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Dementia: Hallucinations - What to do?

Updated: Mar 21, 2019

10 Ways to Respond to Dementia Hallucinations in Seniors


Dementia can cause hallucinations

Dementia causes changes in the brain that may cause someone to hallucinate – see, hear, feel, or taste something that isn’t there. Their brain is distorting or misinterpreting the senses.

Even if it’s not real, the hallucination is very real to the person experiencing it. For example, if your older adult is seeing bugs crawling on the floor, nothing you say will convince them that the bugs don’t exist. Their brain is saying that the bugs are real.

Some hallucinations can be scary, but others might involve visions of ordinary people, situations, or objects from the past. Some may even be pleasant or happy.

These dementia hallucinations usually happen in the middle or later stages and are more common in Lewy Body and Parkinson’s dementia. But they can also happen in Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

What’s most important is to validate your older adult’s experience, respond to their feelings, and keep them safe.

We share 10 ways to respond when someone with dementia is experiencing hallucinations.


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