This over night drastic change has us all concerned and baffled. Could it be due to her dementia?

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She woke up and didn't recognize her room at all. Her vision seems to be greatly diminished. She's agitated and seems to be seeing things that aren't there. She is acting the same as when she was given morphine, ( irritable, obsessing with wrinkles in the blankets, hyper, suspicious) but we have asked repeatedly if she's been given anything different and have been told no. She has not been diagnosed with Alzheimers, but rather dementia (for whatever that's worth). It has been almost 3 weeks and there has been little change. A brain scan showed no change. MRI not given due to pace maker. We are completely stumped and are paying for 24 hour "eyes on" watch due to fall risk. She is able to get up and walk, though can't see well and will now wander. This over night drastic change has us all concerned and baffled.

Answers 1 to 9 of 9
Has she been checked for a UTI? That can sure alter a persons actions I know. My mother-in-law has had dementia for quite a few years now, but last week or so she freaked me out pretty good. Suddenly she's talking about calling her mother and father, and where is her brothers? Of course she's 88 years old, and her folks have been long dead now. The one brother that she was particularly asking about, died in 1944. She didn't know where she was, why she wasn't in her home etc. So I do know that dementia/alz people can take a sudden turn for the worse. That wasn't the case for us, she got back to 'normal' the next day, but it was stinkin' scary.
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If the dr. didn't check for an infection or UTI right away, it's possible the bacteria has already affected her brainand depending how long she has had it antibiotics may not be able to reverse the effects. A year ago my mom had one, but I didn't know it until the symptoms you MIL is having appeared. I called the doc right away because I felt she was having a stroke or something. She told me to get a urine speciman in the next morning, explaining that as they get older they don't feel the pain and may have an infection for quite a while. Thankfully that time the antibiotics were effective and mom "came back" two days later. Unfortunately, 3 months ago she started acting the same way. I took the specimen in, and the dr. thought there was a chance she had bacteria. Sent me home with antibiotics but mom was not responsive so we rushed her to the hospital via ambulance. Dr. thought they would start antibiotics via IV and she would be fine. Didn't happen that way. All texts were negative for infection. Mom was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. I went on line and read about it. Symptoms sounded like my mom. The book I was encouraged to buy was: The Caregivers Guide to Lewy Body Dementia. It was a godsend, Answered all my questions. It is a very fast acting dementia. Mom had to be put in a nursing home for rehab. She regained her mind, but for just 3 weeks, then relapse, then back to having her mind again.. This is how this disease works. Thankfully she had her mind last Monday, Dec. 31st. She was able to see and talk to me all day, and get kisses and hugs from my daughter and grandchildren. That was the last day she spoke before going into a coma. She died peacefully New Years Day. If your MIL has been checked and has no infections, please research Lewy Body Dementia. Hugs. Nanieine.
jkmiller5555 So sorry you have been dealing with this. The good news is you came here... the many ideas you'll receive and from caring understanding people will be a relief and guidance to you. I must tell you that if you write down the behavioral changes in a log book that these details are important for proper diagnosis. I would look at sugar levels...Does she have diabetes? She may be sneaking sugar or not getting enough. Diabetes can cause circulation problems too if her levels are not monitored. Medication can be "off" my Mothers behavior changes drastically when Meds are not taken properly. On time, same time daily, is very important if she's taking psych meds, and she may be hiding the fact that she's not taking them at all. This is typical when someone suffers from Dementia because of the paranoid thoughts. Certain medications can't be taken at same time as others. The pharmacist would know this.
Dementia is a symptom of many different ailments or various causes as in
medications (too many, not properly taken,too much-as in dosage), dehydration, circulation, UTI's etc. Have her vitamin levels been checked?
I witness many different types of dementia at the Nursing Home where my Mom is and most are stabilized. I am not saying curable... but stabilized by routine as long as all the other issues I mentioned are not an issue or have been ruled out.
I hope this helps!!! Let's us know how you're doing.
She is in a nursing home, and they certainly ought to know to test for a uti whenever an elder is hallucinating, so I assume that has been done. If not, that certainly should be done immediately, as other posters have indicated.

If she doesn't have a uti and she has definitely not been given new drugs, then, yes, I'd suspect the dementia. When was she diagnosed with dementia? Some time in the past or three weeks ago when this sudden change happened?
Thank you all for your responses! She was checked for a UTI. This "event" occured Dec. 17th. She went to bed fine and woke up with no memory - short or long term, and completely confused about what to do. She held a fork, but didn't know it was part of eating, had TP in her hand but didn't know what it was for. She was diagnosed with dementia 3 years ago and has been progressively losing short term and had just begun questioning who we (her 4 kids) were, but would come around. Now she doesn't recognize her room, us or anything that was familiar at all. She basically has NO memories. Just like that! Since she forgot how to eat or drink, she basically went 2 days with receiving only her meds with applesauce. She was taken to meals, but didn't eat or drink. (it was recorded that she "ate very little" from meal to meal, but no one noticed that she hadn't eaten anything substantial for 2 days!) She then became dehydrated and we took her to ER for fluids. She's been eating again (with assistance) and her vocabulary has gotten better, but there has been no change in any recall. They checked for infection when she was in the ER and they found nothing
I will check to see if her vitamin levels have been checked. I know they took blood yesterday. I will also check into Lewy Body Dementia! Thank you all so much! Just nice knowing there are others who appreciate the frustration we're going through! Jan
My mom had a drastic change almost over night also. Didn't know any of us. She had lewey body dementia, which is one of the most progressive forms of dementia there is. We are in the final phases of the disease ...soon our journey will be over. Good luck and god bless. You are in highly experience capable caregiving hands. You will learn from these wonderful people so stay and get acquainted.
Jan thank you for the update, but sorry for the circumstances, your doing your best. I noticed that in a regular hospital that they were not knowledgeable with behavioral heath/mental heath issues. If there is a mental hospital in the area I suggest you look into it.
jkmiller, from what you describe -- particularly the sudden vision loss -- I would suspect a stroke. I wonder if the scan missed something. If it was a stroke, you may see improvement over the next few weeks if the brain is able to compensate if the clot has cleared. I am not a doctor, so I don't know things for sure. It is just the symptoms you described made me think of stroke
It is not uncommon for families to report a sudden and remarkable decline in a person with dementia. A literal 'over-night' type of change. If infection (UTI for example) has been ruled out, the next order would be to scan for some type of stroke activity (CVA). Unfortunately, many strokes, even severe behavior altering strokes, may not show up on scans or MRIs. This can make it very difficult for families as this makes you think there is no reason for the change in behavior. Sudden declines are not uncommon and are related to some type of change in brain function. It could be a sudden decrease or increase in certain chemicals, stroke, infection. This is sadly another of the horrific effects of the type ofdementia your loved one suffers from.

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