Approximately 1.4 million Americans live with Lewy Body Dementia, and this disease often comes with a host of symptoms that mimic other diagnoses. Hallucinations are a common sign of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), and may worsen as the disease progresses. Hallucinations can be an unsettling symptom for both LBD patients and their care partners, but there are several ways to help individuals with LBD navigate these delusions. Here, we share tips for helping loved ones cope with hallucinations associated with their diagnosis.
Responding to Hallucinations
Approximately 80% of individuals with LBD experience this type of cognitive impairment. Hallucinations and delusions can be difficult to address, but there are several steps you can take to diffuse the situation and help your loved one cope. Here are a few ways to calm the patient and cultivate a safe environment for all involved:
- Use validation therapy. Validation therapy can be reassuring for individuals who experience hallucinations, delusions, or confusion. This comforting method is simple to practice, and it aims to help patients feel understood and valued. For example, if a person with LBD is experiencing hallucinations of a parent who has long since passed away, you can use this as an opportunity to speak with him or her about the parent they’re “seeing” or calling for. Asking the individual for details about their parent is a great way to validate their feelings.
- Use positive distractions. In addition to validation therapy, positive distractions are often effective for relieving tension and anxiety related to hallucinations. When hallucinations or delusions become stressful, try lightening the mood by playing some cheerful music or going for a walk.
A diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia comes with a host of challenges, and hallucinations are often among the most challenging symptoms. Caring for a loved one with LBD is difficult to go through alone, so don’t hesitate to reach out for support or additional resources if necessary. Our team at Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center is happy to help you navigate the caregiving process and provide insight, so please call our helpline at 516-218-2026 for assistance.