By Jo Ellen Bleavins of senior living provider BMA Management, Ltd.
As a nurse with many years of experience working with older adults, I have learned not to jump to the conclusion that senility, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is the reason for confusion and odd behavior.
Here’s an example:
The administrator called the resident’s physician. Only he was able to talk the resident into going to the hospital.
As it turned out, the resident had just started taking a new medication to help relieve the pain in her knee. She was on her second dose when the troubles arose.
Within a couple of days of receiving the care she needed in the hospital, she was fine and back to being herself.
Confusion and odd behavior can be the result of starting a new medication, an adjustment in the medications that someone is taking or by the discontinuation of medications. There are times that a change in metabolism can change how someone reacts to the medications that they have been taking for years.
Strokes, urinary tract infections, depression and the lack of physical and mental stimulation also can cause confusion.
With Alzheimer’s disease, one often will see a slow progression and the confusion often will be worse later in the day.
The best thing you can do for someone who appears confused is to contact their physician.
If the person is a resident of one of the assisted living communities that BMA manages, our nursing staff is more than willing to contact the resident’s physician. The nursing staff should share with the physician before the visit recent behaviors and reactions to interventions. Since a lot of times the person is still confused when they are talking with or visiting their physician, this will give the physician more insight as he conducts his evaluation.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, organizations such as the Central Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association have a wealth of information available, including the “10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.”
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.
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