As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, a number of complex Alzheimer’s symptoms have to be carefully managed, the most difficult of which include hallucinations, illusions, and suspicions that others are out to cause the person problems or harm. False perceptions such as these occur most commonly in the advanced phases of progressive dementia because of changes within the brain. It is important to first comprehend the reasoning behind these emotions and behaviors, and to manage the root cause.
Hallucinations may be caused by a general confusion, a medication side effect or an illness. Consult the physician to rule out medication side effects or infections, but also pay attention to the person’s surroundings.
- If the individual keeps hearing people talking: Is a television or radio on in a different part of the house that might be creating the concern?
- If the older adult seems to think he/she is continuously being watched: Pull the blinds shut over the windows.
- If the individual sees bugs shifting across the walls: Is there a patterned wallpaper on the wall that could be triggering the experience?
When illusions do happen, don’t argue about whether or not they truly are real, but instead assess the situation, reassure the person in a serene voice and modify the atmosphere as necessary or respond to the older adult’s emotions.
- “I don’t see the bugs moving about on the wall, but you appear worried, so let’s go into another room until they can be taken care of.”
- “You believe you saw a person in that side of the room? Let’s turn the light on over there to make it easier to see. Would that help you feel safe?”
A person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may accuse others of stealing things, of improper behavior or of betrayal. This might be the result of a general confusion or loss of memory, but might also be a way for the individual to express anxiety.
How to respond:
- Take “no” out of your vocabulary. Never disagree, take offense or try to persuade the senior otherwise.
- Reassure him/her, letting him or her communicate emotions.
- Try to provide a simple solution to the allegation.
- Redirect; for example, distracting the individual with an alternative task.
- Respond to the requirement as opposed to the words.
- Maintain duplicates of typically lost items, such as a pocketbook or wallet. If one is misplaced, the alternate can be shown.
It’s no doubt that addressing Alzheimer’s symptoms can be complicated at times. It is important to depend on the support of other individuals for advice, resources and respite from the everyday responsibilities. Call on the Sacramento senior care services of Live Well at Home. We offer private in-home caregivers who are specially trained in the art of patient, innovative dementia care techniques to ensure your loved one is safe, comfortable and thriving. Contact us today to learn more.