Dementia can drastically affect the way an individual views and interacts with the world around them. Geriatric people afflicted with dementia experience a significant change in the way they think. These changes in the brain cause them to experience paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. However, not every episode of hallucination or delusion is upsetting. Instead, in many cases, these episodes have been found to be a result of the mind of the senior attempting to make sense of a situation, conversation or memory.
Hallucinations are basically situations that occur when a person inaccurately perceives objects or events. They can occur at any time for different lengths of time and are usually sensory in nature. A geriatric person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia is likely to hallucinate. During these situations, they will feel, smell, taste, hear and sometimes even see events or things that are not actually there. These episodes can be either minor, such as seeing animals or bugs or as dramatic as seeing a person who is not there.
Besides hallucinations, geriatric people with dementia also experience delusions, which include holding a false idea or belief. These episodes generally occur because of misinterpreting a situation or something that has been said by a friend or family member. Contrary to popular belief, delusions can be positive also as a person may feel that they are being called upon to help someone accomplish something important even though nothing of the sort has actually happened.
Unlike hallucinations and delusions, paranoia is always negative. It is a form of delusion which causes a person to imagine that the people around them are harming them, stealing from them or planning their demise. While suspicious paranoia is a common association of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, in some cases, these episodes were found to occur because of certain medications.
Holistic and non-medical interventions may be attempted before considering medical interventions for treating older people experiencing hallucinations, delusions and paranoia as symptoms of dementia. It is always better to assess the situation before reacting when an episode starts. If the episode is not disruptive or dangerous to the person or those around them, there is no reason to panic.
However, if the symptoms are causing grief or making the person react in a way that can cause harm, friends and family members are advised to comfort them with kind words and warm gestures. Contact Manipal Hospitals for dementia treatment in Mangalore at affordable prices.
Reassurance, which is often used in validation therapy, can also be employed to comfort a geriatric person who is experiencing symptoms of dementia, such as paranoia, delusion or hallucination. If this method fails, distraction can be used to take the person away from other people and the situation. Research has found that encouraging the person to perform activities that they usually enjoy, such as listening to music, sewing or looking at pictures, helps them recover from the episode.
However, the above-mentioned holistic and non-medical interventions only work well if the episodes of paranoia, delusion and hallucination don’t pose any harm to the individual or those around them. If the prevalence of these episodes increases rapidly, a psychiatrist in Mangalore must be consulted immediately.
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