How Caregivers Cope and Treat Hallucinations

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good morning god's kingdom is at hand

you are not alone it is

well dementia causes changes in the

brain that

may cause someone to hallucinate that

means seeing

hearing feeling or tasting something


isn't there their brain is distorted

or misinterpreting the senses and even

if it's not

real the hallucination is very very

real to them to the person who is

experiencing it

for example if your older adult is


bugs falling on the wall or on the floor

nothing you say will convince them that

the bug

does not exist the brain is saying that

the bug

is real some hallucinations can be scary

but others might involve visions of

ordinary people situations or objects

from the past

some may even be pleasant or happy

these dementia hallucinations

usually happen in the middle or later


and are more common in low

body and parkinson's dementia

but they can also happen in alzheimer's

and other types of dementia

with any hallucination what's

most important is to validate your


your older adults experience respond to

their feelings and

keep them safe you

are not alone first step

is to determine if a response is

needed whether the hallucination is

bothering your older audience

if it's pleasant you might not want to


or call attention to it at all

just know and accept that it's a


symptom and thankfully isn't causing

distress if the hallucination

is upsetting or causing them to do

something unsafe then it is time

to step in to provide

comfort and redirect them to a safe

activity the most important thing you

can do to assist them

is to stay calm don't argue

or try to convince with you convince

them by using logic

logic as logic is it does not work

it will not exist in their mind

when someone is having a dementia


it's important to stay calm and avoid

contradicting them what they are seeing

is a dementia symptom and is very very

and i mean

very very real to them try to explain

or trying to explain that it isn't real

simply will not work it doesn't work

i've been there i've dealt with it

it just does not work because of the


that dementia has caused in their brain

in fact knowing that you don't believe


might make them even more upset and


if they're calm enough to explain

it may also help to understand what they

are seeing

listen carefully and try to pick up


to what they are seeing but keep in mind

that dementia damage

in the brain may affect their ability

to even use the correct words for

example they could

unintentionally say cabbages

when they mean green cushions however

validate their feelings and provide


be careful not to dismiss your older

adults experiences

brushing off what they are seeing by

saying something like

don't be silly there's nothing there

it's like to

it's like it's more likely to upset them

it helps to allow them to talk about

what they are seeing

having you to take them seriously

and provide reassurance increases their

feeling of

safety and security focus of being

kind and responding to their feelings

rather than to

dismiss them of their hallucination or

their hallucination itself

if they seem scared you could say

something like

that sounds scary i can see how

upsetting that can be for you

or if they are happy you might say

something like

how wonderful i am glad that makes you

so happy all of these will increase

their security other possible responses

can be

it sounds like you're worried or i know

this is scary for you

you in all you don't need to pretend

that you can see or hear what they they

are pointing out to you just be


and do what you can to relieve any fear

or anxiety as if it was a real

a real threat for example you could say

something like i don't hear or see

anything outside the window

but you seem worried what can i do to

help you feel

safe the most important thing

is to make them feel secure

and safe check the environment and


possible triggers oftentimes dementia

hallucination can be triggered by things

going on

around your older adult their dementia

brain can

interpret sights and sounds differently

to you

causing hallucinations to remove

possible triggers check their

environment for background noises

or visual stimulations that could cause

a problem

for example things like tv or radio

could make them believe that some

strangers are in the house

what's happening on tv they could

interpret it as being

real or that they are hearing voices

dim lights for instance could make

shadowy corners

a source of fear reflections in shiny


or windows when it's dark outside

and bright inside could make it seem


there are people in the house similarly

mirrors could be another source of fear

or confusion

offer simple answers and reassurances

when someone is having a dementia


don't give them explanations about

what's happening they just

won't get it they won't understand

try to process what you are saying

may actually add to their distress

instead respond in a calm and supportive

way for example you could say something


don't worry i'm here to protect you i

will make sure you

are safe gently hugging them or patting

their hand

or shoulder may also provide them the

comfort and reassurance they

need if they are scared or distressed

connecting with you may also be a


destruction from the hallucination look

for patterns

if hallucinations happen frequently

there could be a trigger

that's not obvious one way to figure out

what could be causing the behavior is to


activities and try to find a pattern

taking notes or keeping a dementia

journal may help you to discover

that certain hallucinations happen at a

certain time of the day

before or after meals or in relation to


physical need like using the bathroom or

being in pain

or it could be something as simple as

change in daily routine that's making

them feel confused and disorientated and

causing this

hallucination keeping a log or

taking notes helps you to keep

and look for solutions and ways to avoid

the situation

that may be triggering hallucination


and redirection i can't stress this


another effective technique is to


your older adult from their


try to switch their focus to an activity

they enjoy like dancing or singing for


you could ask them to help with a chore

that makes them feel

um successful and in need

that you need them look at favorite

family photos

singing their favorite songs doing a fun


eat a tasty snack or take a pleasant


to look at the view even an indoor straw

would definitely this will definitely


another way to distract is to direct

their attention

to you instead of their hallucination

if they are hearing voices try chatting

with them

it's harder to hear those voices if you

are now

having a conversation with them or

if they are seeing someone or something


too eye level and try to make eye

contact with them

if they are occupied with looking at you

it could make their loose hallucination

less intense or even just fade away but


get help in coping with this

caring for someone with dementia


is stressful so it can be a big help

to know that you are not alone in


with this issue that's why care support


high are highly recommended sharing your

experiences and getting advice and topic

and tips from others can make

life a lot and i mean a lot easier

there are also many great online groups


are free and private you may want to

speak to your older adult's doctor to

find out if there could be a medical

reason behind

the hallucination this won't change the

way you respond

but it may help you find ways to reduce

or even eliminate the behavior for

example some medications

or medical issues that can cause


include hydration urine traction

infection kidney or even bladder


head injuries from a ball or even pain

or if your older adult recently

started a new medication it could be a


side effect of the drug or

interaction with another medication

immediately report any changes in their


to the doctor and if your older adult

is having trouble with hearing or vision

that could

easily explain their hearing or seeing


that aren't there you

are not alone but by om

all means please do contact your doctor

immediately if their

safety or yours is at risk

if your older adult is severely

distressed by hallucination or if

hallucination causes them

to hurt themselves or others contact

their local doctor immediately to get


for example they might be hitting out

or try to defend themselves against a

perceived attacker run away from

something that scares them

or something else dangerous these types

of actions can easily lead to injury to


and also to yourself when you speak with

your doctor

describe the symptoms in great detail


often they happen and if they have


in intensity or frequency over time

it helps if you keep a log or notes

that could help the doctor get a clearer


of what's happening if non-drug

approaches aren't working there isn't a


condition that's causing the


careful use of behavior meditative


could improve the quality of life by


the intensity and frequency of their


by all means do

contact your daughter and you

you are not alone

this is definitely a hard situation to

be in

because with dementia especially at the

later stages

middle and later stages i've found that

absolutely anything can

cause hallucination for example

photographs or family members they once


recognized so well now

becomes other people other children

faces on tv are looking at them

constantly even the glare the reflection

of themselves on a tv screen

after being switched off will cause

hallucination they will

they will interpret it as someone else

not their reflection

looking at them any kind of photographic

image for example on a magazine

will be looking at them depending on the


either having a scary effects to them

giving them a scary effect

or even just staring at them

and talking to them all of these are

is this it's a great it's a difficult

situation to be in

and i do sympathize with you the only

thing i can say is

going around the room and looking

for objects covering

mirrors for example

covering mirrors with clothes and

any shiny objects just covering it up

uh putting or putting instead of for

example if you have

uh one single color in the bathroom on

towels let's say you have white

towels make sure you've got another

color in there to balance out

otherwise they will they will interpret

it as something else i

i have found that as well so i would

dilute the white

with a single white towel

sorry with a single red towel or with

um another color or have multiple um

dilutions and their illusions in in


in the bathroom for that so that they


um feel safer for instance even the air


might have the sound of the air vent

might sound like

people talking to them okay

so or even people looking at them

so this is important covering all of

that up

switching the radio off or

putting the radio down so that it is not

um overbearing overwhelming for them

it is just there's just so many aspects

to be on the lookout for and you and you

constantly have to be on your guard


it is a very difficult situation to be

in and i do sympathize with you

but by no means are you alone you're not

alone in this and i do commit you to the

old ones

because this is a demon

dementia alzheimer's all of such are

just demonic they're just

horrible horrible diseases

no disease is good it's horrible

horrible and i do sympathize with you

regardless you're



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