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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Helping Our Alzhemier Clients: Do They Experience Hallucinations ?

Today is a rainy cold day and I am off work, so I don't have to be at mom's today. So I thought I would share with you and interesting bit of information I have just learned about Alzheimer's clients.

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.

Salvador Dali: Persistence Of Memory

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

Ruth Anne


  1. Thank you for sending me the link to your blog over on my site, The Caregivers' Living Room. I love your blog! I especially appreciate that you support both paid caregivers and family caregivers - this is an inclusive and original approach. I believe it's important to break down barriers between the many groups of people (paid and unpaid) who all have a vested interest in caring for others. That's why I talk about disability care for our son and eldercare for my Mom in one breath. Giving and receiving care are activities that span ages and abilities - we are all affected. Thank you for your contribution to the discourse.

  2. AnonymousJune 01, 2015

    My mom has Lewy Body dementia. This is different from plain old dementia in that she sees or hears or senses things that aren't there. Last year I would get phone calls at all hours of the day or night. She said 'people were sleeping in the back bedroom'. Sometimes it would be people she worked with 50 years ago, or her long dead parents, or most likely people she saw on TV. The Kardashians stayed with her for quite a long stretch! She didn't actually see them, but the Kardashian kid ran up and down the hall all night with his dog! Visitors would drop in and then they would just...disappear. My grandmother was in the basement doing the laundry. I would say, mom, go look in the bedroom, there's nobody in your house. And she'd come back and say, 'they're gone! how did you know???"


Please leave your comment, and Thank You.. Ruth Anne.