Anxiety, fear and worry are natural human emotions. When these emotions go into overdrive, they can cause hallucinations and delusions. This is called paranoia. Sometimes, paranoid symptoms are based on undiagnosed physical problems. At other times, paranoia can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or another disease common in the elderly. Regardless of why an episode of senior paranoia occurs, one thing is true across the board: it’s difficult to care for a senior exhibiting signs of this affliction. Many families turn to assisted living care for the first time after witnessing an episode.
Many illnesses and disorders afflicting the elderly have similar symptoms. Paranoia is usually marked by several of the following symptoms:
Feelings of being persecuted unfairly
Hearing voices or strange sounds
Seeing people or things that aren’t actually present
Feelings others are talking behind their back
Never discount a senior’s symptoms, automatically assuming “it’s all in his head.” Sometimes, there are real, reversible reasons for the senior’s paranoid feelings.
Before a senior who is exhibiting signs of paranoia can be treated effectively, the cause must be identified. Often, loved ones assume a senior’s paranoid outbursts are tied to a mental disorder. The trained personnel at assisted living for seniors in Oklahoma City know that often, there is a simpler culprit driving the worrisome symptoms. Yes, paranoia can be caused by physiological changes in the brain and illnesses, including brain tumors, vascular damage and Alzheimer’s disease. In those cases, medication is a common treatment. Other causes and treatments include:
Cause: Worries about money. Solution: Showing financial statements to ease his fears.
Cause: Fear of abandonment by loved ones. Solution: Loved ones reassuring the senior they care. Easing fears of abandonment is one reason the best facilities providing assisted living care in OKC encourage residents’ families to visit often.
Cause: Hearing voices. Solution: An evaluation may show a hearing problem that’s causing that feeling.
To say that caring for a senior exhibiting signs of paranoia is taxing is an understatement. If you are dealing with this, the following tips can help:
Be vigilant so you can spot paranoid outbursts early
Reassure, rather than explain
Journal your loved one’s moods
Reassure him you love him
Try to identify his triggers
Consider transitioning to one of the outstanding assisted living for seniors in Oklahoma City
One of the biggest incubators of paranoia in elderly individuals is an unpleasant, unfriendly living environment. Without positive social interaction, fears and anxieties multiply, leading to agitation or paranoia. Oklahoma’s best assisted living facilities provide the opposite. The staff at our facility, Village at Oakwood, works every day to provide a positive, nurturing, uplifting, supportive environment. Seniors here feel safe. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today.