Psychotic symptoms, hallucinations, and delusions, arising de novo in older adults, represent a major risk factor for the development of dementia, illness, delirium, functional impairment and death. These symptoms and associated behavioural manifestations overlap with depressive disorders and may be signs of cognitive impairment or dementia. Symptoms may be vague or legitimized so that the psychosis is unrecognized by family and physicians. Specific queries regarding the nature of the symptoms and the impact on function will provide diagnostic clues. Several brief assessment tools can be used in primary care, specifically the NPI-Q and Blessed Dementia Scale.
Key words: psychosis, hallucinations, delusions, dementia, depression.