Approximately 47.5 million people around the world are currently living with dementia. Seniors with dementia can develop a variety of symptoms, including memory loss, difficulties with communication, and a condition called Capgras syndrome. If you’re unfamiliar with Capgras syndrome or your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with it, here are some details to educate you about the condition.
What Are the Symptoms?
Capgras syndrome usually affects seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, but it can also be caused by physical changes in the brain, such as those resulting from head injuries and lesions. The main symptom of Capgras syndrome involves believing one’s friends or relatives have been replaced by impostors. The condition causes delusions that lead to feeling no emotional connection with loved ones, even though the affected individual recognizes their faces. The delusions can also extend to personal property. For instance, even if your loved one recognizes his or her home, he or she may believe it’s a second identical home.
Managing dementia symptoms can be challenging for seniors and their families. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality in-home care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
What Causes It?
A 2007 study by V.S. Ramachandran found the cause of the delusions associated with Capgras syndrome lies in the brain’s visual cortex. When the senior sees a person, the brain fails to connect the image to his or her previous experiences with the person. The senior doesn’t experience a sense of familiarity when seeing his or her friends or family members, leading to the belief that impostors have taken their place.
How Can It Be Treated?
Currently, no official treatment plan exists for Capgras syndrome. Seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s can continue to take medications prescribed by their doctors, and some medications like pimozide have been shown to reduce the delusions associated with Capgras syndrome. Your loved one can also attend personal or habilitation therapy to manage the symptoms.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Clearwater, FL, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Can At-Home Care Help?
Families can also take steps to help their loved ones manage Capgras syndrome. You shouldn’t try to correct your loved one when he or she is convinced someone is an impostor. Instead, try helping your loved one by telling him or her you’ve sent the impostor away. Reassure your loved one he or she is safe, and help him or her emotionally connect to you and other people by communicating in a positive manner.
Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Clearwater families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.