Quick decline

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My mom is 72 years old and was diagnosed with dementia about a year ago.She was put on the Exelon patch and seemed to be responding well.We had noticed less problems with hallucinations and forgetfulness.I took her medicine to her on Sunday(she still lives on her own)and she seemed fine.Monday evening when I went over with her meds she was paranoid,speaking nonsense and didnt even know who any of the family was.She had called the police and told them someone was after her.It is now Wednesday morning and she has not slept at all.She is still totally unaware of who I am,calling me by several names.She claims to have just returned from Tennessee on a bus!Her doctor does not seem concerned,he said I can try to get her admitted to the hospital and sent to assisted living.I honestly dont know what to make of this.I expected her to decline but not literally overnight!There is no explanation such as a change in medicines or anything.Physically she seems to feel fine.I just wondered if anyone else had experienced something like this as I am at a loss to figure out how she could change so quickly.I am planning to take her to the hospital later today.She has previously had a few of these spells but they only lasted an hour or two.It doesnt seem like she is going to get over this one......is this really it?????


brewer2010 I have seen this happen at a assisted living that I use to work at. One day they knew who we were and then there were days when they would not know us at all. I do not belive that there is a clear cut answer as to why this happens its just the cells of the brain die with dementia and Alzheimer's and know one knows what parts are dieing unless the patient has a test such as a PET Scan. My mother is on meds for her Alzheimer's but it doesn't seem to be helping her she forgets basic things everyday she does still know who we all are but I to am afraid when that time is going to come when she doesn't. I know it will there are many stages of the disease and its hard that one day our loved one is talking and knowing whats going on and the next they don't. I hope this helps a little. Keep in touch I would like to know how things are going.
I'd also make sure she doesn't have a UTI that can cause hallucinations and a bunch of other stuff.
naheaton is right, any infection can cause a rapid decline in mental function in the elderly. Also she could be dehydrated. I think she needs a new doctor. This one sounds like an idiot.
Yes a UTI, the medication she is on, or she had a cerebrel hemmorage stroke in her brain. She needs a cat scan! Shame on that dr.
I agree - take her to the ER and get another opinion. My mom has Alz and I've been told that her decline has been more rapid than many, but I haven't seen anything like what your mom is experiencing.

Good luck and let us know what happens.
I've seen it come and go and last for minutes or days. My 94 year old mom has dementia and I am the 24x7 caregiver. I've learned to go with the flow, not just one day at a time but one minute at a time. This morning she wanted to die because I told her we needed to put on clean socks. :) I've learned to laugh rather than get upset. Don't get me wrong, it is terribly frustrating at times, but I'm choosing to look at the funny side as much as possible.

What you're describing doesn't surprise me and unless you see a physical issue, it's probably just the dementia and she may be back to her "normal" state at some point. She will continue to have these bad times though and they will get more frequent. My mom is physically healthy (I'm mean super healthy!) and takes no medications period so there is nothing else to blame the behavior on but the dementia.

If you are not prepared to handle the caregiving (and that's certainly okay!), it might be best to take her to the ER, let her be checked out and then move her into an assisted living/nursing home. My dad, who was also physically healthy (ran a quarter mile a week before going into the hospital), was tested at the hospital after 8 years of progressing Alzheimer's and was sent directly to a nursing home for the last 2 years of his life. While he was in the hospital, he forgot how to walk so he never walked again and couldn't go home.
I am hopeful to see an update on your mother. Did you take her to the doctors? Was it a UTI? Did you have a PET scan done?

I know there can be reactions to medications, UTI or even T.I.A's (mini strokes) that can radically change their condition.

Something is going on, and finding another doctor may be what is needed to get to the bottom of this.

Please post an update.... we care!!
Have her checked for a urinary tract infection...believe it or not it can cause confusion and sudden onset dementia in elderly. Google it and you will see the responses
My 90 yr-old mom with dementia (maybe 8 yrs) has also had a rapid decline for the past two weeks. Took in urine specimen, but came back negative, no UTI. Dr added another Seroquel 25mg at 6PM, in addition to one at bedtime (still on Aricept & Namenda too). She was hardly sleeping, but that's better...but slept until 3PM today, had to "force" her to get out of bed & eat! We have to constantly ask her to drink water, so is probably some dehydrated.

She now talks to herself ALL the time, and hears people talking to her...always negative (someone died, killed someone, etc). It's such a huge change, and I don't know if this is the new "normal" or if it's a phase, or a result of dehydration. She had blood work done, maybe it will give some direction. As an only child, I'm the main caregiver, but have lots of help to keep her in her own home since losing my dad in Aug. 2010. She's not ever had a PET-scan, but had CT-scan last year, I think. Any advice or suggestions out there?
Cajean - my 89 year old Mom with advanced dementia but no other health problems of significance had a very rapid decline. Decided one day she no longer wished to walk and would not, a few days later she stopped feeding herself, (and only tolerated me feeding her for a short time), and she died peacefully at home a short time later. Mom went from her normal zoom-zoom to dying in under 3 weeks.

Moms 'normal' had involved seeing strangers in her room and yelling bloody murder at all hours for over 2 years. None of the meds she was prescribed ever changed that - saved the ones that made her sleep all the time and we stopped those.

Mom didn't want to go to a hospital (and in fact had never been in one except when us kids were born) I called Hospice when Mom stopped walking. They took her on and came to the house everyday and gave excellent care. Moms greatest wish was to die with family at home - and she got it.

It was a hard choice for me NOT to seek medical intervention (arfticial feeding or IV's) to prolong her life - as hard as careiving was it is very hard to let go - but it was long her choice, and I have no regrets.

Of course lots of people don't feel that way! You have to do what is right for your situation. So call your doctor - maybe some inpatient care is in order.

Big hugs and much luck to you both

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