Hallucinations can be frightening, and yet many seniors experience them. These episodes of seeing hallucinations can also be frightening to the caretakers who don’t know what’s going on. If your senior hallucinates, you may need more help with them than you initially thought. It can be time to look for 24-hour home care to keep an eye on your senior mom or dad. These professionals can help ensure your elderly loved one doesn’t wander off due to hallucinations or hurt themselves while you are gone or busy. Sometimes it takes more than one set of eyes to watch your loved one.
Various factors can cause hallucinations. Sometimes, it’s due to lack of sleep, drug side effects, dementia, tumors, or cognitive decline. It can be hard to manage and understand. You may not know the best ways to act, and how you act can calm a senior down or rile them up to anger. Learning how to appropriately respond to a senior’s hallucinations is essential. Here are some of the best tips to handle these episodes.
Remove Triggers from the Environment
Hallucinations are not always purely mental, which can make them scarier to handle. Sometimes there are environmental cues to consider. Sounds may cause hallucinations. Reduce or remove readily misidentified noises, such as the TV or an air conditioner. Nighttime hallucinations are prevalent among the elderly and often associated with shadows. Shadows may easily mislead someone prone to hallucinations, so try to keep them to a minimum. Look around to see if any shadows resemble anything particular, then do all you can to shift stuff around to remove the shadow.
Always Try to Remain Calm Even When Seniors Are Scared
Telling a loved one that what they see isn’t real may seem the simplest and most compassionate response to a hallucination, but it is not. Someone experiencing this incident cannot understand that what they see or feel is inaccurate, especially if the hallucination is connected to dementia. Maintain your calmness and avoid using logic or reason to convince them that they are hallucinating.
Validate What a Senior is Feeling
Provide comfort to the individual experiencing the hallucinations, while remaining calm. Inform them that you are there to help them. If they seem to be enjoying the hallucination, you may try saying something like, “I see you’re delighted! I’m so thrilled what you’re going through is making you happy!” If their hallucination is terrifying, you may say something like, “I see you’re afraid. I’m sorry you’re going through such a scary situation. I am here to help you. How can I make you feel more secure?” If they look bewildered or disoriented, you can answer with, “I can sense you feel perplexed. How can I best assist you?” Simply being with your loved one throughout the delusion might help them cope.
Distract Your Senior and Redirect Their Attention
Distraction and redirection are effective methods for assisting someone experiencing hallucinations. Try to divert their focus away from the illusion by guiding them to something they appreciate. Maybe it’s time to walk with your seniors or do an art project together. If these episodes happen in the middle of the night, 24-hour home care may need to find different ways to distract your senior mom or dad, but it is one of the best ways to ensure a senior can move past the hallucinations.