Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you're a relative or caregiver of someone at risk of or recovering from delirium, you can take steps to help improve the person's health, prevent a recurrence and manage responsibilities.

Promote good sleep habits

To promote good sleep habits:

  • Provide a calm, quiet environment
  • Keep inside lighting appropriate for the time of day
  • Plan for uninterrupted periods of sleep at night
  • Help the person keep a regular daytime schedule
  • Encourage self-care and activity during the day

Promote calmness and orientation

To help the person remain calm and well-oriented:

  • Provide a clock and calendar and refer to them regularly throughout the day
  • Communicate simply about any change in activity, such as time for lunch or time for bed
  • Keep familiar and favorite objects and pictures around, but avoid a cluttered environment
  • Approach the person calmly
  • Identify yourself or other people regularly
  • Avoid arguments
  • Use comfort measures, such as reassuring touch, when appropriate
  • Keep noise levels and other distractions to a minimum
  • Provide and maintain eyeglasses and hearing aids

Prevent complicating problems

Help prevent medical problems by:

  • Giving the person the proper medication on a regular schedule
  • Providing plenty of fluids and a healthy diet
  • Encouraging regular physical activity
  • Getting treatment for potential problems, such as infection or metabolic imbalances, early

Caring for the caregiver

Providing regular care for a person with delirium can be scary and exhausting. Take care of yourself, too.

  • Consider joining a support group for caregivers.
  • Learn more about the condition.
  • Ask for educational materials or other resources from a health care provider, nonprofit organizations, community health services or government agencies.
  • Share caregiving with family and friends who are familiar the person so you get a break.

Examples of organizations that may provide helpful information include the National Family Caregivers Association and the National Institute on Aging.

Sept. 05, 2015