Is it pain meds or dementia?

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What happened to my grandma? My grandmother broke her hip and had surgery the very next morning. When the surgery was done and she woke up, she acted like the grandma i knew before she went into surgery. Now a couple days later she got moved to a nursing facility to recover and ever since she arrived she has been totally out of it. She wont eat either. When usually my grandma eats all day long. Is this because of the pain medication? What happened?
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I remember reading anesthesia can be bring about dementia symptoms in the elderly for those who are prone to developing dementia but haven't yet. However, it can take quite a while for the anesthesia to be completely eliminated from the body because, overall, the metabolism slows down in all us as we age. Just keep an eye on her and make sure the staff is giving her plenty of fluids to flush out those drugs and flush out a possible UTI from either the catheter used during surgery or from constipation from the anesthesia and pain medications; constipation can block the bladder from releasing urine, which can cause a UTI.
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What your Grandmother is going through is very normal. For elders who are in the hospital or were recently moved to a continuing care facility, 90% get what is called delirium. Younger people also get this after surgery, but the percentage is much lower.

When you think about it, hospitals or nursing homes, the sights and sounds are different from being at home. The food is different. The faces are new and it is hard to remember names, even the way the sunlight [if any] shines into the room.  And it is hard to sleep at night because there will be noise in the hallway.

And yes, sometimes the pain medicine will make a person feel loopy and confused. And sometimes, if an elder had a bit of dementia prior to surgery, the surgery will push the brain into more dementia.

Give Grandmother some time to recover, and to get use to her new surroundings. Visit as often as you can to reassure her you are there for her.
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