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He’s 82 and in January this year finally admitted he was having severe memory problems. I thought it would be years before he would get to this stage. I don’t understand what’s happening and wasn’t prepared for this rapid decline.

All of the responses here are helpful: UTI, TIA, but yes, I have seen sudden declines take place and they are real. Did anything stressful or traumatic occur just before this sudden declines that would have caused an emotional/psychological shut down? I have seen declines brought on by fear, anger, depression, loneliness. If it's VD, sounds as if it could be more vicious atrophy. Have your doc rule out the physiological concerns first. If there is no underlying health issue, I'm sorry to say it must be a particularly agressive decline. I'm sorry you're going through this. Please know you are not alone in this. You're not. Reach out for support. Our hospice social worker was here for three hours last week and just sat and listened to my daughter and I because we needed the support. You are providing your husband with the ultimate gift: love, safety, protection, compassion. You are his hero. This does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. And just because he doesn't remember doesn't mean you don't. Cling to that. Hold on to it and love him for the man he was and the man he is now. You can do it. You are braver and stronger than you know. Take care, sweetie.
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Pandarose Sep 7, 2018
Dorian, thank you so much for replying. Nothing stressful or any changes have occurred. I was looking at his CT scan report today from January, and it said there were chronic microvascular changes in the white matter from two years ago. Do you think another CT could confirm if it’s VD? I’m just astonished that he doesn’t recognize hardly ANYTHING. Less than two months ago he was walking daily saying he wanted to lose some weight, and now he doesn’t understand what the word means. I’m hoping his doctor can tell me something Monday.
I’m here 24 hours a day with him and wouldn’t have it any other way, but sometimes I need someone to talk to who understands this horrible monster that’s destroying people’s lives. Thank you again Dorian.
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A rapid, sudden decline happened to my Mom in 2012 . It started on New Year's Eve when she was talking along and all of the sudden her sentences were coming out backwards. We rushed to the ER expecting a stroke or something equally scary but there was nothing of note on any of the tests she had. Over the next 6 weeks, she continued the rapid decline to the point that she barely knew her family, had trouble walking, was sundowning, etc. She was diagnosed at a reputable hospital's Alzheimer's unit as having both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's even though we told the doctors that she had made Thanksgiving dinner for 26 people just 2 months prior. The doctor said, "It's definitely Alzheimer's - I'd know that look anywhere." At the rate she was declining, I didn't think she'd live for more than 6 months longer. That is when I joined this forum. Long story short, it took about 5 months but she gradually got back to normal. I remember being so ecstatic the first time she set the table correctly. Now it's believed she had delirium. No doctor could give a reason for it but she had just come off a very bad year both physically and emotionally and I felt her brain just finally shut down from the stress of it all. Over the last 6 years she has gradually declined and that's awful to watch but the speed at which she went downhill for that five months was truly scary. Of course, have all the usual suspects checked out - UTI's, TIA's, etc. as a rapid decline like that could be delirium brought on by any number of things. I'm so sorry you're going through this. I wish you the best and hope you can get some answers so you know what to expect going forward.
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"chronic microvascular changes in the white matter" would be damage from TIA's/silent strokes.

When my mom had an MRI her doc told us that it "lit up like a Christmas tree" and sent us off to a neurologist who treated her aggressively with stroke prevention in mind. No one ever explained that all those mini infarcts could cause cumulative damage, like most of the population I had never heard of vascular dementia until I started searching the web trying to figure out what was happening to my mother, who was fine until she suddenly wasn't. Because her doctor left his practice my mom fell through the cracks in the system and was never diagnosed, but you have the opportunity to keep pressing your doctors for an explanation. Sometimes you need to channel your inner xena warrior princess to get what you need. And read read read everything you can about micro infarcts.
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I just wanted to let everyone know what has happened since my last post. PET scan of his brain was done last Wednesday and I had follow up with neurologist Friday. She said the scans were worse than the worst, late stage Alzheimer's scans and that the report had not been written because of how advanced it was. Said they would have to get really creative to write the report and was amazed he hadn’t been showing severe symptoms years ago. She said the very back of the brain and a few small deep parts of the brain was all that was functioning. She told me he needed to be on hospice now and got it ordered before I left. She said he wouldn’t live six months because of the fast progression. Hospice came Saturday and admitted him, ordered supplies and new meds. I felt like I was watching a movie and I wasn’t the one hearing and responding to this. I managed to get back to my car before falling to pieces. Social Worker is getting him set up with VA. She said they would pay for nursing home if it got so bad I couldn’t take care of him at home and I’m praying that doesn’t ever happen.
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FrazzledMama Dec 13, 2018
Pandarose, I'm so sorry. I know hearing this news about your hubby has to be heartbreaking. Hopefully the hospice nurses can help you keep him as comfortable as possible. My heart and prayers are with you and hubby as you walk through this journey.
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Yes, it can happen quickly but I would call his doctor. He could have a UTI or something else that could have something to do with this.
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It *might* be natural, but swift, decline. But I would look into other possibilities immediately. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are *notorious* for mimicking a shift downward, or outright psychosis. But medicine imbalances (even when things have gone along fine for awhile) or other, treatable, biochemical issues may also be at play. Hope you find good answers, and hope they're as happy as possible.
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My 82 yr old dad declined from understanding calculus to his parallel universe of dementia in two short months also. We were baffled the same as you because most of what we read about is a steady slow decline over years.

Dad's brain MRI showed advance white matter lesions, kinda sorta like a stroke in slow motion. His small vessels in the brain rupture intermittently, doing irreparable damage to nerve connections in white matter. It makes strange silent type stroke symptoms. He enunciates completely normal, yet lives in a different world that includes extreme paranoia.

Hard to believe just three months ago he was driving and walking and shopping all day without a cane. Now he needs a walker or wheelchair.

It is interesting to hear other fast track stories. I wish you comfort with kindred people here. Take care of yourself.
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Pandarose Sep 8, 2018
hannahBN, my husband was an extremely intelligent, well educated man and today he doesn’t even recognize the electronic products he designed. He also was driving long trips and making good decisions a few months ago. In late March, on my birthday, he drove to town and bought me flowers and candy. Now he doesn’t know me. Today I asked him if he could count backwards from 10 and he couldn’t even understand the question. Thank you for your reply.
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Hi Pandarose. This is a very tough time for You seeing Your Husbands rapid decline. I know for sure if I will be diagnosed with alzheimers or dementia I would want the end to come quick as it robs the Sufferer of every thing. Memory, balance,
speach, and leading to organ failure towards the end. UTI's are lethal and a Nurse told me Tia's leave a mark as each shorten the life of the Sufferer. Try to organise Carers to do day and night shifts if You have the means to do so as You could never manage on Your own. I did Care for my late Mother for two years and ten months with out any break but It is dreadful tough on Your own. It's the sleep deprivation that wears the Carer down. Keep in touch with this wonderful Site as it is a road map for all Carers since it was a life saver for me as all Carers genuinely do their best to help.
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Pandarose Sep 8, 2018
Johnjoe, unfortunately, sleep deprivation and I are already good friends. At this time, I have no help and trying to manage on my own. My father died with his first and only heart attack at 52 and I thought it was the cruelest thing that could happen. I now see that it was truly a blessed way to go. Thank you for your reply.
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This very thing just happened to my mother. In a very short time she went from about stage 3-4 Lewy Body Dementia to end stage dementia. She no longer remembers me or my daughters. She can no longer really speak and just lays or sits there watching tv. The point is, I 100% understand where you are coming from. It’s so hard to witness. I’m extremely sorry you are going through this.
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Pandarose Sep 6, 2018
Cattlei, I thought I would absolutely die when I realized he didn’t know who I was. We’ve been married 24 years and all of a sudden I’m a stranger to him. There have been moments that I’d think he knew me, and in a split second he’d ask what my name was. It’s just gone bad so fast. Thank you for caring.
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I agree to first have him checked for something treatable, but I wonder if he has a history of cardio vascular disease and/or TIA or stroke, vascular dementia is known to progress in a step wise way with sudden declines followed by plateaus.
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Pandarose Sep 6, 2018
Cwillie, he had a heart cath two years ago for an arrhythmia issue that showed zero blockages. Ct scan showed no stroke with mild shrinkage. He’s always had high blood pressure which is now under control. His older brother died st 81 from dementia.
He started with memory problems, paranoia and being suspicious of everyone. These last two months, especially August, have been like falling through a rabbit hole. Many days he can’t feed, dress, bathe himself or understand the simplest thing I ask him to do. I have an appointment Monday for him and I’m going to see if his doctor will admit him for tests, because he’d never stand for them on an outpatient basis. He’s not been officially diagnosed with dementia.
Thank you for your help.
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