For those providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, a number of complicated effects must be carefully managed, but perhaps the most challenging include hallucinations, illusions, and suspicions that other people are out to cause harm or ill will. Mistaken impressions such as these develop typically in the later periods of progressive dementia as a result of changes within the brain. It is vital to first understand the reasons behind these feelings and behaviors, and to manage the underlying cause.
Causes for hallucinations might be attributable to a general confusion, a medicine side effect or an infection. Seek advice from the physician to rule out medication side effects or infections, but also monitor the environment.
- If the person keeps hearing people talking: Is a television or radio on in another room that could be resulting in the concern?
- If the older adult feels as though he or she is continually being observed: See if pulling the curtains closed over the windows helps.
- If the individual sees bugs moving on the walls: Is there a patterned wallpaper in the room that may be causing the visualization?
When illusions do occur, do not dispute about whether or not they are real, but rather evaluate the circumstances, assure the older adult in a quiet voice and make adjustments as required or reply to the older adult’s emotions.
- “I don’t see the insects moving on the wall, but you sound worried, so let’s move into the family room until they can be taken care of.”
- “You believe you saw a man in that dark corner? Let’s turn on the light over there so we can see better. Would that make you more comfortable?”
A person with Alzheimer’s disease may accuse other people of stealing objects, of unacceptable behavior or of betrayal. This may be a result of an overall confusion or memory loss, but might also be a way for the senior to express anxiety.
How to respond:
- Remove “no” from your vocabulary. Don’t debate, take offense or attempt to persuade the individual otherwise.
- Reassure the individual, allowing him or her to share feelings.
- Try and come up with a simple response to the allegation.
- Redirect; for example, distracting the senior with an alternative task.
- Respond to the requirement as opposed to the words.
- Obtain duplicates of regularly lost items, for example a handbag or wallet. If one is misplaced, the duplicate can be presented.
It’s no question that caregiving for a family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be challenging at times. It is important to depend on the support of other people for advice, resources and respite from the day-to-day duties. Call on the in-home care services of Regency Home Care. We offer home caregivers in Atlanta who are specially trained in the art of patient, innovative dementia care strategies to make sure your loved one is safe, comfortable and living life to the fullest. Contact us today by clicking here or call us at 678.999.2446.