My Mum is convinced someone else lives with us

In the last 48 hours my elderly Mum is convinced another daughter is staying with us. There is no such person, I seem unable to convince her that only myself and my Mum live here, no one has appeared over night and no one is staying with us. Mum has been very anxious and then angry with me, she clearly does not believe me. It has been very distressing, my Mum and I have always been very close and she has said some very hurtful things. What can I do to reassure and comfort her? Thank you. Dawn

Good morning, Dawn, and welcome!

There are all sorts of possible reasons for this sort of thing, but the first one to check is whether she might have a UTI. Urine infections can cause a lot of changes in a person, and can affect their ability to remember, cause hallucinations, all sorts.

It can make existing conditions - such as dementia - a lot worse. So it’s definitely worth checking out.

Whatever is causing it, though, your best bet is to show interest in what your Mum is saying, and to live in her world. Accept it.

It’s difficult. My Mum told me about how puppies had come onto her hospital ward and used distraction techniques to steal drugs from the medicine cabinet during meds round. I managed to keep her talking and get the story out, and then steered the conversation to safer territory. It was a completely false memory, but a few years on it’s her only memory of hospital. Apart from the bad smashup she was involved in, whilst in an ambulance on the way to another hospital.

None of which happened. The false memories are most vivid, and challenging them won’t change the “reality” of her memories. False or not, they’re so vivid that as far as my Mum is concerned, they’re real. Challenging them would make her feel that I’m challenging her sanity.

Why not ask her to tell you more? Something like: “I’ve never met her: tell me about her.” Or, just go along with what she’s telling you: live in her world. It can be difficult but if she has a degenerative condition, fighting it with the truth will only cause more upset and won’t change a thing.

Morning Charles, thank you for the response. Yes she has had UTIs in the past and certainly her urge to go to the toilet is more frequent. Could being constipated contribute her state of mind? Mum always has had problems in this area. Dawn

Hello Dawn

Firstly welcome to our forum, you’ve certainly come to the right place to connect with other carers, many of who will have similar experiences. I also wanted to highlight some of the other options for connecting with fellow carers and for getting support from Carers UK should you need it.

Carers UK are running online weekly meet ups for carers to take some time for themselves and chat to other carers. Feel free to join if you’d like to and there’s no pressure to share anything you don’t want to. I’m sure you’ll find others in a similar position to yourself.

You can find information on how to register to our online meetups at the following pages:

Care for a Cuppa: … ne-meetups - This social is a great way to have a little break if you are able to and spend some quality time talking to people who understand what you are going through right now.

Share and Learn: … e-sessions - these sessions range from creative writing activities to beginners Latin dance sessions.

There is also Carers UK’s helpline should you need advice or support - Our Telephone Helpline is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email (

with all good wishes

It sounds like typical UTI confusion.

There’s a door missing from this room!
Over there!
That would open onto the toilet.
But I tell you there should be a door over there!
Well the wardrobe is there, we will sort it out tomorrow because I am busy today.

When she’s better we have a laugh about it.
Also confusion over the layout of the house or asking how many babies she’s had and convinced there are more but can’t tell me who when I ask.