How to Address Paranoia in the Elderly

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Addressing Paranoia in Seniors

By Carolina Orosa, 9:00 am on

Conditions such as paranoia are fairly common in seniors. However, they can cause family caregivers to worry about their loved ones. If your loved one is displaying signs of paranoia, Vancouver elder care experts suggest you address it in the following manner.

Do Not Dismiss Concerns Too Quickly

Paranoia is often a symptom of an underlying medical condition such as Alzheimer’s, vascular damage, or an untreated urinary tract infection. However, sometimes your loved one’s worries and concerns may be justified. Be sure to listen to your loved one’s concerns and investigate if they sound plausible. If the bouts of paranoia are frequent, severe, or could not possibly have a basis in reality, consult a medical professional.

Observe the Environment

Sudden changes in your loved one’s environment may trigger feelings of stress and anxiety and exacerbate paranoid behavior. These changes may include something as significant as tension and hostility between other family members in the home or as small as a change in lighting that causes shadows on the wall or a tree branch scraping against a window. If you watch your loved one’s behavior and identify the trigger, you may be able to eliminate the paranoia.

Resist the Urge to Reason

Regardless of age or mental state, everyone wants to be heard and validated. Instead of dismissing your loved one’s feelings and trying to get him or her to understand why his or her paranoid thoughts do not make sense, ask yourself why your loved one may be feeling this way. You do not have to play into the paranoia, but you can demonstrate patience and empathy by letting him or her know you understand he or she is worried and concerned. Ask what you can do to allay his or her fears.

Record Your Loved One’s Behaviors

Keep a record of your loved one’s day-to-day behaviors. This can help identify potential triggers, whether symptoms are increasing or decreasing, and which tactics work best to reduce the paranoid behavior. Share this information with your loved one’s doctor who can better manage the condition and provide insight into additional mechanisms to manage it.

If your loved one is feeling paranoid frequently and you think he or she and the family could benefit from a professional caregiver, get in touch with Home Care Assistance. We provide respite and live-in caregivers who are trained to provide specialized dementia and Alzheimer’s care Vancouver, BC, families can count on. Call 778-279-3634 and request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.