This week’s Q & A call was about how to better manage health and healthcare issues, when you’re taking care of someone with a dementia such as Alzheimer’s.
Most of the caregivers’ questions were about delirium. This is the state of worse-than-usual confusion that people can develop when they are sick or under serious stress.
I love talking to Alzheimer’s caregivers about delirium, because this is a really common problem that family caregivers absolutely can do something about!
The key is to know that people with dementia are especially prone to get delirium when they fall ill (especially in the hospital). And then you’ll want to know the basics on how to spot this problem, and how to get the doctors to address it properly.
A fact I wish more caregivers of elders knew: delirium can be the only obvious sign of a potentially serious health problem, such as a heart attack, a urinary tract infection, or a pneumonia. (Especially when it comes to older people with Alzheimer’s, they often don’t voice focused complaints the way younger people do.)
The trouble is, even though delirium is very common in older adults, studies have shown that it’s often missed by doctors and nurses. This is a important problem in healthcare, for three key reasons: [Read more…] about Delirium: How Caregivers Can Protect Alzheimer’s Patients