Hallucinations in the Elderly


by Kum Martin

A hallucination does not require an external stimulus for a person to see, smell or hear things that are not present. This is an abnormal perception and many elderly people end up suffering from hallucinations. However, hallucinations can be controlled through medications in majority of the cases.

Many elderly people suffer from hallucinations where they can see things like people, halos or faces of people. Some elderly also complain of having bugs crawling under their skin or on their faces. These are all hallucinations. So, why do the elderly suffer from hallucinations? There are several reasons for this. Hallucinations can occur due to fatigue, emotional exhaustion, PTSD, insomnia, depression, cancer of the brain, head trauma, high grade fever, liver failure, lesions in the brain, or demise of a close friend or a loved one.

Several times you may hear an elderly person complain of a smell or a touch. This is often due to the chemical changes taking place in the brain. These changes occur due to aging. Also, at times they can be precursor to a migraine or an episode of epilepsy. Many times, seniors who are suffering from sensory deprivation may have hallucinations. For instance, a deaf senior may end up hearing sounds, while a blind senior may end up having visual hallucinations.

However, the most common reason for hallucinations among seniors is a health condition known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome. This syndrome is prevalent among seniors who have lost their vision. These seniors will complain of seeing birds, animals or horizontal lines across their line of vision. In addition, these elderly people may also be suffering from some degree of dementia. Other than the hallucinations, these seniors will be healthy mentally.

Another cause for hallucinations in the elderly, both visual and auditory, occur in seniors who are suffering from sundowning syndrome. The symptoms of this syndrome occur late in the afternoons, evenings and nights and are seen in seniors who have dementia, Alzheimer's disease and psychosis.

About Author:
Kum Martin is an online leading expert in elderly care. He also offers top quality articles like:
Dementia Types, Alzheimers and Coffee

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kum_Martin


5 Responses

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  2. David Kessler has also identified what might be called hallucinations or otherwise might be called visions in elders (and others) who are coming close to death. Our mother began reaching out and calling to her dead parents right before she died. It seemed that she that they were there in her room to help her with her transition. Apparently this is very common. We write about this and other experiences as caregivers for our elderly parents at http://www.desperatecaregivers.com Carol Inside Aging Parent Care
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  4. Since my father has completely lost his vision 6 months ago he has had a few bouts of dementia. I'm sure if I couldn't see anything anymore my dreams may sometimes seem more real where at least I see in them.....I just try to understand, I know what he's going through is very difficult.
  5. My mother was among those whose hospital delirium either triggered dementia or foretold it. Although the hallucinations finally abated, she was never the same. THANKS..
  6. This is kind of upsetting to read. I have a family member who recently has been waking up in the middle of the night and seeing things that are not there. She has seen both animals and people. None of the causes mentioned in the article are promising. http://www.ChartierCareHome.com Elderly care Specialist.

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