How fast can the progression of dementia be?

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We are taking care of my mother in law; but it seems that it is moving way too fast. One month ago she was going through the sun downers stage; but now she can hardly walk without assistance and we are having her use depends because she can not control her bladder. She also will not eat and drink as much as she should. Her Neurologist appointment is this Monday. Two months ago she was fine. This seemed like it came out of nowhere. How fast can the progression be with this disease?

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I'm watching my mother go slowly into "that goodnight" of dementia. She will be stable for a while, then I'll notice some new deficit. She does have UTI's a LOT, but she is very on top of getting those dealt with. Honestly, she doesn't go "crazy" with them , she'd miserable, but still acts "normal"--normal for her.

The dementia is slow and steady, occasionally, as I said, she will be a bit worse in one area. Like, suddenly she can't remember how to use her phone--- My 3 sibs are all MIA and don't see this. The brother she lives with and I take care of her, so we notice this.

It's sad to watch her "lose it" and repeat herself 5-6 times in an hour. She is obsessed with watching the neighbors, and they know it, and are sweet about her nosiness--something she never would have done "pre dementia". She's also a lot sweeter, so I am personally enjoying THAT.

I have to say that every surgery she has had (A LOT!!!) she would have a long road to shake off the anesthesia. At this point, she is barred from any "elective surgeries" for life. So, unless she falls and must have something repaired, she cannot have surgery. She was kind of a surgery junkie and has had everything replaced or removed. She still has her gallbladder, but doesn't remember that she does, so we NEVER say anything about it, b/c she has faked her way into surgeries before.

She's mostly just really forgetful and that's easily dealt with right now. She doesn't wander, doesn't even walk down a step w/o someone strong by her side. I know she'll get worse, but I'm not looking for trouble. Just taking it one day at a time.
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Hi Banty...just want to thank you for your input. Also, to let you know we have put Mom on Iron supplement for over 3 weeks now. Of course, now is that "thin line" to keep her continence regular. Iron and Miralax.
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I totally agree with Nightmare on this we know our loved ones better then any doctor will even through exams. My mom went into the hospital last December I had to call 911 they checked her and she had COPD with being a CO2 retainer, which for those who don't know it acts like it's Dementia but it's not. But I swore up and down something more was wrong they treated the CO2 put her on a Cpap for 3 days got that down and it was send her home I begged them to test for a UTI and they did the 1st night it showed negative so I was considered the "crazy" daughter. She was home 12 hours from the time I brought her home and within that time she fell out of bed could hardly talk she was a wreck I called 911 again scared out of my mind and I begged them to test her when she got to the hospital for a UTI AGAIN! The paramedics listened to me this time and when she got there they had her tested. Guess what it was a borderline septic UTI the first test they did 4 days prior showed negative. I knew my mom so well I always knew when it was more then her CO2 even she didn't know herself as well as I did. I lost her sadly in March to the CO2. But I know I saved her life on several occasions knowing when she had a CO2 fit and when it was a UTI. You can buy at home UTI tests that's what I did from that day on her nurses hated me I would call all hours of the night saying "I tested my mom, you were just out here she has a UTI" Some would say no she doesn't the lab tested it this morning. I would make them come over and get a sample some would say I couldn't test her because it was from her urine bag and that was always carrying bacteria, so they would take the foley out and test and sure enough a UTI. Doctors and nurses can only do so much but they are only human. Listen to your gut if something seems really off something is really off.
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Definitely get her seen now. Don't wait until Monday.
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Just wanted to add that low blood sodium makes them almost catatonic (happened to my mother) along with dehydration, low potassium, low magnesium, just to list a few. It's such a hard balancing act as they age and their bodies don't get the nutrients from their food, or they are simply not eating or drinking enough. My mom has had 3 trips to the hospital for these types of imbalances. Once they get that sorted out, she goes back to what her baseline was when the incident occurred.
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I have 2 elderly people in my family who have Alzheimer's. One is my grandmother, the other is my grandmother's cousin. We immediately put my grandmother on Axona (a very high concentration of Coconut Oil), and have moved onto Fuel for Thought, since getting Axona has become such a pain. I have noticed my grandmother has had a very slow decline. While my grandmother's cousin was told to try Aricept and a few other medicines. Her decline was very fast, she has now been put on Axona/Fuel for Thought and we have noticed that her decline has slowed down. Hope this can help someone. But as we all know everyone is different and not everything works for everybody.
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Whoever checked urine sample, that was negative, should have followed up with other tests and an exam to find source of her symptoms.
1) She needs blood work that shows if has infection in any part of her body + another UA. I would recommend this done by different doctor than used last. A general practice/family physician or Internal Medicine doctor would be most appropriate for this however, since seeing Neurologist in few days that would probably be fastest appointment.
2) Today, check number of her medications...to see if she could be overdosing on any of her meds, or is taking someone else's meds (family/friends..). Also determine if she is taking alcohol or illegal drugs.
3) If all of the above check out negative: She needs full physical exam, preferably by an Internal Medicine doctor, to check for cancer,...

4) If she does have physical issue, then let them treat that however, if shes to have same symptoms even if somewhat better, then I'd still take her to Psychiatrist for senior population.
5) If all test for physical illness are negative: Take her to Psychiatrist that specializes in elderly population. Seniors can not tolerate the same doses of meds that they could when younger & can easily be overdosed even if taking same meds they did when younger.
IF she refuses to see a Psychiatrist, then have her admitted to a hospital "Senior Care" Psychiatric Unit. There they will have a medical doctor & a psychiatrist reviewing her meds, symptoms, history,.... to problem solve and find the cause of her behavior plus find correct medications for her. (she may agree to go to this due to she will technically just being admitted to a regular hospital & she may never know she was in a "special" unit).
Not all hospitals have these units so may need to ask your doctor, a nursing home/assisted living... These units are NOT for permanent placement. Patients stay until doctors are sure they found the correct meds & doses to help her. This usually takes a stay of 1-5 weeks & Medicare should pay on this. Make sure the unit is for Senior Citizens only.
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Everyone here had such great answers. I guess we just don't know because everyone is different. My best girlfriend's husband seemed to be fine on Thanksgiving, no one knew he had dementia. The next week he got lost going to Home Depot. He was dead by the middle of January. Another friend's husband took 5 or 6 years to die. All you can do is be sure they don't have any of the problems mentioned above and take life one day at a time.
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My Nurses used to call these sudden changes "episodes". Something just happens. Mom could have had a stroke. Low potassium does a number on people too. Dehydration too.
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Dementia is sure scary. Another thing I have heard over the years is a number of people with UTI's fall....backwards. And just to say I have a friend whose husband's behavior seemed eccentric...annoying...reclusive...but it was all the dementia brewing. Then hallucinations, bladder control issues. It was a fall and her being unable to get him up that led to his being hospitalized with some physical issues, and some hesitancy on the part of some to confirm her suspicions, that it was LBD. He is in his 2nd much better nursing home, and somewhat suddenly is now using a wheelchair. And within a week of that they approached my friend to consider hospice.
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