It can be frightening and overwhelming for a family caregiver when a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s experiences delusions and hallucinations. The senior often harbors paranoia and may become distrustful, and changes in behavior such as anxiety and depression may develop. While this can be a common phase, it can also be dangerous. Fortunately, there are a few things family caregivers can do to promote the safety of their loved ones while managing the delusions and hallucinations.
Knowing When to Intervene
An aging adult with Alzheimer’s who experiences hallucinations for the first time should see his or her doctor to rule out other possible causes. If your loved one has had hallucinations before, assess the situation to determine if it’s necessary for you to intervene. For example, if your parent is simply hearing a favorite song in his or her head, he or she may find it relaxing. However, if your loved one is experiencing a delusion or hallucination that causes negative emotions, you should respond with calm reassurance.
Ensuring Safety in the Home
Those who haven’t done so already should ensure medications, potentially hazardous substances (such as cleaning products), and objects that could be used for harm are locked away. Latches should also be placed on doors and windows. Enrolling your loved one in the Safe Return program sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association is also highly recommended at this point. You may also want to consider around-the-clock monitoring.
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Maintaining Consistent Routines
Keeping a consistent routine can assist during this . only will this help your loved one focus, but it also provides a familiar pattern. This can be very reassuring to someone who is experiencing hallucinations and delusions, often fostering a greater sense of security. Another great benefit of consistency in the daily routine is that it allows an opportunity to identify potential triggers for delusions and/or hallucinations.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Sarasota Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Helping Your Loved One Manage
Many caregivers believe it’s helpful to reassure their loved ones the things they’re hearing, seeing, or otherwise experiencing aren’t valid. This isn’t entirely so. Rather than tell your loved one something isn’t there and attempting to change this belief, simply let your parent know that while you believe him or her, you don’t see or hear what he or she has described. Attempting to tell a senior with Alzheimer’s these things aren’t real could cause a sense of distrust, and your loved one may be less likely to disclose this information to you in the future.
Moving to a different room or changing activities can help your loved one stop experiencing a hallucination. To ensure your parent has a steady supply of distractions, consider planning several different activities throughout the day. While your loved one is experiencing the hallucination, try changing the subject or having him or her sit with another trusted person for a few minutes to distract your loved one’s mind.
If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Sarasota seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that promotes cognitive health and delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (941) 702-5525 today.