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My 86-year old mom had a minor heart attack and a "Broken Heart Syndrome" heart incident prompting 2 angiograms within a week both normal. Her dementia became a lot worse since then, but has been declining all year. The broken heart attack came after her doctors said she could no longer live alone. My mom had two hospital stays, a week in rehab, then moved into a memory care center. We know these changes could have made her dementia worse. Could her dementia level go back to about what it was before all of this happened?

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Thank you all for these incredibly helpful and thoughtful responses. They offer some measure of realistic hope. Her Dr does not expect an improvement. It may be Vascular Dementia or Alzheimers, of wich her brother died.
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Eyerishlass, that is not the experience my husband had. He DID go back to his baseline after each physical problem cleared up. This happened several times. Maybe it only happens in Lewy Body Dementia. I don't know. But I do know for sure it can happen. Always? No. But sometimes, for sure.
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Someone who has dementia and has sudden physical issues which make the dementia worse doesn't usually go back to where they were prior to the physical problems. She may show some slight improvement but the way she is now is her new baseline.
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How much/if there can be recovery after major declines in dementia depends on several factors, including was caused the decline.

1) A drug reaction. With a few exceptions, if the decline is a side effect of a new drug, when the drug is discontinued and is out of the system there is a good chance of recovery to baseline.

2) An illness or a trauma. These can be recovered from, but it takes a long time. Each time my husband was hospitalized he returned home in a worse state than before the hospitalization. Each time he recovered fully to his previous baseline but it took several months. Each time home therapists told me not to get my hopes up for recovery and to accept the decline as the new normal. Of course by the time he fully recovered they were no longer around to see it and I'm sure they kept spreading this false message. Also realize that while the recovery is going on, the disease process may continue declining so in the end there will be some recovery but not all the way to baseline. The type of dementia will also impact the recovery ability.

3) The natural progression of the disease. This is not reversible.

The trauma your mother went through, IamSue, very definitely contributed to a decline in her functioning. Theoretically at least as she recovers from those traumatic episodes the functioning that declined could return to its former baseline. But you mention that she was showing signs of progression of the dementia even before the heart attack, etc. It is likely that disease process has continued.

I wouldn't take a guess regarding whether she will show some recovery or only continue to decline. I'm afraid this is a take-one-day-at-a-time period. I hope that the care center staff helps her to be the best that she can be each day. Help her adjust to her new home.

Best wishes to you.
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Sue, I don't know of anyone who went to memory care only for a temporary stay. If the doctor said she could not live alone, the memory problems were well established before her anxiety attack. Just try to make her happy where she is, make no promises to her about the future. One day at a time.
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I'm not sure, but I don't think significant improvements in dementia are common. It is common to hear of declines after emotional issues and/or serious health crisis.

My loved one took a sharp decline with her dementia after a series of falls that resulted in some fractures over the course of a month. She also went into Memory Care and has had no substantial improvement. She's more content, but her ability to do things like put a glove on or push the wheels on her wheelchair are going. Now she can push the wheel herself only if I demonstrate and encourage her to do it several times. Soon she will forget though. She still knows how to propel herself forward in the chair by scooting her feet though.

I would also be interested in knowing if someone working with the patient daily can cause them to keep any of their skills, but I don't think that will work long term.
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What does her doctor say?
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