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How To Handle Alzheimer’s Paranoia

Five Ways To Help Identify The Causes Of Problem Behavior

Paranoia and False Accusations ~ WHY it happens and HOW to Manage It
  • Look at your loved ones body language and imagine what they might be feeling or trying to express.
  • Ask yourself, what happened just before the problem behavior started? Did something trigger the behavior?
  • Are the patients needs being met? Is your loved one hungry, thirsty, or in pain?
  • Does changing the environment by introducing favorite music, for example, help to comfort the person?
  • How did you react to the problem behavior? Did your reaction help to soothe the patient or did it make the behavior worse?
  • Common Causes of Problem Behavior

    How To Manage Delusions

    Most often, after calmly acknowledging the problem as it is true and then distracting, generally from rumination in conversation, is something we find useful. Other suggestions might include determining causes or triggers for the situation or response, offer to help look for items that are missing, and do what you can to prevent the problem from arising.4 This includes helping to maintain routines, knowing places items may be hidden by the person and forgotten, having duplicate items , and ensuring adequate lighting to reduce eye-brain shadow related trickery can help.4

    Dementia And Paranoia In The Elderly

    If a loved one of yours is suffering from dementia, paranoia, or both, it is completely understandable that you would want to learn as much information about the topic as possible. So, we at All American Home Care; are compiling our expertise on dementia with paranoia so that you can be equipped to interact with your loved one kindly, confidently, and without fear.

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    How To Check On Levels Of Decline And Safety

    Its great for you to be proactive and want to help check on your mother safety and situation. Ultimately youll need to work with professionals, but you can speed the process along by checking for common red flags, and bringing them to the attention of your mothers doctor.

    As a geriatrician, I generally try to assess an older person in the following five domains:

    • Ability to manage key life tasks
    • These include the ability to manage Activities of Daily Living and also Instrumental Activities of Daily Living .
  • Safety red flags
  • This includes signs of financial vulnerability or exploitation, risky driving, leaving the stove on, wandering, or signs of elder abuse.
  • Physical health red flags
  • These include weight loss, declines in strength or physical abilities, falls, frequent ER visits, and complaints of pain.
  • Mood and brain health red flags
  • These include common signs of depression , signs of loneliness or isolation, new or excessive worrying, as well as other signs of memory and thinking problems
  • Medication management red flags
  • These include signs of difficulty taking prescriptions as directed, checking on possible medication side-effects, and identifying medications that are on the Beers list of medications that older people should avoid or use with caution.
  • Because concerned family members often ask me about checking on an older parent, I created a guide with five checklists based on the five sections above.

    Other Factors That Can Affect Behavior

    Why does dementia cause suspicions, delusions and paranoia ...

    In addition to changes in the brain, other things may affect how people with Alzheimers behave:

    Other problems in their surroundings may affect behavior for a person with Alzheimers disease. Too much noise, such as TV, radio, or many people talking at once can cause frustration and confusion. Stepping from one type of flooring to another or the way the floor looks may make the person think he or she needs to take a step down. Mirrors may make them think that a mirror image is another person in the room. For tips on creating an Alzheimers-safe home, visit Home Safety and Alzheimers Disease.

    If you dont know what is causing the problem, call the doctor. It could be caused by a physical or medical issue.

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    Is Paranoia A Symptom Of Dementia

    If you know somebody who started to display paranoia, you might be wondering if the paranoia is an early sign of dementia. Yes, paranoia can be one of dementias symptoms, but there is much more to dementia than just this. Here are some common symptoms found in people who have dementia. Remember, it is not necessarily true that a dementia patient would have every single one of these symptoms.

    Coping With Suspicions And Delusions In Someone With Dementia

    It can be very distressing to see a loved one experiencing delusions, suspicions, and paranoia, but they are fairly common symptoms of dementia. Here are a few ideas to help you cope

    People with dementia find it harder to remember things and stay anchored in the present moment. This can lead to suspicions, delusions, and paranoia. If the person you care about is in the grips of a delusion, it can take every ounce of energy and love to manage.

    Did you know? Around 40 per cent of people living with dementia experience delusions.

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    Discover Our Healthy Tradition Of Care And Wellness

    Located adjacent to Lankenau Medical Center, Saunders House part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. Its a tradition were proud to continue.

    Today, Saunders House offers a range of services including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, restorative care, memory care, respite care and specialized care for individuals with visual impairments all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

    For more information on Saunders House, our Care Traditions Memory Care program and other professional services, please call us today at 658-5100 or contact us online.;

    Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Saunders House and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

    The Dos And Donts Of Managing Paranoia In Elderly Parents

    How Can You Keep Someone with Dementia Busy

    Were still learning about the root of paranoid delusions in the elderly. One study found that an estimated 4% of elderly people show signs of paranoia, meaning that it is not a common or natural part of aging.

    When youre working with paranoia in elderly parents, its normal to become stressed, frightened, or wonder what causes paranoia in older people. Paranoia has a tendency to make people practically unrecognizable, and dealing with paranoia can be difficult.;

    Commonwise Home Care is here to remind you that you are not alone. Our services range from basic personal care to Alzheimers and dementia care. Our caregivers have plenty of experience with paranoia in the elderly and were here to share our expertise with you. We can also help you find questions to ask during paranoia episodes as well as solutions.

    Read on for more information about the possible causes of delusion in the elderly and how to deal with paranoia.;

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    How To Respond In The Moment

    It can be tricky to respond when your loved one is seeing or hearing strange things. Its a very uneasy situation, Cynthia notes of dealing with Dons hallucinations. You get very sad, but also frustrated. Appealing to logic wont helpthis persons brain is playing tricks on them, and they cant understand the difference between whats true and what isnt.

    When the hallucination or delusion is occurring, there is no need for the caregiver to go to great lengths to reason with their loved one, says Richard Isaacson, M.D., a neurologist at New York-Presbyterian and founder of the Alzheimers Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. Whatever that patient is seeing, hearing, or believing feels real.

    The best approach really depends on your unique situation. Here are a few tips for caregivers:

    There is no perfect way to navigate this unpredictable and debilitating disease. Coping with and managing these symptoms in the moment can be hard, Dr. Foff admits. Currently, no FDA-approved treatment exists specifically for dementia-related psychosisalthough there could be one available as soon as April 2021.

    Dont Take Accusations Personally

    Its always possible that youll become the target of your parents paranoia. Try not to take it personally and remember that something is affecting the way your parent thinks. Theyre trying their hardest to make sense of their confusion.

    If youre struggling to deal with your parents accusations, consider removing yourself from the situation. Ask their caregiver to step in while you get some space. A distraction may break your parents conviction that you have done something to harm them.

    Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

    How To Cope With The Dementia Symptom: I Want To Go Home

    The patient will say, I want to go home, and may repeatedly pack her bags and persistently try to convince her caregiver to drive her home. She may even slip out of the house when nobody is looking in order to try to go home.

    Distraction and redirection are recommended. Trying to prove to dementia patients that they are home can cause too much distress. They are unable to be logical due to brain damage. Even if they believed that they were home, the fact that they dont recognize their surroundings as home can be much more frightening than simply thinking that they are not at home.

    Do Keep Track Of Elderly Parents Belongings

    Managing Paranoia or Delusions in Alzheimer

    Paranoia in the elderly often revolves around their belongings. When they misplace an object, they may accuse you, their caretakers, or other people who have access to their home.

    If you can, make a list of where their belongings are, especially if theyve willingly gotten rid of them. For example, take note of who your mother has given her jewelry to and what books or other keepsakes your father has donated to charity. Its especially helpful if you can ask them to write these things down during lucid moments so that they see their own handwriting.

    Remember that showing them a list and telling them the truth wont always convince them of the truth. It will, however, help you determine whether or not their accusations are true or if theyre struggling with paranoid thoughts.

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    Dealing With Dementia Behavior: Wandering

    Two characteristic precursors to wandering are restlessness and disorientation. An Alzheimers patient may exhibit signs of restlessness when hungry, thirsty, constipated, or in pain. They may also become disoriented, pace, or wander when bored, anxious or stressed due to an uncomfortable environment or lack of exercise. As well as adding physical activity to your loved ones daily routine, you can:

    • Immediately redirect pacing or restless behavior into productive activity or exercise.
    • Reassure the person if they appear disoriented.
    • Distract the person with another activity at the time of day when wandering most often occurs.
    • Reduce noise levels and confusion. Turn off the TV or radio, close the curtains, or move the patient to quieter surroundings.
    • Consult the doctor as disorientation can also be a result of medication side effects, drug interactions, or over-medicating.

    Rummaging And Hiding Things

    Caring for a patient who rummages around or hides things in the home can be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.

    Rummaging/hiding things behavior management
    Protecting property
    Lock certain rooms or cabinets to protect their contents, and lock up all valuables.
    Have mail delivered out of reach of your loved oneperhaps to a post office box.
    If items do disappear, learn the persons preferred hiding places.
    Restrict access to trashcans, and check all wastebaskets before disposing of their contents in case objects have been hidden there.
    Protecting your loved one from harm
    Prevent access to unsafe substances, such as cleaning products, alcohol, firearms, power tools, sharp knives, and medications.
    Block unused electrical outlets with childproofing devices. Hide stove knobs so the person cant turn on the burners.
    Lower the temperature on water heaters.
    Designate a special drawer of items that the person can safely play with when keen to rummage.

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    Wed Love To Hear Your Thoughts

    If you have comments or questions about our blog ondealing with delusions and paranoia for a loved one with memory loss, wed love to hear from you. And we encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.;

    We also invite you to stay current on senior health and senior care topics by viewing the latest articles and tipson our website.

    What Is Paranoia In The Elderly

    #33.5 Managing Alzheimer’s Delusions and Wandering – Practical Alzheimer’s Solutions (5 of 6)

    Complex changes in the aging brain can trigger paranoia in some older people. These elderly individuals may see or hear things that do not exist. The false beliefs cause negative emotions, like fear, anger, or jealousy, to arise. Paranoia commonly manifests in patients with dementia.

    Elderly people suffering from Alzheimers disease, which is one of many types of dementia, may experience paranoia, along with hallucinations and delusions. Paranoia and memory loss are closely intertwined. As memory declines, the seniors paranoia is likely to worsen in proportion.

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    Memory Care Tips For Managing Delusional And Paranoid Behaviors

    Delusions and paranoia can be very difficult for at-home caregivers to manage. However, when managed appropriately, caregivers can help their loved ones to stay calm and make their own job less stressful.

    The Alzheimers Association® offers several expert tips you can apply when attempting to cope with your loved ones delusions and paranoid behavior.;

  • Dont take it personally Remember that your loved ones delusional or paranoid behavior is a symptom of their memory loss, not a personal attack on you. Be reassuring and let them know you care.
  • Dont argue with them Let them express their thoughts and listen carefully to what is troubling them. Try your best to meet them in their reality. Then reassure them and let them know that you care.
  • Redirect their attention You may be able to distract them from their paranoia by focusing on another activity or asking them to help you with a chore.
  • Offer simple answers Respond to their concerns and share your thoughts, but keep your answers simple. Lengthy explanations or complicated reasons may only overwhelm them more.
  • Keep duplicates of certain items If your loved one with memory loss frequently misplaces the same item and gets upset when its lost, purchase a few duplicates of the item. For example, purchase an extra wallet if your loved one is always losing his/hers.
  • Could Paranoia Or Delusions Be A Sign Of Delirium

    If paranoia or delusions are a new behavior for your loved one or someone youre caring for, consider the possibility that she might be experiencing delirium. Delirium is a sudden change in thinking and orientation, usually quite reversible, brought on by a physical condition such as an infection, surgery or other illness.

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    How Does A Person Experience Delusions

    Delusions tend to be divided into two types. Sometimes a person will believe that someone is trying to do them harm for example, that someone is trying to steal their money, have an affair, or leave them.

    Other times the person will identify something wrongly for example, that their partner is actually an impostor , or that their home is not really their home.

    Delusions often create negative feelings in a person with dementia.

    Ways To Cope With Delusions And Paranoia In Memory Care

    Caregiver Tips Video 9: Hallucinations

    At-home caregivers of those living with memory loss face multiple challenges, which typically increase as the disease progresses, says Susan Irrgang, Executive Director of Saunders House located in Wynnewood, PA. Among the most difficult are psychological symptoms such as delusions and paranoia that often appear during the middle and later stages of memory loss.;

    And while delusional and paranoid behaviors are considered mostly harmless, they can be deeply troubling and emotionally stressful to loving caregivers. Sadly, the delusions and paranoia exhibited are often accusatory and directed at the same family members who are providing their care. For example, a loved one might suddenly begin to accuse their caregiver of stealing their money, says Susan.

    To help caregivers cope, it is important for them to understand the various forms of delusional behavior and paranoia and take appropriate steps to manage them for their own well-being as well as that of their loved ones, she adds.

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    Alzheimers Paranoia Is Difficult

    Alzheimers paranoia, hallucinations, illusions, and delusions can be difficult for all family members involved. You will need to find what works best for you. If the problems become to difficult talk to your family physician. There may be medicines which can help. Keep in mind that some medicines can also cause hallucinations. If the behaviors started after a new medicine was started make sure your doctor is aware.

    There are also several natural calming ingredients which you can try. You can find them at your local health food store or online.

    How Do Caregivers Help Manage Paranoia

    Caregivers are urged to use a compassionate approach to paranoid behavior. Be aware that the manifestation of paranoia may be the seniors manner of expressing loss. To the elderly individual, blame and accusations may be the only sensible explanations for what seems inexplicable.

    Coping with paranoid behavior requires that caregivers hear out the seniors false beliefs or accusations without judgment. If the senior accuses a family member of stealing, for instance, the family member is advised to not react. Refrain from arguing with the senior.

    Learn about How Long Can a Dementia Patient Live at Home?

    Reassure the senior and validate her feelingsrather than try to offer rational explanations for the missing item. Aging people respond well to feeling heard. Let the senior know that she is safe and loved. One way to do this is to offer a gentle hug or touch.

    Distractions are helpful when a senior with paranoia accuses a family member of stealing. The family member might start to immediately search for things, such as photos or memory boxes. Once these items are found, the family member is advised to initiate discussions about them.

    Lost items may also be duplicated. A senior who frequently blames a family member for stealing her red purse should be presented with a similar red purse. Family caregivers are advised to purchase at least two of the same items that are often misplaced or otherwise lost.

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