Understanding the muddled-ness

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Hello. This is my first time posting but I hope someone might be able to share their experiences with me in this area. My Mum suffered a “bad” stroke in July this year. It has affected her left side so she can’t walk or use her left arm or hand. She can talk which I’m so grateful for. She has been assessed as cognitively sound but what she struggles with is thinking she’s been somewhere when she hasn’t, or seen someone she hasn’t. She tells me so many tales as to where she’s been (when she hasn’t been anywhere) - I’m thinking this might be dreaming, but it gets quite distressing when she sees someone in the nursing home who she thinks she knows from the past but it isn’t them. I don’t know whether to disagree with her telling her it’s not them or whether to go along with what she’s thinking? I guess the brain just can’t distinguish as easily but when someone is no longer with us and she still thinks it’s them, I find it really difficult to know how to handle or how to reassure her. It can get quite upsetting at times. No one in hospital really explained any of this in terms of the effects of the stroke so I’m a little lost :(

Hi Kathryn. I think this is quite common. On my rehab ward, there was a man who maintained that while rest of us were asleep he went out with 14 women! I had a vivid dream that I was being brought up with Queen Victoria’s children. Others have hallucinations or see patterns on the walls and ceilings.

The brain takes time to recover after a stroke. You Mum’s was only five months ago, so her brain is in the early stage of recovery. I am sure these tales will diminish over time, especially as she gets more physically able.

Oh gosh really?! Thank you John. That’s reassuring that she’s not on her own with this. She keeps thinking she’s sleeping in different places. When she has a good day, she recognises herself that this isn’t the case, but sometimes she gets stressed about where she’s been or going when she hasn’t been or isn’t going anywhere. Thank you so much.

Dear Kathryn
In my humble opinion I wouldn't correct or confront her. Could it be an "elderly thing" and not really related to stroke ? My mum saw people who weren't there. And as I said to her, who am I to say nothing is there when Mum can see something ??
I thought about it and decided to see things from Mums point of view. I am fairly sure it was her old memories coming to the fore. I asked her about the visions and this seemed to reassure her.
So I guess I am saying you might go along with Mum. When it gets difficult then gently and matter of fact say that you cant see the thing/person.
It worked for me and it wasn't a big deal. I loved hearing her tell me stories about what she could see. Stories that were life in the 1920s.
Colin

Hello Colin, thank you for commenting. I think you’re right, I need to go along with things to avoid her getting upset. It’s a tad more tricky when she sees someone who reminds her of an old friend (who’s no longer with us) but my Mum thinks it is actually her then wants to go and talk to her. That’s a really tricky one! And I haven’t managed to come up with the right strategy yet. I take your point about age, but she wasn’t like this at all before the stroke. Sometimes people she tells me about are celebrities who she’s never met and they seem to pop up quite frequently!

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