Delusion, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary. This behavior often occurs during the mid- to late-stages of Alzheimer’s. It becomes evident in a multitude of ways including accusing loved ones of stealing, thinking someone is following them, or believing family members are behaving improperly in some fashion. This hallmark behavior of dementia is often one of the most difficult ones for family members to experience.
Because of its common occurrence, others caring for those with Alzheimer’s have developed certain strategies for dealing with this behavior. This is what has worked for them.
- Don’t take it personally. When this behavior erupts, take the time to breathe deeply and imaging what is occurring in your loved one’s brain. Imagine the amyloid plaques and tau tangles that are developing, causing the death of brain cells and shrinking tissue. This is not your person’s personality gone awry or old age exaggerating the odd quirks your parent has always exhibited. This is a disease.
- Don’t try and reason with them. Telling them that there is no one following them or that Aunt Sally did not steal their good china will not appease them. Show calm concern and provide reassurance. When the time is right, use the technique of distraction to bring their attention away from the perceived threat or misconduct and on to an activity such as a walk through the neighborhood or a board game.
- De-clutter their environment, including drawers, so that “lost objects” are easy to find. They may hide items in an attempt to secure them and then forget where they hid them. Learn their routine hiding places. Keep certain rooms, cabinets and drawers locked.
- If the delusions become serious to the point that you feel you or your loved one’s physical well-being is at stake, contact their primary health care provider. While anti-psychotic medication is used as a last resort due to potential side effects, it may be the optimum choice in some circumstances.
Elder Care Provider
The degree to which you can care for your parent in a calm and focused manner will be in proportion to the time you have allocated to other aspects of your life and the things you love. An elder care provider can not only assist your loved one with the daily activities of living, they can also provide transportation, accompany them on daily walks and encourage social outings. They can maintain your loved one’s daily schedule—an important piece of the puzzle in managing Alzheimer’s and helping your loved one feel safe and secure.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDER CARE IN SLATINGTON, PA, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS. CALL TODAY! (610) 365-4266.