What Causes Hallucinations and Delusions Among the Elderly?

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Hallucinations and delusions are unfortunately common issues among the elderly. While Phoenix dementia care specialists and researchers have found that memory related conditions can trigger hallucinations and delusions, there are a handful of other causes which can sometimes go unnoticed by caregivers. To ensure health and safety of your aging parent or loved one, learn more about some of the most common reasons for delusions or hallucinations among aging adults:

1. Hypoxia (Low Oxygen Level)

When there is lack of oxygen to the brain, hallucinations and delusions can result. Seniors at high risk include those with chronic respiratory conditions. If your aging loved one a respiratory condition and is exhibiting unusual behavior that may indicate hallucinations or delusions, take a pulse ox reading. A pulse ox is a device which measures how much oxygen is in the bloodstream. If your loved one shows a pulse ox level below 90%, then he or she is not getting enough oxygen and adjustments may need to be made to the medication or therapy regimen.

2. Medications

Hallucinations and delusions can be medication-induced. While there is a long list of medications that can be at fault, the most common include acyclovir, anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants, and levodopa which is a common mediation seen in Phoenix Parkinson’s care and treatment plans. If your loved taking one of these medications and is having delusions and hallucinations, consult with your doctor immediately.

3. Electrolyte Imbalances

Dehydration in the elderly, especially after a bout of vomiting or diarrhea, can cause imbalances in important electrolytes like potassium and sodium. This can result in hallucinations and delusions. Signs and symptoms that may accompany an electrolyte imbalance include decreased or dark urination, poor skin elasticity, constipation, and lack of perspiration. In most cases, once fluids and electrolytes are restored, these problems resolve.

4. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

It is common for the elderly, especially women, to not experience the burning sensation that is characteristic of a urinary infection. If there is a level of discomfort, it is often not enough for the senior to detect anything is wrong. When UTIs go untreated, toxins can build up in the blood, causing hallucinations and delusions. Fortunately, once the infection is treated with antibiotics, the senior will no longer experience any problems.

If your aging parent or loved one suffers from one of the above problems or simply needs assistance at home due to the natural aging process, reach out to Home Care Assistance today. We provide at-home care in Phoenix, AZ, allowing seniors to age in place in the comfort of home. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, call 602-388-1085 and speak with a devoted Care Manager.