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My mother has a history of hard to explain mental issues. She has been in mental facilities several times. For the last few years, she has been acting like she was getting Alzheimer's or dementia of some sort. She would say off the wall things, forget who people were, say that the house she was living in wasn't hers, accused care givers of stealing, acted paranoid, etc etc. I had to put her and my father in a nursing home earlier this year. She gave the nursing home a hell of a time.

My father died a couple of months ago. Ever since he passed away, my mom has been acting like she knows what's going on. Her confusion has lessened dramatically, she rarely talks crazy, recognizes people, etc etc. So now I am wondering, was she faking it? Why, all of a sudden after a trauma like losing her husband of 55 years, is she acting closer to normal than she has in years? Has anyone experienced someone with Alzheimer's having long periods of clarity? Even my father, before his death, when they were still living at home, said he thought she had Alzheimer's which he was familiar with, since his father had it. (She has taken lots of medicine and perhaps they are giving her less at the nursing home than she was taking at home but seriously, why is she suddenly clear?)

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Thank you jeannegibbs and rainmom for the responses. She is still seeming to get be more clear headed. I just don't know,
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My husband had symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia for about 10 years. (Diagnosis confirmed on autopsy -- a severe case.) The very worst symptoms were in the first several months. It was as if he exhibited all the later-stage severe symptoms right from the beginning. And then he got much better (!) He still had dementia, he was far from "normal" but the symptoms were more consistent with mild, early stage. I agree with sandwich42plus that dementia doesn't go into remission. So what was going on? I asked my husband's neurologist who is also a researcher at Mayo Clinic. His theory -- and that was all it was at that point -- is that in some people the presence of the protein clumps in the brain triggered a defense response and they experienced inflammation in the brain as the body tried to fight off what it perceived as foreign bodies. When the inflammation died down and also with the onset of treatments, the dementia got back to being just the dementia, without other aggravating conditions.

Which is along the lines JessieBelle suggested. Perhaps your mother has had dementia all along, but along with it lots of aggravating conditions -- stress, pain meds, other mental illness -- and that made the dementia appear much worse than it would have on its own. And now you are seeing the dementia in its more "pure" form.

I am not a medical professional and I may not be explaining this just right, but I don't think what you are seeing means Mother was faking the earlier, more severe symptoms.
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AND just one more example just cause it feels so good to vent. She had a fall last August. The staff had gone in to check on her cause she missed a breakfast date with she SIL who lived in the same facility. Mom was sitting in a chair but insisting she couldn't feel her legs so off to the ER she went. After 4 days in the hospital and every test under the sun - including two cat scans and an mri on her head they couldn't really find much wrong with her. So off to a rehab facility she went. It was not a very nice place, old and very NHish and God forbid she had to share a room! In the middle of the night she called me screaming and ranting for me to come get her - this went on for 15 minutes. Since this was prior to me getting a clue, I was concerned about her not walking and tried to explain why she had to stay. Nothing I said would calm her. The final thing she said before hanging up on me was "I had no idea it would be like this!" I guess she was expecting a Hilton.
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My mother actually gets a kick out of acting more senile than she really is. For a long time she had me fooled. We were in the ER after a fall when I caught on - after sitting with her for a few hours I left to use the restroom. When I returned the dr. was in talking to her - she looked up when I walked in and said "when did you get here? Where am I ?" The dr. got a baffled look on his face and started to suggest additional tests. Then she busted out laughing - I got furious - she said "oh Rain!" and started laughing again. All in good fun, right? The problem is she's not as senile as she appears but too senile to realize her little game could end up with her living in a facility for serious dementia patients. I imagine thoses places are quite different from the posh AL is is use to. Monday she is moving to a NH that is again quite posh - God help her and where she may end up if she pulls that crap there!
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Sandwich, my mother has also stopped walking as well which has led to not being able to. She also has taken lots of prescription pain medication over the years (probably in an attempt to self medicate). She was always a bit of a hypochondriac.
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Sandwich42plus--are you my sister? Ok, sorry, not to take it lightly, thank you for your response. With my mothers mental history, what you said makes a lot of sense. She probably has been experiencing some type of psychotic states, because she has been doing this my whole life. Just not to the extent it has been for the last few years. She probably has an undiagnosed mental condition (or diagnosed in the past that she has never admitted to) mixed in with some early dementia related decline. That makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much for your response.
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barelyhangingon -

Dementia does not go into remission. Progressive brain deterioration does not reverse itself - ever.

Sometimes other illnesses in elderly can mimic dementia, but clear up once the infection or whatever is cured.

Mental Illnesses can change a great deal in a short period of time. People can come & go in and out of psychotic states, fugue states, and have ups & downs that change with their body chemistry, stress level, and the wind.

My mom has had bi-polar probably all her life but would never admit to a diagnosis or seek treatment, and now advanced dementia. You just never knew what you were going to get with her day to day, hour to hour before or after dementia.
Paranoid, neurotic, suspicious, angry, and then just as suddenly sweet as peaches. My few friends in high school used to ask me how I was going to know when she went senile. My answer was "I probably won't." And that was very true. Mom's behavior was very demented before dementia.

Mom decided to stop walking one day. She just didn't want to. Nobody could explain why. She just would not. (Except for when she did once in a great while, when she must have forgotten she wasn't doing that anymore.)
Refusing to do it quickly turned into can't do it. She is physically unable to shift herself any at all in the bed now and losing muscle mass.

My mother also has cluster B personality disorders at the same time. Hystrionic, borderline, narcissistic personality disorders. Once I learned about that, it explained everything from 1971-2013.

When you have somebody complicated who has both dementia at any stage and mental illness, it's nearly impossible to tell what thing is causing what behavior from day to day. You just do your best and make sure they are safe from themselves.
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She has had mental breakdowns in the past and had to go into mental facilities. But she has, for the last four years, been very much acting like someone with Alzheimer's / dementia. She forgot her father had died and he had been dead 20 years. She said the house her and my father lived in wasn't her house, and when I asked her where her house was, she said the address of the first home her and my father lived in 50 years ago. She accused people of stealing from her. She was pocketing food in her mouth. She quit walking. She stopped asking me about my kids, like she didn't remember them unless I mentioned them. She thought TV was real life, etc etc.

Now suddenly, she is acting mentally clear. I mean way clearer than she has been for years.

I was just curious as to whether people with some form of dementia can suddenly seem mentally clearer for an extended period of time. It's just so weird!! She used to have good days and bad days, but now she is having lots of good days. Which is good and bad, because she doesn't like being in the nursing home.
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My loved one's condition seems to fluctuate. She as VD mixed with AD. For awhile she forgot how to use her hands to roll the wheels on her wheelchair. She would only propel herself with her feet. Later on, she either learned to use her hands again or it just came back to her. Either way, it's good.
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I have a feeling you could have answered your own question when you mentioned the medication. It may be that she was feeling a lot of stress because your father was ill. That, along with all the medication, could have been making her mentally off-balanced. You'll know if she continues to have clarity that it is not dementia. I hope that is the case.

What types of mental issues has she had in her younger years? I know that you said they were hard to explain. I just wondered how she acted.
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