My mom has dementia, but it seems to come and go. How do I know if she really has it?

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My mom is in the hospital now, and her dementia seemed to flair up at the second day, but now has calmed down. She is going to rehab after the hospital, but I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. I've done research on dementia, but sometimes she seems so lucid.

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My MIL was in the hospital, and rehab before she came to live with us. They told us in the hospital that she has "sun downers" , where the dementia gets worse at night. What we have noticed is her oxygen levels-when her oxygen gets below 90 she talks out of her head, says things that makes no sense, etc....We have her use her oxygen for an hour or so, wait around 30 minutes and check her levels again..they usually go up and she is back to her normal, complaining self. She does get forgetful, and I dont know if its because she is 84 or if she in fact, has some dementia..
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It most likely dementia. The signs will come and go for the first few stages. She may be able to mask it sometimes. Sundowners is one of the biggest symptoms that show up. She will talk and tell stories about times long ago, only the stories will be stretched and exaggerated. But to her its very much reality. Dementia will change a persons demeanor. She will forget mostly short term, repeat herself, misplace things but blame someone else, then she might get delusional. All of these are signs. But bare in mind they can put on a show for others to make everything look alright. The last few stages are the most frustrating, sleep patterns will be up and down, she will start losing the smell, and taste for things, she might be argumentative, and have outbursts for no reason, and then the incontinence and eventually bedridden because they forget how to walk or might lean to one side.
My sweet mom at 91 is in her last stage of dementia, she has stopped eating and drinking and is bedridden. It's the last days of her life and I grateful that I was able to be there for her.
ms daizy your response was helpful to me! I have noticed my MIL will leave things out, or make some sort of mess and say she doesnt know who did it. She soes exaggerate things (i.e., her electric blanket is electrocuting her, etc..) I just figured she doesnt want to get fussed at and plays the blame game. Some days, she is really nasty to mean, and everything I do is mean, or trying to hurt her or make her sick. Just this morning I fixed her miralax w/ 8oz of water (as directed) and she said that the med. I gave her made her very sick and was sitting on my couch saying "oh Lord, have mercy on me! I'm so sick." (and she has had 12.5mg of phenegran already) then she went and fixed herself a glass of sweet tea...
It must be so hard to see your mother in the state she is in. I have a hard time keeping my patience, especially when I am getting brow beaten over evrything I do to try to help..its hard to help someone who cares nothing about helping themselves..
Yes, dementia can seem to come and go. Some kinds of dementia are particularly notorious for this, but it can happen in any kind of dementia. The person with dementia can even deliberately control this for short periods. It is called "show timing" when the patient can (with great effort) "act normal" for company or for a doctor's visit, etc. And when it gets worse at a regular time of day (usually early evening) it is called "sun downing." Irregular fluctuations in cognitive, emotional, and even physical abilities don't have a name but they are very common.

glorim, what are you doing/considering doing that you don't know if it is the right thing?
I am considering putting her in rehab and possibly long-term care. I just want to make sure that this is the right path to take. Why do hospitals usually always recommend older people to rehab? What is the purpose of rehab?
Rehab is an interim step between hospitalization and home (even if home is assisted living or skilled nursing facility, etc) It is done when the person no longer needs the expensive care provided in a hospital setting, but it not quite strong enough or well enough to return to their normal activities. Rehab can be recommended for any age but the elderly generally take longer to heal so it is very common for them. Medicare pays for rehab right out of the hospital, for a certain length of time.

I think you should definitely let your mom go to rehab, whether she has dementia or not. This not only gives her more time to regain her strength, but it also gives you more time to observe her and to explore the options for her release. Return home with in-home care? Go to assisted living? Does she need a memory care unit? A nursing home?

Rehab buys you both some time. Take advantage of it.

(My mom's been in rehab twice. My husband, who had dementia, was in rehab once. All facilities are NOT created equal. Stay with your mom as much as you can the first few days until you get a sense of the place and what kind of continued observation/care may be needed from you while she is there.)

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