I think my mother has Alzheimer's. Is it the antibiotics, the environment, or has she had Alzheimer's for years and is just getting worse? - AgingCare.com

I think my mother has Alzheimer's. Is it the antibiotics, the environment, or has she had Alzheimer's for years and is just getting worse?

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My mother is 95 . Five years ago my father died and she ended up with bad UTI infection. She went to rehab and 5 days later had a stroke. She has had quite a few UTI's in those years. This last year has been the worst. UTI plus sepsis. While she was in rehab 6 months ago she was put on lexapro and has had sundowners since. Dr. took her off lexapro and sundowners got better then got another UTI and got worse again in rehab now and got another UTI in rehab and sundowners worse than ever. Is it the antibiotics, the environment, or has she had Alzheimer's for years and is just getting worse? I am suppose to take her home next week and not sure what to expect. I have never had to deal with this before and I am alone. This scares me.

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An older person can have dementia symptoms from a uti even without having dementia. This happened to my aunt. A person who does have the brain damage of dementia can have much more severe symptoms with a uti. This happened to my mother. Maybe your mom doesn't have dementia at all. Trying to sort out the role the uti, medications, environment, and dementia play in her behavior may not be as productive as simply figuring out how to keep her comfortable and calm, whatever the causes.

Lexapro is typically used to treat depression and/or anxiety. When it was discontinued, was something else offered for those things? Just because one drug produces side effects doesn't mean every drug will.

This is indeed scary. If you weren't at least a little scared about being responsible for her well-being, I'd say you weren't being realistic!
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It is a combination of the meds, the infection and Alzheimer's. Anyone with Alzheimer's gets more confused, combative, delusional when not in a familiar place. Heck, all those things happen in familiar places. UTI's are hard and add that much more behavior issues. Has she been checked for any other infections?

You can refuse to take mom home saying she needs more care than you can provide. Many have done it. As the disease progresses it will become more difficult and impossible for one person to care for. Maybe now is the time. You have provided care for five years, that is nothing to feel guilty about. You have given plenty, much more than most.
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She has all the equipment she needs. I have been taking care of her for 5 years. She has gotten a lot more confused. She is almost has weak as she was when she went to the hospital. I do not get many answers at rehab. 2 weeks ago mom was all of a sudden weaker took 2 people to transfer her instead of one. She could barely wake up almost comatose. 2nd shift kept telling me she was just tired. It was just before weekend the beginning of the following week when 1st shift could not wake her they found out she had uti infection. She is getting sugar with every meal which is bad for both uti and brain.She also use to have diabetes. She also fell out of bad first night she was there. I think she has sundowners because she seems to get very confused late afternoon early evening. She is fine most of the day until late afternoon. Yesterday she thought her mother was still living. Home care will come to house to give her pt. and ot. Hopefully that will help. I am still thinking about hospice. When asked if she was ready to give up or wanted to get better she said she wanted to get better. I will see what happens when she gets home and what homecare says since she can't both.
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You can refuse to take her home . They will be forced to place her in a skilled nursing facility if she is unable to care for herself. They will threaten you but they can not force you to pick her up. They legally can not release her
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If you don't think you can take care of her at home, talk to them about other options, as Hugemom said. It may be that she needs more than what one person can do in the home. I'd ask about other medications to help her. Why do you say she has sundowning? Is she anxious, frightened, agitated? There are other medications that could be tried. Sometimes treating recurring infections can be frustrating. I'd discuss other options of doing that with the doctor too.

There are very supportive people on this site. There are also hotlines you can call as well.
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It’s scary anytime you know you will be responsible for someone’s care. But, your mom has so many issues. We used to test my mom once a month for UTI’s because she became combative when she had one. Surely there is some sort of preventative meds she could be on.

Before your mom comes home, ask to speak with the social worker at the rehab. Everything she needs as far as home care should be ordered, delivered and set up wherever she will be staying If there are lifts involved, you should be trained how to use them. Aides and therapy should be scheduled. Meds should be ordered and delivered.

Alzheimers is a progressive disease. With my mom, when she had a UTI she got much worse really fast. After the antibiotics kicked in, she became more calm but still confused and delusional.

Make use of the people at the facility for help. That’s what they’re there for.
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