operate through her since her sensual and mental capabilities are compromised. Her soul needs to be delivered from the trauma and shock of the wreck that locked her mind to suppress the memories. It is a spirit of fear that completely captures the persons soul to remove their ability to identify with their real self and leads them into an identity of an ideal self. It is her soul that was disconnected from God while needing to be healed and restored, leaving her open to demonic infestation. She needs deliverance by a Holy Spirit filled minister or pastor.” (https://www.quora.com/profile/No-Way-N-YoUr-Way-Only-One-Way-Gods-Way)

Beatrice Portinari“According to your question your mother had an accident and also has Alzheimer’s. You don’t say what kind of accident or what part of her body was injured. Did she have a concussion? How long has she had Alzheimer’s? I don’t have first-hand experience in dealing with family members who had Alzheimer’s so I don’t know if seeing ghosts or spirits is part of the that illness. What I have heard is that some Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosed people seem to have lucid conversations out of the blue with deceased loved ones but that usually happens right before they pass.

All patients are different and how to handle the situation is probably best answered by your mom’s doctor. If you have been your mom’s caretaker for four years, is the seeing ghost and/or spirits a recent thing? Your mom’s doctor might want to add some anti-anxiety meds if your mom experiences anxiety during these episodes. It must be super stressful for you so I hope you are looking after yourself. My heart goes out to you, it sounds like you really have a lot on your plate. (https://www.quora.com/profile/Beatrice-Portinari-6)

Mark OsborneHallucinations and delusions are common in dementia patients, though most commonly associated with dementia with Lewy bodies. I sympathise deeply, I went through something similar with my late mother. In her case it wasn’t ghosts and spirits, but people in the trees of a neighbours garden and Henry the squirrel/rat/hedgehog creature that lived under the doormat and sometimes chewed on the pipework.”

“Arguing will get you nowhere and just upset everyone. You have to accept that you can’t change her mind and that to her those apparitions are very real. All you can do is try to comfort and reassure her. If these things are happening later in the day it could be what is known as ‘Sundowning’ . If that’s the case there may be things you can do to ease the problem.” (https://www.quora.com/profile/Mark-Osborne-48)

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