Home care provider discussing delirium and dementia care with son and older mother in Carmel, IN

How To Tell The Difference Between Delirium And Dementia

Cognitive confusion and emotional distress can both be symptoms of delirium and dementia, making it easy for these two illnesses to be confused with each other. The two are distinctly different, however, and it’s a priority for caregivers, medical, and emergency support to understand the difference. Delirium is especially serious and common for older persons. It’s a common complication of hospital admission for the elderly.

What is delirium?

Delirium can be described as an acute problem with a display of confusion, disrupted attention, disordered speech and even hallucinations. Delirium is diagnosed by clinical observation of patient behaviors and medical help must be obtained immediately when a family member, friend or loved one displays potential symptoms. It’s usually temporary and most likely reversible once the underlying cause is treated.

The following are common causes of delirium:

  • Head trauma
  • Drug interactions
  • Infections
  • Dehydration
  • Liver failure
  • Brain tumors

Delirium is commonly found in facilities or hospitals that offer senior care. It can also be triggered by drug or alcohol abuse, UTIs, and pneumonia. Surgery or any procedure using anesthesia, high fevers, sleep deprivation, and severe emotional stress can be problematic, also.

Symptoms of delirium:

  • Behavioral displays of emotional disturbance
  • Fluctuating or drastic mood changes
  • Sudden behavioral changes (e.g. hyperactivity)
  • Inattention or distraction
  • Disorganized thinking or cognitive problems
  • Reduced awareness of the environment
  • Delusions or hallucinations

How can one recognize delirium from dementia?

Delirium and dementia at a glance may seem similar, but delirium starts abruptly and fluctuates in intensity, from day to day or hour to hour.

Dementia develops over long periods of time, beginning slowly with mental decline, and is irreversible.

Dementia and delirium both appear as mental confusion, so how can you recognize the difference?

Why is it important to understand the difference?

Delirium is many times a warning sign of serious medical problems. It may even be an adverse reaction to a medication leading to a medical emergency. Delirium must be quickly treated, or it may create permanent complications or even death.

Delirium goes too often unseen or unrecognized by medical professionals. The symptoms can be too easily attributed to dementia, instead of the acute problem that it is. Immediate medical help must be sought when symptoms of delirium are present.

Many dementia patients develop delirium during hospitalization, but all that one can do is create a quiet, safe and comfortable environment.

Does the senior in your life need dementia care in Carmel, IN?

Call Home Care Assistance of Carmel at (317) 316-0804 and let us provide you with a top of the line dementia care provider for your loved one.

Older Carmel residents enjoying a party with balloons

Positive Attitudes Can Reduce Dementia Risk

The question often arises, “Can a positive outlook on life improve our brain health?” Researchers adamantly affirm, “yes,” and here are some helpful suggestions we have found for aging adults and for their caregivers who want to be helpful.

Attitude Matters

Smiling truly helps physical and mental health and keeping a positive attitude takes it even further. Smiling releases endorphins. Even a forced smile genuinely decreases stress. In fact, research shows that good attitudes actually reduce the risk of dementia. Even when aging adults carry a gene variant linked to dementia, their good attitudes appeared to make them 50% less likely to develop the disorder. Pessimism, on the other hand, worked against them. These results are impressive and give us further motivation to keep up with positive relationships, personal connections and good attitude.

Stay Connected Intentionally

It’s often said that we are the sum total of our friends and interactions, regardless of whether it’s family, co-workers or friends. This means it’s especially important to intentionally surround ourselves with people with good attitudes. It’s contagious! Stay connected with those who keep good outlooks on life, are active and involved.

No Complaints!

When people fall into the trap of complaining, beware and keep some distance. Complaining takes us down a path of negativity that’s not good for anyone. No one really wants to hear complaining about bad weather, long lines and aches or pains. It’s difficult to be around that kind of attitude for long, unless you are the same sort. So, even thought there are days that you may be down or aggravated, resolve to mingle with people who help you stay upbeat. Don’t allow self-pity to come over you like a dark cloud.

Routine is Good

Waking up at the same time every day has a health benefit. It’s not always easy but it matters. Morning rituals can keep us going, and especially if they involve conversation and healthy habits like a good breakfast or exercise.

Laugh as Much and Often as Possible

Allowing the rush of endorphins into the brain and bloodstream helps us feel good in so many ways. Keep laughter a regular part of life by going to the theater for funny movies or comedy shows. Turn something funny on the television or YouTube and interact with children whenever possible. Their liveliness and energy is always uplifting.

Be a Goal Setter

Looking forward to things in the upcoming days or weeks helps us with attitude and outlook. It makes us sharp and prepared. Create a list, make a plan, and accomplish tasks, regardless how big or small they might be.

Enjoy life to the fullest with good brain and body health! Protect your wellbeing with activity, healthy lifestyle changes and a positive attitude!

6 Stocking Stuffers to Get for Seniors with Dementia in Carmel, IN

Top 6 Stocking Stuffers Seniors with Dementia Will Love

Families across the country traditionally engage in gift giving during the holidays. There is no reason why sharing camaraderie, love and memories cannot extend to an elderly family member living with dementia. Following are six thoughtful stocking stuffers dementia caregivers in Indianapolis can give to their loved ones.

1. CDs

Give the gift of memory by finding digital music from a favorite era, band or vocalist. Upon hearing the melodies, seniors often begin remembering people, places and events that occurred when the music was popularized. Indianapolis elderly care professionals believe that allowing them to reminisce about the past is a great way to spark conversations. 

2. Games or Puzzles

Activities stimulate many different areas of the brain simultaneously. The game of connecting tiles was specially designed for seniors that live with cognitive disorders. The game encourages players to match images by category or color. Smart puzzle books are another beneficial option. Each book contains hidden pictures, different/same challenges, mazes and image identification. 

3. Crafts

Sensory gifts that involve crafting stimulate multiple senses while helping to boost cognition and memory. These items might include something as simple as adult coloring books and crayons. Colorful, soft and fuzzy brain noodle kits are another option. 

4. Comfort Items

As seniors are commonly more sensitive to cooler temperatures, they often appreciate items that protect them from becoming chilled. Think brightly colored fleece or fuzzy throws, a warm bathrobe or a pair of cozy slippers to stick in their stockings. 

5. Special Remote Controls

Senior-friendly remote controls are designed with program locking technology that prevents altering the internal memory once set. Each device features easy-to-read numbers along with up and down arrows that enable older adults to quickly scan channels, select an individual channel, adjust the volume or turn the TV on/off even with dementia. 

6. Sweet Indulgences

Even elderly people enjoy indulging in a sweet treat now and then. Barring a senior with diabetes, consider gifting homemade cookies or candy made from a time-honored family recipe. Perhaps seasonal store-bought items are your loved one’s weakness. The delight might also spark hidden memories of past holidays. 

These gifts can all benefit seniors with cognitive disorders, but so can in-home care. Home Care Assistance provides compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia home care seniors need to boost physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. To accomplish this, our highly trained caregivers implement our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method. This revolutionary program promotes mental stimulation, delays the onset of dementia and encourages emotional wellbeing. Call (317) 581-1901 today to give your loved one the gift of in-home care.