Hallucinations might be obvious to you, but they can be terrifying and upsetting to your senior. When your senior believes a hallucination, she can be incredibly persistent about it. Hallucinations can be common for some people with dementia, but they may come and go. Responding appropriately can help your senior calm down more quickly.
Avoid Arguing with Her at All
The worst response you could have to a hallucination is to resist or to argue with your senior about what she believes is true. For her, the hallucination is what’s real. When you argue that with her or try to convince her that she’s wrong, she’s going to resist even more. This can lead to frustration and anger, which can lead to an outburst that can be worse than the hallucination itself.
Reassure Your Senior that She’s Okay
Hallucinations can often crop up when your senior is feeling anxious or uncertain. Let her know that she’s okay and that you’re there for her. This is another reason that you don’t want to try to use logic with her. Logic is not at play when feelings are in the lead.
Investigate What Your Senior Is Telling You
You’ll need to investigate what your elderly family member is telling you. First, you need to verify whether she’s letting you know something that truly needs to be dealt with, but you also need to be able to further reassure her that you’ve handled the issue. Just because your senior has dementia, that doesn’t mean that all of her stories are completely false. There may be a grain of truth that you need to handle.
Make Some Changes, if Possible
Focus on what she’s telling you and adjust what you can. If she’s convinced that someone is trying to break in, for instance, let her watch you check the locks on the doors and windows. This may be all that it takes to help your senior to let go of what’s bothering her.
Offer a Distraction
If your elderly family member is still upset, a distraction can help. Offer to read to her or watch her favorite show with her. Finding something else to occupy her attention may be that last little step that helps her to be able to let go of what she believes she’s seen or heard.
Senior care providers can help you to learn how to cope with hallucinations as a result of your senior’s dementia. They can help you to practice your responses so that it’s easier for you to manage them when they pop up. They might even be able to help you learn the triggers for your senior’s hallucinations so you can reduce their frequency.
If you or a senior family member are considering hiring Home Care Services in Paramus, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Caring Solutions Home Care LLC. In-home senior care servicing Bergen & Passaic Counties. Call today at (973) 427-3553.
I started my career as an ICU nurse over 30 years ago. I have functioned as an educator and preceptor mentoring new nurses in the clinical arena. I have sat on many Patient Care committees authoring a variety of patient care protocols.
In 2007, I saw an opportunity to improve the delivery of patient care services in the home and founded Caring Solutions Home Care. Over the last 10 years I have functioned as the Director of Nursing overseeing all client care, administrative and personnel operations.