Dealing With Delusions And Dementia
People with dementia may suffer from delusions, which are defined as fixed, false beliefs. Delusions can be relatively benign , or they may have a paranoid quality to them Sometimes the caregiver does not know what to expect from day to day or minute to minute. Here are some tips for handling delusions and the dementia patient.
Alzheimers Disease & Dementia
Alzheimers disease is both a type and cause of dementia. As a degenerative brain disease that is caused by complex changes to the brain following cell damage, Alzhemiers can lead to symptoms associated with a decline in memory and thinking skills . Since Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementiaaccounting for 60-80% of casesmany people often confuse the two or mistake them for the same thing.
Causes Of Anger And Aggression In People Who Suffer From Dementia
Like with anyone, anger and aggression can surface from an abundance of sources. Our reasons for getting angry or upset may differ greatly from one another, but there are certainly some underlying themes and patterns. In people who suffer from dementia, there are three major triggers or causes of anger and aggression.
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The Raz Memory Cell Phone Makes Staying Connected Easier For People With Dementia
This article was written by a guest contributor, and the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author.
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone aims to empower persons with intellectual disabilities, including people living with dementia, to continue to use a cell phone by addressing common challenges.
When a smartphone or basic mobile phone becomes too complex due to the multiple steps it takes to use features and even make a phone call, the simple one-touch dialing of the RAZ Memory Cell Phone can help users to stay connected.
“To make calls, the person with dementia simply taps and holds the picture of the person they wish to call.”
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone has a primary screen showing up to six contacts , a button to call 911, and the usual time, battery power and signal strength displays but thats it!
Other than these features, the extra-large and bright 6.3-inch display shows no notifications, no operating system updates and gives no ability to access apps or settings to cause confusion. The screen is always on and does not lock or go to sleep. The volume button is disabled and is always set to maximum. Every detail of the phone is designed to achieve the greatest possible simplicity for its user and can even be charged wirelessly for people with dexterity issues by purchasing the wireless charging set.
How to use
To make calls, the user simply taps and holds the picture of the person they wish to call.
Care partner controls
Antipsychotic Medications Are Being Prescribed For The Person With Dementia
If your loved one with dementia has been receiving an antipsychotic medication that hasn’t been reviewed for six months to a year, this should be evaluated.
For example, if your loved one was in the hospital and started on an antipsychotic medicine because she was hallucinating, it’s possible that her hallucinations were related to a delirium caused by an infection. Now that the infection has been treated and has resolved, it may be appropriate to decrease and eventually discontinue that antipsychotic medication. This is important because this class of medication has the potential for many negative side effects which could be eliminated by removing the drug from her regimen.
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Dementia: Symptoms & Causes
Dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, cognitive skills, and social abilities, caused by damage to or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain. These symptoms are severe enough to interfere with an individuals daily life. Dementia can affect people uniquely and cause different symptoms depending on the area of the brain thats affected by the damage.
Despite being the main symptom, memory loss alone doesnt mean you have dementia. Its typically accompanied by difficulty with:
- Communicating or finding words
- Planning and organizing
- Coordination and motor functions
Dementia can also have psychological effects, such as changes in personality, depression, anxiety, inappropriate behavior, paranoia, agitation, and hallucinations.
Why Its A Great Landline Phone For Someone With Dementia
The phone my dad bought for my grandmother is posted above. As you can see, pictures can be applied over the numbered keys, and its programmable. After hearing the dial tone the user pushes the picture of the person instead of dialing a series of numbers. Its best to have one with a cord to avoid a misplaced handset.
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There Is Unplanned Weight Loss Or Gain Of More Than A Few Pounds
If your loved one is putting on the pounds or losing them without a noticeable change in diet, this could be a cause for concern. While excess pounds can indicate things like hidden snacking, hoarding food or water retention due to congestive heart failure, weight loss in dementia has been correlated with a general decline in condition and should be investigated.
When Should An Elderly Person Call 911
If the older adult you care for suffers an emergency such as fall and is unable to get up on their own, it is better to call 911 right away, rather than moving them. The person may have a broken hip, for example, and moving injured senior citizens may cause them more harm. 911 is for emergencies only.
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Before A Planned Hospital Stay
With Alzheimers disease and related dementias, it is wise to accept that hospitalization is a when and not an if event. Due to the nature of the disease, it is very probable that, at some point, the person you are caring for will be hospitalized. Keep in mind that hospitals are not typically well-designed for patients with dementia. Preparation can make all the difference. Here are some tips.
Reasons For Dementia Caregivers To Call The Doctor
Not sure if you should just wait and watch your loved with dementia, or call the doctor? This question for caregivers can be difficult to answer, especially when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia who may have difficulty expressing how they feel.
A call to the doctor is warranted under some circumstances and will benefit your loved one’s wellness. Consider these suggestions for when to make the call.
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Stage : Moderately Severe Dementia
When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:
- Delusional behavior
Connection Through Art Therapy
Carers can connect with an individual with dementia through those abilities that do not diminish over time, such as appreciating art, theatre and/or performance. Even if a person loses his ability to speak fluently, it doesnt necessarily interfere with his ability to sing and enjoy listening to music for example or participate in painting, or delight in performance.
While medication is necessary in managing many cases of dementia particularly as it advances, carers and staff who understand that people with dementia are emotionally intelligent and retain their creative abilities may help delay either increasing medication, or at the very least influence, the form treatment takes.
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How Long Has 911 Been The Emergency Number
NHTSA Recognizes 50 Years of Dedication The first call to 911 was placed in February of 1968. Thanks to 911, throughout the country, a call to 911 can quickly connect you with the help you need. Before that first call, individuals needed to dial local 10-digit phone numbers to reach police, fire or emergency services.
You Notice Behavioral Challenges That Are Distressing To Your Loved One Or Yourself
Even if you’re committed to using non-drug approaches to your loved one’s challenging behaviors, you should also keep the physician informed about what those behaviors are and what’s been working for reducing and responding to them. While non-drug approaches should be the first strategy, keep in mind that if distressing hallucinations and delusions are common, psychotropic medications are often a key to decreasing that distress.
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Emotional And Environmental Factor
The most common reason people who suffer from dementia lash out in anger is because they are feeling sad or scared. As dementia worsens, people lose the ability to place experiences in context. Some people, even those who didnt have a history of getting angry, can get so frustrated and scared by this disorientation that they get angry.
Loud noises, overactive environments, physical clutter, large crowds, or being surrounded by unknown people are common factors in patients feeling overwhelmed. In this case, environment and emotional factors go hand in hand.
Ultimately, emotional triggers and environmental factors play a key role in causing anger and aggression. Consider the type of environment your loved one is in and how much interaction and stimuli they receive. Be sure to cater to their emotions to avoid outbursts.
Working With Hospital Staff
Remember that not everyone in the hospital knows the same basic facts about memory loss, Alzheimers disease, and related dementias. You may need to help teach hospital staff what approach works best with the person with Alzheimers, what distresses or upsets him or her, and ways to reduce this distress.
You can help the staff by providing them with a personal information sheet that includes the persons normal routine, how he or she prefers to be addressed , personal habits, likes and dislikes, possible behaviors , and nonverbal signs of pain or discomfort.
Help staff understand what the persons baseline is to help differentiate between dementia and acute confusion or delirium.
For more information on dealing with dementia and hospitalization, see the University of California, San Francisco, Memory and Aging Centers Tips for Hospitalization.
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Delirium In The Elderly: When It’s Time To Call 911
We all hear stories of the difficulties people have when caring for their elderly family members. But once in a while I hear a story that I feel needs especially to be shared because even the most informed and well-intentioned caregivers may be unaware of the subtle signs that may indicate a very dangerous condition. Such is the case with delirium — an acute mental disorder that presents as disorientation and can come on very quickly — within hours or days. Delirium is quite common among people over the age of 65, and while it can be life-threatening, or lead to adverse events culminating in the loss of independence or an increased risk of chronic illness, delirium is often preventable. Recognizing and responding to the signs of delirium in its earliest stages is an important skill for the family caregiver to develop.
Clara is the 86-year-old mother of my close friend, Margie. An energetic woman who has lived on her own for many years, Clara has always been upbeat and optimistic, even in the face of the diabetes she’s had to manage for the last several years. My friend Margie stops by to visit her mother every morning before work, but, other than dropping off a few of Clara’s favorite magazines and showing her fascinating new uses for her new computer, there’s not much she needs in the way of assistance. Getting Clara’s coffee and breakfast ready each day is more of a comfort for Margie than a necessity for Clara.
- Cognitive Impairment
- Alcohol abuse
Medications Haven’t Been Reviewed By The Doctor Recently
Too many medications can increase confusion for some people, so it’s important that each medicine is actually needed and still remains appropriate for the person’s highest possible functioning. Especially if the person’s functioning has changed- either improved or declined- the medications they receive should be evaluated.
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Wandering : What To Do When A Person With Dementia Goes Missing
Even the best prepared families can find themselves in a panic after a loved one has wandered from home. Three times my husband has wandered away from the house and become lost, said one family caregiver. EMTs, state police, bloodhounds, family and neighbors have come to the rescue.
What should you do if you are unable to locate an individual who has Alzheimers disease or another dementia? Time is of the essence, according to the Alzheimers Association. Those who wander are often found within a half mile of home or the starting location of the incident. Look in the house especially in areas like closets and the yard.
Try to think of clues to where that person may have gone. Did Mom say she wanted to go somewhere like the store before the incident occurred? Look in the radius of that area, but allow no more than 15 minutes. If your loved one is not found within 24 hours, he or she could be harmed.
Here are the steps to take if you cant find someone after 15 minutes:
How To Help Someone Who Has Overdosed On Alcohol
Alcohol overdose is a serious, life-threatening issue. Heres what you can do if you believe someone has overdosed on alcohol.1
- Do not play doctor and attempt to sober up the individual yourself.
- While waiting for help to arrive, be prepared to provide information to the responders, including the type and amount of alcohol the person drank other drugs they took, if known and any health information that you know about the person, such as medications theyre currently taking, allergies to medications, and any existing health conditions.
- Do not leave an intoxicated person alone, as they are at risk of getting injured from falling or choking. Keep the person on the ground in a sitting or partially upright position rather than in a chair.
- Help a person who is vomiting by having him or her lean forward to prevent choking. If a person is unconscious or lying down, roll them onto one side with an ear toward the ground to prevent choking.
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Recognizing Delirium: A Checklist For Caregivers
Delirium is a sudden change in a persons mental state that comes and goes over short periods of time. It can cause a person to have a hard time paying attention or following a conversation. Thinking and speech may be confused, illogical, unclear, and unpredictable. A persons mental state may vary from being restless and alert to sluggish and sleepy.
Delirium can sometimes be mistaken for dementia. Often the 2 conditions occur together. But delirium happens quickly over a short time, such as hours or days. Dementia happens more slowly, over months or years.
Delirium is a medical emergency. If delirium is not diagnosed and treated, it can lead to permanent problems or even death.
Tips For Behavior And Sleep Problems
Having a daily routine may help. Calmly reassuring and giving cues to orient the person who has dementia is also helpful in the evening and closer to bedtime. Try to keep the person going to bed at the same time every night.
Calm activities at the end of the day and before bedtime may help the person with dementia sleep better at night. If they are active during the day, these calm activities can make them tired and better able to sleep.
Avoid loud noises and activity in the home at night, so the person does not wake up once they are asleep.
Do not restrain a person with dementia when they are in bed. If you are using a hospital bed that has guard rails in the home, putting the rails up may help keep the person from wandering at night.
Always talk with the person’s health care provider before giving them store-bought sleep medicines. Many sleep aids can make confusion worse.
If the person with dementia has hallucinations :
- Try to decrease the stimulation around them. Help them avoid things with bright colors or bold patterns.
- Make sure there is enough light so that there are no shadows in the room. But do not make rooms so bright that there is a glare.
- Help them avoid movies or television shows that are violent or action-packed.
Take the person to places where they can move around and exercise during the day, such as shopping malls.
Try to prevent them from getting hurt if they start wandering.
Also, try to keep the person’s home stress-free.
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Further Activities For A Person With Dementia
The following activities have been known to engage individuals and stimulate both the brain and the body.
- arts and crafts painting, drawing, cutting shapes, pasting buttons
- community outings
- exercise walking and doing movements led by a physiotherapist
- food-oriented activities cake-decorating and vegetable prints
- games balloon volleyball and bowling
- gardening creating window boxes and planting a herb garden
- grooming having a manicure, pedicure or make-up applied
- music naming that instrument or this tune