How Family Caregivers Can Respond to Dementia Hallucinations

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Responding to Hallucinations in Dementia

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Hallucinations are events that cause people to experience actual sensations that can involve sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, and they commonly occur in seniors who are struggling with dementia. Brain changes that develop with the disease often trigger false perceptions that can be frightening for dementia patients, and they can also be challenging for loved ones who are trying to help the older adult get through the event. Following a few simple guidelines can help lessen the trauma that seniors may feel when they are having a hallucination.

  • Avoid Challenging the Senior – Hallucinations appear very real to individuals, and challenging the person about the reality of the event can cause anger and escalate an already tense situation. Unless an occurrence is threatening the safety of the senior or others, El Dorado Hills senior care experts cite that it is best to downplay the experience without outwardly denying its existence.
  • Offer a Diversion – Gently coaxing the person into another room or removing offensive stimuli in the environment may help the hallucination to fade. Turning on extra lights in the room, or using the television or music as a distraction can also help to weaken or extinguish the experience.
  • Provide Comfort – Talking to the senior in a calm voice and offering to hold his or her hand can help promote relaxation and provide security. Reassuring frightened loved ones by asserting that they are being protected is also important when they are feeling threatened.

Preventing Repeat Occurrences

Hallucinations are often caused by the introduction of new stimuli or a change in the environment. Maintaining a predictable routine and keeping the living area unchanged can help avoid triggering a hallucination. Because of this, when care needs become too complex for family caregivers to meet on their own, hourly or live-in home care in El Dorado Hills is often the preferred choice for support. This way your loved one does not have to relocate to an unfamiliar environment, their regular routine can be maintained, and care will be provided by the same familiar and professional caregivers.

Additionally, if your loved one wears glasses, making sure that his or her eyeglass prescriptions are correct, and that their glasses are clean can help avoid altered perceptions in the environment that could precipitate an event. Regular eye exams with doctors are also recommended to ensure overall comfort and safety.

Interested in learning more about dementia care or support services near you? Call 916-358-3801 and speak with a friendly Care Manager from Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of El Dorado Hills dementia care. We offer complimentary, no-obligation consultations and are available to talk 24/7.