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My mom can be very lucid and aware most of the time (she's almost 90 y/o) but then be rather frightening. She called me at the grocery store about 8:00pm and said she had just wakened up and didn't know if it was night or day and was confused. Couldn't get her "bearings" and wasn't sure if she should have taken her 7:30 meds or not. Took abit of taking to her to convince her it was night time. Simple things she is totally confused or forgetful about yet can do other things rather well.

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Great answers from everyone here so I won't add much but to say that yes, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Anything from a UTI, sleep meds, anxiety meds, B12 deficiency (not watched for often enough so you should ask about that) or dementia could be causing this. She should be examined by a gerontologist is you can get her into one. If not, an internal medicine doctor can check for a UTI and other things. A neurologist will check for dementia. If it's a type of dementia, then you'll know what to watch for. Information will help you cope with whatever this is.

Please keep reading here and also let us know how you are doing.
Carol
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ANY type of infection, esp. UTI (urinary tract infection), bladder, etc. which is quite common esp. in elderly women can cause their behavior to gradually change for the worse as infection worsens. Any time my mom's routine behavior suddenly changes, or she is more irritable, etc., I take her in for a urinalysis. Thankfully, her senior primary care physician (highly recommend getting her one) always starts her on an antibiotic immediately while awaiting the test results. That extra one or two days awaiting test results can make all the difference in the world. After that length of time w/o antibiotic or penicillin, my mom will literally walk and appear drunk, falling into walls, staggering, and acting like she is drugged out of her mind. As soon as medication starts taking effect, there is always a very noticeable improvement in her behavior. As for short-term memory loss and difficulty with thought processing, my mom exhibits that on a daily basis, but after a year, she still functions at home remarkably well overall. I cannot stress how important routine is for someone with dementia.
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Mom has some of the symptoms of dementia, but mostly memory loss. I find that it doesn't really come and go - she will have a good couple of weeks and then -bang - a new symptom or two will show up, or a new behavior change. Like suddenly misplacing the toilet paper into the trash can instead of the toilet (and leaving feces on the outside of the trash can and not noticing it) - then she'll be ok for another couple weeks, but the new symptom or behavior stays, it doesn't resolve or go away. It just gets progressively worse with more and more symptoms as time goes by.
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My MIL had vascular dementia. In the early years, her dementia "appeared" and "disappeared". As the illness continued the dementia appeared more and more often. It was so infrequent at first that family members argued about whether or not she was having dementia episodes. Vascular dementia is relatively shorter lifespan wise , if I remember correctly it's a 5-8 year average.
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Has she been diagnosed with dementia? At 90 yrs. she is bound to have some, and becoming disoriented to place and time is a warning sign it could be dementia. Or it could be she is dehydrated, have low Vitamin D and/or B-12, or she has taken an antihistamine with diphenhydramine in it (Benadryl) which will make it appear like she has dementia. Have her checked out with a neurologist. Another diagnosis which has identical symptoms is NPH. Factor in incontinence, an abnormal gait with memory loss and it could be NPH (Normal Pressure Hydoencephalus - which isn't "normal").
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My 87 yo mom has "mild cognitive impairment". Basically, dementia. She has very poor judgement, ie., has a torn Achilles heel and is supposed to walk with someone in the house for safety. I came out of my part of the house to find her walking around...then blamed me for not being there. She is in danger of ripping the tendon again and my husband and I are resigned to just waiting. She has some lucidity, but then will fly into a scary tantrum like last night. The OCD tendencies she's always had are frightening as well as her paranoia. All these things show up differently on different days. Unfortunately, once the next "crisis" hits we will be forced to look at placement. We can not trust her to make sound decisions when we are not there....no support from doctor. She is a hip fracture waiting to happen. This behavior is not easy to deal with...never knowing how the loved one will react. Keep reading and staying in touch here. It has been a sanity saver for me! Hugs and good thoughts
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My mom called me while driving she was on her way to our old home that we havent lived in in 20 years... All while she was supposed to be in waiting room in the dentist office while my father was having his teeth cleaned.
She taught nursing for 20 years and now shecant find words in a word search. She has been diagnosed with parkinsons dementia many years ago and she too has her good days and bad. Her sense of time is non existant but she still remembers things in the past. I think thats so difficult for the loved ones and thier families because they cant control it and no one knows it comes or when it goes. We watch her 24/7 now Because she still thinks she is so capable of doing everything when the truth is she can do very little now. Keeping her happy though does
Help to snap her out of the negative thoughts at times and i never point out her mistakes because we noticed early on that it just upsets her. I remind her i make mistakes like that all the time.
Good luck to you both and i hope for all great days!!
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What I see with Mom is that as long as she is talking without interruption, she sounds perfectly normal. When you ask her a question, then the memory circuits fail. Waking up is like asking her a question: Is it morning or night? She cannot tell. As for meds, mom can't remember what she took or when. That is why she is at Assisted Living where the staff handles her medication and tells her what day and time it is. They reassure her.
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It is difficult for us carers to accept LO's mind is damaged by the Disease. Not only is memory damaged their ability to process thoughts is impaired. It is frightening and frustrating how behaviors flicker in and out. The damage is always there, how it hits comes and goes

You really need to know correct dementia diagnosis

Alzheimer's disease and dementia,

there is a distinct difference, other dementias: Vascular dementia, Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy Bodies and Frontotemporaldementia. Some causes of dementia are treatable and evenreversible. source:
Mayo Clinic tinyurl/qdgj9g .
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Dementia Definition By Mayo Clinic staff
Dementia isn't a specific disease. Instead, dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting intellectual and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. Many causes of dementia symptoms exist. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of a progressive dementia.
.....
Memory loss generally occurs in dementia, but memory loss alone doesn't mean you have dementia.
Dementia indicates problems with at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and impaired judgment or language. Dementia can make you confused and unable to remember people and names. You also may experience changes in personality and
social behavior.
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Its amazing how it comes agoes at times, I think it must have to be due to depression not that I am saying take any pills, but you make them smile and it will bring them back sometimes, just keep em talking. But this is often a rare event. H*ll it was rare with my X wife when she was forty. One time she mentally left me for months and then once morning on the way to the office she asked how long have I been gone, I said honey you are back wow, I love you. You have been gone for six months, she said wow thats the longest time and I said it was. She left soon after and that was the end, she never returned for more than a few seconds after that. She was my beauty.
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