Hallucinations are events that cause people to experience actual sensations that can involve sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, and they commonly occur in seniors who are living with dementia. Brain changes that develop with the disease often trigger false perceptions that can be frightening for seniors with dementia, and they can also be challenging for family caregivers who are trying to help their loved ones get through these events. Following a few simple guidelines can help family caregivers lessen the trauma seniors may feel when having hallucinations.
Avoid Challenging Your Senior Loved One
Hallucinations appear very real, and challenging your loved one about the reality of the event can cause anger and escalate an already tense situation. Unless an occurrence is threatening the safety of your loved one or others, it’s best to downplay the experience without outwardly denying its existence.
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. Philadelphia 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.
Offer a Diversion
Gently coaxing your loved one into another room or removing offensive stimuli in the environment may help the hallucination fade. Turning on extra lights in the room or using the television or music as a distraction can also diminish or extinguish the experience.
Talking to your loved one in a calm voice and offering to hold his or her hand can promote relaxation and provide security. Reassuring frightened seniors by assuring them they’re being protected is also important when they’re feeling threatened.
The cognitive challenges that accompany dementia often leave aging adults unable to handle everyday tasks, which puts 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 at-home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Prevent Repeat Occurrences
Hallucinations are often caused by the introduction of new stimuli or changes in the environment. Maintaining a predictable routine and keeping the living area unchanged can avoid triggering a hallucination. When care needs become too complex for family caregivers to meet on their own, professional home care is often the preferred choice for support. This way, your loved one doesn’t have to relocate to an unfamiliar environment, his or her regular routine can be maintained, and care will be provided by the same caregivers. Additionally, if your loved one wears glasses, making sure his or her eyeglass prescription is correct and his or her glasses are clean can prevent altered perceptions of the environment that could precipitate an event. Regular eye exams are also recommended to ensure overall comfort and safety.
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 Philadelphia homecare services 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. Call (215) 645-4663 today to speak with a friendly and experienced Care Manager to formulate a home care plan for your loved one.