As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, challenges remain for those affected by dementia. Changes may result in different symptoms and behaviours, including the development of hallucinations and delusions. People who want to learn more about supporting a person living with dementia who exhibits these symptoms are invited to the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s free upcoming webinar “Delusions, hallucinations and visual mistakes”, which takes place on June 24.
People living with dementia can experience a wide range of delusions — such as the belief that someone else may be living in their house — and hallucinations, but there are some practical things people can do to help those experiencing delusions, hallucinations, and visual mistakes. One simple step is to ensure that lighting is adequate, as dim or inadequate lighting can create ambiguity about a person’s surroundings, and this can contribute to paranoia and fears. For example, what may look like, and be recognized as, a housecoat in a properly lit setting could appear to be a person if the lighting is dim.
Constant change to daily routines can create a sense of confusion, disturbance, and imbalance in a person living with dementia, so try to keep routines and schedules as consistent as possible. Try to determine if a hallucination or delusion is bothersome. If they create or lead to a positive reaction, and do not promote or lead to dangerous behaviour, they might not be important to address.
It is important to avoid arguing with someone who has dementia. People experiencing hallucinations and delusions are experiencing a different reality than the rest of us. Avoid arguing with their expression of these experiences or attempting to debunk them, because this argument cannot be won.
Anyone who would like to learn more about the cause and effects of delusions, hallucinations, and visual mistakes in people living with dementia — as well as additional strategies in responding to them — can attend the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s webinar on hallucinations and delusions on Wednesday, June 24 at 2 p.m. The Society hosts free dementia education webinars every week for anyone affected by dementia or interested in learning more. The upcoming webinar schedule includes:
”Research ready: Extending the cognitive healthspan” (Friday, June 19, 11 a.m.): Local researcher Nathan Lewis shares the latest research on cognitive engagement as an intervention aimed at delaying the onset of cognitive decline.
”Delusions, hallucinations and visual mistakes” (Wednesday, June 24, 2 p.m.): Explore strategies for responding to these phenomena that are caused by dementia.
”Living safely with dementia” (Wednesday, July 8, 2 p.m.): Explore how people living with dementia and their families can live safely in the community.
To register for any of these webinars, please visit https://bit.ly/37w28Il.