A caregiver shares her personal experience
Maureen & Helen
Maureen takes care of her mother, Helen, who has dementia. When Helen began to accuse Maureen of stealing from her, Maureen didn't know what was going on. So she turned to a doctor for help.
This story represents the experiences of actual patients and caregivers. The opinions expressed are their own and individual experiences may vary. Always speak with your doctor.
[Maureen] From when I was a child, my mom was an elementary school teacher.
Her whole life revolved around her students. She knew all of them by name, every single one.
Looking back, I think one of the earlier warning signs was her memory problems. When a new student would join her class she had trouble remembering their name.
But at the time, I never suspected dementia.
I found out a year later when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
I only wish I’d known then that her memory loss was just the start of her dementia symptoms.
Over time, my mom started believing things that weren't true and she became afraid of being alone.
I’d stay with her whenever I could.
But once I left, she’d call me all upset. Claiming that I stole her money or her jewelry. Or that I was hiding things from her.
It started happening so often, I knew she needed to see her doctor.
I hoped he'd have an explanation for what was going on.
He told me that what she was experiencing were delusions—false beliefs—related to her dementia.
I saw things differently after that appointment. Just knowing that my mom was experiencing delusions has helped me avoid taking things personally.
Some days are hard. I’m not going to lie. But no matter what, I’m here to do whatever I can. Because she’s my mom. And I know how much she needs me by her side.
[Narrator] Hallucinations and delusions can be related to dementia. They may become more frequent over time and may persist.
Talk to your healthcare provider at the first sign of dementia-related hallucinations and delusions to learn how you can help your loved one.
Do you or someone you love have dementia-related hallucinations and delusions? Speak up. Talk to your doctor to learn more about these symptoms.
Ready to speak to your doctor?
A doctor discussion guide can help you prepare for that conversation.
Hallucinations and delusions can vary from person to person. Learn about these common signs.