How to Save Your Sanity
When Dealing With a Confused Person
Confusion is a change in mental status in which a person is not able to think with his or her usual level of clarity. It may appear suddenly or gradually develop over time. Confusion has many causes including: injuries, medical conditions, medications, environmental factors and substance abuse.
Often times, confusion leads to disorientation, agitation, inability to focus, memory problems and changes in perception.
Considering its many consequences, caregivers and family members often find it difficult to care for a person that is confused. A few new good habits and some simple adjustments can make it easier if you are coping with confusion.
10 Simple Ways to Manage Confusion
1. An easy to read digital clock and an enlarged print calendar will help improve orientation to time, day, date, month and year; record upcoming appointments on the calendar; make sure wrist watches are accurately set to the correct time and/or date
2. Create a log or journal with a daily agenda to keep track up upcoming activities and events; refer back to the daily entries to verify what happened and when; use the agenda as a reference when dealing with repetitive questions
3. Discuss current events to increase awareness of reality; ask about opinions (“What do you think of that?”) rather than asking about memories (“Don’t you remember?”)
4. As much as possible, decrease distractions: turn off the television while eating a meal, adjust the blinds, lower the volume of music during conversation
5. Encourage plenty of rest and promote opportunities for relaxation throughout the day- this helps to decrease over stimulation which may increase confusion or irritability
6. Engage in peaceful, quiet activities that stimulate the mind: cards, puzzles, painting, reading, watching television
7. Provide adequate lighting throughout the home making sure to avoid extreme brightness and/or dimness
8. Maintain a comfortable temperature within the home; dress in layers; have blankets available
9. Provide good nutrition and adequate hydration; consider the addition of “brain foods” such as banana, avocado, salmon, dark chocolate, dark leafy greens, a rainbow of fruits of vegetables
10. Help to maintain dignity; despite confusion, care should be taken to respect emotional and physical privacy, to listen to concerns, to ask for opinions, and to speak in a manner and tone that is appropriate when interacting with an adult
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In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.