Confusion in the elderly patient is usually a symptom of delirium or dementia, but it may also occur in major depression and psychoses. Until another cause is identified, the confused patient should be assumed to have delirium, which is often reversible with treatment of the underlying disorder.
Confusion or decreased alertness may be the first symptom of a serious illness, particularly in older adults. Health problems that can cause confusion or decreased alertness include: Infections, such as a urinary tract infection, respiratory infection, or sepsis. Alzheimer’s disease.
Seek immediate medical care (call 911)for the rapid onset of confusion, especially if it is accompanied by high fever ( higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit ), neck stiffness or rigidity, rash, head injury, changes in level of consciousness or alertness, flushing or dry skin, severe nausea and vomiting, fruity breath, or
Contrary to popular opinion, confusion in an elderly adult is not a natural part of healthy aging. Confusion can be caused by many factors, ranging from medication mismanagement to mild strokes to underlying health conditions, which could be as serious as Alzheimer’s Disease progression or dementia.
There are 3 types of confusion.
Sudden confusion ( delirium ) describes a state of sudden confusion and changes in a person’s behaviour and alertness. If the confusion has come on suddenly, you should take the person to your nearest hospital or call 999 for an ambulance.
Symptoms of dehydration in elderly adults may sometimes be subtle, but not drinking enough water and fluids can have a big effect on the body, especially in the elderly. Severe dehydration can lead to confusion, weakness, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, bedsores in bedridden patients, and other serious conditions.
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause confusion or make you less alert. A few examples are: Antidepressants. Antihistamines.
The 10 warning signs of dementia
Put down every single confusion on paper. Write down your fears as well. Once the thoughts are on paper they will stop bothering you. When the mind becomes empty it also becomes several times more powerful.
Mild cognitive impairment. This condition is a transition stage between the changes in understanding and memory that generally come with aging and the more-serious problems caused by dementia. Studies suggest that high blood pressure can lead to mild cognitive impairment.
Dementia can cause hallucinations Dementia causes changes in the brain that may cause someone to hallucinate – see, hear, feel, or taste something that isn’t there. Their brain is distorting or misinterpreting the senses. And even if it’s not real, the hallucination is very real to the person experiencing it.
Dementia and aging Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It includes the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, learning, and reasoning — and behavioral abilities to the extent that it interferes with a person’s quality of life and activities. 4
Common causes include delirium, dementia, substance-induced hallucinosis, primary psychiatric illnesses, CBS, and bereavement. Some underlying causes, such as ophthalmologic disease, delirium, and drug-induced hallucinations, are reversible, especially with early identification and definitive treatment.