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



Your loved ones are constantly trying to make sense of their world, and a hallucination only pushes them further away from reason. The first step to helping them through such an episode is to remain calm and respond in a supportive manner.

“You may want to respond with, ‘Don’t worry. I’m here. I’ll protect you. I’ll take care of you.’ Gentle patting may turn the person’s attention toward you and reduce the hallucination. Acknowledge the feelings behind the hallucination and try to find out what the hallucination means to the individual. You might want to say, ‘It sounds as if you’re worried’ or ‘I know this is frightening for you.'”

-Alzheimer’s Association

Next, try distracting your loved one. Walking to another room, especially a well-lit area where other people are, can alleviate some of the anxiety and fear produced by the hallucination. Other good tactics include engaging the patient through music, activities they enjoy, and conversation.

Now, actively change the environment. Once you’ve figured out the source of the hallucination, do something about it. Maybe normal house noises or shadows on the wall or reflections on surfaces caused the episode. Take the necessary steps to remove the offending item.

Here’s an excellent video on putting these important steps into place:

How do you handle it when your loved one has a hallucination? Share with a caregiver you know.

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