There are over 1.3 million people in the United States with Lewy body dementia. One of the symptoms associated with LBD is visual hallucinations. This means that the person sees something that is not there. The hallucinations can take many forms. In a blog post posted on the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease (LBD is related to Parkinson’s), a woman whose husband has LBD described one of her husband’s hallucinations in his own words, saying:
“The plants on the south balcony turned into little children again. Today they are musicians and they played for everyone down below. People danced to their music.”
Though this hallucination sounds like a pleasant and whimsical one, hallucinations are not always pleasant and can be frightening. Hallucinations can also be disturbing for the family caregivers of those with LBD. Knowing how to respond to hallucinations can make them easier to cope with. Here are some techniques that may help.
Avoid Being Dismissive
Telling someone not to be silly or arguing with them about what they see isn’t helpful. Respect that, although you cannot see it, they do. To them the hallucination is very real.
Speak to the older adult in reassuring tones and remind them that they are safe. Sometimes having them look at you can help ground them in reality.
Allow for Space
If the hallucination is disturbing, it can be wise to keep some safe distance between yourself and the person with LBD. They may mistake you for a part of the hallucination and become physically aggressive. Before approaching the person, ask if it’s alright.
If your loved one asks you if you see what they are seeing, don’t pretend that you do. Instead, tell them you don’t, but that you believe that they do.
Ask for a Description
Sometimes knowing what the person is seeing can help you to determine how they are feeling. A hallucination that is disturbing may mean that something is causing the person to feel anxious. Describing the hallucination may also help the person to focus better.
Be Mindful of Yourself
Try to keep your own emotions and behaviors in check. If you move too quickly or show that you are frustrated, it can make the person fearful or cause anxiety.
If your aging family member has been diagnosed with LBD, an elderly care professional can provide in-home care. Elderly care professionals are often quite experienced in working with people who have conditions that cause dementia, including LBD. They can help the person with all sorts of daily tasks, including bathing, eating, dressing, and toileting. Elderly care providers can also help with household duties, including preparing meals, light housecleaning, and laundry.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Jackson, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.