What to Do When Hallucinations become a Part of Your Elderly Care for a Parent with Parkinson’s Disease

Elderly Care in Vaughan

For around 1 million people throughout the United States, Parkinson’s disease is a daily reality. This progressive neurological disease impacts both the mind and body, eventually removing the Elderly-Care-in-Vaughanability for a person to communicate or control their body. As with other progressive diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, the symptoms tend to begin mildly and progress through stages that feature new and worsened symptoms as they go. Understanding the symptoms that may arise can help you to feel more prepared in your elderly care role with your loved one, and give you greater confidence helping them to manage these symptoms.

One symptom that many caregivers are not prepared for when offering elderly care to a senior with Parkinson’s disease is hallucinations. These can be frightening and overwhelming, and many people do not know how to properly respond to them in a way that will keep the situation safe, healthy, and under control. Educating yourself on this particular symptom can make it much less stressful should it appear.

Hallucinations are often described as “tricks” that a person’s mind plays on that person. These are sensory experiences that the person has but that no one else in the vicinity has, making them seem “made up” to a caregiver. If not managed properly, these hallucinations can turn into potentially dangerous and upsetting issues.

Use these tips to help you manage hallucinations as part of your elderly care efforts for your parent with Parkinson’s disease:

  • Remember they are real to them. The most important thing that you need to keep in mind when it comes to hallucinations is that they are very real to your loved one. These are not something that your parent is making up or pretending, and your parent does not know that they are not being experienced by others. Avoid saying that they are “fake”, that they “are not there”, or that they are not “real”. This can cause your parent to feel isolated, made fun of, or “crazy”. Instead, use language that acknowledges that these sensory experiences are unique to your parent but that does not qualify them. Something like “they smell something that we do not” is less confrontational and more understanding.
  • Know the types. Hallucinations can impact any of the senses. The most common hallucination for a person with Parkinson’s disease is a visual hallucination. This is seeing something that others do not see, such as a dead loved one in the room or a “monster”. Feeling, tasting, or smelling things that others do not are not common, but they do happen. Audial hallucinations are not as common in PD as visual hallucinations, but are more common than other forms.
  • Put your parent at ease. If the hallucination upsets or disrupts your parent, focus on comforting them. Reassure them that they are safe and that what they are experiencing will not hurt them.
  • Discuss them. No matter how infrequent or minor these hallucinations seem, make sure that you are bringing them up to your parent’s doctor at each visit. This can be helpful in determining your parent’s health and wellbeing, and in making adjustments to treatments and management approaches.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Vaughan, contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at 905.709.1767.





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