I want to know how to deal with hallucinations in people with Alzheimer's disease?

5 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Caring.com staff asked...

What do I do if someone with Alzheimer's is hallucinating? How do I deal with hallucinations?

Expert Answers

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's. A Met Life Foundation Journalists in Aging fellow, she writes extensively about health and caregiving; four of her family members have had dementia.

Above all, don't be frightened. Don't tell the person who is seeing or hearing things that you know what he sees isn't real, because the things are real to him. The most common hallucinations involve sight or hearing, but people with Alzheimer's may also smell, taste, or feel things that are not really there.

Reassure the person that you will keep him safe. Try to understand the emotion behind the hallucination. If the hallucination is pleasant -- let's say the person is planning a birthday party -- try to connect to her by joining in the fantasy. You do not need to say that you see or hear the same things, but you can accept that the person does.

If it's an upsetting hallucination, try to redirect the person to a different activity. Moving to a different room may help. It's not helpful to try to convince him that his explanation of what's happening is wrong.

Community Answers

Autohrplayer answered...

My husband sees "people" all the time. I just ask if male or female. Also, I ask what they are doing, and if I should send them away. He says he knows they are not real, but they are always there. The other day, he said for me to keep those kids off the exercise equip. I asked who was there and he said a tall one and a skinny one. I told him I would. He then threw a rock at them. It went about 3'. I just laughed and told him that would sure scare them away. I have to laugh or else I cry.

May god bless answered...

I have learned first by making many mistakes as to how to react and respond when my dad is having delusions. I moved him in with me about 4 months ago as his full-time care out of his own home started costing $2,200 per week. After I moved him in with me - the reality of it all was very hard for me to understand and accept. I repeatedly tried to "rationalize" with my dad but that never worked which only frustrated us both further. The best advice I've had was to go along with what they were doing - do not attempt to correct or rationalize what they are doing because it's not rational behavior. My dad just got out of bed for the 2nd time in about 20 minutes. He was fully dressed ready to leave - I'm still not 100% sure what he was doing but he was acting like he kept picking something up, was scratching the wall then was acting like he was talking to a dog that wasn't there. I didn't argue or try to get him to clarify and only told him that it could all wait until the morning and we could then take care of it. This is pretty common and unfortunately can be repeated a few times throughout the night.

Trying to rationalize with him only causes him to get upset, then me upset.

Emilypinaud answered...

My mom is 82 years old with dimentia. Two years ago she had a fall. Afew months later fluid set in the brain. A stent was put in to drain the fluid. After that she would no longer walk and is now in depends. They say she has dimentia which I am sure of also. She is very paranoid and is on low dose seroquel,even though she is not bipolar. How do I know what kind of dimentia she has,no one ever told me? Also I read seroquel can be fatal to people with dimentia. She is on home hospice.

Little emily answered...

my grandma sees things all the time, i just want her to feel loved and important. she was always the strong piece to our puzzle and now she's lost so much of her independence i don't want her to feel useless, helpless or that she is no longer needed. i have always needed her and still do, in any mind frame i can have her, i will take it. she is the love of my life, in order to keep her happy i go about life in a different manner when i am with her. i treat everything as if it is her idea-she likes feeling included. it is almost like a game of pretend, i enter her dimension. she talks to lamps or other invisible beings i can not see, she hands me air money or other air objects-i go right along with her. she has always taken care of me and i try to the same with her. as long as she is safe i see no harm. it is sad when she is having a conversation with my grandaddy that passed last summer, or she tells me she is so proud of tessa & i should meet her when i am tessa. i hold back tears and thank GOD he has let me have such a blessed life with her as my mammaw. i will never give up on her and my endless effort to make her smile/laugh,i know she never has me.