Hallucinations are a symptom your aging loved one may develop as dementia progresses. Although it may be upsetting to see your loved one experience something that isn’t real, hallucinations are usually manageable. Now that your loved one is moving to the next stage of dementia, you can use these strategies to ease this disruptive symptom and help him or her find comfort.
Take Steps to Reduce the Risk of Hallucinations
Your first step is to avoid having your loved one experience hallucinations in the first place. Make sure you and at least one other caregiver are available to help your loved one remember how and when to take his or her medications. Your loved one is also less likely to experience hallucinations when he or she is well rested and relaxed.
Symptoms such as hallucinations, confusion, and agitation are common in elderly people with dementia. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Waterloo seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.
Decide whether to Respond
In some cases, dementia-related hallucinations aren’t as bad as they seem at first. For instance, your loved one may be perfectly fine with the idea that his or her deceased spouse is in the room. Alternatively, your loved one may enjoy listening to music playing only in his or her mind. If your loved one seems okay, it may be better to wait for the moment to pass.
Search for Possible Triggers
While some hallucinations are pleasant, others require immediate action. Many hallucinations spring from something in the environment that triggers a senior to think something else is happening. For instance, a shiny spot on the floor may appear as water. Alternatively, voices from the television may cause a senior to think people are in the room who aren’t there. Look around to see if you can identify the source of the hallucination so you can address it right away.
Consider Dehydration or Hunger Need
The brain is primarily made of water, and being dehydrated alters its ability to function. High or low blood sugar can also cause hallucinations. If you cannot identify a trigger, consider the possibility that your loved one may be dehydrated or hungry. Sometimes a drink of water or a light snack can return his or her thoughts to reality.
The cognitive challenges that accompany dementia often leave aging adults unable to perform everyday tasks, which can put their safety and health at risk. 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 homecare services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
When your loved one is caught up in a frightening hallucination, he or she needs to know you’re there. Avoid telling your loved one what he or she is experiencing isn’t real, since it may upset him or her more. Instead, use reassuring gestures and words to let your loved one know he or she is safe. Offering a pat on the arm or a hug or just saying things are okay may be enough to put your loved one at ease.
Try to Redirect
You can also use the power of distraction to make hallucinations go away. Get your loved one involved in another activity, such as folding towels or looking at a memory book, to stop him or her from thinking about it. You can also talk to your loved one or get down to his or her eye level to shift the focus to you and away from the hallucination.
Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Waterloo elder care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (519) 954-2111 to learn more about our high-quality home care services.