Delirium is an acute condition that causes confusion and can make an older adult unaware of their surroundings. It is typically caused by an underlying condition, like an infection. Regardless of the cause, it can be frightening and disturbing for family caregivers to witness in an elderly loved one. Knowing more about delirium and its symptoms may take some of the fear out of the situation.
Delirium usually comes on quickly, in just a couple of hours or a day or two. It happens when the signals in the brain become jumbled. There may be a single underlying cause for delirium, or there may be multiple factors. Some things that can cause delirium include:
- Some kinds of medicines or drug toxicity.
- Intoxication or withdrawal from drugs or alcohol.
- Medical conditions, such as stroke, heart attack, a fall injury, or liver disease.
- Metabolic imbalances.
- Infections like pneumonia, flu, or a urinary tract infection.
- Medical procedures involving anesthesia.
Older adults are at higher risk for delirium as a brain that is deteriorating is more susceptible to its effects.
The treatment of delirium depends on the underlying condition that causes it. When that condition can be resolved, delirium usually disappears within 4 to 7 days.
Symptoms of Delirium
The symptoms of delirium can vary throughout the day. There may even be periods when the older adult shows no symptoms. Often the symptoms are worse in the evening and at night. Symptoms of delirium are generally divided into four categories:
- Less Awareness of Surroundings: The older adult may have trouble sticking to a topic or might get hung up on an idea so that they are unable to respond to questions or participate in a conversation. They may also withdraw and not respond to what is going on around them.
- Impaired Cognition: A person whose cognitive skills are impaired may have memory problems, be disoriented, have trouble with speech, and struggle to read or write.
- Behavioral: Behavioral changes might include visual hallucinations, agitation or aggressive behavior, making noises like moans or calling out, lethargy, or sleep problems.
- Emotional Disturbances: Delirium can cause anxiety, depression, irritability, euphoria, rapid changes in mood, and changes in personality.
If your aging relative is experiencing delirium, elderly care can help with their care while they recover. An elderly care provider can prevent the older adult from injuring themselves or doing something unsafe. Elderly care providers can also remind seniors to take medications to improve underlying conditions or treat delirium. Elderly care can also help with other kinds of care, including making meals, keeping the house clean, and assisting with bathing and using the bathroom.
If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Elderly Care in Seminole, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff At Assisting Hands Home Care Today! 727-748-4211.
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