What do I do about my grandmother's strange behavior after her stroke?


My grandmother came home six days ago from SNF after having a stroke due to afib. She is NOT the woman she was the morning of the stroke. She is at times beligirant, paranoid, and does very odd things. Tonight she picked up a medication bottle and tried to use it as a deodorant stick. She is very confused about her finances and claims she had credit cards she never had, etc. She spends a lot of time looking through her wallet and sleeps about 20 hours a day. I have POA only if two physicians certify she is incapable of making her own medical and financial decisions. They both agree she can't make medical decisions, yet one says she should be able to handle her own finances. She performed well in his office. With all due respect to him, he saw her for thirty minutes and I've known her my entire life. She is progressively different for the worse.

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I'd see a third doctor for another opinion. You are so right that for a 30-minute visit, many people with dementia can seem just fine to a doctor. It's likely her stroke kicked in vascular dementia or another type of dementia that was coming on anyway. Certainly, she needs to be where she's safe. Please keep looking for doctors. You found one. Try again for the second one. Good luck! This is tough.
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Kate, I understand your situation and can relate to it on so many levels. First, with respect to the changed behavior. As Carol said, the stroke could have kicked in vascular dementia. Also, my father would become very disoriented in the hospital/rehab - partly they say was "sundowing" when moods change at night. But, he had these changes throughout the day as well. Gradually it tapered off, but I had to stay with him all day into the night until he felt more like himself. So, it did improve. Perhaps your grandmother will too, but really need doctor's advice on this.

Both my MIL and my mother would never listen to what they were supposed to do with respect to canes, walkers, etc. They were more concerned with "how it looked" never mind making them walk with marked improvement.They both wouldn't listen to anybody and paid the consequences of falling multiple times, hospitalizations that could have been avoided, etc.

There really isn't any changing them when they are in this mindframe. But I would constantly remind my MIL who was living with us at the time, that if she falls by walking alone - she could end up bedridden. For some reason, this connected with her as she did not want to have any more falls.

Maybe just tell her that a nursing home might be the place for her since she refuses to use the equipment provided to her to keep her safe. Maybe that will make her think about how she is behaving (reckless) actually and putting herself at risk. Other than that, I'm at a loss. Good luck and take care.
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Thank you, Carol. I am beside myself this morning. She is to use a walker at all times due to being a 100% fall risk per the Berg Scale. When she is in her bedroom, I see her frequently walking around without it. I later saw her coming from the kitchen, with two ceramic bowls in one hand and dragging the walker kind of sideways with the other. I asked if she remembers that yesterday I asked that she not come into the kitchen just yet - to wait until she was stronger and in-home PT visits were over in a few weeks. I know her. She will leave her walker at the kitchen entrance and walk around to cabinets, refrigerator, etc. carrying things. I don't know what to do - she will not listen to me. She wants to live with me because she wants to be with her dogs. If she were to go to a NH, her money would be gone in about 18 months from what I understand the charges are and she wouldn't live with her dogs.
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