Are Hallucinations Common in Seniors with Dementia?

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Dementia is a neurological disorder that causes changes in the brain. As a result, older adults may often experience alarming and unfamiliar symptoms, including hallucinations. Continue reading to learn how dementia can cause hallucinations and what family caregivers can do to mitigate this symptom.


When conditions such as dementia impact the brain, they can distort reality. Hallucinations can be more common in people with Parkinson’s dementia or Lewy body dementia. In most cases, the delusions will last for a couple of minutes, but this can vary from person to person. Keep in mind hallucinations are different from illusions and delusions, which are also common in older adults with dementia. A hallucination is a perception of something that isn’t there. An illusion is when a senior with dementia views a physical object incorrectly, and a delusion is a false belief, such as mistakenly blaming someone for taking a misplaced item.


Visual hallucinations are more common in older adults with dementia, but it’s not rare for seniors to experience problems that involve other senses, such as hearing and smell. For example, your loved one may believe he or she hears other people talking in a room when no one is present. Your parent could also smell food cooking in the kitchen when, in reality, the things he or she smells only exist in his or her mind.

Be Understanding

Some hallucinations are benign and don’t require medical treatment. Happy hallucinations may even provide your loved one with a feeling of peace. Instead of pointing out what’s real and what’s nonexistent, offer love, patience, and acceptance. When you understand hallucinations are a symptom of dementia, it could lower your stress levels and prevent your loved one from feeling embarrassed or sad.

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 elderly home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Check Comfort Levels

Family caregivers need to remain calm when their loved ones hallucinate. Instead of being judgmental, investigate the environment. If there are background noises or shadows on the walls, these things could trigger your loved one’s hallucinations. To address these issues, consider dimming the lights or closing the curtains at specific times of the day, and turn off televisions and radios in unoccupied rooms. During and after hallucinations, provide reassurance to your loved one and look for positive distractions.

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 Milford elder 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.

Be Respectful

Pointing out misconceptions could upset your loved one and cause an adverse reaction, which is why you should develop management strategies and positive responses ahead of time. Be respectful and tell your parent that although he or she sees a shadow, nothing is there. Ease your loved one’s mind by explaining that the things he or she sees, hears, or feels aren’t there, and gently assure your parent you understand why he or she is confused. Be honest without being cruel. 

If you’re looking for reliable dementia care, Milford 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. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (203) 444-8575 to learn more about our high-quality home care services.


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