FlowersChallenging Behaviors for the Caregiver

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Hallucinations and Delusions
By Elisabeth A Hinman-Smith M.S.W. & Lisa P. Gwyther M.S.W.

"Mom always thinks she sees a man on a bicycle outside the window. She's not afraid, but insists he's there. Daddy always teases her that he's going to go out and run her other suitor off. It makes her laugh."

* Do not argue with the person over what they see, hear, feel or smell. For the person, these visions and thoughts seem very real. Reassure them and respond to their feelings about it. "I don't see the bear in the back yard, but it must be scary. Don't worry---I won't let it harm you.

* Reduce clutter, extraneous noises or confusing aspects in the environment. Check out any real basis to the fear. For example, the person may "hear people" in the next room because the TV is on, or may see someone because of a show on the wall.

* Do not argue with someone over a false belief. The person will not be able to remember your reasoning or rationally weigh your points. Say "I know you are afraid I might leave, but I won't", rather than "How could I possibly have time for an affair?"

Respond to the emotional content of the statement and distract the person with other activities or another topic. Be aware that the person may believe their parents are still alive. Reminding them that they died twenty years ago may be like hearing the news for the first time. Again, respond to the emotional content and distract.

(c) copyright 1996


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