Education and Care
Individuals with dementia may become paranoid as a result of false beliefs, or delusions, which are a symptom of the disease. Examples of paranoia are accusations that someone is poisoning their food or stealing their money, or statements such as, "My spouse is an imposter."
- Discuss paranoid behaviors with the individual's doctor. Medications may need to be adjusted.
- Explain to other family members and caregivers that suspicious accusations are a part of the illness.
- Respond to the feeling behind the accusation. If the accusation involves hurting someone who has passed away, you might suggest, "You really miss your mother; tell me about her."
- Try non-verbal reassurances like a gentle touch or hug.
- If the individual suspects money is "missing," allow them to keep small amounts of money in a pocket or pocketbook for easy inspection.
- Assist the person in looking for a missing object. Try to learn where their favorite hiding places are for storing objects that are frequently "lost."
- Avoid arguing.
For more information, connect with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s licensed social workers. Click here or call 866.AFA.8484. Real People. Real Care.
Alzheimer's Foundation of America 866.AFA.8484