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Controlling Confusion in Older Adults

by Kendall VanBlarcom

There are many who find themselves getting in family arguments about controlling confusion in older adults. This is because it is common for family members and their caregivers to notice changes in behavior, and cognitive abilities, over time. When these shifts happen unexpectedly, a family caregiver might view the behavior as irrational or paranoid. But, for the senior experiencing the confusion, it is very real.

A change in your loved one’s behavior could be due to an undiagnosed cognitive impairment. Sometimes these manifest themselves as fears and worries. Or there may be complaints and confusion. In more extreme cases, shifts can be signifiers of dementia.

Reach out to a personal counselor and talk through difficulties. You don’t have to go through this alone. Discuss issues with a professional and find ways to connect with other caregivers. Controlling confusion means a group of people are working toward a better situation, together.

Evaluate Cognitive Health

It is important to understand what is happening underneath shifts in behavior. There may be dementia issues that need to be addressed. Because, even though there are no known cures for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, it is helpful to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. With knowledge, you can discover paths to solutions, including caregiver resources, medications, and ways to minimize stress or environmental triggers.

Any problems or changes in behavior should be addressed with a healthcare provider to see if there are any medical issues to be resolved. But, also remember that if you are seeing a doctor who specializes on physical ailments, they may not be the best resource for mental health issues. If more answers are needed, consider setting an appointment with a specialist.

Focus on Emotional Connections

While you may not believe what an individual is saying, it helps if you can believe that they believe it. For instance, if someone is hallucinating trying to convince them that nothing is there will only create a frustrating and argumentative environment. Dementia can be incredibly detrimental to an individual, both physically and emotionally. Dismissing someone’s worries is not helpful.

Everyone wants to feel loved and safe. For that reason, if someone is experiencing confusion, sometimes the first priority is to give them reassurance. When controlling confusion, try stepping away from the situation causing stress and focus on positive experiences, such as listening to music or talking about a happy memory. Counseling can also help with keeping harmony.

Reach Out for Support

It is important to realize you are not alone. Sometimes another individual in a similar situation will have tips on how to deescalate emotions in stressful situations with an older adult experiencing confusion. If you don’t know other caregivers personally, online resources may be helpful.

If you are concerned about an older adult in your life or if you are a caregiver caring for a senior and have seen changes in behavior and personality, know there is help available. Changes in behavior can occur for a variety of reasons. It is important to seek help and find solutions for you and your family.

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