Most mornings I will listen to NPR (National Public Radio). This week there was a piece on about Alzheimer patients and hallucinations. The report tracked a patient with Early-onset Alzheimer's disease, who is using a tape recorder to journal his experiences as he travels this very scary and unfamiliar road. A road which many of us may one day travel ourselves.
The report was titled - Seeing What Isn't There: Inside Alzheimer's Hallucinations.
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What I find interesting as a caregiver is how this piece of information may in some ways help us understand our clients better. One case in point I can think of is showers. If you have the responsibility of showering a client with Alzheimer's you know it can be a very trying experience for both you and your client. My clients physician once told me that they don't see the shower for what it really is, and may perceive it as a threat of some kind. He had a patient who thought he was being asked to get into a boat and he thought the boat was sinking. That of course made him very fearful. Could it be that he was hallucinating at the time? Well maybe so.
There are other times when our clients behavior may seem odd to us, however if they are seeing things that are not there it would explain a lot about their actions. This is just one more bit of information that we can have in our data banks to help us deal with the day to day issues that we face when caring for an Alzheimer's patient, whether it be a client or family member.
"Up to 50 percent of people who have Alzheimer's disease experience hallucinations, delusions or psychotic symptoms, recent research suggests." - National Public Radio
On a similar note my mother has severe macular degeneration, and it is common for patients with this disorder to see strange things also. I will share some insight on that with you tomorrow. And also I will have some links to information on just what it is they see, because believe it or not, when they tell about their visions - or draw them if they able there is a common thread...... so unusual you wont believe it.
Until tomorrow Take Care