Dealing with confusion in the elderly
Causes of confusion in the elderly - some may surprise you
My Mom is about to turn 95 on October 28, 2011 so I've been dealing with ways to work with confusion in the elderly for about 3 years now. Up until she was 92, she was pretty sharp (and remains so - "sharp" is now a relative term...). Confusion does abound once in a while and I've found some ways to get her more centered. I'm getting pretty good at it these days and so is she.
There are many reasons for confusion in the elderly which are sort of obscure. In fact, I had to do a fair amount of internet research to figure out what the root of the confusion in my senior citizen Mom was and how to deal with it.
I'm hoping that this article will help other caregivers cut to the chase so they don't have to waste as much time as I did figuring out ways to deal with the elderly confused.
Common causes of confusion in the elderly
I've learned along my path as a caregiver that sudden onset confusion is not necessarily a "normal" thing in the elderly.
My Mom sort of woke up confused one morning. She didn't know where she was although she's always been able to identify me and those loved ones she sees daily. But, this sudden onset confusion just was so new, we were off to the doctor immediately. Turns out that, this time, she had a UTI. That's right, a urinary tract infection can cause confusion in the elderly. Just one cause, really. A few more of the more common causes of confusion in the elderly are listed below:
- Urinary Tract Infection. As mentioned above, my Mom had a UTI but she had no symptoms of a UTI. Normal symptoms of a UTI include burning on urination, a feeling of frequent need to urinate, sharp pain on urination.
UTIs can be prevented with increased water consumption (8 glasses of water a day is preferable), better bathroom hygiene, and, some think, giving a bit of cranberry juice daily as cranberry juice changes the pH of the urine. There are also cranberry pills on the market which do the same thing. Look to the right to see a few examples on Amazon.com.
A few books on confusion in the elderly
Additional causes of confusion in the elderly
- Pneumonia. The last time my mom had sudden onset confusion, we landed in the hospital for 7 days while she cleared pneumonia. Once the antibiotics were in and she was rested, we went home - better, by far, than before. Her mind was so clear it made me wonder how long she'd had the pneumonia. Pneumonia in the elderly might not present with symptoms like those in younger people. There might not be coughing, sneezing, wheezing, etc. In fact, like my mom's case of pneumoia, it can be asyptomatic.
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). TIAs are periods where small stoke-like symptoms occur. Typically, in the elderly, TIAs preset themselves as periods of fugue, glazed eyes, confused or slurred speech, difficulty moving, or even irritable behavor. TIAs are not preventable but they should signal a visit to the doctor eacha and every time they occur.
My gorgeous papa
Soma of my additional articles you might like
- Helping a hospitalized senior citizen
It's a sad fact that, if you're a caregiver or have a senior citizen you love dearly, you're going to have to (one day) probably help a hospitalized senior
- Pneumonia Symptoms In The Elderly
The inspiration for this lens 'Pneumonia symptoms in the elderly' is lying in a hospital bed at the moment - my 94 year old Mom, Gertie. I had to call an am
- Good Movies For Senior Citizens
My mom and I watch a lot of movies and rate them in terms of "arthritic fingers up." Come see what movies we recommend...and don't!
- Tales of a summer with a 91 (now 95!) year old
My blog following my travels (or lack therof) with 95 year old Mama, Gertie
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