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What do we mean by delirium?
Also called the acute confusional state, delirium is a medical condition that results in confusion and other disruptions in thinking and behavior,
including changes in perception, attention, mood and activity level.

Delirium or Dementia - I have a lot of trouble seeing the difference?

Last night it was hours of demanding to get up and out of bed to help a non-existent person in the room

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Delirium is marked by confusion. It can come and go. It might be due to a high fever, and imbalance of electrolytes, ie., sodium, potassium. calcium, or magnesium. It can also be caused by a severe urinary tract infection as well as dehydration.
Dementia is also a confused state that caused mental changes that can come and go as a result of impaired circulation in the brain. Both of these conditions manifest in behavioral changes, so that is why it is hard to tell the difference. We always need to rule out delirium before we diagnose dementia. This is where good medical care comes i, so that the right treatment is given at the right time..The idea about distraction is a good one once we have checked out and treated the delirium. safety is a first concern to keep the loved one from falling out of bed.You want to hear what they are saying, but you need to tell them that you do not see anyone. Try to speak in a calm reassuring voice so that the person does not feel judged or frightened.
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I'm so sorry, I meant for my previous comments to be a new question, not an answer for Dave's question!!!
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I have been caring for my Mom for more than four years now, 24/7; she has Alzheimers and is now 89 years old. For about six months or so, her personality has changed completely, from being lovable and patient to now being so hurtful to me with her words, moods and demands...for me, this is the worst part of all of this...can anyone help? Yes, I know it's "not her" it's the disease, the thing is....it hurts so badly!!
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Dave, from working with alzheimer's and dementia patients for over 20 years I have learned to divert their attention. It is best to divert their attention with a favorite tv show or music. It helps a lot to get them focused on something else other than what is upsetting them. I wish the best to both of you. God bless you!
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My mother is currently experiencing delirium. It is one of several bouts i the last few months and this one is the worst and she may not come out of it. I've been reading through all kinds of Medical Journal reports. The recommendations are to speak lovingly and kindly soothing them as much as you can. As long as she isn't being a danger you should go along. The problem that I saw the most is not all delirium is a pleasant experience for all patients. Those patients who have recovered from delirium can come out traumatized even when they know that what they experienced wasn't real. I'm referring to bouts where they have imaged being frightened by a loved one or imagined hostile environments. They have reported remembering this even after recovery but having a hard time separating from it. Their experience is very real for them when having delirium and the best advice I think then is for you to try to imagine it as real as they do in order to better determine how you should handle it moment by moment,

In my mother's case, she is dying and this is most likely end stage. She is mostly in distress due to her delirium and at the point that the distress out weighs any moments of lucidity I believe we will opt for sedation. I plan to wait til the very last moment I can bear. I hope its not to selfish. I don't want her to have to be in fear when she has and is already suffering for so long.

God Bless you. It's very difficult but love is always the best answer.
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Quite honestly, I would get her a stuffed animal. That may calm her down. Might seem strange, but it may help.
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Same experience here. While you would rather they believe you when you try to get them to understand they are hallucinating to them it is very real and after several years I too found that telling Mom the situation had been taken care of resolved the situation much quicker and settled her down. I have been told by nurses and caregivers that the hallucinations with children and babies is quite common in elderly women. Apparently because it is so engrained in their minds. My mother would often see dozens of children, be extremely worried about them, and anytime she experienced pain thought she was giving birth.
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In my experience, she will calm down sooner if you go along with her. Ask her where the people are and what she wants you to do for them. Sometimes I have made up a response that worked. The lady I was caring for was up in the mid of night looking for a baby she was sure was there. So I helped her look. Told her the mother came and got the baby. That settled it and she went right to bed and back to sleep. Good luck, hope it works for you. Those nights are exhausting.
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From my experience, trying to distract or convince the patient that they don't need to attend to the problem is only a short term measure, but it might work. You might say that the nonexistent person is now okay and says she may go back to sleep or that you will attend to the the nonexistent after she goes to sleep. The trouble is that if she forgets the explanation, you may have to continue repeating these things.

I think I might discuss medication to help her sleep with her doctor. If she's sleeping well, perhaps she won't awake with the delusions or hallucinations.
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This may not help - I didn't find an answer to the same problem, but I knew that Mom had always had a very soft heart which went out to children and babies. When she was in her delirium and I found her awake in the middle of the night, she was feeding a half-dozen children who weren't there. All the milk, all the orange juice, and the cereals laid out on the breakfast table for them. It was so natural to her personality that it didn't alarm me. Of course, I tried to assure her that there was nobody there to no avail, but her duty done, she was happier to go back to bed. Later, the extra person in the room that she swore was there was harder to deal with - I never could find the key to that. Mom actually became better when she went to high-level assisted living and received care from an entire team of people - this is what I could not do on my own. I can visit and speak with her about her family and update a written history of her family to help her find her way back to her memory and that works very well. She often thanks me for the history which she reads while I am not there. The more relaxed time that I can spend with her on a social basis, the more she surfaces and is her old self.
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BTW, how is your care plan working? {EQ}
Waiting for Baypath Elder Services to get their act together
Our application to Mass. Frail Elder Waiver finally has been approved. Sooo we are anticipating added caregiving services

Baypath's case manager staffing is snafu.We have a new CM who appears to be qualified but in training. However word has not reached the receptionist-switchboard and callers are being sent to a case manager of the day {grrrr}
I understand they are very short of people to fill case manager positions and caregiver shortage has resulted in may weeks of waiting for services.
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BTW, how is your care plan working?
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Dave, there are a lot of articles and questions on this topic, one which seems to be raised frequently.

You might start here, and especially focus on the Q & A posts that are similar to yours:

https://www.agingcare.com/search.aspx?searchterm=delirium
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