Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care and today I'm talking about how to manage delusions and wandering associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Delusions, especially accusations of theft and mistaken identities, are common behaviors. Often times, they're associated with the memory loss that accompanies dementia. For example, your mother may have forgotten she had her purse, then accuses you of having stolen it. These can be very difficult behaviors to deal with, but the best thing to do is not overreact, get upset or argue. Instead, show concern and offer gentle cues as to the reality of the situation.
For example say, I'm so sorry you can't find your purse. Was it the blue one or the red one that's missing? Lastly, sometimes just waiting a little while, you'll allow your loved one to move pass the delusion.
Another common behavior of persons with Alzheimer's disease is wandering. Over 60% of people with dementia wander from their safe environments. So what can you do? First, make your home safe. Put deadbolts high and out of reach. Use signs and alarm doors and windows, or consider investing in an alarmed mat that goes off when someone gets out of bed.
Second, look for patterns and triggers. For example, a person may wander off in the morning thinking it's time to go to work or school, or worry about a friend, family member or pet may be a cause.
Third, carefully plan outings; if your family member wanders, don't go to places with large groups or if you do, take along an extra helper, if possible. Lastly, plan for the worst, have extra copies of photographs of your family member to give to first responders and also keep track of the clothes he or she is wearing.
You should also consider registering your loved one with the National Alzheimer's Association Wandering Prevention Program called MedicAlert + Safe Return. You can find that at alz.