What to Know about Parkinson’s-Related Hallucinations & Delusions

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Understanding Parkinson’s Hallucinations & Delusions

Although the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are hand tremors, stiff muscles, and slowed movement, many seniors with Parkinson’s also experience hallucinations. Here is a basic guide to hallucinations and delusions to help caregivers gain a better understanding of both. 

Hallucinations

Up to 40 percent of seniors with Parkinson’s disease experience hallucinations. In most cases, these consist of momentary visual hallucinations of someone or something glimpsed out of the corner of the eye. In around 20 percent of those affected by hallucinations, fully formed images of people, animals, and objects are briefly seen. Seniors may also experience fleeting hallucinations involving sounds or sensations of touch, although very rarely. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of elderly home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Delusions

A minority of seniors with Parkinson’s also experience delusions. One estimate suggests only 8 percent of seniors with Parkinson’s experience this symptom, which can be very distressing for both aging adults and their caregivers. Delusions tend to be paranoid in nature and involve ideas about jealousy and persecution. Seniors experiencing delusions can be challenging to care for because they may believe medication is poison and refuse to take it. They may also be suspicious, argumentative, and, in some cases, overly aggressive toward others. 

Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease can be extremely challenging, and a compassionate professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Families looking for top-rated Reston home care providers can reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Causes

Medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease increase the amount of dopamine in the brain. Increased dopamine helps with movement-related symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but it can also cause or worsen hallucinations. Other medications used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can also contribute to the problem. Sleep disorders are very common among those affected by Parkinson’s disease, and sleep deprivation can lead to hallucinations and even overt psychosis. The neurodegenerative process that causes Parkinson’s disease also contributes to hallucinations and delusional thoughts. 

Treatment

Seniors with Parkinson’s disease should talk to their doctors immediately if they experience any hallucinations or disturbing thoughts. The general approach to treatment is to first look for signs of a urinary tract infection or pneumonia, because infections often seem to trigger these symptoms in seniors with Parkinson’s disease. The next step is to go over all current medications and determine if any of them might be contributing to the problem. Sleeping aids can be used to treat sleep deprivation, and in severe cases, antipsychotic medication may be helpful. 


There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care service. Reston families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Call Assisting Hands Home Care at 703-556-8983 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.