Information released by the Mayo Clinic reports that a high number of people 65 or older show dementia-like symptoms after surgery. In the study, 2,014 patients were monitored before and after surgery. Just over 1,660 of them had normal cognitive function. After surgery, close to 10 percent were showing signs of mild cognitive impairment.
It’s believed that those in the early stages of cognitive loss worsen after surgery. Those who experienced the post-surgery delirium have a 300 percent higher risk of developing dementia.
What is Post-Operative Cognitive Decline?
After their surgery, some older people show signs of confusion, agitation, anger, decreased motor function, and lethargy. The thinking processes in someone with post-surgery delirium may be scattered and disorganized.
Treatments often involve making sure the patient is able to get enough rest after surgery. As infection may cause irritability and agitation, patients are watched for signs of a UTI or other infection that may be overlooked. Making sure someone is there to reassure is also important. Hydration, avoidance of loud noises, and soft rather than bright lighting also tends to help.
Why Does This Happen?
Ongoing research is finding that inflammation may be to blame. The body’s natural response is to increase inflammation to help a wound heal. In most people, the inflammation is short-term and eases shortly after the surgery.
The Imperial College in London performed a study using mice. Most mice had inflammation last for a very short period after the surgery. They went on to resume normal activities. What scientists found was that in mice that had Alzheimer’s symptoms, the inflammation continued to increase. There seemed to be no trigger that stopped the inflammatory response in the Alzheimer’s mice.
What Can You Do to Help Your Parent Back at Home?
Make sure someone is at your mom or dad’s home to provide reassurance. If it seems that your parent is worsening, that caregiver can alert doctors and get instruction on what to do next.
You may live too far away to help your mom or dad. Senior care services are designed for this reason. You don’t have to drop everything and try to book a flight that you can’t afford. Caregivers can spend time with your mom or dad and alert you to changes or improvements.
Caregivers will make sure your parent remains hydrated, eats meals, and attends follow-up appointments. Call a senior care agency to learn more.
If you or an aging loved one needs Senior Care in Lincoln, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.