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How To Deal With Hallucinations In Dementia Patients

Do Not Try To Stop A Person Who Wants To Leave A Room

Hallucinations and delusions in patients with dementia

Staying in one place for long periods may result in behavior problems in the dementia patient. It is essential to have a safe environment where they can enjoy the outdoors without any problem. When someone tries to leave a room, do not force them to stop. Doing this may result in an extreme reaction such as severe distress or injuries.

Instead, it is best to accompany the patient so that they are safe. You can even suggest going for a drive around the block so that they can experience a new environment for a short period. If they do not want company, just let them go but stay close by to make sure that the patient is safe at all times.

Be Aware Of Your Loved Ones Well

There is a very high chance that your loved ones aggression and anger is due to them being uncomfortable. If you suspect that this might be the cause, then try to look for the following signs:

  • Are they showing any signs of being physically uncomfortable?
  • Could they be cold, thirsty, hungry, etc.?
  • Is there a need for them to be cleaned up?
  • Are there signs of them being in physical pain?

Since your loved one will eventually lose their ability to verbally communicate, they are going to resort to other forms, including gestures, shouts, anger, and others. As a caregiver, it is important for you to be observant of your loved ones well-being and identify if they show any signs of distress or discomfort.

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Do Not Ignore Physical Abuse

As much as one needs to be tolerant, kind, forgiving, and patient with older adults who have dementia, it does not mean that they have to excuse the patients when they become physically aggressive and allow the abuse to continue. It is not to be accepted, and if it happens, it is best to alert your doctor who will work on the solution to make sure it stops. It will keep both the patient and caregiver in safety.

From physical manifestations to angry outbursts, taking care of an individual with dementia may not be easy. However, working with the tips above can help caregivers and loved ones to get through it. Remember that there are plenty of treatments, interventions and special care providers who can help; therefore, you should never be shy about getting help when you need it.

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Coping With A Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with dementia can be an overwhelming experience. While there is no cure at present for LBD, or any medications aimed at specifically treating LBD, doctors are able to treat many of its symptoms. There are also a number of self-help strategies that can help improve symptoms.

If youve been diagnosed with LBD, its normal to feel many strong and painful emotions, including anger, fear, and uncertainty about the future.

Take time to adjust. As with any major life change, its important to give yourself time to adjust. Expect ups and downs as you do. You may feel that youve come to terms with your new situation for a while, and then suddenly feel overwhelmed by stress again.

Reach out for support.;Living with Lewy body dementia is not easy, but there is help for this journey. The more support you have from family and friends, the better youll be able to cope with symptoms.

Talk to your loved ones about your wishes. Its never easy to talk about how you want your healthcare handled when youre unable to make decisions for yourself. But its important to let your loved one know what is important to you. Thinking about your choices today can improve your quality of life in the future and ease the burden on your family.

Slowing the progression of symptoms

The same healthy lifestyle changes that are used to prevent dementia can also be useful in slowing the advancement of LBD symptoms.

How Can Hallucinations Be Treated

How to Help Lewy Body Dementia Patients Cope with ...

Drug treatments are often not that helpful for people with dementia. However hallucinations,;particularly in people with dementia with Lewy bodies, may respond to anti-dementia drugs.

Antipsychotic medication can sometimes help to reduce severe or distressing hallucinations. They should only be used when other treatments have not worked, as they can cause unpleasant or dangerous side-effects. This medication should be regularly reviewed.

People with dementia with Lewy bodies are at particular risk of severe harmful reactions to antipsychotic medication. For more information see Drugs for behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Lewy Body Dementia

As with Alzheimers disease or Parkinsons disease, the symptoms of Lewy body dementia worsen over time, with intellectual and motor functions deteriorating, typically over several years. Despite the overlaps, however, there are symptoms that indicate the disorder is indeed LBD and not another condition.

While patients with LBD lose cognitive function, they are less prone to the short-term memory loss associated with Alzheimers disease. More commonly, they experience greater problems with executive functions of planning, decision-making, and organization, as well as difficulties with visual perception, such as judging and navigating distances. This can cause you to fall or faint frequently or become lost in familiar settings. Lewy body dementia can also cause sleep disturbances, including insomnia and daytime sleepiness.

If you have Lewy body dementia, you will also exhibit at least two of four core features:

Changes or fluctuations in awareness and concentration.;You swing from a state of alertness to appearing drowsy, confused, or staring into space. These episodes can be unpredictable and last anywhere from a few seconds to several hours.

Spontaneous Parkinsons-like motor symptoms,;such as slowness of movement, rigid muscles, tremor, lack of facial expression, or abnormal gait.

Recurrent visual hallucinations or delusions,;such as seeing shapes, colors, people, or animals that arent there or conversing with deceased loved ones.

Is There Any Link Between Dementia And Hallucinations

Dementia can affect the brain activities of people, which can lead to odd and frightening behavior. People with dementia often experience hallucinations due to the changes in brain cells. The changes impact their senses. During a hallucination, a patient may feel or think they are hearing, seeing, or smelling something that is not actually present. It is something that causes the patient to believe something is real when its not. The sights or sounds or odors a patient feel or experience dont exist for a normal person. If you have seen your older parent or someone else experience dementia, you must know how scary and hard it is to deal with it.

Hallucinations often happen during the middle or last stages of dementia. They are more common with certain types of dementia, such as Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers disease, and Lewy Body Dementia.

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Do Not Try And Alter Undesirable Behavior

Lack of understanding may push one to try and change or stop any undesirable behavior from patients who have dementia. Keep in mind that it is almost impossible to teach new skills or even reason with the patient. Try instead to decrease frequency or intensity of the behavior. For instance, respond to emotion and not the changes in behavior. If a patient insists on always asking about a particular family member reassure them that he or she is safe and healthy as a way of keeping them calm and happy.

Understand What Triggers The Aggressive Behavior

Wednesday Workshop – How to Deal with Hallucinations in Dementia

As mentioned, often your loved ones anger may seem pointless to the average person. But for the dementia patient, there may be more significance. It is important to understand what triggers your loved one to become upset. It is best to be objective when doing this as it is not a reflection of anyones caregiving ability. Remember, most of these types of aggressive behavior are often due to confusion, frustration, or suspicion. Below are some simple questions to get you started in understanding the trigger:

  • Was there anything done differently in your loved ones daily routine?
  • Was any of your loved ones possession moved from its place?
  • Is your loved one meeting unfamiliar or new people?
  • Was there any difference in your communication with your loved from the usual?

Sometimes the trigger could be a minor thing such as a change in routine or a different scent. To the dementia patient, this is a big deal as they are people of habit. Moreover, as they gradually lose their ability to communicate, their anger and aggression may their only channel left. Other times, they simply may not recognize you or the caregiver and naturally react with aggression as a way to protect themselves. Although it is a complex situation, it is imperative for you to try to find out what led to the situation in the first place.

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Do Not Keep Correcting The Patient

People with dementia do not like it when someone keeps correcting them every time they say something that may not be right. It makes them feel bad about themselves and can make them drift out of the conversation. Discussions should be humorous and light and one should always speak slowly and clearly using simple and short sentences to capture and keep the interest of the dementia patients.

Stage 6: Moderately Severe Dementia

When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:

  • Delusional behavior

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How Commonly Do Parkinsons Disease Patients Develop Psychosis

Psychosis in Parkinsons disease generally comes in two forms: hallucinations or delusions . When hallucinations occur, they are mostly visual; . Sometimes, they can be threatening, but this is less common. Auditory hallucinations are rare in Parkinsons disease and if they do occur, they are usually accompanied by visual hallucinations.

Delusions are usually of a common theme, typically of spousal infidelity. Other themes are often paranoid in nature Because they are paranoid in nature, they can be more threatening and more immediate action is often necessary, compared to visual hallucinations . It is not uncommon that patients actually call 9-1-1 or the police to report a burglary or a plot to hurt them.

Unfortunately, psychosis occurs in up to 40% of Parkinsons disease patients . In the early stage of Parkinsons disease psychosis, the patient often still has a clear understanding and retains their insight, but this tends to worsen over time and insight may eventually be lost. At later stages, patients may be confused and have impaired reality testing; that is, they are unable to distinguish personal, subjective experiences from the reality of the external world. Psychosis in Parkinsons disease patients frequently occurs initially in the evening, then later on spills into the rest of the day.

How To Cope With Hallucinations And Delusions

Hallucinations, Delusions and Paranoia Related to Dementia ...

Strategies for Coping with Hallucinations and Delusions in Alzheimer’sYour course of action should first be guided by how the person with Alzheimer’s is reacting to the hallucination or delusion. If they dont seem to feel threatened, don’t make a big deal of it and don’t confront them about the delusion or hallucination.”Some Alzheimer’s patients aren’t bothered by their hallucinations,” says Richard Powers, MD, associate professor of neurology and pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “If that’s the case just explain that it’s the visual processing part of their brain firing off and telling them they’re seeing stuff. If you tell them that what they’re seeing isn’t real, that just makes them angry.”The following are strategies that can help you cope more effectively when a loved one experiences non-threatening hallucinations or delusions:

and also in the past when I have taken her to a doctor’s appointment, afterwards she believes we have been to a school and the doctor was the teacher in the school. Are these things delusions or hallucinations, or something else?

Mrs Mshe was convinced the other day that the GP had telephoned her and arranged to meet her at the end of her street and she acutally went out to wait at the end of the street and was surprised when no-one turned up.

seeing him so she hearing him

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Where Can I Get Help And Support

If the person is having episodes of distress which become more regular, or worsen, make an appointment with the GP, so they can rectify or rule out any potentially treatable causes.

The GP will want to know if anything triggers the changes in their behaviour; what the signs and symptoms are; what time of the day the behaviour occurred; for how long; and what, if anything, helps to reduce or stop the behaviour. Try to take this information with you if possible.

The GP should have the persons medical history and diagnosis available but, if not, some brief notes on this and any changes to medication would be useful.

Practical Tips On Preventing Perceptual Difficulties And Hallucinations

Ways to avoid visual misperceptions and hallucinations

  • Take the person for regular eyesight tests
  • If they wear glasses, make sure theyre clean
  • Cover mirrors or turn them around to face the wall. People with dementia can misinterpret reflections as other people in the house
  • Move other objects that could be mistaken for a person; for example, coat stands, dressing gowns or coats hung on doors
  • Prevent reflections from windows with blinds or curtains
  • Avoid busy patterns on carpets or tiles, and, if possible, try to avoid changes in the levels of the floor, such as from thick carpet to bare floor, which might be difficult for a person with dementia to see
  • Make sure rooms are well lit
  • Use contrasting colours to help the person with dementia; for instance, bright, block colour plates help food stand out; brightly coloured towels are easier to see against the wall; a vivid coloured toilet seat is easier to see against the backdrop of the bathroom

Ways to avoid auditory misperceptions and hallucinations

  • Take the person for regular hearing tests
  • If they wear a hearing aid, make sure its cleaned and maintained, and the battery is checked regularly
  • Speak slowly and calmly to the person
  • Face them when speaking
  • Turn off background noise such as the TV and radio when speaking to them

Ways to avoid taste misperceptions and hallucinations

Ways to avoid sense of touch misperceptions and hallucinations

Ways to avoid sense of smell misperceptions and hallucinations

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Do Not Engage In Arguments

One of the worst things a person can do to an individual who has dementia is to start an argument or even force them to do something that makes them upset or angry. When the discussion or argument is too heated, it may be better to walk away to create an environment where everyone can remain calm. Experts agree that one of the ways that can yield results when it comes to dementia behavior problems is to get rid of the word no when dealing with patients. Avoid forcibly restraining a dementia sufferer at all costs.

Practical Tips On Preventing Some False Beliefs And Delusions

How to Handle Dementia Hallucinations & What to Expect

If possible, in the early stages of dementia, decide with the person, on places to keep essential items such as keys, handbag and money, so you can establish a routine and locate important things more easily.

You could also:

  • keep spares of important items that might get misplaced, like glasses or keys
  • make sure the person with dementia has regular hearing and sight tests
  • monitor the person with dementia for any signs of infection, constipation or other physical ill health, and seek a medical appointment quickly
  • look out for possible side effects if there has been a change in medication. Occasionally some medications can cause or exacerbate false beliefs or delusions
  • check the person with dementia is eating and drinking sufficiently
  • try to keep to a routine and limit changes to the persons environment
  • keep photographs of them and close family/friends through different life stages around the house, to help them recognise the present time

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How To Deal With Hallucinations

Here are some tips for caretakers that will help to deal with dementia patients and bring them at ease.

  • If your loved one is telling you something, listen to them, dont argue! Trying to reason with them will make them irritated and upset. Show and make them feel that they are right, and you understand them by saying things like I can help you in this, or I am here with you always and more stuff like that.
  • When experiencing a hallucination, the person you are caring for might tell you what they are seeing or hearing, dont pretend you can listen to or see the same. Or else they will become more confused or hyper. To clear their mind, turn off the TV or monitor that might trigger hallucinations.
  • If your loved one has auditory illusions, try talking to them as it will diminish their hallucinations.

With proper caring tips, it is easy to make your loved ones feel relaxed and happy. To learn more about dealing with dementia or provide personalized care for your older one, call Eden Memory Care at .


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