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Responding to Delusions and Hallucinations - Understanding the Message

Delusions and hallucinations seem very real to the person who is having them and can cause a lot of distress. It is important to take delusions seriously and never dismiss them as a symptom of dementia. The person is experiencing real fear or anger and distress, whether the belief is true or not. A hallucination is a sensory experience that occurs in the absence of actual sensory stimulation. Hallucinations in dementia are most commonly visual but can involve other senses like hearing and touch.

This helpsheet provides examples of common delusions and hallucinations that may be experienced by the person with dementia and how to respond to them.