Understanding and Responding to Anxiety and Paranoia in Seniors with Lewy Body Dementia

Elderly man talking with doctor at home
There are resources to help seniors who are experiencing a decline in thinking, reasoning, and independent function.

“I am telling you, there is a dog inside my closet! I hear it growling all night long. We’ve got to track down its owner!”

Hearing an older loved one voice concerns such as this that you are aware to be false is unsettling – yet not abnormal. Your first reaction can be to try and rationalize with the individual with a response such as, “Nonsense! There’s no way a dog might have gotten into your closet!” Yet for a variety of reasons, this is often the least successful way to handle unreasonable ideas and conduct within the elderly.

Instead, at Midnight Sun Home Care, we recommend the following techniques in order to help bring back a sense of calm and wellbeing:

  1. To begin with, schedule a check-up with the senior’s doctor. It is imperative that you uncover any cognitive problems and also make certain she or he receives the recommended treatment the doctor prescribes. There also may be medication side effects at play.
  2. Learn the reasoning behind the irrationality, and then determine how to manage the problem. As an example, possibly the heating vent near the closet is loose, or an air vent is blowing on a row of hangers and resulting in an unusual sound.
  3. Rather than trying to correct the individual, react lovingly with support and empathy. Concentrate on acknowledging the thoughts and feelings being expressed, and on letting the person know that you'll be there to assist. Accompanying your senior loved one into a different area and providing interesting distractions, such as listening to music, baking, gardening, or looking at photos together, can really help restore calm.
  4. One of the best ways to overcome any challenge is as simple as determining what has assisted others in the same situation. Consider joining an in-person or online community of family caregivers, making it possible for the exchange of helpful recommendations and resources. A variety of choices are readily available, such as AARP’s Caregiving Community.
  5. Look for the support of a reliable in-home care provider, such as Midnight Sun Home Care. Our caregivers are skilled at assisting older adults remain active and engaged, and in helping to relieve difficult behaviors. Working with an established and reliable caregiver also provides you with much-needed respite to take a break from caregiving duties while knowing your senior loved one is receiving top quality care. A good place to understand more about options to support your loved one is Senior Care University.

For more suggestions about supporting your senior loved one through obstacles with aging, dementia or chronic illness, contact the senior care experts at Midnight Sun Home Care. We’re always available to respond to any questions, share resources specific to the challenges you’re encountering, and to provide a complimentary in-home consultation and development of a customized care plan to improve well-being for an older adult. Seniors experiencing these symptoms have options for homecare in Matanuska-Susitna, AK and the surrounding areas. Reach out to us any time at (907) 677-7890.


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