Related Paranoia in Seniors: How to Understand and Respond

Related Paranoia in Seniors: How to Understand and Respond

“I’m telling you, there’s a dog inside my closet! I hear it growling the whole night long. We’ve got to find its owner!”

Listening to a senior family member express anxiety such as this that you know to be untrue is unsettling – however, not unusual. Your first impulse may well be to try to rationalize with the individual with a reply such as, “Nonsense! There’s not a chance a dog could possibly have gotten into your closet!” However, for several different reasons, this could be the least reliable technique to take care of irrational ideas and conduct in the senior population.

Alternatively, at Amy’s Helping Hands, we recommend the following techniques in order to help bring back a sense of calm and wellbeing:

1. First off, schedule a physical with the senior’s physician. It’s essential to discover any cognitive impairment in order to make certain she or he receives proper treatment if required. There also may be prescription medication side-effects taking place.

2. Seek out the reasoning behind the irrationality, and subsequently decide how to solve the problem. For example, maybe the heating and cooling vent in the closet is loose, or an air vent is blowing across a row of hangers and producing a strange sound. 

3. Rather than wanting to correct the individual, react lovingly with support and compassion. Focus on accepting the feelings being conveyed, as well as on letting the individual know that you're going to be there to help. Accompanying your loved one into a different area and creating pleasant diversions, such as listening to music, baking, gardening, or browsing through photos together, can really help restore calm.

4. One of the most helpful ways to overcome any obstacle is learning from what has helped others in a comparable situation. Think about becoming a member of an in-person or online community of family caregivers, making it possible for the exchange of helpful recommendations and information. A wide range of choices are available, such as’s caregiver discussion forum. 

5. Seek out the support of a specialist in-home care provider, such as Amy’s Helping Hands. Our caregivers are skilled at helping older adults remain active and involved, as well as in helping to minimize difficult behaviors. Partnering with a trusted caregiver also will provide you with much-needed respite to take a break from caregiving duties while being confident your loved one is receiving top quality care.

For more tips on assisting your parent through difficulties with growing older, dementia or chronic illness, reach out to the Windsor and Essex County senior care experts at Amy’s Helping Hands. We’re always available to respond to any questions, share resources specific to the challenges you are facing, and to provide a free in-home consultation and development of a customized care plan to improve total wellbeing for an older adult. Give us a call any time at 519-915-4370 or reach out via our online contact form.