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How to Manage Paranoia in the Elderly

How to Manage Paranoia in the Elderly

How to Manage Paranoia in the Elderly

Paranoia in the elderly can be an outcome of Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors affected by paranoia may falsely believe someone is stealing their possessions, for instance. Managing paranoia in the older population can be achieved with knowledge of the condition, stress reduction, and medical care.

What is paranoia in the elderly?

Complex changes in the aging brain can trigger paranoia in some older people. These elderly individuals may see or hear things that do not exist. The false beliefs cause negative emotions, like fear, anger, or jealousy, to arise. Paranoia commonly manifests in patients with dementia.

Elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, which is one of many types of dementia, may experience paranoia, along with hallucinations and delusions. Paranoia and memory loss are closely intertwined. As memory declines, the senior’s paranoia is likely to worsen in proportion.

What are examples of paranoid behavior?

When a senior starts to lose her memory faculties, she will forget mundane details. For example, the elderly person may forget where she placed an item, such as a purse. A paranoid senior will falsely believe that someone has stolen her purse.

A senior may fail to remember her caregiver. Due to paranoia, this Alzheimer’s patient might not trust the caregiver, thinking instead that the professional is a stranger. Similarly, when new people are introduced to the senior, she will be under the impression that strangers are harmful.

The senior affected by paranoia may even go so far as to accuse family members and caregivers of stealing—when in reality, the items are misplaced. False beliefs, such as the aforementioned, have no basis in reality; however, dementia patients are certain about their suspicions.

What are symptoms of paranoia?

Family members and caregivers are advised to pay attention to the senior’s suspicions rather than immediately dismiss them. Loved ones are encouraged to assess the frequency and severity of the paranoid behavior. Red flags may appear, like the ones that follow, that require medical care.

Seniors with paranoia may feel agitated or stressed without clear explanation. These individuals might hear strange noises without being able to pinpoint the origins; in truth, the noises may come from animals outside or a tree branch scraping at the window.

Paranoia is the culprit when the elderly falsely believe that they are being unfairly mistreated. Or, seniors might think people are gossiping about them behind their back; in reality, the chatter may be due to audible interferences with the senior’s hearing aid.

How do caregivers help manage paranoia?

Caregivers are urged to use a compassionate approach to paranoid behavior. Be aware that the manifestation of paranoia may be the senior’s manner of expressing loss. To the elderly individual, blame and accusations may be the only sensible explanations for what seems inexplicable.

Coping with paranoid behavior requires that caregivers hear out the senior’s false beliefs or accusations without judgment. If the senior accuses a family member of stealing, for instance, the family member is advised to not react. Refrain from arguing with the senior.

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Reassure the senior and validate her feelings—rather than try to offer rational explanations for the missing item. Aging people respond well to feeling heard. Let the senior know that she is safe and loved. One way to do this is to offer a gentle hug or touch.

Distractions are helpful when a senior with paranoia accuses a family member of stealing. The family member might start to immediately search for things, such as photos or memory boxes. Once these items are found, the family member is advised to initiate discussions about them.

Lost items may also be duplicated. A senior who frequently blames a family member for stealing her red purse should be presented with a similar red purse. Family caregivers are advised to purchase at least two of the same items that are often misplaced or otherwise lost.

While viewing the senior’s suspicions as direct outcomes of paranoia, do not assume all accusations are rooted in a false reality. Unscrupulous people take advantage of aging adults. Investigate the dementia patient’s suspicions to see if someone is actually stealing from her.

In the event that the paranoid behavior becomes severe, or it is possible that the senior may inflict self-harm or harm to caregivers, medical attention is critical. A medical evaluation is also warranted when the paranoid beliefs become extremely troubling to the senior.

Schedule a doctor’s appointment when the paranoia becomes worrisome enough to interfere with daily life. An aging senior may refuse to see the physician. A way to coax her into the doctor’s office is to find a different reason, such as a blood pressure check, to seek medical care.

Memory Care Naperville Illinois

Memory care is one of the most compassionate forms of care to give a senior suffering from paranoia or similar type of psychosis. Dementia caregivers are trained to identify false beliefs and calm the senior when symptoms of paranoia arise. Assisting Hands Home Care offers quality in-home memory care.

Our professional caregivers respond with patience when seniors display any level of memory loss. If they misplaced their shoes, we’ll help look for the items. Agitation can result when seniors with dementia lose cognitive abilities. Our skilled caregivers pacify care recipients, helping them return to a calm state.

Wandering may be problematic in patients with Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia. The caregivers from Assisting Hands Home Care gently lead wandering seniors back to safety. When incontinence issues arise, we provide discreet assistance with toileting and bathing.

In addition, our memory care services include nonmedical support with all the activities of daily living. Our dementia caregivers prepare nutritious meals, shop for groceries, provide transportation to doctors’ offices, and provide timely medication reminders. Caregiver companionship also deters loneliness.

If your loved one in Glen Ellyn, Lisle, Naperville, Warrenville,Wheaton, Illinois, is affected by dementia and paranoia, choose Assisting Hands Home Care for qualified in-home support. Our home care agency is among the most reputable in the nation. We ensure seniors in our care live with dignity. Call us at (630) 634-9316 for a consult.

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