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Elder Care Tips: How to Reduce the Chances of Delirium

Elder Care in Winchester MA

Senior in BedIf your aging parent will be spending time in the hospital in the near future, it is vital that you are prepared. This does not mean just knowing why your parent is entering the hospital and what you and her non-medical caregiver will need to do to help her through her recovery when she returns home. You must also be aware of the potential risks that she faces while she is in the hospital and what you can do to help her avoid serious consequences.

One of the most pressing risks that seniors face when they are in the hospital, even for a short time, is delirium. This condition occurs in nearly 60 percent of all people who are hospitalized, and up to 80 percent of elderly adults who are hospitalized. Though any person who is hospitalized is at risk of developing delirium, some people have a higher chance. Some risk factors that increase the risk of developing delirium include:

  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • History of stroke
  • Hearing impairment
  • Visual impairment
  • Experiencing several medical problems at the same time

If not managed well it can lead to lasting cognitive decline, increased risk of infection, and higher mortality risk of the year following the hospitalization. Understanding that this risk is present and doing what you can to reduce it can protect your loved one from these lasting consequences.

Some of the ways that you can reduce the chances of your parent developing delirium while hospitalized include:

  • Ensure that your parent has her glasses, hearing aid, and other aid devices. Hearing and visual impairments increase the chances of experiencing confusion and disorientation. Equipping her with what she needs to stay connected to her environment can help to ward off these feelings of confusion and disconnection
  • Take steps to ensure that the environment is as calm and quiet as possible. Ask that the medical team stay out of the room as much as possible and limit interruptions during the day
  • Get familiar with the medical team and ensure that you stay up to date on your parent’s condition so that you can bring any changes to the attention of those treating her
  • Keep a clock or watch and a calendar nearby so that your parent can reference it regularly. This can help to minimize confusion about the passage of time, especially if she does not have much natural light
  • Try to keep her in her own clothing as much as possible as opposed to a hospital gown
  • Spend time quietly and calming talking with her so that she does not feel alone
  • Make sure that your parent is getting all of the fluids that she needs and that she is eating a healthy, balanced diet to keep her body strong and healthy
  • Minimize the distractions in her room. Keep the television off unless she is actively engaged in watching it, do not have loud conversations or arguments there, and ask anyone nearby who is being too loud to lower their voices.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Worcester, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (508) 917-6649