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 improve the person's health, prevent a recurrence and help manage responsibilities.

Promote good sleep habits

To promote good sleep habits:

  • Keep inside lighting appropriate for the time of day
  • Encourage exercise and activity during the day
  • Offer warm, soothing, noncaffeinated beverages before bedtime

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 around, but avoid a cluttered environment
  • Approach the person calmly
  • Identify yourself or other people regularly
  • Avoid arguments
  • Keep noise levels and other distractions to a minimum
  • Help the person keep a regular daytime schedule
  • Maintain and provide eyeglasses and hearing aids

Prevent complicating problems

Help prevent medical problems by:

  • Giving the person his or her medication on a regular schedule
  • Providing plenty of fluids and a healthy diet
  • Encouraging regular exercise and activity

Caring for the caregiver

If you're providing regular care for a person with or at risk of delirium, consider support groups, educational materials or other resources offered by the person's health care provider, nonprofit organizations, community health services and government agencies.

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

Aug. 15, 2012