Senior Care in Columbus MT: Paranoia and Dementia - How Family Caregivers Can Cope


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Paranoia and Dementia: How Family Caregivers Can Cope

It’s hard for family caregivers to see their elderly loved one struggle with dementia. The loss of control and independence can influence some seniors to become paranoid and suspicious, which may cause them to become angry, aggressive, sad or fearful. Because dementia affects the way the brain works, they interpret perfectly innocent people and actions as suspicious.

When an elderly relative is acting paranoid and seems upset about something they are imagining, family caregivers need to remember that their worries are all too real to them. The paranoia may manifest in different ways, from claiming that family members or senior care aides are stealing their things to insisting they have to go somewhere or do something right away. Family caregivers can learn to cope with their elderly relative’s paranoia caused by dementia and implement some strategies to minimize outbursts.

What Family Caregivers Should Do

Family caregivers should always remain calm and try to reassure the elderly person that everything is fine. Sometimes, a soothing touch or a hug can help convey this feeling. Family caregivers should respond positively and sympathetically, telling their relative that they understand how frustrating it must feel and that they will take care of everything. It’s also a good idea to keep answers simple and easy to comprehend. As soon as possible, family caregivers should try to redirect their attention to another activity or topic.

What Family Caregivers Should Not Do

When handling an elderly relative that is upset and paranoid, there are several things that family caregivers want to avoid. First, they should remember to take nothing personally and not be offended by anything their relative claims. They should never argue with their elderly relative, nor try to convince them using logic. Of course, they should never laugh at the elderly person’s claims or make them feel foolish. Finally, they should not give up and agree with everything the elderly person is claiming, because that will cause more confusion and mental distress.

Working with elderly family members that have dementia is never easy, and handling paranoid delusions can be even more challenging. When family caregivers discover techniques that help the elderly person feel safe and secure, they should always share with senior care assistants, family members and others that work with the aging person to minimize the distress they may feel on a daily basis with dementia.


If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Columbus, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today at 406-839-2390. 

Shanna Tourtlotte

Shanna Tourtlotte has been the owner of SYNERGY HomeCare Billings since 2011.

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