“Real or Not Real?” Separating Fact from Fiction for your Loved One

Dementia and Alzheimer“You love me—real or not real?”

The Hunger Games’ Peeta Mellark is not the only one confused with fact and fiction. Loved ones dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s are likely to experience paranoia and delusions at some point in their lives.

People suffering from these disorders may become suspicious with the people around them. They might accuse you of infidelity, theft, and other improper behavior. While accusations sting, remember that it’s not them—it’s their condition.

True or False? The Roots of Uncertainty

Delusions and paranoia are common symptoms of both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The former is a set of false beliefs, which involves misinterpretation of experiences or perceptions. Paranoia, on the other hand, is a form of delusion that triggers unrealistic concerns. Your loved one will often think that harm is imminent or someone is out there to get them.

It’s important to keep in mind that people with these conditions feel they have little control over their life. They have little insight concerning their surroundings and often find it easier to blame someone else for what they cannot understand.

Potential Causes of Suspicions and Delusions

People with dementia or Alzheimer’s often experience progressive memory loss, which results in visual challenges. As a result, your loved ones misinterpret what they see or hear.

If the delusions or paranoia are new behaviors, delirium triggers the sudden change of orientation and thinking. Usually, the condition is quite reversible and often brought on by physical conditions (e.g. surgery, infection, and other illnesses).

Changes occurring inside the brain also trigger loss of judgment and self-control. As mentioned, individuals suffering from these disorders misunderstand situations and also experience inability to recognize familiar matters.

The Right Way to Respond

Dealing with paranoid or delusional loved ones can be tough. But because you love them, you respond accordingly.

Carebuildersathomemn.com, a respected home care provider, recommends practicing patience when dealing with such cases. Try not to take offense; remember your loved one isn’t doing it on purpose. Rather than argue with them, listen to what they have to say and understand their reality.

It pays to be reassuring. Make your loved ones feel that they can trust you and that you really care about them.

Katniss Everdeen struggled with helping Peeta through his period of delusion but she succeeded in the end. You can, too. All you need is the right amount of patience and constant reminders of how much you love that person.