When a person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia hallucinates, he or she may see, hear, smell, taste or feel something that isn’t there. Some hallucinations may be frightening, while others may involve ordinary visions of people, situations or objects from the past.

Understanding hallucinations

Hallucinations are false perceptions of objects or events involving the senses. These false perceptions are caused by changes within the brain that result from Alzheimer’s, usually in the later stages of the disease. The person may see the face of a former friend in a curtain or may see insects crawling on his or her hand. In other cases, a person may hear someone talking and may even engage in conversation with the imagined person.

Alzheimer’s and other dementias are not the only cause of hallucinations. Other causes include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Physical problems, such as kidney or bladder infections, dehydration, intense pain, or alcohol or drug abuse
  • Eyesight or hearing problems
  • Medications

Coping strategies

When responding to hallucinations, be cautious. First, assess the situation and determine whether the hallucination is a problem for the person or for you. Is the hallucination upsetting? Is it leading the person to do something dangerous? Is the sight of an unfamiliar face causing the person to become frightened? If so, react calmly and quickly with reassuring words and a comforting touch. Do not argue with the person about what he or she sees or hears. If the behavior is not dangerous, there may not be a need to intervene. For more coping strategies, join ALZConnected, our online support community where caregivers like you share tips on what has worked for them.

Offer reassurance

  • Respond in a calm, supportive manner. You may want to respond with, “Don’t worry. I’m here. I’ll protect you. I’ll take care of you.”
  • Gentle patting may turn the person’s attention toward you and reduce the hallucination.
  • Acknowledge the feelings behind the hallucination and try to find out what the hallucination means to the individual. You might want to say, “It sounds as if you’re worried” or “I know this is frightening for you.”

Use distractions

  • Suggest a walk or move to another room. Frightening hallucinations often subside in well-lit areas where other people are present.
  • Try to turn the person’s attention to music, conversation or activities you enjoy together.

Respond honestly

  • If the person asks you about a hallucination or delusion, be honest. For example, if he or she asks, “Do you see him?” you may want to answer with, “I know you see something, but I don’t see it.” This way, you’re not denying what the person sees or hears, but you avoid an argument.

Modify the environment

  • Check for sounds that might be misinterpreted, such as noise from a television or an air conditioner.
  • Look for lighting that casts shadows, reflections or distortions on the surfaces of floors, walls and furniture. Turn on lights to reduce shadows.
  • Cover mirrors with a cloth or remove them if the person thinks that he or she is looking at a stranger.


The Alzheimer’s DAYBREAK-ALZ Study is a clinical research study for people with memory problems or mild Alzheimer’s disease. We are looking for people who would like to participate.

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. As we get older, most of us become more forgetful. Keys go missing, we can’t remember names easily, memories fade. But if you find that forgetfulness is becoming a problem for you, people comment on your memory loss, or you have difficulty planning or problem-solving, these could be early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is very common, it affects one in 1,400 who are age 40-64 years, one in 100 people age 65-69 years, one in 25 of people in their 70s, and one in 6 of people age 80 years or older.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss, difficulties thinking, problem-solving and communicating. Alzheimer’s disease develops due to changes in the structure and chemistry of the brain that affect its ability to function properly when performing certain “mental” activities. This is known as cognitive impairment.

Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues.

Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Dr. Bhatia’s clinic is conducting Alzheimer’s DAYBREAK-ALZ Study in Fresno

Do you or a loved one have memory problems or mild Alzheimer’s disease?

Then you may be interested in the DAYBREAK-ALZ clinical research study.

  • The DAYBREAK-ALZ study is a clinical research study for people with memory problems or mild Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The study will examine if an investigational medication, taken by mouth, may slow the decline in memory and mental functioning associated with Alzheimer’s.
  • There is no cost to participate. Volunteers who take part in the study will receive all study-related care, from a Specialist Physician, at no cost and you may be compensated up to $150 per visit for your time and travel expenses.

Who can join the DAYBREAK-ALZ Study?

To join the study you must:

  • Be between 55 and 85 years old
  • Have a close friend, relative or partner who would be willing to be your study partner throughout the study
  • Have experienced a gradual loss of memory over the last 6 months (the study team will assess whether this is due to Alzheimer’s disease) or have been diagnosed with mild Alzheimer’s disease


If you think you might like to join the DAYBREAK-ALZ study or you would like to learn more, please contact us. We can tell you more about it and explain what participating would mean for you. We will talk through the potential benefits and risks of being involved in the study, before you make your decision about joining.

We will also carry out several medical checks to see whether you are right for the study, and the study is right for you.

What does the study involve?

The study will last for around three years – 8 weeks to see if you qualify, plus 3 years of treatment, then 4 weeks of follow-up.

The study drug is a tablet, to be taken once a day. The tablet will contain either a lower dose of the study drug, a higher dose of the study drug, or a placebo, depending on which group you are assigned to. A placebo tablet is one that contains no active ingredients.

You will be assigned at random to one of the study groups. Neither you nor the study doctor will know which group you’ve been assigned to. There is a 2 in 3 chance that you will receive the study drug. If it is necessary to find out which group you’ve been assigned to, the study doctor can do so quickly.

You will need a study partner. This person needs to be someone who you are in regular contact with, who will go with you to study appointments, and who can help the study team to notice any changes in your mental functioning.

If you join the study, you and your study partner will be asked to attend around 29 appointments. During these appointments, we will assess your health, thinking and memory with some standard medical tests and questionnaires. We will also ask you about any side effects you may experience. These appointments will be every 3 weeks for the first few visits and then every 7 weeks until the end of the study.


Our office is recruiting patients for the following clinical trials:

  1. Osteoarthritis of Hip or Knee
  2. Chronic Low Back Pain
  3. Moderate Alzheimer’s disease MMSE 10-20 Pt on Nameda and Aricept
  4. Any memory impairment, for Amyloid PET Scan Evaluation (Medicare patients only)
  5. Epilepsy – Open label study
  6. Cluster Seizures
  7. Acute Migraine
  8. Chronic Migraine
  9. Agitation in Alzheimer’s disease
  10. Mild Alzheimer’s Day break study

You can learn more about the clinical trial process here:

If you have any questions, please contact:

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