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For Family and Caregivers

When older adults are hospitalized they have an increased risk of becoming mentally confused and disoriented. Their daily routines are disrupted and they have trouble thinking clearly and paying attention. This confused state is called delirium, and it can be frightening to both patients and their loved ones.

Fortunately, there are many simple things that family members and friends can do to help their loved ones avoid developing delirium during a hospital stay.

  • Promote rest by reducing noise and distractions. Keep lights low or off during rest times.
  • Promote physical activity that is comfortable and safe for your family member; our staff can advise you on what is safe.
  • Encourage healthy eating and be sure your family member is drinking enough fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Help your family member stay oriented to their environment by encouraging them to wear their eyeglasses and hearing aids, if they use them.
  • Keep your family member engaged by arranging for familiar people to visit frequently. Talking about current events and their surroundings is helpful. Reading out loud is another way to keep your loved one's mind stimulated.