How Do You Manage Delusions That Come With Dementia?

Delusions are a frightening symptom of dementia. Not every person gets them, but those who do will start having them in the middle to late stages of the disease. When they happen, they are extremely real and even terrifying to the person with dementia.

Senior Care in Jenison MI: Managing Delusions Caused by Dementia

Senior Care in Jenison MI: Managing Delusions Caused by Dementia

Your dad may insist that his grandson took his glasses. Your mom may tell you repeatedly that a strange woman down the road stole her dog. In these cases, you know your parent is delusional, but you have no idea how to respond.

Why Do Delusions Happen?

Sometimes, the delusions are a response to a new medication, sundowning, or being in a new environment. If you can pinpoint when the delusions started, you might be able to take measures to restore a sense of routine or familiarity that prevents the delusions.

How Do You Respond?

When a parent is talking about the delusion, the biggest mistake you can make is to say it didn’t happen. Remember that this situation is real to the person with dementia. If you try to convince your mom or dad that they imagined it, they’ll become scared and lash out.

You don’t have to agree that the situation happened. Instead, sympathize with your mom or dad. If your mom is convinced someone stole her dog, tell her you know how important her dog is and tell her the dog is fine. If your dad is convinced a grandchild took his glasses, go find them and show him that you have them for him.

The other way to manage delusional behaviors is by redirecting. If your parent is talking continuously about the delusion, switch the topic. If your mom is going on about her stolen dog, you could quickly say something about a favorite pet from the past and get out photo albums to look at that pet’s pictures. If that’s not possible, you could opt to get out of the house and go to lunch.

Arrange Respite Care.

If you’re the family caregiver for a parent who is having delusions, you need to think of yourself, too. Facing delusional behavior is stressful emotionally and even physically if your parent gets aggressive while trying to act on that delusion. Respite care is the best way to take a break.

While a senior care aide comes to care for your parent, you can go out with friends, attend a support group, or simply go for a long walk. It’s important to do this for yourself. Don’t ignore self-care. Arrange respite care ASAP.

If you or someone you know needs help with senior care in Jenison, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.



About Dan Gauthier

Dan Gauthier has a long and successful business pedigree. He spent his college years working in the restaurant business and worked in various executive management positions at Universal Forest Products, Inc. over a span of 17 years, and Therm Technology / Family Safety Products for 12 years.

When the recession hit in 2008 Dan was “downsized” from UFP and spent a few years consulting for local companies Amway and Cascade Engineering. During this period Dan’s in-laws were experiencing catastrophic health problems and it required Dan’s wife Marion to focus full time on caregiving for her mother. Marion enlisted help from a local home care agency and it did not go well. This experience led to the creation of Gauthier Family Home Care, a home care agency that is uniquely holistic and family centric. Dan now works full time running GFHC.