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My Mom's health has been a steady decline the last 4 months, especially physically. She is not able to stand or walk on her own now. But, she is speaking, smiling, feeding herself a little. She seems to know all that we are talking about. Her appetite seems to have improved a little. She has three meals a day and drinking juices and protein drinks.
Has anyone else experienced this? What can we expect to happen next? We are hopeful that she has stopped the decline, maybe at a plateau now for awhile. Things have changed so quickly for her, we are hoping the changes slow down a bit. Or will her decline continue? Her dr tells us it will not be a prolonged illness, but we don't really know what that means.

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My Heart goes out to you and your family. Here is my personal experience and also my "opinions" Everyone is different and I truly believe the environment and love that is given to someone diagnosed with Alzheimer's plays a huge role in their quality of life and/or their decline. One thing I can say with much certainty is Medication can have a huge impact on your mom and can both help or exacerbate her condition. Talk in great detail with your moms Dr and keep a log of the symptoms . This will help the Dr help you. Also, when it comes to hospice, I think there is still a "stigma" attached. Hospice has changed dramatically over the last few years. Many take a more palliative approach. We called them in 2 years before my father passed and they were a God-Send. I also learned that many therapies were available to my father including PT, OT, Speech and even Music Therapy (each Hospice is different – I hope there is one available to you like we had.) on another note, They offer many durable goods like Lift Chair, Hospital bed, Depends and even medication all at No Cost. Call your local Alzheimer’s chapter to learn more. It’s no longer just for the terminally ill. You are all in my prayers.
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Dear one, My mom went from Stage 2 to Stage 7 in a year! I retired to take care of her, and the plateaus were obvious. But, everyone is different!
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My mom doesn't have Alzheimers, but a quick search has given me the following stages, but it sounds like you should join the Alzheimer's Association.
Stage 1 – Mild/Early (lasts 2-4 yrs) – Frequent recent memory loss, particularly of recent conversations and events. ...
Stage 2 – Moderate/Middle (lasts 2-10 yrs) – Can no longer cover up problems. ... Stage 3 – Severe/Late (lasts 1-3+ yrs) – Confused about past and present.
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I would say enjoy and treasure the moments you have with her and stop worrying about how fast or when the decline will continue, you are wasting time worrying. Only God knows when the time will be for your loved one to go home. Everyone is different in the disease and she could live another 10 years or less. Just make sure you keep in touch with her doctor and find out when hospice is actually required. best of luck
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Please know, every person suffering from Alzheimer's (and their caregivers) are extremely different. No one really can give an exact answer because no one is exactly alike. My husband was officially given the sad news in 2006 after I pleaded with his PCP that something was wrong. I will always regret that his doctor poohed it off as simply 'old age.' Early detection is very important. Also the age of the patient, environment, caregiving, activities and support are important roles. The discernment is real, sometimes the help is not. So, getting that out of my system...every patient is different. Stage 1 and Stage 2 can go on for 10+ years, Stage 3 (where my husband is now) seems to be moving more quickly. The confusion, surroundings become unfamiliar, the quirky scenerios---hiding rolls of toilet paper, glasses, utensils is the norm. Difficulty eating, unable to dress and undress oneself or shower is the beginning of Stage 3, so I have been told. Please join support groups. Yes, there are caregivers out there that go alone, however sharing your experiences, emailing, just keeping in touch with those going through what you are experiencing is a wonderful antidote. And, please know, those that have not been a caregiver or experienced a love one with dementia, will not be all that caring and sympathetic. They are good people...but absorb with their own lives. Please do not be hurt by this. Be strong. It can continue for many years. I have friends that have been taking care of their parents in their 90's for 15-20 years. However, rereading your question, your mom's awareness and her ability to understand leads me to wonder---are you certain your mom has dementia or could it be old age? Just a thought. Our prayers are with you.
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I've been told by my Mother's doctor that it depends on the type of dementia they have. My Mother has vascular dementia that he says has plateaus and large drop offs. Vascular dementia is one of the fastest in decline. I agree with Wolflover451, treasure each and every moment you have with your Mom. There is no magic ball giving this information, everyone is different. Make sure Mom has good care and remember to take care of yourself too! Warmest regards during this difficult time.
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I lost my mom 2 months ago at 93,her decline happened slowly over 2-3 years,but in the end it went quite fast,as she stopped eating in the last 2 weeks.She absolutely refused even though we kept offering her.It was hard but in the end we knew she had had enough.We enjoyed every moment we could with her in those last 3 years and there were many very beautiful memories we can now hold on to.I do believe you will need help,it is very hard on your own,and when you are trying to be the caregiver,you can't enjoy her,so I also advise getting as much help as you can.Pray that you will have many special moments with her.It takes a lot of love,Take care of yourself too!
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The Functional Assessment Staging Test is a little more detailed and may give you a better idea where your mom is at. You should be able to find a copy of it if you search "fast staging".
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Thank you to all who have taken time to respond to my question. I truly appreciate your perspective and help.
I am one of 5 children, all of who are involved as care takers along with my Dad and a CNA we have hired. We are so very lucky that we all can be involved. In a different sort of way it has given us time individually with our Mom, special tender moments if you will. It also gives us time with our Dad (taking in dinner, chats, etc.). So we feel blessed that she is able to join in conversations, tap her toes to music, enjoy pictures with us.
We want to keep her home as long as possible and plan to get involved with hospice. So far things are going along ok with all of our help. Her dr has said he will refer us to hospice when we feel it is time.
Right now she seems to be holding her own. She was able to take a few steps with support yesterday and today. She continues to eat and drink. So for now, one day at a time.
I admire all the care givers out there who are going it alone, not sure how you do it! Thank you again for your kind words and help! xoxox
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My husband has been in memory care for three months. In the last two weeks he has declined in both memory and physically. He can still feed himself, but needs help dressing, showering, etc. He is sleeping more and is less responsive when awake. When I talk to him, unless he's looking directly at me, he does not respond. The decline after a plateau seems to be more drastic each time. I assume this is stage three and, like Shergreene, I too wonder how long this stage will last and what is next. My prayers are with all of my fellow care-givers.
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