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Mum was placed in a nursing home about a month ago. She has fallen several times since then, and on one occasion has badly bruised her wrist and fractured her pelvis on the left side. Surgeon felt given her age and dementia that surgery wasn't the best choice so long as the fracture didn't worsen. She has also aspirated her food on two occasions when I took her out for dinner in the last few weeks. She keeps falling, even under the watchful eye of the nursing staff.


She has been at mid-stage dementia for 3+ years now. Some days her memory is pretty solid, most days it's a jumble, and she won't remember the conversation we had 10 minutes ago but can remember she has an appointment with one of her doctors.


Are the increased rate of falling and the aspirations a sign that her dementia is progressing faster? I've barely begun to adjust to her being in a nursing home, and now I wonder if I have to adjust to this change as well. I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice. Thank you all.

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Your profile indicates that your mom likely has Vascular Dementia mixed with AD. That's what my cousin has. Her progression has been in a stepped down manner, which I have read is common with this type of dementia. It may be stable for a while then a big dip.

Your mom's memory sounds much better than my cousin's. She was stable for the last year, but recently has declined. I regularly go to the stages list to see what functions are lost towards the End Stage. It's given me time to adjust and accept what is inevitable.

I'm curious about your mom's aspiration. Was it immediately noticeable? Eating seems to be the only thing my cousin still enjoys, so I'm dreading the day she struggles or has aspiration. I watch her like a hawk as she eats.
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Dementia is generally slowly progressive. Over years, not months. One thing your note caused me to wonder: where/when is your Mum falling? In her room at night or walking to meals or? My Mom now sleeps with the bed on the floor (special bed raises and lowers) and she doesn't fall as much because she was getting up and wandering around at night and falling. Now she's already on the floor with a soft mat next to the bed.
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Dementia is progressive so it's going to get worse. You're right to suspect her inability to swallow at times could be a symptom of her worsening dementia.

Another thing that might be contributing to your mom's recent decline is her new environment. Big changes can be difficult even though they frequently have to be made.

There are numerous changes that go along with dementia. Bad days and good days. New symptoms. We get used to and comfortable with the way things are and then some new thing comes along and we have to adjust all over again.

Upside? She's where there is a Dr. No making an appointment and getting her ready and getting her there. You're not alone in this anymore. There are nurses and aides who are doing the job that you would have to do alone. Your mom is in the right place.
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Aspiration of food is a serious sign of advancing dementia. Please alert her nurses to this so they can have the MD order a swallow test.
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