Hi everyone. I'm dead tired, but need to vent to you all before I can do anything else. Since my dad passed away 15 years ago, I've been taking care of my mom. Mom is 77 years old, and has been able to live on her own up til now with some help from me.

For the past month, I've noticed that my mom is showing signs of decline.

She has become very forgetful.
She has been having trouble with speaking. She will open her mouth and sounds will come out, like she is struggling to speak initially. Once she gets going, she's fine, but it takes her a minute.
She is confused. She knows her birth date, her name, and other info like that, but she struggles to tell you what medications she takes. something she knows like the back of her hand.
She will ask you, "What day is it today?" about 5 times in an hour.
I don't think she is keeping herself clean, and when I asked yesterday when the last time she showered was, she said she didn't know.
I am all she has, and her sole source of social interaction is me and my husband. She is lonely, and this is heartbreaking for me. I have tried to get her to go to a day center, but she refuses.
She is sleeping much more than usual. I was looking for her the other day, and at 11:00 am I found her laying on her bed, curled up in a fetal position, sleeping. She does this frequently through the day.
She "can't walk." I'm struggling to figure this out. She is a very sedentary person. She told me her legs feel weak. She said they do not hurt, unless she is trying to move.

I would think that this could be dementia, but my mom is on 4 different psychiatric meds and it's equally possible that being forgetful extends to the taking of her meds. She is either not getting enough or taking too much. Either way, it could play a role.

(Wait. Maybe I am STILL IN DENIAL!?)

I just got home after spending 10 hours with my mom in the emergency room. My mom is still there, on observation. I brought her in because she told me on the phone that she "cannot walk," told me to come over and to "get there quick". I did. My moms balance is not good, and she has been falling, which has concerned me a great deal. I had planned to buy her a walker today, and had an appt for a consult with a doctor who does house calls.
I was able to help her walk to my car, but when we got to the hospital my husband got a wheelchair for her.

All of my mom's blood work turned out fine. Everything was within normal range. The doctor said he could not find any medical reason for why she is having trouble with walking. He said that he wanted to keep her overnight for observation. The only thing they have said is wrong thus far is her blood pressure, which I was told was normal by the day shift nurse, but the night shift nurse said it was too high at 197/92.

They brought a portable toilet into her room because she cannot get to the bathroom on her own as quickly as she needs it. Even with the toilet that close to her bed, she needs to be helped onto it, help to clean up, and help to get back into bed.

What do I do from here? What should I expect? What should I ask? Is there any possible way at all I can keep her from having to leave her home? She cried today and kept saying she wanted to go home, she wishes she were never born, wishes she were dead, etc.

I'm worn out, burned out, and my heart is breaking. Hurts to see her this way. *sigh*, I have so much more to say, but I'm running out of character space.

I feel a tremendous amount of guilt, and despite my husbands objections, I am beating myself up for not doing something sooner, I had tried. But that's not good enough in my eyes. I was repeatedly telling my husband that I was worried, felt overwhelmed, and needed help, but I don't think he believed me, until today.
Not even sure how I will pay for this, because we only have Medicare and to date, it has hardly covered anything.

Any advice, encouragement, etc, would be awesome and I thank you in advance. My dad was young: 66 when he passed away from cancer. Although I have been a caregiver, this is the first time I am caring for someone with age-related issues. It's so damn hard to watch a parent age like this. Sometimes I just can't stand it and I can do nothing but cry and want to punch walls.

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Does feeling guilty help your mother? Does it restore brain cells, or make her legs work better?

No. It just keeps you from sleeping, and keeps you from doing your best for mom. Put it aside every time it comes up. If you had taken action a year ago, you would still feel guilty. If you could hire RN's to care for her in her home 24 hours a day, you would still feel guilty.

It is very sad to see your mother, who was so strong, become weak and confused.

Good point, assandache7. I think they still pay for the hospital, but won't pay for a NH afterwards unless she is admitted.

I agree that it sounds like dementia.

Also I have read in other posts that their parents were in the hospital for observation and Medicare didn't pay for it unless they were admitted. Please make sure you check this out, my info. Could be wrong, just giving you the heads up!

I believe that your mom probably has dementia. All of the symptoms sound right for it. I would get your mom's dr. to tell her that she has dementia and that she needs to find a day program etc. Many times our loved ones do not listen to us because they think that we do not know what is going on or do not understand. They also think that they will get better, but dementia patients do not get better. As disheartening as this sounds they need to hear it from someone who is a professional. Also, her walking problem could be partially due to dementia as well. She may be loosing her cognitive skills to walk. She just can't process how to tell her body to move her along. I would definitely get a walker and try to walk with her right now. She needs to learn the proper ways of getting around in a walker now so that she can have some muscle memory. The sooner that you get her using a walker and teaching her how to get around, the better. And don't be afraid to make mistakes. All caregivers for family members are on a constant learning curve and will make mistakes. Just try to do your best. You know that you love your mom and want the best for her. Keep learning and trying and you will learn to care for her the way that she needs.

Get a neurologist to check your Mom out while she is in the hospital. Some of her symptoms sound a bit like NPH (Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus).

You have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of anyone else.
Wishing you all the best!

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