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Hospitalization Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Senior HospitalizationHas your elderly loved one recently been hospitalized? Do they seem mentally different than before they went in?  Recent studies indicate that hospitalization itself, especially when intensive care is involved, increases the risk of dementia for elderly individuals. Home Care Assistance San Diego offers some insight into what researchers are saying about the relation between hospitalization and dementia.

Although there is no concrete evidence to prove that being hospitalized can cause dementia, the American Geriatrics Society estimates that one-third of patients over the age of 70 are affected by what the medical community calls, “hospital delirium”.  Hospital delirium, a type of dementia, is sudden and severe confusion that can last from hours to days, and sometimes span over week long periods.  This common confusion is one of the most costly complications for elderly individuals, requiring additional stay at the hospital.

There are some things family members and San Diego caregivers can do to help prevent delirium or limit delirium following a procedure or surgery:

  1. Consult a geriatric specialist.  Not all surgeons are aware of delirium and the effects it can have on an older patient.  If your elderly loved one is considering any surgery requiring anesthesia or sedation, such as a hip replacement, advice from a geriatric or San Diego elder care specialist can help plan for medication, pain management and comfortable sleep.
  2. Help make the hospital or recovery room a familiar place.  Bring a few family photos or comforting objects to help relieve anxieties after a surgery.  Chat calmly with your loved one about current events, family activities or hobbies they enjoy.
  3. Stay nearby.  Family members know the behaviors and personality of their elderly loved one.  By staying close, you will be able to recognize when your elderly loved one isn’t behaving normally and can alert medical staff.  Make sure someone is there day and night to assist and monitor your loved one. If family members are not able to be present at all times, consider a San Diego home careagency.  Agencies often include services such as bedside caregiving at hospitals.
  4. Promote activity and exercise.  Depending on the procedure, your loved one’s mobility may be limited.  However, try to help your loved one get up and walk a few times a day.  This will help keep the brain engaged and healthy.

After your loved one’s doctor has cleared them to leave the hospital, it doesn’t mean they are leaving the risk behind.  Follow up rehabilitation will be necessary as cognitive impairment can reoccur, even at home in familiar surroundings.  To help minimize the risk of cognitive impairment following hospitalization, as well as the risk of dementia, consult with Home Care Assistance San Diego.

For family members who have an elderly parent or loved one with advanced dementia, the following video explains some of the symptoms and dangers to help you provide the best care possible following hospitalization.

Home Care Assistance is a premier provider of home care, offering customized care services.  In addition to rehabilitation care in San Diego, Home Care Assistance caregivers are experienced and knowledgeable in specialty dementia care and hospice care.  Their expertise will ensure your elderly loved one is provided with maximum safety and comfort in their own home.  For more information, call us at 619-795-7457 and speak with a Care Manager today.

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