Being a caretaker for the elderly is not easy; you will meet all kinds of patients and people throughout your career. Some people may face extreme paranoia and delusions; these are the hardest to treat because a lot of what such patients, think, and believe is false. Luckily, there are many tried and tested ways in which caregivers dealing with patient delusions can tackle any problems they may face along the way.
Here is a list of ways in which caregivers dealing with patient delusions can improve their interactions with elderly patients:
The most important element of being a caregiver is your relationship as a caretaker with the patient. Over time, you two are bound to develop a relationship of some sort. However, relationships come in many forms and faces; you must make sure the relationship you have with your patient is a positive one. Positive relationships are filled with mutual trust and respect.
In order for a relationship to flourish and strengthen, both parties must trust one another. Trust is incredibly important in any relationship, but more so when it comes to the connection between a caregiver and their patient. Medical relationships are tedious; it takes time for a patient to truly be able to trust someone else with their literal life. However, it is very much possible to establish a healthy trust bond between both parties. Trust is established firstly by treating the patient with respect; do not make them feel worse than they may already feel due to their old age and compromised condition. Sincerity is also essential; be kind and honest with your patient. The truth can be a bitter pill to swallow, but it can sometimes be the best course of action. After all, most medicines taste bad but yield excellent results.
Delusions are a common side effect of many mental conditions that come with old age, including extreme paranoia. People suffering from this condition will see everything from a negative perspective, and have problems trusting the world, including their caregiver; hence, it is vital that a caregiver make their patient feel comfortable at all times
This obstacle can be overcome by taking out a special time for a patient experiencing delusions. Try stepping away from your other duties as a caregiver, grabbing a seat, and listening to what they have to say. It might surprise you to know that listening to someone can fix half the problem!
Patients experiencing delusions may tell you untrue stories; for example, a patient may tell you that they think they are a mythical creature. Even though this is obviously false in your eyes, it means a lot to them. However, they cannot see how untrue their statement is because of their compromised mental state.
In such situations, it is wise to listen to the entire story your patient is telling you. If they are afraid or feel challenged, calm them down by telling them positive affirmations. The tone of your voice is also important; try using a softer, soothing tone when speaking with them. This will make it more likely that they will believe you and feel calmer.
Identifying the problem is vital; without knowing exactly what’s wrong, you cannot fix it. Empathy plays a massive role in this context and will help you extract information from them. They may sometimes have problems getting their point across as a result of their compromised mental and physical condition; in such situations, try paraphrasing what they have said to clarify it for them, and confirm if you two are on the same page.
After identifying exactly what they feel, you can decide the severity of their condition and how to care for them accordingly.
This point connects with the previous one; in order to help your patient, you must first identify the problem. Try investigating into their personal life and relationships to gain better insight into their delusion. Perhaps there is an unresolved fight or mystery, like a strained parental relationship or a tale of betrayal, which has placed them into their current delusional state of mind. Insight is vital; without it, you cannot help your patient.
Combatting one’s own delusions is not easy, nor is helping another get over them. However, as a caregiver, the latter is your duty. Here are some ways in which you can help your patient overcome their paranoia and delusions:
As you can see, there are many ways in which you can help someone get over their delusions. By practicing these methods and spending quality time with your patients every day without fail, you can help them become better and turn them into successful members of society.
For further help or information, feel free to contact Gagne Behavioral Health Care.