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Clinical Pearl - Dementia

Mirrors as an Intervention in Dementia

by Linda J. Keilman

Older adults living with dementia can experience delusions and hallucinations which can be frightening.

When the situation is frightening, staff need to determine triggers to the fear and utilize nonpharmacologic strategies to remove or minimize the trigger(s).

The presence of mirrors can be soothing or lead to behavior issues. Decorative borders that are pleasing to the older adult can be placed around the edges of the mirror to decrease reflective space and outside light.

Removing the mirror is also an option; but if the individual enjoys using the mirror for grooming (especially in the bathroom), it should be encouraged as these individuals should be as independent as possible in their activities of daily living.

Getting the resident to choose a pleasing border can lead to success. Utilize a product that can be removed if the intervention is not successful.

Be sure to leave enough space so the older adult can see his or her entire face without obstruction.

Be sure to have family/staff document the response so providers know whether the intervention was successful!

Linda J. Keilman, DNP, GNP-BC

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