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How To Tell The Difference Between Delirium And Dementia

Mental confusion and acute emotional distress can be symptoms of delirium and dementia, which would make it easy to confuse the two illnesses with each other. However, these are two distinctly different medical problems, and it’s critical for caregivers and community medical staff to understand their differences. Delirium commonly affects older patients and is often seen as a complication in hospital admission for the elderly.

How do you recognize delirium?

Delirium is an acute problem, with a patient displaying confusion, disrupted attention, muddled speech and sometimes hallucinations. Delirium is diagnosed by behavioral observation of the patient and medical help is necessary when someone displays potential symptoms. It’s usually a temporary condition and is typically reversed after the root source is treated.

The following are common triggers of delirium:

  • Drug interactions
  • Head trauma
  • Infections
  • Liver failure
  • Dehydration
  • Brain tumors

Facilities and hospitals that offer senior care commonly see older people with delirium. It can be triggered by alcohol or drug abuse, UTIs, pneumonia, or other illness. Other things that can become problematic are medical or dental procedures using anesthesia, high fever, sleep deprivation or heightened emotional stress.

Symptoms of delirium:

  • Disturbing emotional displays
  • Extreme or fluctuating mood changes
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Inattention or inability to focus
  • Disorganized thinking / cognitive problems
  • Lack of awareness of the environment
  • Delusions or hallucinations

How can one differentiate delirium from dementia?

At a glance, they may seem similar, but delirium starts abruptly and can fluctuate from day to day or hour to hour, whereas dementia manifests itself slowly over long periods of time. Dementia is considered irreversible.

Mental confusion is displayed with both, but it’s critically important to understand the distinct differences when caring for an elderly person.

Why is it important to understand the difference?

Delirium is a sign or symptom of a serious medical issue. It could even be a reaction to a medication spiraling to a medical emergency. Delirium must be medically treated as quickly as possible or it can cause permanent problems or even death.

Delirium goes all too often unrecognized by medical professionals because symptoms can be so easily attributed to dementia, instead of the serious immediate problem that it is. Emergency help is needed when symptoms of delirium are noted.

Often, older dementia patients develop delirium during a hospital stay, but once the underlying cause is being treated, caregivers can provide a quiet, safe and comfortable environment to help them calm down.

Does the senior in your life need dementia care in Dallas, TX?

Call Home Care Assistance of Dallas at (214) 216-6811 and let us provide you with a top of the line dementia care provider for your loved one.

Is Alcohol Use Associated with More Cognitive Issues?

Despite becoming an established product in our society, drinking alcohol beyond moderation can lead to a number of health issues. In fact, a new study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver has concluded that as a person grows older, even moderate drinking can lead to greater risk of cognitive impairment and related health issues.

The research study was designed by a team from the University of California, San Francisco, as well as at The Veterans Health Research Institute, San Francisco. Researcher Tina Hoang and her colleagues collected data from 1,300 women at the age of sixty-five or older. Over 20 years, the group recorded alcohol-related behavior for each participant.

While previous research had suggested that moderate consumption could actually help prevent the onset of mental decline later in life, Hoang argues that her research says differently. The study’s results showed that even medium-level drinkers did not show a drop in their risk of developing cognitive issues or dysfunction during the experiment. In addition, moderate drinkers had a sixty percent higher likelihood of developing neurological impairments in the future.

Overall, Hoang and her team concluded that the people who drank heavily during their youth, moderately in later life, or began drinking later in life were at the greatest risk of cognitive issues. As a result, the researchers recommend that older women use caution when consuming alcohol because not only is it not beneficial to health, it has even been shown to be harmful.

While alcohol has been proven to be safe in certain amounts, it has also been linked to a number of health problems. It is vital that women of all ages learn how to avoid dangerous behavioral lifestyles like heavy drinking and instead find outlets in their community that can inspire more productive goals.

The empowered Dallas woman is a healthy woman

Join a dynamic group of successful women in our community at “The Empowered Woman” event this July. Enjoy lunch, fabulous raffle prizes and an inspirational program. Guest speaker Debbie Scanlon of BKD, LLP will spread the needed knowledge women in the Dallas area can benefit from. Enjoy lunch, fabulous raffle prizes and an inspiration program. Call (817) 488-7148 or visit ColleyvilleChamber.org for more information.

Event details:

  • Thursday, July 14 at 10:30 a.m.
  • 77 Piazza Ln, Colleyville, TX 76034

The Best Way for Seniors to Grow New Brain Cells

In her lab at King’s College London, neuroscientist Sandrine Thuret studies how new brain cells are created in the adult nervous system through a process called neurogenesis. This phenomenon is unique to the hippocampal region of the brain, an area that is involved in memory and mood. Through her research, Thuret hopes to discover how we create new nerve cells throughout our lives, how food, activity and other factors affect this growth, and how diseases such as Alzheimer’s impact our brain’s ability to continue growing new cells.

The primary function of the hippocampus is to consolidate short-term memories into long-term memories, but it also plays an important role in spatial navigation, learning, mood and emotion. It is estimated that 700 new neurons develop in the hippocampus daily; by the time we are 50 years old, all of the neurons in our hippocampus will be completely new, replacing the ones we developed as children.

The creation of these new nerve cells is important for learning new memories, as well as the capacity and quality of memories. Neurogenesis has also been found to lower levels of depression. Antidepressants decrease symptoms of depression while increasing neurogenesis, proving a clear link between the two. This is likely a result of the hippocampus being closely tied to mood and emotions.

So the question to ask is: Can we control how many nerve cells our brain creates? We know from our Balanced Care Method™ that one-third of our healthy longevity is based on genetics and two-thirds on lifestyle factors within our control. Fortunately, the same concept can be applied to neurogenesis. Learning and physical activity increase neurogenesis, while stress and sleep deprivation decrease it.

Create new memories and brain cells at Safari Nights in Dallas

One way to take control your life and grow your brain is to create new experiences at Safari Nights at The Dallas Zoo. The whole family will enjoy some of the zoo’s wildest stars, live music and tons of entertainment. Pre-concert activities include special keeper chats, the Wonders of the Wild show, a School of Rock concert and an Animal Adventures presentation. Live bands include the Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band from New Orleans and the ultimate 10-piece party band, Limelight.

Event details:

  • July 2 to July 30, 7:00 p.m. (CST)
  • 650 S. R.L Thornton Fwy, Dallas, TX 75203
  • Cost: Ages 12-64, $15, ages 3-11 and seniors, $12, children 2 and under FREE
  • Parking: $8 per vehicle

Home Safety Tips for Seniors with Dementia

Seniors with dementia do not always behave rationally and may run into unexpected dangers around the house. For this reason, they need Dallas caregivers in order to prevent them from injuring themselves or others. Consider implementing the following safety tips in your loved one’s home to ensure his or her wellbeing while managing dementia symptoms.

Improve Bathroom Safety

Seniors with dementia frequently lose the ability to think logically about causes and effects, which can put them in some sticky situations at home. Aside from cognitive issues, they may also have trouble with mobility. To help your loved one combat these problems in the bathroom, consider using technology to regulate water flow, temperature and rate to prevent excessive water use. Adding a hand-held showerhead and grabbars to the tubs and showers and by the toilet may promote greater independence for seniors with mild dementia while enhancing safety.

Install a Sprinkler Fire Suppression System

Seniors with dementia sometimes fail to appreciate fire hazards, which is why providers of dementia home care in Dallas should take the necessary precautions. In the event of a house fire, a home simple fire-suppression sprinkler system can significantly improve the chance that a slow moving senior with dementia will avoid life-threatening injuries. It will also boost the chance of your loved one’s home being saved.

Lock Up Toxic Cleaning Supplies

Sometimes confused dementia patients will misuse cleaning supplies in food or leave them within reach of household pets. Keeping these materials securely locked away is a useful safety precaution, especially in food preparation areas. An ideal place to store these items is on a top shelf that your loved one cannot reach or would not think to look on.

Automated Medical Assistance

Consider installing an automated monitoring system to notify you immediately if your loved one with dementia sustains a fall or other home accident in your absence. Even seniors with professional Dallas dementia home care providers may experience falls at night or at other times while unattended. Confusion may prevent seniors from responding appropriately to a household accident that merits a trip to the doctor. A monitoring system will alert you promptly if your loved one slips to the floor, enabling you to summon professional assistance immediately.

Should your loved one require dementia at-home care, turn to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Our dementia caregivers are highly trained to promote senior safety and wellbeing in the comfort and familiarity of your loved one’s home. We encourage cognitive stimulation and offer personal care assistance to ensure our clients receive optimal dementia home care. To learn more about our services, schedule an in-home consultation, or ask questions, contact us at (214) 216-6811 today.

Dementia Care: Games that Stimulate Senior Cognition

Keeping the mind active is one of the best ways to slow the progression of cognitive decline among seniors, especially those who require dementia care in Dallas, TX. Since cognitive decline affects the brain by interfering with its ability communicate with other parts of the mind and body, different forms of cognitive stimulation are essential for mental health. One particularly innovative way to help your senior loved one maintain brain activity is to encourage him or her to play games like the ones recommended in this article. 


This game can be tailored to work for individuals in different stages of cognitive decline by using pictures of familiar people, animals, colors, or even the standard B-16 variety. Bingo prompts players to think about the number or object named by the caller and to check his or her sheet to see if a match is there. This type of matching skill helps the brain remember how to make certain connections and associations out of context of the game. 

Word Searches

Word searches are an easy one for seniors to do on their own or with a Dallas Alzheimer’s home care provider. As with most word searches, seniors are given a list of words and must find them in a random pattern of letters. Word searches help seniors practice sorting out the important information out of a cluster of unimportant letters. This is useful for those with dementia because the amount of information processed by the brain can become overwhelming, but the skills acquired with word searches help seniors organize and process any jumbled data in their minds. 


This color and number game is fun for people of all ages and mental capabilities to enjoy. Seniors with dementia will additionally benefit from social stimulation if they can play this game with loved ones. The game helps seniors remember simple numbers and colors, making it easy to explain and understand. Likewise, the surprises thrown in by skips, reverses, and other special cards can help the brain practice thinking on its feet in unexpected situations. 

Jigsaw Puzzles

While some many not consider jigsaw puzzles a game in the traditional sense, they are a great game option for seniors with dementia to play alone. Puzzles are especially useful for because they come in all types for seniors in various stages of dementia, whether you’re looking for puzzles with large pieces or 2,000-piece challenge puzzles. Puzzles help the brain focus on being able to remember patterns, shapes, and how colors match together. Likewise, the sense of accomplishment or satisfaction a senior will get from completing a puzzle will provide a boost in confidence and self-esteem.

Dementia is a life-changing disorder that seniors often need help adapting to. With help from Home Care Assistance, your loved one will get the help he or she needs to adapt to the challenges of dementia. From personal care assistance and companionship to safety monitoring and cognitive stimulation, our expertly trained caregivers help seniors with dementia will numerous aspects of daily life. To give your loved one the elderly home care Dallas seniors deserve, contact us today at (214) 216-6811 and schedule a no-obligation consultation.