Senior Care: When Your Elderly Loved One is Delusional

Senior Care in Canandaigua, NY – Learn More About the Different Forms of Delusions and How They Can Affect Your Senior Loved One

Family caregivers will most likely face many caregiving challenges, and delusions are just one of them. Delusions are false beliefs that a person believes to be true. For example, your elderly loved one may accuse you of trying to poison him or her with certain food or think you are stealing money from the home. These beliefs are often caused by not age, but memory issues, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease progress, the delusions may get worse and your senior loved one may become agitated or even dangerous. Here are some ways family caregivers can deal with these potentially frightening situations.

Types of Delusions

One thing that all delusions have in common is that the person who is suffering from them truly thinks that they are real. They have a strong conviction that logic or reason can’t change. There are, however, several types of delusions that your senior may experience:

Persecutory – These types of delusions are very common. A person may think that others are out to get him. He may feel harassed even though the person is doing nothing to provoke these feelings.

Grandeur – This is when the person feels more important that he or she really is. Your elderly loved one may think that he or she is very famous, smart or wealthy, while everyone else is insignificant.

Reference – Reference delusions are caused when a person thinks that every person’s actions or thoughts are directed toward him or her.

Somatic – This is when a person believes that his or her body is diseased or distorted in some way. Your senior loved one may think he or she has a serious disease or is missing a body part (such as an arm or leg).

What You Can Do

The most important think you can do is to stay calm and not get argumentative over the situation, even though it can be difficult to not take the accusations personally. Instead, offer reassurance and help your senior loved one work through the delusion. For example, if he or she is accusing you of taking a favorite book, help look for it. If there is something he or she is losing often – such as glasses, keys or reading materials – it might make things easier to keep extras on hand. It’s also a good idea to offer a distraction. When your elderly loved one starts acting delusional, offer a bowl of ice cream or go for a walk outside. A change in environment can bring a different perspective.

If you have a loved one who could benefit from the help of senior care in Canandaigua, NY contact the caregivers at Caring Hearts of Rochester, LLC. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care service. Call (585) 245-0134 for more information.