Help for These Dementia Signs and Symptoms: Hallucinations, Illusions, and Suspicions

For individuals providing care for a senior displaying dementia signs and symptoms, careful, compassionate management is a must; but potentially the most overwhelming behaviors include suspicions, hallucinations, and illusions that others are out to cause harm. Incorrect impressions such as these manifest typically in the more advanced stages of progressive dementia due to changes within the brain. It’s vital to first understand the reasoning behind these emotions and behaviors, and to manage the root cause. Home & Hearth’s home health caregivers in Chicago, experienced in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, offer the following advice.


Underlying factors for hallucinations may perhaps be attributable to a general confusion, a prescription side effect or an infection. Check with the doctor to rule out medication side effects or infections, but also observe the person’s environment.

For example:

  • If a person complains about hearing voices: Is a radio or television on in a different part of the home that may be creating the concern?
  • If the person feels as though he/she is constantly being observed: Try pulling the curtains closed over the windows.
  • If the older adult complains of seeing snakes moving across the floor: Is there a patterned rug that may possibly be triggering the vision?

When illusions do happen, do not dispute about whether or not they are real, but instead assess the circumstances, reassure the senior in a serene voice and alter the setting as needed or respond to the individual’s emotions.

For instance:

  • “I do not see any snakes moving across the floor, but you appear to be upset, so let’s move into the family room until they can be gotten rid of.”
  • “You think you saw a man in that part of the room? Let’s turn on the light over there so we can see more clearly. Would that help?”


An individual displaying dementia signs and symptoms may accuse other individuals of stealing things, of improper behavior or of betrayal. This may possibly be the result of a general confusion or memory issues, but might also be a way for the senior to express fear.

How to respond:

  • Take “no” out of your vocabulary. Never debate, take offense or attempt to persuade the person otherwise.
  • Reassure the senior, letting him or her share feelings.
  • Try and give a simple response to the allegation.
  • Redirect, perhaps distracting the individual with an alternative task.
  • Respond to the requirement instead of the words.
  • Keep duplicates of commonly lost items, such as a pocketbook or wallet. If one is lost, the duplicate can be shown.

It is no question that providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be difficult at times. It is crucial to lean on the assistance of other people for guidance, resources and respite from the everyday duties. Call on the in-home care services of Home & Hearth Caregivers. We provide home health caregivers in the greater Chicago area who are specially trained in the art of patient, innovative dementia care techniques to ensure that your loved one is safe, comfortable and thriving.

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6432 Joliet Road
Countryside, IL

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