When hallucinations or illusions do occur:
- Don’t argue about what is real and what is fantasy.
- Respond to the emotional content of what the person is saying, rather than to the factual/fictional content.
- Seek professional advice if you are concerned about this problem. Medications can sometimes help to reduce hallucinations.
Alzheimer’s and suspicionConfusion and the loss of memory can also cause Alzheimer’s patients to become suspicious of those around them, sometimes accusing their caretakers of theft, betrayal, or some other improper behavior.
- Offer a simple answer to any accusations, but don’t argue or try to convince them their suspicions are unfounded.
- Distract the patient with another activity, such as going for a walk, or by changing the subject.
- If suspicions of theft are focused on a particular object that is frequently mislaid, such as a wallet for example, try keeping a duplicate item on hand to quickly allay the patient’s fears.
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