Irrational Thoughts: Tips To Understand, Respond and Help Seniors

Elderly man talking with doctor at home

Learn more about how to handle seniors experiencing paranoia from CareWorks Health Services.

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

Listening to an older family member voice worries like this that you are aware to be false is unsettling – yet not abnormal. The initial impulse might be to try and rationalize together with the person with a reply such as, “Nonsense! There is not a chance a dog might have gotten into the closet!” Yet for a number of reasons, this is often the least reliable option to deal with irrational thoughts within the senior population.

Alternatively, at CareWorks Health Services, we encourage the following approaches that can help bring back a sense of calm and well-being:

1. To start with, arrange a check-up with the senior’s physician. It’s crucial to identify any cognitive impairments in order to ensure he or she receives proper treatment if necessary. There also might be prescription medication side effects taking place.

2. Find out the reasoning behind the irrational thoughts, and subsequently figure out how to unravel the situation. As an example, perhaps the heating vent near the closet is actually loose, or an air vent is blowing on a row of hangers and contributing to a strange sound.

3. Instead of wanting to correct the individual, react lovingly with support and empathy. Concentrate on acknowledging the feelings being verbalized, as well as on letting the individual know that you’re going to be there in order to help. Accompanying your loved one into another area and creating interesting distractions, such as listening to music, baking, gardening, or browsing through photos together, will help restore calm.

4. One of the smartest ways to overcome any challenge is as simple as finding out what has helped others. Think about joining an in-person or online community of family caregivers, making it possible for the exchange of insightful guidance and information. A variety of choices are readily available, such as’s caregiver online community.

5. Look for the support of an experienced in-home care provider, such as CareWorks Health Services. Our caregivers are skilled at helping aging parents remain active and involved, as well as helping to reduce difficult behaviors. Working with a trusted caregiver also will provide you with necessary respite to take a break from caregiving duties while knowing your senior loved one is benefiting from high quality care.

For additional ideas on supporting your parent through challenges with aging, dementia, or chronic illness, contact CareWorks Health Services, providers of home health services in Huntington Beach, CA and surrounding areas. We are always readily available to respond to any questions, share resources specific to the challenges you are dealing with, and to provide a no cost in-home consultation and development of a customized care plan to improve total wellbeing for a senior loved one. Give our experts in home health services in Huntington Beach, CA a call any time at (949) 859-4700. Check out our full Orange County service area.