Alzheimers Delusions & Hallucinations
Handling Behavioral Changes With Dementia: Hallucinations and Delusions
Unfortunately, many individuals who have dementia often also have hallucinations and delusions as a side effect of their condition. Typically these things occur in the middle stages of Alzheimers, but they can also take place during all stages of dementia. First it is important to know what delusions and hallucinations are.
Delusions are typically defined as false beliefs, and they occur when a person with dementia believes something is true that is not. Typically these delusions can make the individual with dementia sound quite paranoid, as they suspect that someone is stealing their belongings or watching them.
Hallucinations on the other hand take place when the brain becomes some damaged from the disease that it is unable to make sense of the surrounding environment. Many times this can mean that individuals with dementia are unable to correctly interpret signals from their eyes and ears so they may hear voices or see things that are really not there.
Handling Delusions and Hallucinations
Delusions and hallucinations can sometimes be quite overwhelming for a person with dementia; but they can also be positive or reassuring. Typically the most difficult situations are when a person with dementia is experiencing delusions or hallucinations that are frightening or overwhelming. Here are some tips to handling these situations.
- First, make sure that you are recognizing the person is experiencing a delusion or a hallucination and that this is a very serious and very real side effect of Alzheimers. They are not simply lying to you. Even if you suspect they are dealing with a delusion; make sure that you check out the situation to determine if there are any truths to their claims. - Stay calm and do not try to talk sense into the individual with Alzheimers and do not try to reason with them. Keep in mind that this person will not be able to be convinced of the truth no matter how hard you try, and attempting to do so will only aggravate the individual and make the situation worse. - Validate the persons feelings and let them know that you are there to keep them safe, then try to distract them from the situation or involve them in activities as many times isolation or feelings of isolation can trigger their delusions and hallucinations. - If their delusions and hallucinations are causing severe reactions that may be endangering the individual with Alzheimers or their caregivers, visit your health care provider for assistance.