Delirium and dementia are the most common conditions affecting aging family members. Still, many people don’t understand how they differ or what you can do to help treat them.
This article discusses a quick overview of delirium and dementia. That way, you can better understand if your loved one is showing symptoms, what to look for when visiting them in a senior living home in Harahan, LA, and how you can support their care.
What Is Delirium?
Delirium is a state of confusion, disorientation, and acute change in mental status. Various medical conditions, including infections, heart disease, and stroke, can cause it.
Delirium is often confused with dementia because both conditions involve memory loss and cognitive impairment. However, there are essential differences between them.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability that Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, or other diseases cause. Symptoms include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving, or language.
Dementia is not a normal part of aging and should not be confused with minor forgetfulness. The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia (caused by poor blood flow).
Is Dementia the Same As Alzheimer’s Disease?
The answer is no. Dementia is not a specific disease but a group of symptoms that many different conditions can cause. Alzheimer’s disease is one of these conditions, but there are others. Perhaps your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia. Understanding how the condition affects them now and what will happen in the future is crucial so you can better care for them as time goes on.
What Are the Symptoms of Delirium and Dementia?
A senior living home can help your loved one manage the symptoms of delirium and dementia. If you think your loved one is experiencing either condition, immediately getting medical attention is essential. Here are four symptoms you must look out for:
1. Memory Loss
As your loved one’s memory becomes more impaired, they may forget things they once knew. For example, they might struggle to recall their name or the names of loved ones. Or they might be unable to recall where they live or what time it is.
If your loved one has trouble remembering certain things, it can be frustrating for them and cause anxiety for you as well. But don’t worry: there are ways that you can help them through this challenging time!
2. Difficulty Understanding Visual Images and Spatial Relationships
You may notice that your loved one has difficulty understanding graphical images and spatial relationships. For example, they might not be able to read a map or follow written instructions. In addition, they may have problems judging distances between objects and judging how tall a thing is.
These difficulties can make it hard for them to get around safely in their home or community environment without assistance from someone who knows the area well enough to help with directions.
3. Losing the Ability to Complete Routine Tasks
In addition to the symptoms of delirium, aging loved ones with dementia may experience a decline in their ability to complete routine tasks. For example, they might have trouble dressing or managing their finances. They might lose track of time and forget appointments or meetings.
The most common cause of this loss is Alzheimer’s disease, affecting about 5 million Americans over 65 years old (and 40% will die from it). Dementia is also associated with conditions like Parkinson’s disease or stroke. However, it can develop without any underlying illness and occur alongside other diseases like cancer and diabetes.
4. Problems with Speaking and Writing
Another common symptom of dementia is difficulty speaking and writing. People suffering from this condition often have trouble finding the right words, or they may have difficulty organizing their thoughts to express them clearly. They may also have trouble finding the right words for things, leading to frustration and embarrassment for the patient and those around them.
In addition to these problems with language skills, people with dementia often experience difficulties remembering how to spell certain words-or, even how to write at all! This can also make reading difficult (and if your loved one didn’t like reading before getting sick, imagine how much worse it will be now).
How Does the Doctor Diagnose These Conditions?
For a doctor to diagnose these conditions, they must conduct an extensive physical examination. The doctor will ask about your loved one’s medical history, including any previous illnesses or injuries that may have affected their memory or cognitive abilities. They might also ask about any medications the person is taking, their dosage schedule, and how often they take them (if at all).
The doctor will then perform a series of tests designed to evaluate different areas of brain function, including memory recall and attention span. These tests might include the following:
- Simple tasks like drawing circles in order from most minor to largest size, repeating back strings of numbers, naming objects pictured on cards
- Subtracting seven from 100 without using calculators
- Identifying words written on flashcards held up by someone else (elderly people tend not be able to see well enough on their own)
A Senior Living Home Can Help With Both Of These Conditions
Seeing your loved ones forget their family and themselves can be disheartening. In addition, you might not have the capabilities to care for them. But with senior living homes, you allow them to live their final chapter comfortably. Here are a three ways senior living facilities can help your loved one:
1. An Environment That Feels Like Home
A safe environment is vital to a senior living home. When you choose an assisted living facility, they will provide a clean and well-maintained space with plenty of room for your loved one to move around. This helps them stay active and healthy while reducing the risk of accidents.
2. Well-Rounded Care Services
Senior living homes offer various services for aging loved ones to help them live their best lives. They have nurses, doctors, and other professionals who can assist in the healing process. These communities also provide physical rehabilitation programs focusing on physical, occupational, and speech therapy
In addition to these therapies, there may also be recreational activities for residents. These activities might include exercise classes or social events where residents can get together with other people going through similar situations in life.
3. The Opportunity for Socialization
Socialization is an important part of life, even more so for aging family members who may not have anyone else. The opportunity for socialization can be limited when living alone or with family members who aren’t interested in spending time with them. A senior living home provides an environment that encourages interaction between residents, which helps build friendships and encourage positive behavior.
We hope that we’ve been able to shed some light on delirium and dementia and the treatment options available. If you have a loved one struggling with these conditions, you must know what signs to look for and what steps you can take to help them get better. If you’re looking for more information about these topics or need help finding resources near you, contact us today!