Wednesday, July 5, 2017
What is Delirium? Delirium is a serious condition that affects nearly 2.2 million elderly Americans each year. If left untreated, it can lead to other illnesses, complications and even death. For this reason, it is important to understand one of the most common and preventable causes of delirium – dehydration. Take a look at why seniors are especially prone to dehydration and how to keep your loved one safe.
Delirium is defined as a mental disturbance characterized by sudden or worsening confusion, changes in the level of consciousness or even hallucinations (Caregiver.com).
Common symptoms include:
Delirium is often mistaken for dementia, partially because the symptoms are so similar to one another. Unlike dementia; however, delirium is often temporary and reversible. It is also easier to prevent than treat.
Staying Hydrated to Prevent Delirium
While certain risk factors such as age and medical condition are unavoidable, staying hydrated is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent yourself or a loved one from becoming delirious.
Unfortunately, dehydration is very common among seniors. As we age, our bodies change. Our muscle mass and kidney function decreases, limiting the body’s capacity to store water. Often times, seniors who experience urinary incontinence and other mobility issues may limit his or her fluid intake in fear of a bladder accident or to avoid multiple trips to the restroom. If you are providing care for an elderly patient or loved one, be sure to monitor his or her fluid intake daily and encourage healthy habits.
Tips for Staying Hydrated