Tips For Caregivers On Dealing With Hallucinations & Delusions
Consult a physician if your loved one is having delusions or hallucinations, to rule out other causes unrelated to dementia. Mental illness and medical conditions such as migraines, brain tumors, epilepsy, urinary tract infections, and dehydration can all be causes.
Resist the need to stop or control difficult behaviors. Think carefully about whether or not your loved one is causing a problem. If the answer is no, try letting it be. This is not to say that you have to lie to or humor your loved one you can be honest while also showing respect. For example, you might say, I dont hear or see anyone outside the window, but I know you do, and you seem worried.
Consider the situation. Investigate why a hallucination or delusion is occurring in that particular moment. Beyond mental and medical causes, there can also be environmental and social causes as well.
Keep a journal to record when, where, and how your loved one experiences delusions or hallucinations. Record how your loved one is behaving, and what sorts of events have happened recently.
Control the environment. Make sure there is sufficient lighting in the room and not too many distractions. A radio or TV, for example, might cause your loved one to hear voices and not understand that whats coming from the speakers is not actually in the room. Also, pulling curtains or shades can provide comfort for someone afraid of being watched.
What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary Tract Infections , also called a bladder infection, are one of the most common infections in elderly people.
The urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra all working together to rid the body of urine. A UTI occurs when bacteria clings to the opening of the ureter and begins to multiply and spread. Women are more likely to get UTIs than men because their urethras are shorter than mens.
Older adults are more susceptible to UTIs. The physical changes in aging individuals such as deteriorating bladder muscles, hormone changes, enlarged prostates, incontinence, catheter use and diabetes contribute to UTI occurrences as well as limited mobility resulting in poor hygiene practices.
Which Dementias Cause Hallucinations
Hallucinations are most common for people with Lewy body dementia, an illness caused by the buildup of proteins called Lewy bodies that disrupt communication between brain cells throughout the brain or kill the cells altogether. Visual hallucinations will often occur in the early stages of the disease, though they eventually stop somewhere in the middle stages and wont recur. People with Lewy body dementia often fluctuate between good days, when theyre thinking normally or at least fairly well, and bad days. In the early stages, those bad days are likely to include visual hallucinations.
Hallucinations will also occur for people with Parkinsons disease with dementia, and for people with Alzheimers. Both those diseases are also associated with a buildup of proteins in the brain. With these dementias, though, hallucinations are more likely to be associated with hearing or feeling. Someone might have conversations with an imaginary person, for example, or think theyre being touched by something that isnt there.
Don’t Miss: Bard Latex Free Urinary Drainage Bag
Bacteria In The Urine Isnt Necessarily A Problem
Elevated urinary bacteria doesnt cause any symptoms and can often be corrected by increasing fluid intake.
The condition occurs in about 6 to 16 percent of women over age 65, 20 percent of women over age 80, and 25 to 50 percent of women living in nursing facilities.
Doctors should not treat urinary bacteria with antibiotics unless there are multiple other signs or symptoms of a UTI. This can encourage antibiotic resistance and make future UTIs harder to treat, says Dr. Lathia.
The presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the urine also increases the risk of serious complications, including C. difficile infection and death.
Are Utis A Sign Of Dementia
Urinary tract infections can exacerbate dementia symptoms, but a UTI does not necessarily signal dementia or Alzheimers.
As the Alzheimers Society explains, UTIs can cause distressing behavior changes for a person with Alzheimers. These changes, referred to as delirium, can develop in as little as one to two days. Symptoms of delirium can range from agitation and restlessness to hallucinations or delusions.
Further, UTIs can speed up the progression of dementia, making it crucial for caregivers to understand how to recognize and limit risks for UTIs in seniors.
Dont Miss: Medical Term For Kidneys
You May Like: Hill’s Urinary Hairball Control
Diagnosing A Urinary Tract Infection In Older Adults
Vague, uncommon symptoms such as confusion make UTIs challenging to diagnose in many older adults. Once your doctor suspects a UTI, its easily confirmed with a simple urinalysis.
Your doctor may perform a urine culture to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection and the best antibiotic to treat it.
There are home UTI tests that check urine for nitrates and leukocytes. Both are often present in UTIs. Because bacteria are often in the urine of older adults to some degree, these tests arent always accurate. Call your doctor if you take a home test and get a positive result.
More severe infections may require a broad-spectrum antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin .
You should start antibiotics as soon as possible and take them for the entire duration of treatment as prescribed by your doctor. Stopping treatment early, even if symptoms resolve, increases the risks of recurrence and antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic overuse also increases your risk for antibiotic resistance. For this reason, your doctor will likely prescribe the shortest treatment course possible. Treatment typically lasts no more than 7 days, and your infection should clear up in a few days.
Its important to drink plenty of water during treatment to help flush out the remaining bacteria.
Results Of Individual Studies
Among the included studies, the rate of confusion in patients with suspected UTI was most commonly reported followed by the rate of suspected UTI in patients with confusion . Some studies reported the rate of confusion in patients with bacteriuria and one study reported the rate of bacteriuria in patients with confusion. The majority of studies reported confusion as delirium , followed by a few reporting confusion , altered mental state , and mental status changes , with one study reporting both delirium and altered mental status . Twelve studies analysed the correlation between suspected UTI or bacteriuria and confusion .
How To Tell If Someone Is Confused
If a person is confused, they may:
- not be able to think or speak clearly or quickly
- not know where they are
- struggle to pay attention or remember things
- see or hear things that are not there
Try asking the person their name, their age and today’s date. If they seem unsure or cannot answer you, they probably need medical help.
How To Help Your Loved One Avoid Utis
We dont have enough research to support their effectiveness in UTI prevention, although their medical benefits cant be ruled out completely, says Dr. Goldman.
Instead, he recommends these tried-and-true prevention strategies:
- Encourage sufficient fluid intake
- Promote genital and urinary hygiene
- Ask the doctor about low-dose vaginal cream for postmenopausal women
Dr. Goldman says researchers are also studying D-Mannose for UTI prevention. The supplement, which has few side effects, sticks to bladder receptors that normally attract the E. coli bacteria usually responsible for UTIs.
Researchers also believe D-Mannose may keep bad bacteria from colonizing the digestive tract, which can harbor the bacteria responsible for UTIs in women.
Following these tips should help your aging relative stay healthy, productive and out of the hospital.
Read Also: Do Baths Help Urinary Tract Infections
The Cause Of Parkinsons Delusions And Hallucinations
Some risk factors associated with the development of psychosis in Parkinsons disease include:
- Age: Parkinsons disease usually occurs in people over age 60.
- Duration and severity of Parkinsons disease: Psychosis is more common in advanced or late-stage Parkinsons disease.
- Later onset: Occurring later in life
- Hyposmia: A decreased sense of smell
- Cognitive impairment: Problems with thinking, including trouble remembering, difficulty learning new things, difficulty concentrating, problems making decisions that affect everyday life
- Depression: People who have both depression and Parkinsons disease are at a greater risk of developing psychosis.
- Diurnal somnolence: Daytime sleepiness
- REM sleep behavior disorder: A sleep disorder in which you physically act out dreams involves making vocal sounds and sudden, often extreme, arm and leg movements during REM sleep
- Visual disorders: Impaired vision
- Severe axial impairment: Speech, swallowing, balance, freezing of gait
- Autonomic dysfunction: Impairment of the autonomic nervous system , which controls involuntary or unconscious actions such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature, blood pressure, digestion, and sexual function
- High medical comorbidity: The existence of more than one condition or illness in the same person at the same time with Parkinsons disease, may include conditions such as dementia, depression, and sleep disorders
What Causes Kidney Infection
A kidney infection is caused by bacteria that enters your urethra and travels all the way up to your kidneys, triggering an infection. While this is the most common way of kidney infection, a bacterial infection elsewhere in your body can also spread through your bloodstream to your kidneys, causing moderate to severe kidney infection.
While it can happen to anyone, here are some of the risk factors that increase your predisposition to kidney infection:
Read Also: Kidneys Medical Term
Home Health Care Specialists Understand Urinary Tract Infections
Infections, including urinary tract infections, can damage nerves and brain cells. That can lead to temporary mental disorientation. The disorientation can be mistaken for the onset of dementia by those unfamiliar with the interaction between it and UTIs.
Temporary dementia can be successfully treated and potentially reversed if the cause is removed. Reversible dementia has much of the same symptoms as irreversible dementia, so testing is necessary to determine the cause.
Dementia due to infection may occur rapidly, which is a telltale difference between a reversible and an irreversible condition.
Home health care professionals are trained to observe and evaluate any changes in patients. Individuals with dementia arent always able to express whats happening in their minds and bodies. Pegasus caregivers have the ability to elicit information and understand what is or isnt significant.
If the individual already has dementia, a UTI can worsen it. That makes it even more important to find the cause for any disorientation. Treat the infection, and dementia may improve.
Its Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
If you feel burning when you urinate, you may quickly recognize the problem as a urinary tract infection, or UTI. But when youre older, a UTI can be more difficult to diagnose. It may even cause confusion and other symptoms of dementia. At the same time, an older adult with Alzheimers disease or dementia may miss the signs of infection, or be unable to tell you about them.
UTIs are a common bladder condition, usually caused by bacteria. They occur more often in women, and become more frequent as we age. Most infections are not serious and can be cured quickly. But some UTIs can lead to severe, even life-threatening, problems, making it critical to catch them early.
If an older adult is disoriented for no clear reason, ask a health care provider to test for a UTI.
Recommended Reading: Estrogen Cream For Urinary Incontinence
Risk Factors For Urinary Tract Infection In Older Adults
Certain factors may increase the risk of UTIs in older people.
They often require people to wear incontinence briefs. If the briefs arent changed regularly, an infection may occur.
Several other things put older adults at risk for developing a UTI:
- a history of UTIs
Uncommon Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection You Should Know
About 40% of women develop at least one urinary tract infection in their lifetime. Having one UTI over the span of decades doesnt sound too bad, but not all women are that lucky.
Its estimated that 20-30% of women will have a second UTI within 3-4 months. And for 11% of women, UTIs become an ongoing problem, recurring at least once every year and often more frequently.
UTIs typically cause a specific cluster of symptoms: a strong need to urinate, frequent urination, burning when you urinate, and passing small amounts of urine. Women receive comprehensive care for UTIs at Fred A. Williams, MD, so call the office in Paris, Texas, if you experience any of those symptoms.
Were also available to answer your questions if you develop one or more of these three uncommon symptoms of a UTI.
Dont Miss: Blood In Kidney Causes
Also Check: Silent Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
How Is A Uti With Delirium Treated
Since most UTIs are caused by bacteria, they are treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics will stop the bacteria from spreading or directly kill the bacteria. Stopping the bacteria stops the immune response to the bacteria, which should lead to improvement in delirium as well.
While the antibiotics do their work, a person may still experience delirium. If theyre in the hospital, the hospital staff will try their best to minimize disturbing the person in order to lessen their confusion. If the person is a harm to themselves or others because of their delirium, a low dose of a sedating medication, like haloperidol , may be given to help calm them down. But since these medications can worsen delirium, its a last-resort option.
Not all delirium is reversible, though, especially in people who have dementia. Since their brains are so sensitive, an infection may make their dementia worse even if their delirium and infection have improved.
Utis In Elderly Patients Can Cause Symptoms Like Dimentia
The fact is that its pretty easy for me to sit in front of a keyboard and pontificate on the vagaries of this-or-that program, service, resource, diagnosis, state of affairs or my general view of the human condition but every now and then, one of you cares enough to jump in with a report from the real world.
I am writing out of great concern for elderly who may get urinary tract infections. UTIs in the elderly usually cause unusual behaviors, including hallucinations and delusions, not the symptoms exhibited by younger people . Sadly, we found out the hard way.
I have never seen anything written to warn elderly and their families and caregivers of this very serious and terrifying issue. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists know this is a common problem, but for some reason there has been very little information provided to us common folk about this. Therefore, I think it is crucial the word gets out quickly and often.
I just returned from an anything-but-relaxing vacation with my husband, my sister and my 101-year-old mother.
I am now on a campaign to change this and hope that your article will be one of the important platforms to get the word out.
Thank you for your help.
Sincerely, Sheila Kee
No, I dont care that Sheila called me Matt, given the fact that Ive been called much worse, but I do care that she cared enough to take the time to write and was willing to allow me to use her name.
Then, go from there.
Causes Of Sudden Confusion
Sudden confusion can be caused by many different things. Do not try to self-diagnose get medical help if someone suddenly becomes confused or delirious.
Some of the most common causes of sudden confusion include:
- an infection urinary tract infections are a common cause in elderly people or people with dementia
Causes Of Hallucinations And Delusions
Hallucinations and delusions can be the result of the changes that dementia causes in the brain, but there are several other potential causes. Too much stimulation in the environment , unfamiliar places and people, a variation in routine, and interactions between medications can all contribute to hallucinations and delusions.
Delusions are frequently the result of suspicion or paranoia on the part of the individual with dementia. Memory loss and confusion from the progression of dementia play into it. For instance, if someone with dementia forgot where he put down his glasses, because of poor memory and lack of awareness, he may decide someone stole them.
Hallucinations are sometimes present in a phenomenon called sundowning, which is characterized by increased anxiety in someone with dementia that hits late in the day, typically around sunset. Poor lighting and bad eyesight can cause shadows, and an individual with dementia might get startled by something that wasnt really there.
Signs Of A Kidney Infection
What does a kidney infection feel like? According to the NIDDK, the most common kidney infections symptoms are:
But depending on a persons age, they may not experience all of these kidney infection symptoms. Children younger than two may only experience high fever as a sign of kidney infections, the NIDDK says, and people older than 65 might only present with cognitive issues, like confusion, hallucinations, and disorganized speech.
You May Like: Can Diabetes Cause Kidney Stones