Learn About Delirium in the Elderly Today

It is a baffling condition to come to understand and manage. Those who are prone to Delirium are older adults, our in-home care professionals have gathered the following information that will help you recognize and appropriately react if you think you might be dealing with delirium potentially in someone you love.

What Exactly is Delirium?

Similar to dementia, delirium symptoms include confusion, disorientation, and other alterations in mental status. In dementia, cognitive functioning is in a slow decline. With delirium, the effects are fast and immediate.

There are Two Types of Delirium:

Home Care Villa Rica, GA: Delirium in the Elderly

Home Care Villa Rica, GA: Delirium in the Elderly

  • Hypoactive delirium, most common, ¾ have this type, shows like depression, slow reaction times and lethargy. Withdrawal from social and once enjoyed activities, including apathy. Has a flat affect.
  • Hyperactive delirium, disorientation, restlessness, anxiety, ramblings, hallucinations, problems with concentrating, and rapid shifts in emotion.

Both forms can occur simultaneously, feeling down one minute and then feeling alert and restless right after.

Who is Typically Subjectable to Delirium?

Increased risk for delirium are:

  • People over age seventy-five, living in an nursing facility
  • Those approaching end of life
  • Patients in intensive care units
  • Those who’ve had surgical procedures or been hospitalized
  • People receiving dialysis
  • Seeing- or hearing impaired
  • Those who are on multiple medications or diagnosed with chronic conditions
  • People diagnosed with some ailments: liver disease, HIV, cancer, stroke, or Parkinson’s disease

Delirium Causes in Older Adults

Often hard to establish the main cause, but there are known contributing factors:

  • Dehydration
  • Kidney or liver issues
  • Insufficient sleep
  • An extreme reaction to an infection
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Withdrawal from alcohol or drugs or overdose
  • Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
  • Pain

If a Senior is Believed to Be Suffering from Delirious, What to Do?

Consult with their doctor as soon as possible. Their doctor will want to make a medical assessment. They will perform various tests to rule other medical conditions out, in order to find the cause to make a proper diagnosis.

Treatment Options Available for Delirium in Older Adults

Hospitalization is typically required to assess the delirium itself and have uninterrupted monitoring and allow for any and additional proper treatments to be provided. 

Treatment provided, such as:

  • Antibiotics for any infections present
  • Fluids/electrolytes in the event that person is dehydrated
  • Benzodiazepines if delirium was related to drug/alcohol withdrawal
  • Antipsychotic medications to help ease hallucinations and agitation

 

How to Provide Support?

If you are taking care of a person with delirium at home, these suggestions can help:

  • Reassure them that everything is okay and you are there for them.
  • Playing music the person likes that is soothing.
  • Make sure the person is drinking enough fluids and eating healthy nutritious meals.
  • To help orient the person, have engaging conversations with them.
  • Try to motivate and encourage physical activity (within doctors recommendations).
  • Try to establish a regular sleeping schedule. Keep the home bright and cheery during the day, limiting napping, and create a calm, dark, quiet environment at night.

If you or an aging loved-one is considering Home Care in Villa Rica, GA please contact the caring staff at Universal Home Care And Services, Inc today.  (678) 426-2701

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065676/#:~:text=In%20elderly%20individuals%2C%20delirium%20can,of%20all%20hospitalized%20elderly%20patients.

Becky Back