Dementia and Paranoia – A frustrating combination for patient and caregiver.
Dementia and paranoia is a source of great frustration and sadness for a loved one or caregiver. Dementia is a chronic disorder which is generally caused by an injury or brain disease associated with old age. Some of the most common signs are memory loss, confused thoughts, personality changes, hysteria.
Many (but not all) dementia patients become paranoid after a period of time. Usually from the third or fourth stages of dementia on. They will begin to have delusions and very strong false beliefs. They may believe that a mate is being unfaithful or they’re being followed by the police. They might think that someone is stealing from them. These are all signs and symptoms of dementia and paranoia.
Ten Tips for Dealing with Dementia and Paranoia Patients
If you are a loved one or caretaker of someone who has dementia with signs of paranoia, here are the top ten ways for you to deal with them:
1) Be extremely patient with them: People with dementia and paranoia can make you frustrated at times. You must be patient and handle them with utmost care.
2) Don’t be offended by the things they do or say to you: Patients will be rude to you at times. Therefore, it is always important to understand that it is their disorder speaking and not them.
3) Never argue with the patient: Never offer an argument to patients with dementia and paranoia, it may make them violent.
4) Rather than explaining things with great detail give them a plain and simple answer. Offer them simple and straight answers, but don’t be rude or it may disturb them.
5) Try diverting their mind and entertain them as much as you can. Also, keep them entertained by indulging them in different activities.
6) When they lose something, duplicate that item before they get obsessed with its absence.
7) Neither believe nor deny their hallucinations: It is better to just listen to them when they talk about their hallucinations. Do not encourage or discourage what they see.
8) Try finding different ways to win their confidence. Give them as much loving care as you can so that you can win their confidence:
9) Understand that Patients with dementia and paranoia are different and therefore are not the same person you once knew.
10) Talk to other caregivers: Take suggestions from different caregivers by interacting with them. Caring for a loved one who has dementia with signs of paranoia is very draining and overwhelming at times. Find a support group near you or possibly a caregiver forum on the internet.
Here’s a great video I found on Dementia Care giving from Mind in Memory Care.