The elderly often gets confused very easily. Confusion can occur suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic). Confusional state can be caused by:
- Direct insult or injury to the brain such as head trauma, cerebrovascular disease, tumour.
- Indirect causes can be due to physical illness, infection, metabolic disturbances, intoxication, toxic or poisoning.
- Emotional disorders.
- Social causes such as moving house.
10 – 40% of elderly admitted to the hospital with acute confusion. About 10% of the elderly living in the community has chronic confusion.
Signs and Symptoms
You may suspect a person to have confusion if you noticed:
- A person becoming more forgetful or having problems remembering recent events.
- Having problems in concentration or focusing their attention when doing things, when answering questions and so on.
- A person starts to develop changes in their behavior such as starting to get more agitated or even becomes more aggressive.
- A person goes through changes in their mood sometime being very depressed or become happier than normal or a mixture of both at the same time or through other range of emotions.
- A person may start showing difficulties in doing activities which they are used to doing everyday.
You can look for more details on acute confusional states:
- As in delirium
You can look for more details on chronic confusional states:
- As in dementia
- Risk of injury to self and others
- Malnourished and dehydration from self neglect
- Getting lost
- Loosing your property
- Family discord
Treatment can be:
- The caretaker
- The patient:
- Your doctor may give you drugs to reduce the behavior and emotional problems
- Practicing Healthy life style i.e. avoid smoking, eating well.
- Early detection and treatment of medical condition which can lead to acute and chronic confusion.
- Mental exercise- reading and keeping yourself active mentally.
For chronic confusion
- Validation therapy
- Reminiscence therapy and life review
- Reality orientation
NASCOM (National Council of Senior Citizens Organisations Malaysia)
AFDM(Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation of Malaysia) (www.adfm.org.my)
Persatuan Pesara Kerajaan Majlis Pusat Kebajikan Malaysia
Gerantology Association of Malaysia (http://www3.jaring.my/gem)
|Last Reviewed||:||20 April 2012|
|Writer||:||Dr. Suraya binti Yusoff|
|:||Dr. Susy Mathew|
|:||En. Harol Hanam bin Muhammed Wahid|
|Reviewer||:||Prof. Madya Dr. Ramli Bin Musa|