Is It Common for Aging Adults with Dementia to Hallucinate?

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Memory loss is a well-known symptom of dementia. However, aging adults can also experience things like false perceptions. During these times, family caregivers need to use strategies to calm their senior loved ones and prevent physical harm. Continue reading to learn more about dementia and hallucinations, including the causes and what to do when your loved one experiences this symptom.

Causes

Dementia causes changes within the brain that can lead to hallucinations, especially during the later stages of the condition. Your loved one may have difficulty thinking clearly and making sound decisions. It’s common for seniors with dementia to see things that aren’t there, such as people, places, and objects. The medication your parent is taking to treat dementia could also cause these episodes.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Types

Visual and auditory hallucinations are the most common types of false perceptions in older adults with dementia. With a visual episode, your loved one may see things that don’t exist. An auditory hallucination involves the sense of hearing. In these instances, your parent may hear voices and sounds when no one is around. You may walk in and witness your loved one holding a full conversation with the voices in his or her head. Don’t overreact when your loved one hallucinates, as this could cause the episode to intensify.

Caregiving Strategies

When it comes to addressing your parent’s hallucinations, remain respectful, and remember your loved one’s false reality is authentic in his or her mind. Offer reassurance and acknowledge your loved one’s fear, as opposed to being dismissive. Investigate the environment to determine what’s causing the episode. For example, the false perception could be due to a shadow on the wall, and you could solve this problem by closing the blinds or moving your loved one to another room.

Seeing their loved ones have hallucinations can be devastating for family caregivers, which is why you need to have strategies in place. For example, have a support system you can lean on and speak to honestly and openly. You can also take a break and do something relaxing and fun to distract you from your loved one’s hallucinations and reduce your stress levels.

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be extremely challenging, and a compassionate professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Families looking for top-rated Oshkosh at-home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Treatment

If your loved one experiences a false perception, call his or her doctor. In some cases, the episode could be a sign of a serious condition, especially if the hallucination involves multiple senses. When episodes last for long periods or frighten your loved one so severely that he or she cannot get through the day, it’s vital to contact his or her primary care physician immediately.

At the doctor’s visit, you should have essential information to share with the physician, including what your loved one saw, the time of day when the episode occurred, how long it lasted, your loved one’s response, and whether it happened after taking medication. This information will help the doctor make vital changes to your loved one’s current treatment plan. 

If you’re looking for reliable dementia care, Oshkosh Home Care Assistance offers high-quality at-home care for seniors who are managing the challenges of cognitive decline. We offer a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), which uses mentally stimulating activities to boost cognitive health in the elderly. CTM has proven to help seniors with dementia regain a sense of pride and accomplishment and learn how to engage with others in an enjoyable way. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (920) 216-6276.

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