My grandfather is 94 years old and delirious every day, he says he sees dead people all day long and that there are many in the house, who usually have parties that last all night.
Dementia can affect the way a person perceives the world. A person with dementia may think that they can see or hear something that is not there, or that they believe something that is false in reality. During the early stages, the person can usually realize that it is only part of their imagination. However, as the disease worsens, these people may have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy.
Understanding hallucinations and delirium
Hallucinations are experiences when a person smells, feels, hears or perceives in some way something that does not exist. Hallucinations can be triggered by the changes that dementia causes in the brain. They can also be the results of problems with health, such as infections, fatigue, or nutrition.
People with dementia may also experience delirium, which is a false belief of what is happening in reality. For example, a person with dementia may believe that his nurse is trying to poison him or that his family is stealing his things. Delirium can cause a lot of frustration and be difficult for caregivers because it affects how the person relates to other people. For both hallucinations and delusions, medications that are called atypical antipsychotics are prescribed; however, it is not clear if they are very effective (Schneider, et al., 2006).
Suggestions for caregivers
Consult a doctor to understand why your loved one is hallucinating or having delusions and if medicine is necessary. You may feel that it is necessary to control difficult behavior when it occurs. But think about it: Is your loved one really bothering or endangering yourself or others? If the answer is no, try leaving it. Next, there are more suggestions about how to deal with hallucinations and delirium.
Secure, respond, and deviate
So with anger and emotional reactions, do not try to correct or find an explanation for what your loved one is experiencing. Even if he / she does not know if what he / she is experiencing is real, you can respond to their needs and react appropriately. This does not mean that you have to lie to him / her when you hallucinate. You can be honest and also respect him.
Example: "I do not hear or see anyone outside the window, but you seem very worried."
Consider the situation
While you are responding to your loved one, think about why he / she is experiencing a hallucination at that particular time. You should also think about whether a similar event has happened before. Although it is true that hallucinations can be attributed to psychological or medical causes, they can also be attributed to social or environmental causes. Many caregivers think it is beneficial to keep a diary or record of when, where and how your loved one experiences delusions or hallucinations. Write down how your loved one feels and behaves in the moment, and what types of events have recently occurred.
Example: "Do you feel safe? You know I care about you."
Face the problem
Creating an activity in which your loved one can focus their attention can help the person overcome their hallucination. People may also experience hallucinations because their hearing or vision is getting worse. In addition to regular visits to the doctor, make sure there is enough light in the pieces and that there are not too many distractions. For example, although a radio and a television can be comforting to some people, they can also cause your loved one to think he is hearing voices. Also, for a person who believes that someone is always watching him, curtains in the windows can be consoling.
Example: "Would you like me to stay here with you for a while? Do you think a night light would look good on this piece?"
I recommend you watch the movie bright minds