How to Manage This Type of Dementia Confusion: Alternate Reality

Dementia confusion, a common occurrence in Alzheimer’s, can result in recent memories being forgotten or distorted, while those from the more remote past often stay intact. This may cause prior times to make more sense to an older adult with dementia than the present. A person’s alternate reality could be his or her way of making sense of the present through past experiences.

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease frequently have problems expressing themselves, and at times their alternate reality has more to do with a requirement or a specific feeling they are attempting to express than it has to do with the vocalizations they are saying.

For example:

  • “When is my wife going to be home?” This question could be more about a need for affection or acceptance or a home cooked dinner than it could be about wanting to see his wife, who died many years ago. An effective reaction to discover more might be, “Why do you want to see her?”
  • “I need to deliver all these casseroles to the neighbors before the end of the afternoon.” Even though these casseroles do not exist, the words could perhaps signify a need for meaning in daily life or wanting to be engaged in an activity. An appropriate reply to determine more could be, “Why did you make casseroles for the neighbors?”

Maintaining a diary of these types of events may help you see a pattern in the person’s dementia confusion. The more you tune in and pay close attention, the easier it will become to comprehend the thinking behind the alternate reality and the best way to react.

Is It Alright to Play Along?

Providing the scenario is not going to be harmful or inappropriate, it is perfectly fine to play along with your loved one’s alternate reality. Doing so will not make the dementia worse. Bear in mind, the individual’s reality is true to him/her and playing along can make your loved one feel more comfortable.

If the scenario is inappropriate or might cause harm to the senior, try to reply to the perceived need while redirecting your loved one to something less unsafe or more appropriate.

Bear in mind these 3 actions:

  1. Reassure the senior.
  2. Respond to his/her need.
  3. Redirect if required.

Also, call on the services of Home & Hearth Caregivers, providing senior care in Illinois with specialized Alzheimer’s care. Our caregivers are available to provide compassionate, professional respite care services for family members who could use some time to refresh and recharge. Contact us any time to learn more at 800-349-0663.

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