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5 Reasons for Dementia-Related Hallucinations in Aging Adults

By , 9:00 am on

Though memory loss and cognitive decline are the most commonly recognized symptoms of dementia, this health condition can also cause seniors to hallucinate. Due to changes in the brain, seniors may experience both auditory and visual hallucinations that make them hear and see things that aren’t really there. There are several different reasons seniors with dementia can get hallucinations.

1. Deteriorating Vision or Dark Environments

Seniors with dementia tend to have more eyesight issues than healthy seniors. Without proper visual input, the brain can essentially begin to make up sights to compensate for the lack of vision. These hallucinations can be incredibly detailed and seem very realistic. They’re particularly likely to happen in dark or shadowy areas where seniors cannot see clearly. Seniors who are having hallucinations due to vision loss often find hallucinations are less common when they’re in brightly lit rooms.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

2. Busy Environments

The changes to the brain caused by dementia often make it difficult to process multiple inputs. In an environment with too much stimulation, the brain can get overwhelmed and start making things up. Crowded, noisy environments are particularly likely to make seniors with dementia think they’re hearing things, such as someone calling their names or talking about them, and overstimulation can make any sort of hallucination worse.

3. Difficulty Identifying Objects

An interesting thing to note about seniors with dementia is they might not be hallucinating as much as you think they are. For example, a senior might call a round green throw pillow a cabbage because he or she cannot come up with the right word for the object. This sort of misidentification can worsen hallucinations, since the brain may make an object look more like something else if it’s expecting to see something else.

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be extremely challenging, and a compassionate professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Families looking for top-rated West Hartford senior care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

4. Medication Interactions

Seniors with dementia tend to take a lot of medications, and some of these can interact badly and worsen hallucinations. A variety of medications can have hallucinations as a side effect, including the dopamine agonists used to treat Parkinson’s, the vasoconstrictors and vasodilators used for blood pressure and erectile dysfunction, and certain types of antibiotics. It’s important to read medication side effects carefully and see if any may be causing problems.

5. Mental Distress

Just about anything that greatly upsets seniors with dementia can end up triggering their hallucinations. Dementia symptoms tend to come and go, and they typically worsen when seniors are under a lot of strain and cannot focus properly. Being tired, becoming frustrated, having a change to their routines, getting mad about something, or not feeling well can upset seniors enough to cause hallucinations.

If you’re looking for reliable dementia care, New Hampshire Home Care Assistance offers high-quality at-home care for seniors who are managing the challenges of cognitive decline. We offer a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), which uses mentally stimulating activities to boost cognitive health in the elderly. CTM has proven to help seniors with dementia regain a sense of pride and accomplishment and learn how to engage with others in an enjoyable way. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home care services, contact us at (860) 372.4500 today.