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A few months back, Mom could no longer balance her check book....now she sometimes doesnt know who i am , she knows my name and knows her daughter is Patty...but doesnt seem to put it together that im her daughter...will she get worse?

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Patricia-Get your mom to a doctor. The doctor may do some testing, or make a diagnosis based on observation and medical history. Remember, "dementia" is not a disease in and of itself, but rather a catchall term describing several different conditions, including Alzheimer's. So, depending on the type, the answer to your question is, generally speaking, yes. It is progressive. Also, it is irreversible. Once part of the brain is damaged, it's permanent. Schedule some time to talk to your mom's doctor so you can get a clear idea of what is happening/will happen. Do some reading to prepare yourself for what's coming, and try to make some plans. I don't mean to be the bearer of bad news, but with something like Multi-Infarct Dementia (which is what my dad has), the five year survival rate is less than 40%. Personally, after seeing what people with dementia, it's my opinion that that survival rate is something of a blessing.

This is what my dad has, multi-infarct dementia, also known as vascular dementia.
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I had a webmd link in my previous post that seems to have disappeared....grrrr. It's not like I was redirecting to porn.

Anyway...

Mamoogins, I'm not sure what you mean by that comment. In the context of a discussion about dementia, I would point out that the literal textbook definition of dementia is "It reduces the ability to learn, reason, retain or recall past experience and there is also loss of patterns of thoughts, feelings and activities." However, if we were talking about the prevention of dementia, there is anecdotal evidence that suggests moderate drinking of alcohol, regular caffeine intake, being bilingual/multilingual, and reading/puzzle solving (exercising your brain) help delay the onset of dementia in people with certain risk factors. None of that slows the progression once the dementia has advanced and the brain is damaged. The memory infrastructure of the brain no longer functions normally. Think of it as a house being built. The workers are all gone, and most of the materials are missing. The weather will gradually destroy the half-finished house. Once the erosion has started, there's no going back. There may be plateaus, but it's mostly downhill.

As caregivers, we cannot fight the inevitable. You can't bail out the Titanic, you just try to make everyone comfortable while it sinks. That's pretty much the best you can hope for.
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Patricia, it does vary by the person, and type of dementia. With MID, there are stable times, but rapid "drops". What I mean by that is, if you think of it like a staircase, there are big drops between each step. For example, dad had memory problems for long time, but was otherwise fairly normal. Then, one day he was talking about dogs looking in the window, people skateboarding in the yard, and didn't recognize mom and I at all. It's usually caused by a transient ischemic attack. TIA's are what they call "mini-strokes". One thing to be aware of when caring for someone with dementia is that a sudden decrease in cognitive function might be caused by a TIA, but it could also be a fever/infection/etc. Don't ever assume it's "just part of the dementia." It's hard to figure out what's going on when they can't tell you what hurts or doesn't feel right.

Anyway, hope that made sense. My fat turd of a cat was chewing on my arm while I was trying to write. Please, like I said earlier, get your mom to the doctor, and schedule a time when you can consult with the doc, too.
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Patricia, the answer is yes and not as badly, depending on what type of dementia your mother has been diagnosed with. If it's vascular dementia, there are ways of slowing it down via medication, exercise and diet. Some dementia's can be slowed down and help with some cognitive impairment via medication. Others can only be treated symptomatically.
My father's started out as vascular, but wasn't caught in time and turned into multi-fract dementia. There is nothing that can stop his dementia, but he is on mood stabilizers to help with anger and depression. He also does word searches to try and keep his mind from slipping so quickly.
So, as you can see, the answer is not an easy one. It does sound as if you mother is far along in her dementia, with the descriptions you give. I would speak with her doctor and you can search the internet, but only rely on the "real" information from places like the Mayo Clinic and the National Institute of Health as well as the ALZ page.
The sad and true answer is that you may be able to slow it down, but it will continue to get worse.
Prayers and hugs,
S.
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Sometimes it is a blessing when an elderly parent dies before the ravages of dementia deteriorates their minds and body. It is the worst progressive disease that no one should have to suffer through. I pray I die peacefully in my sleep when my time has come before dementia takes over me.
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I lost my husband to dementia. I do not know what form of dementia he had; but does it matter? The end result is the same. People with dementia can not be healed, sadly. Yes, there are some meds that can slow down the progression. Aricept and Nimanda (name may be similar, sorry) are two that my husband used.
When he could no longer be handled at home, he went to a nursing home where I asked the doctor to take him OFF of any meds that prolonged his life; and prescribe meds to keep him comfortable, unafraid, able to cope. I was not worried that he would get "hooked" on a drug.. I knew it was just a matter of time and he was suffering, depressed, and even expressed that he knew he was dying. I have never been sorry that I did that. I did the best I could to help him so I have no guilt. He died 4 months later, in peace. I also suggest that you contact a Hopice. Their staff is so helpful and comforting. Please know that I pray for everyone on this site. Please consider how YOU would want to be cared for, if this was you. Please NO feeding tubes. God bless you. I'm sending many hugs. Corinne
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My wife of 30 years was diagnosed with vascular dementia/behavioral disturbances in March, 2016. The MRI indicated a right frontal lobe mini stroke that had gone by unnoticed, but I have reason to believe that the stroke occurred possibly in August, 2014 when a "friend" absconded with a considerable amount of money of hers. It is now May, 2017, she is 72 and the "behavioral disturbances" have escalated to the extent that they begin at sunrise and taper off in the evening, but do not ever actually cease. She kicked a heavy end table down the stairs early one morning last week. She pounds with her fists against my bedroom door and yells obscenities at me as if we had never met. Our dog is now scared to death of her and it is only a matter of time before he bites her again. She goes out into the street to talk to our car and yell at the phantom occupants to get out. This is one of her habitual pastimes, along with telling the chairs in the dining room to leave the house immediately. She turns the chairs upside down so these uninvited guests will not return. She throws everything away, from newly purchased underwear and socks to bath towels and toilet paper which, consistent with what I have read, she no longer uses. Last March she was involuntarily committed by the police because she had been calling them in the middle of the night three or four times a week to report intruders in the house. Although she was discharged a week later, her behavior today is identical to her behavior last year only magnified exponentially. It no longer occurs in the middle of the night, but starts first thing in the morning and continues almost uninterrupted all day long. She has lost her vocabulary and with it of course her ability to find words and formulate sentences. That of course frustrates her and leads to sporadic outbursts of anger expressed through utterances that are totally meaningless to the listener. And of course her memory is all but non-existent. I have been very disappointed in my search for qualified physicians in our area, but tomorrow, May 3, 2017, I am taking her to a cardiologist to plead with him to have her hospitalized. This is a long winded way of saying that I am no doubt no different than other spouses in that we really are left to our own devices. We know our wives or husbands better than anyone and so we are naturally skeptical about the word dementia itself and all the myriad experiences that other share. I have, like others here, also read that the life span of vascular dementia victims can be three years. My wife is now 2 1/2 years into her disadvantaged state of mind and all of the symptoms that I have read about are now coming to the surface first thing in the morning. I have managed to pull myself together and realize that she would not want to go on like this forever. I have her memory, our memories together, and no one can take those from us. By the way, she retired in 2006 as a United States Army colonel in intelligence after 43 years of service to her country.
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Patricia1, progressive dementia gets worse. It is what it does.

Sometimes some of the symptoms can be addressed with medications, and while the medication works the person appears to be better. The disease is still there and will continue to get worse, but at least there is some relief from some symptoms.

Significant declines can be due to at least three causes:
1) An illness. Urinary tract infections are most notorious for making symptoms worse, but I found that ANY illness made my husband's symptoms worse -- a flare up of his arthritis, a cold, constipation -- and often what I would notice first is the cognitive decline.
2) A reaction to a drug. The same drug that is a miracle for one person can be dreadful for some one else. Therefore as doctors try to find useful treatments they may try some medications that make matters worse.
3) Progression of the disease itself. Different forms of dementia progress in somewhat different ways.

If the decline is due to an illness there will be improvement when the illness clears up. The improvement may or may not be all the way back to pre-illness levels.

If the decline is from a drug reaction, discontinuing the drug or changing the dosage will remove the problem.

If the decline is due to the natural progression of the disease it is permanent. However, as new symptoms appear there may be drugs for treating them and while that is not a cure it can provide some relief.

My heart goes out to you, Partricia. From my own experience and from observing newcomers to my support group I know that caregivers and family members always want to know what is going to happen, how the disease will progress, and how long each phase will last. But there really are no answers. If you have a diagnosis for a specific kind of dementia you can look up the general patterns for that disease, but each individual is unique. All the members of my support group were dealing with the same kind of dementia, but our experiences were vastly different. In one case the loved one progressed very rapidly and died within a year. My husband lived with dementia nine and half years, most of it fairly mild. Another member's husband has had dementia longer than that, and it has been severe for a few years.

Eventually we've learned to take it one day at a time, to work with a knowledgeable doctor to deal with the symptoms as they appear, to hope for the best and plan for the worst.
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My mother did everything doctors suggest: Lived healthy, drank wine, traveled, did crosswords, learned languages -- was the picture of health until age 83 and always did exactly what doctors keep saying to do to prevent Altzeimers. And yet, she has been diagnosed with Altzeimers this year and is declining rapidly. So I am not convinced the whole keep learning thing applies since she has her bachelors degree and still has her active nurses license going to college every semester since she graduated in her 20s - she loved school and always went. Even when I was growing up. I say pick the age you want to die and then eat what you want, drink what you want and die of a big ole heart attack sitting in your car after an evening with you family or best friends. Patricia my heart goes out to you.
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Dementia in any of its 48 kinds is a progressive and terminal disease process. The type of dementia, the age of the person, other medical complications make the equation vary slightly, but otherwise, death is the result.
Your mother should be examined by a dementia-qualified neurologist to determine if she has a dementia. Your questions would be the same as if she is diagnosed with cancer, that is: which dementia is it, what stage is it in, what medications are available, etc.
Remember there are various forms of some dementias. For example there are four types of Alzheimer's, five types of Vascular dementia, eight types of Frontotemporal Dementia, etc., so your neurologist should be specific.
Dementias also progress differently through the stages of dementia or the dementia behavioral assessment stages, based on the type of dementia. Alzheimer's will progress from stage three to four, four to five, five to six, etc. Vascular dementia, because it is a different type of dementia, caused by structural challenges and not a tauopathy, will have features of different stages at the same time. Unfortunately, in time, all dementias will follow stages six and seven, unless death has another causation, such as stroke or heart attack.
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