When Alzheimer’s Patients See Things That Aren’t There

WHAT IS YOUR LOVED ONE EXPERIENCING?

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The hallucinations can include any of the primary senses (sight, sound, scent, taste, touch). They may be frightening, such as a shadow cast by a cat turning into a looming lion or the smell of smoke and the sound of emergency sirens.

Hallucinations can also be enjoyable for the patient as they relive the past through visions of loved ones lost, important life moments, and other soothing experiences. Dr. Stephen Hoag, author of A Son’s Handbook: Bringing Up Mom with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, remembers trips to the grocery store with his Vaudeville-trained mother fondly:

“Mom would see all these people as an audience and say, ‘You’re on next!’ So I’d take it away, singing and dancing with her and entertaining everyone.”

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