Approximately 47.5 million people across the world are estimated to be 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 are unfamiliar with Capgras Syndrome or your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with it, Fort Myers respite care experts are here 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 head injuries and lesions. The main symptom of Capgras Syndrome involves a senior believing his or her friends or relatives have been replaced with impostors. The condition is a delusion that leads the senior to feel no emotional connection with his or her loved ones, even though he or she 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 is a second identical home.
What Causes It?
A 2007 study by V.S. Ramachandran states 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 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 help manage his or her symptoms.
Can At-Home Care Help?
Families and dementia caregivers in Fort Myers can also take steps to help their loved ones manage Capgras Syndrome. You should not 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 have 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.
Managing dementia symptoms can be challenging for seniors and their families. If your loved one needs additional mental stimulation and emotional support, turn to Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are trained in our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to help seniors with memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. For more information on CTM and the senior care Fort Myers families can rely on, please call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 239.449.4701 today.