Proper Medical Care Ends Hallucinations for a 92 Year-Old Woman
I received a call from the brother of a 92 year old woman who was living alone in an apartment in Brooklyn. The brother, Ben, explained that he lived out of state and was concerned that his oldest sister was talking about ghosts in her apartment. Reportedly she had private home care but the aides were overwhelmed with Fannies hallucinations that there were other people living in her apartment. Fannie expressed fear of these ghosts and as a result would not eat or allow the aide to turn on lights. Fannie was behaving like a prisoner in her own apartment.
I went to visit Fannie. Her apartment seemed clean and she seemed well-cared for, but a brief conversation revealed that Fannie was seeing ghosts. She told me about the ghosts living in her apartment and how they would fight and yell at her. She also told me that they told her not to do things like get out of bed or turn on the TV.
I contacted a physician who makes home calls in the area. I told him which medications she was taking. He thought her hallucinations might be caused by one of her medications. He went to see her, determined that the problem was the medication and he immediately discontinued it. Within a few days Fannie was no longer fearful or talking about ghosts in her apartment. The aides were able to properly care for her and Fannies brother was thankful.