Dementia-related psychosis: strategies for treatment

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There is no cure for dementia-related psychosis. But there are steps you can take to help you and your loved ones get the disease and its symptoms.

Carolyn Fredericks, a neurologist with a doctor of medicine at Yale University, said: “It is well known that dementia is difficult to treat whether it is dementia or not.”

“The question is: how can you and [your loved one] Live with their false beliefs, or see people who are not present, or their psychotic symptoms, and live in a way that is as peaceful and peaceful as possible? “

Here are some strategies that might help.

Change theme

People with dementia often forget where to put things. This may trigger delusions about intruders or theft. Fredericks said this is how their brain understands memory loss.

They thought: “I couldn’t find this item. Therefore, someone must have stolen it.” She said.

Your first impulse may be to convince your loved ones that no one takes their things. However, facing them or denying their reality is not a good idea. Instead, try to help them find the missing item or let them focus on other things.

Fredericks said: “Distracting or distracting people is usually very powerful.” “Once you actually involve them in this hallucination, you will get stuck.”

Verify their feelings

The delusion of your loved one looks real and frightening. Before moving on to other topics, you should take a moment to confirm their emotional state.

Fredericks said: “Keeping calm and caring is indeed one of the most important things a family member can do.”

Some useful information you can say includes:

  • “Sorry, you are scared. Let’s sit down for a cup of tea and turn on all the lights.”
  • “I’m sorry to hear about this. But can you fold this pile of clothes for me?”
  • “It sounds scary. Oh, that’s a beautiful sweater you wear. Who gave it to you?”

Do not be angry

Your loved ones may change how they treat you or forget who you are. They may accuse you of being unfaithful or think you are a stranger in their home. That may be harmful. However, please don’t treat it as an individual.

Arman Fesharaki-Zadeh, MD, a behavioral neurologist and neuropsychiatrist at Yale University’s Department of Medicine, said: “This delusional thinking process is part of the disease’s DNA.”

carry on

Even if the person you love is really hostile, don’t jump up and defend yourself. Fesharaki-Zadeh said, on the contrary, the first thing you should do is help them feel safe. It’s scary to tell them that you know they don’t know you.

After that, he said that you can give them some “flash moments”. It’s like an old photo or a video clip of a good memory.

He said: “This may be a disarmament and compassionate way to bring them back to reality.”

Keep a familiar face

People with dementia may not be able to track new faces well. If you have different home health assistants to provide care, it may cause problems. If someone you know helps, your loved one may feel more at ease.

Fesharaki-Zadeh said that you can “transform” familiar characters. For example, the spouse or child may have been there for several hours. Then, the grandson or friend intervenes. This is not always possible. But he said that if you want to provide long-term care for family members with dementia, some groups can provide financial assistance.

You can visit the website of the National Family Caregiver Support Program for more information.

Create a routine

People with dementia tend to do better structurally. If their daily life has not changed much, their psychotic symptoms may be relieved.

Fesharaki-Zadeh said: “This predictability provides comfort and is the foundation of the environment.”

Here are some of his tips:

  • Wake them up at the same time every day.
  • Let them go to bed at the same time.
  • Arrange meals on time.
  • Let them go to the bathroom at the set time.

Join in activities they like to do. It could be sewing, cooking, listening to music or taking a walk.

Fesharaki-Zadeh said: “In terms of exercise, I can’t emphasize the treatment too much.”

Delete trigger

You will want to avoid any person, place or thing that will worsen the mental illness of your loved one.

James Lai, MD, associate director of clinical affairs for geriatrics at Yale University School of Medicine, said it’s also important to look for subtle things that may affect the behavior of your loved one. He said that certain daily activities may make people with dementia feel stressed or disoriented.

carry on

He said: “Big TVs with people look real.” “You mean they are hallucinating. But in fact, a TV with people talking out of the box seems to be in the room, standing there. .”

Lai also recommends minimizing reflections on windows and constant noise from other rooms.

He said: “You can turn off the shadows at night.” “And it’s not a good idea to keep the radio on.”

Look back

You should not ask someone with dementia what they ate for breakfast 2 days ago. However, childhood activities can be an interesting topic.

Lai said: “They may have lost their short-term memory, but there is no problem talking about the time to summer camp.” “This is what they have been talking about for years.”

What people with dementia remember may be different. But Lai said that old memories-where they grew up, where they used to work-tend to retain the longest memories. Finding the right theme for your loved one requires trial and error. However, once you do this, you can rejuvenate in times of stress.

“You can talk about it over and over again every day,” Lai said. “But for them, this may be new. It’s easy to talk about.”

Remove dangerous goods

Fredericks said that people with dementia should never have easy access to guns and bullets. Moreover, you may also want to keep sharp objects (such as kitchen knives) at hand.

“If someone has psychotic symptoms and they believe that someone is constantly coming in-and you have seen them waving a knife in the kitchen in the middle of the night-you don’t want someone to walk in and check on your furnace and let your loved ones Of people believe that someone is coming to get these melting pots.

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