Alzheimer’s and Hallucination

Alzheimer’s and Hallucination

Alzheimer’s and Hallucination

People who have degenerative neurological diseases sometimes experience hallucinations. Hallucinations are defined as perceptions of something that is not actually there. For example, hallucinations can involve seeing people or figures that do not exist. Sometimes, hallucinations are unpleasant experiences causing fear and stress, like seeing strange figures in the room. Degenerative neurological diseases are often responsible for hallucinations because of changes and degradation that occurs in regions of the brain, and they normally occur in the late stages of the disease. Although, diseases like Alzheimer’s are not the only conditions that contributes to hallucinations. For instance, schizophrenia, dehydration, alcohol and drug abuse, and certain medications can cause hallucinations in people.[1] Nevertheless, if you are a family caregiver, it can be challenge to respond to your loved one who may be experiencing them.

Here are some steps to consider[2]:

  • Visit a Doctor: If your loved one begins experiencing hallucinations, it is important to get them evaluated to isolate what the cause of the hallucinations are. For example, your loved one may be taking a medication that contributes to these experiences and they may not be caused by dementia. This is important to figure out, and seeing a doctor will be an important way to investigate the matter.
  • Assess the situation: Not all hallucinations are going to be stressful for your loved one. For example, sometimes hallucinations are brought on by innocuous memories of the past. If this is the case, intervening may be unnecessary. Other times, hallucinations can be scary, like seeing insects crawling all over one’s body. Additionally, it is important to determine if the hallucinations are causing your loved one to react in harmful ways. If they are stressed and reacting negatively, then you should intervene with a calm and sensitive tone, reassuring your loved one that everything is okay. Importantly, do not argue with your loved one and tell them that their experience is not real. It is a real mental experience, although what they experience may not actually be present in the world. Lastly, try taking their mind off of the experience by redirecting their attention on something else, like asking them if they would like something to drink or eat. This may help the negative experience to pass more quickly.
  • Remove negative stimuli: Sometimes, hallucinations are caused by poor lighting in rooms, which can sometimes cast large, unfamiliar shadows on the walls. These shadows can lead to your loved one misinterpreting them as frightening figures or other people in the room. If this is the case, then make sure rooms in your loved one’s environment are well-lit. Additionally, if you notice other factors in your loved one’s environment that might trigger hallucinations, try removing it or replacing the item to minimize future chances of a hallucination occurring.

The important thing to remember is that you must be calm and gentle when dealing with your loved one’s hallucinations. Your loved one may already be having a frightening experience, so it is crucial that you respond in a supportive and reassuring way. If you have any more questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!

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