Do Seniors with Dementia Commonly Hallucinate?

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It’s not unusual for seniors with dementia to experience hallucinations as the condition advances, according to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. However, the severity and nature of hallucinations can vary. If you’re caring for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, keep reading to learn more about hallucinations and dementia.

Visual Hallucinations Are More Common

Hallucinations experienced by older adults with dementia can affect all the senses, but they’re more often visual in nature. If other senses are affected, your loved one may taste (gustatory hallucinations), feel (tactile hallucinations), hear (auditory hallucinations), or smell (olfactory hallucinations) things that aren’t really there. Visual hallucinations related to dementia could involve:

• Interpreting shadows as scary people or animals
• Seeing flashing or blinking lights that aren’t there
• Experiencing a real situation as something entirely different (e.g., thinking family members coming to the table for dinner are having a birthday party your loved one wasn’t told about)

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 families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Hallucinations Are More Common with Certain Types of Dementia

With Alzheimer’s disease, hallucinations may be coupled with false beliefs (delusions) and paranoia. The Alzheimer Society of Canada notes hallucinations are more common in older adults with Lewy body dementia and dementia related to Parkinson’s disease.

Distractions Sometimes Help

Avoid arguing with your loved one when he or she is having dementia-related hallucinations. Arguing may make your loved one angry, agitated, or defensive. You don’t have to humor your loved one and agree with whatever your parent thinks he or she is seeing or hearing. Instead, you can distract your loved one with things like a favorite activity, a TV show, or soothing music.

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 Vancouver elder 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.

Changing the Environment Sometimes Works

If you notice your loved one seems to experience hallucinations when the sun changes direction, closing the blinds, turning on a brighter light, or moving him or her to a different room later in the day may help. Some seniors with dementia also have fewer issues with hallucinations if visual clutter is minimized. Minimizing visual clutter might involve taking down multicolored artwork from the walls or making your loved one’s bedroom calmer with curtains and bedding in neutral tones.

Socialization Could Minimize Some Hallucinations

With dementia-related hallucinations that are mostly auditory, such as hearing people who aren’t there, having someone real to regularly talk to could help. For times when you’re not able to be there in person with your loved one, ask other family members and friends to make an effort to reach out to him or her. In-home care is another way to increase interaction and companionship.

A Doctor’s Exam May Be Beneficial

Older adults with dementia are sometimes unable to verbalize issues they’re having with their vision or other senses, especially during the later stages of dementia. Since there could be a valid medical reason for your loved one’s hallucinations, schedule an appointment with a doctor or an appropriate specialist. This way, your loved one can be evaluated for cataracts, hearing problems, and other issues that could be affecting how he or she interprets things.

If you’re looking for reliable dementia care, Vancouver 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. Call Home Care Assistance today at (778) 279-3634 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.

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