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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?????

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Dear ALG, what i have found ( my mom has vascular dementia, is that wondering about the "whys " is a waste of precious mental energy. Their brain is broken and there doesn't seem to be a lot of logic about why they are clearheaded one day and in a fog the next.

The exception to this of course is a UTI, which can cause all kinds of hellish symptoms. Each time my mom seems more paranoid, confused, etc., i insist on a uti test. It's usually negative, and it's usually the beginning of a new phase of this dreadful and inexorably progressive disease.
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golden23, she can make food (frozen lean cuisine) in her apartment with her microwave so if she misses a meal, she won't starve. She also has fruit and stuff in her fridge. I will talk to the staff at her AL place. Can events cause a rapid decline? Earlier this week, I closed on the sale of her home. It seems like once I told her that, there was more confusion. It was after that news that she called me at 1 a.m. She knew the home was being sold but is it possible that processing this major event has caused more confusion this week?
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My sis works at a retirement residence, this is soooo common, that is why there is always a cluster of people hanging about by the dining rooms. Sometimes they will get people showing up in the evening after falling asleep early who insist it is breakfast time, it is 7 o'clock lol! They do make an effort to keep track of residents who miss meals and will call their rooms to remind them.
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AGLF1447, my Dad use to be good about going down to the senior living dining room for dinner, but the past month he seems to be more confused about the time. I need to call him every day at 4:30 to remind him to start to get ready for dinner.

One time I called him and there was no answer, so I tried again 10 minutes later. Since there was no answer I assumed he went to the dining room on his own. Then at 8pm he called me, he said he didn't have dinner.... strange, I rang his phone many times, no way he didn't hear it ring. I think what happened was he fell asleep AFTER having dinner, had a long nap, and when he woke up he forgot he had dinner.... [sigh].

This is so hard to watch him go down hill like this.
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Yes, it is always "them" that is messed up. Can you think of an alternative if she stops going to the dining room. Would a staff member walk her down? Can she have meals in her room - like meals on wheels? Don't know if the ALF would allow that. I would talk to the staff there and see what suggestions they have. She can't be the first one with that problem. If she gets more confused she may need a higher level of care. ((((((hugs)))) It isn't easy, I know.
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I am glad she is at an ALF too but worry that she will be so confused about meal times that she will eventually stop going down to the dining room and sit in her apartment and not eat. Thinking of course that it is "them" that is messed up and not her. Also, she is overweight and has a bad knee and walks with a walker. It is a huge effort for her to make it to the dining room and if she begins to think it is not worth it, or there is no food there, she will probably stop going. Ugh.
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ALG - this is very normal for dementia. Paranoia shows early in the disease and also confusion of one thing or another. I rather doubt that the clock will help but it is worth a try. I am glad for her and your sake she is in an ALF.

puppylove - my mother has made serious declines very quickly which is typical of vascular dementia. I think cwillie is right - push for more testing and a diagnosis.
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My mom had an issue with a new medicine, which caused her to lose track of time and she wasn't eating properly over a few days. We think then she went into acute kidney failure, which caused confusion. To make a long story short, she went to the ER, then stayed in the hospital until her kidney function was normal. Then she went to skilled nursing for 3 weeks. It was obvious she could no longer live at home so she is now in an assisted living facility. Before this took place, she lived at home. She cooked for herself a bit. From time to time she would say odd things but was not confused. The neurologist at the hospital said when her kidney issues subsided, the confusion would clear but if she had some early dementia, it would take awhile. I would say by the time she moved into assisted living, she was about 90% herself. She has been there a little over 2 months and has days where she seems her normal self and days where she gets up, gets dressed and thinks she has an appointment, when she does not. She is now getting to her dining room too early for meals because she is confused about time. Even if I help her write things on her calendar, she is still confused about when they are going to occur. This week, she called me at 1 am to chat. When I told her it was the middle of the night she wasn't aware of that but also wasn't concerned and asked me what I was doing. SLEEPING! I said. So is it normal to have "good days" and "bad days" where she is completely confused one day and another day seems fine? I'm getting her a digital clock that has the time, date and time of day on it. Honestly, I am not sure it will help her. When she goes down to lunch too early she will tell me that "we were all waiting for lunch but they weren't serving it and there was a party going on instead so we had to wait forever for food." So, not only is she not realizing she is an hour early for lunch, she is also making up things like "parties going on." She is also paranoid and thinks "things are going on" or "the CNA is playing a game" (deceiving her in some way). How normal is all of this????
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Puppylove, this sounds similar to what happened to my mom. Push hard for a real diagnosis, I wish I had. Some docs seem too willing to write off the elderly, people don't make dramatic declines for no reason.
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My mother is 79. She had some physical limitations after a fall, a couple years ago, really set her back. But she was living on her own and doing fine. Last October we started noticing more of a decline and offered her to come live with us. The morning of her move, it seemed she had changed overnight. She was somewhat incoherent and just seemed like she had declined overnight. We thought it was the stress of the move, but now I am thinking she could have had a mini stroke. Tests were done later that said there was no stroke but in just a few short months, she has gotten so much worse. She requires care for everything. I don't understand how she can go downhill so fast. There is no alzheimer's or dementia but the physical decline was so fast.
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Thank you Mariesmom, for your input! I appreciate your experience in this quick behavior change; it seems SO strange for it to happen like that. I know my mom has been terribly lonely since dad passed; she's so isolated from conversation (other than us caregivers). Most of their friends have moved into nursing homes or passed on, maybe that lack of "visiting" exacerbated her illness. A visit to an adult daycare was a fiasco, and we didn't try it again.

My dad had hospice at the end too, tho not at home (he wouldn't have any peace there!). Well, if mom continues to decline rapidly, that may again be the answer.

Thanks again, and I'll try to keep updates here. Hugs back atcha! :-)
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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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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?
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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
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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!!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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I'd also make sure she doesn't have a UTI that can cause hallucinations and a bunch of other stuff.
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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.
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