Dementia-Related Hallucinations: 5 Common Causes

By , 9:00 am on

The changes to the brain that happen during dementia can do more than just cause memory loss. It’s fairly common for seniors with dementia to experience hallucinations. These can occur at any time, but they tend to get worse in certain situations. There are several different things that can trigger hallucinations in a senior with dementia, and being aware of them can help caregivers better handle this symptom.

1. Medication Complications

Read medication labels carefully to see if your senior loved one has been prescribed anything that may cause hallucinations as a side effect. Seniors with dementia are particularly likely to have hallucinations if they have Parkinson’s disease because the dopamine agonists used to treat Parkinson’s may cause hallucinations. Other medications that have hallucinations as a side effect include various antibiotics, blood pressure medications, and erectile dysfunction treatments.

2. Unfamiliar Environments

Whenever seniors are in areas they don’t recognize, their brains essentially go into high-alert mode, causing them to be on the lookout for any potential dangers. In seniors with dementia, this puts a lot of stress on already overtaxed mental faculties, which can make hallucinations far more likely to show up. Since hallucinations are heavily influenced by mood, seniors who are already feeling unsafe and scared in strange environments are also more likely to encounter hallucinations that frighten them.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

3. Dark Areas

Hallucinations are far more common when it’s dark because the brain may invent things to fill in the spots it cannot see properly. Caregivers often notice hallucinations worsen around sunset. This is due to a process called “sundowning,” which causes dementia symptoms to get worse as the sun goes down. Turning on bright lights inside as soon as it begins to get dark can address this cause of hallucinations.

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be extremely challenging, and a compassionate professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Families looking for top-rated Flower Mound senior care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

4. Busy Environments

One of the major issues with dementia is that it’s difficult for different parts of the brain to communicate, so seniors can no longer multitask. Not being able to multitask makes it challenging for seniors to focus and think clearly when they’re in bright, loud, crowded, or otherwise busy areas. When they’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s more difficult to process things, so hallucinations are more common.

5. Visual Impairment

Dementia affects the parts of the brain that process space, distance, and vision, so seniors with dementia tend to have difficulty viewing certain things. Areas with changes in depth, such as stairs, or areas with low contrast, such as carpet and wood floors that are similar shades of brown, can be difficult for a senior to see properly. Anytime a senior cannot see, hallucinations are likely, since the brain starts imagining things to fill in the missing gaps. Rooms with a lot of patterns, similar colors, and strange textures may end up causing hallucinations.

If you’re looking for reliable dementia care, Flower Mound Home Care Assistance offers high-quality at-home care for seniors who are managing the challenges of cognitive decline. We offer a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), which uses mentally stimulating activities to boost cognitive health in the elderly. CTM has proven to help seniors with dementia regain a sense of pride and accomplishment and learn how to engage with others in an enjoyable way. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (972) 468-6010 today.