Causes Of Sudden Onset Elderly Confusion

happy-senior-manEven though dementia is a serious issue amongst the elderly, it is certainly not the only reason that someone might feel or act confused. Severe confusion might occur, even in seniors with no prior history. These are a few of the different reasons that seniors might experience confusion that are not directly related to dementia.

Cause #1 – Anesthesia

Postoperative delirium – confusion after anesthesia, according to an article published in Today’s Geriatric Medicine, anywhere between 10 and 40 percent of senior surgical patients experience this. While it might be more prevalent in major or emergency surgeries, it can occur anytime that anesthesia is used and may last upwards of several weeks.

In order to ensure that the risk is kept to a minimum, the anesthesiologist needs to know as much about the senior’s medical history as possible. This includes a list of supplements and medications currently being taken. Postoperative delirium is just one of the reasons that it is important that hospitals have geriatric anesthesiologists available.

Cause #2 – Dehydration

People often underestimate the dangers of dehydration, especially in the extreme summer heat. The contributing factors here include decreasing thirst recognition and a change in the body’s water/sodium balance – both of which are a natural part of the aging process. If the senior is taking any medication, it might also play a role in causing dehydration. Especially because seniors might not ‘feel’ thirsty, they often need reminders to drink something.

If seniors find it difficult to drink enough during the warm season, it is important to start getting creative. Rather than relying on water, you can serve vegetables and fruits that are high in water content. Some of the fruits and vegetables to try include tomatoes, zucchini, celery, cucumbers, oranges, grapefruit, and strawberries.

Cause #3 – Urinary Tract Infections

One of the most common causes of confusion in the elderly is a UTI. In fact, it is so common, that whenever an older patient has confusion symptoms, it is the first thing that doctors test for. A few of the different symptoms include:

  • Urine having a strong odor
  • Pain while urinating
  • passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • Urine that appears cloudy, brownish, bright pink, or red in color.
  • Sudden inability to perform tasks that are otherwise normal
  • Sudden change in mental status, unusual behavior, confusion

Especially because signs might be relatively minor at first, it is always good to have skilled professionals look after your loved one. That is why the long-term housing options found at offer such a great option for families. Here seniors are surrounded by caring, courteous professionals who are not only trained how to react in certain situations, but also have the knowledge to recognize the first signs of trouble.

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