October 6, 2015
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Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide (cont.)

Hallucinations and Delusions in a Person with Alzheimer's Disease

As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer's disease may experience hallucinations and/or delusions. Hallucinations are when the person sees, hears, smells, tastes, or feels something that is not there. Delusions are false beliefs that the person thinks are real.

  • Sometimes hallucinations and delusions are signs of physical illness. Keep track of what the person is experiencing and discuss it with the doctor.
  • Avoid arguing with the person about what he or she sees or hears. Try to respond to the feelings he or she is expressing. Comfort the person if he or she is afraid.
  • Try to distract the person to another topic or activity. Sometimes moving to another room or going outside for a walk may help.
  • Turn off the television set when violent or disturbing programs are on. The person with Alzheimer's may not be able to distinguish television programming from reality.
  • Make sure the person is safe and does not have access to anything he or she could use to harm anyone.
  • Discuss with the doctor any illness the person has had or medicines he or she is taking. Sometimes an illness or medicine may cause hallucinations or delusions.

Wandering: A Problem for a Person with Alzheimer's Disease

Keeping the person safe is one of the most important aspects of caregiving. Some people with Alzheimer's disease have a tendency to wander away from their home or their caregiver. Knowing how to limit wandering can protect a person from getting lost.

  • Make sure that the person carries some kind of identification or wears a medical bracelet.
  • Consider enrolling the person in the Alzheimer's Association Safe Return program if the program is available in your area. If the person gets lost and is unable to communicate adequately, identification will alert others to the person's medical condition.
  • Notify neighbors and local authorities in advance that the person has a tendency to wander.
  • Keep a recent photograph or videotape of the person with Alzheimer's to assist police if the person becomes lost.
  • Keep doors locked. Consider a keyed deadbolt or an additional lock up high or down low on the door. If the person can open a lock because it is familiar, a new latch or lock may help.
  • Install an "announcing system" that chimes when the door opens.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/26/2014

Source: MedicineNet.com

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