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Dad has moderate dementia. Over the past several years, he's had 'senior moments', but it wasn't until last summer that things became noticeably bad. He's 81 and it's almost like someone flipped a switch; it came on so fast.


Based on the quick onset, is there any sort of timetable with regard to when he will lose function? He's now at the stage where he is fine for the most part, takes a nap and wakes completely lost, not understanding where he is, why he isn't at work, etc. It's happening more and more. He's also waking me in the middle of the night (last two nights) in a panic because he thinks he's late for work. Yesterday, I left him (explained thoroughly, left with cell phone, note of where I was) and he called me completely freaked out about where he was. This doesn't usually happen during the day.


I know everyone is different, but I'm just trying to find out how long it will take before he doesn't recognize me, becomes completely incontinent or starts losing his ability to eat and speak.


I'm totally on my own; no family, friends or caregivers. I'm not even sure I can get him into a nursing home because he's in that 'sour' spot of making too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough that we can afford a home. So any guesstimates as to how long this may take would be appreciated.

#1 priority i think is to get him to his doctor for a UTI test and overall assessment. They will do a quick lab test and may put him on a “most likely” antibiotic. After the culture comes back in a couple of days they may change the antibiotic to a more suited one and it will clear him up in a couple of days. If that’s all this decline is then yippee!

But if not, #2 priority i would suggest is to contact a home aid provider to have somebody ready to come in and be with him while you’re out of the house for a few hours. Your meetings outside of the house will probably increase soon...elder lawyer, (get POA if you don’t already have it), NH or Memory care initial visits. It’s probably best if you handle these alone initially, and you may not want to leave your dad home alone.

Be Very watchful for falls and take as many precautions as you can. When Mom was in her most confused state with UTI, that’s when a fall would happen.
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Reply to rocketjcat
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Hi Laughlin,
I wanted a time line also when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Doc said could be 4-5 years (she was 90). She just passed away last week at 96.
It’s a guess. They may progress rapidly to one stage, then stay in another stage for what seems like forever.
Good suggestions about a UTI or change in meds. Seniors are super susceptible to minor changes. A doctors visit might not be a bad idea. If doc thinks he needs testing to determine his cognitive ability, he can order it then. Give his office a “heads up” about his recent mental decline before you go in.

Forget trying to to put this on a “time line”. It won’t hold up. Try to be flexible. If this IS a form of dementia, you will NEED to have resources at hand. Don’t be like me and put your head in the sand, then have to come up with “something” on a minutes notice. I had no one to help me either. As the disease progresses having your ducks in a row really helps. A hospital social worker or the Area on Aging or your local Senior Center should have a resource list for assistance. Look into things now so you’re not caught off guard.
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97yroldmom Mar 24, 2019
Sue
Im really sorry about your mom.
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Hey there, I am Certified Medical Assistant, and I want to share this site with you as it is the most accurate scale of the time of each stage www.leisurecare.com/resources/7-stages-dementia/
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I am gonna agree with the UTI check; also if he has had medication changes recently. I had a friend who works for Hospice advise me not to let the docs put my mother on Ativan. Unfortunately, this is a common drug given for calming patients down, but it typically has adverse affects on Dementia/Alz patients. My mother is late-stage and fell 8 weeks ago causing a hip break, and is now bed-bound. With every medical 'episode,' there is a large decline it seems. She has now had 2 UTIs and pneumonia....all in 8 weeks!!! Make sure your father remains safe, and prevent falls at all costs...falls are detrimental to their cognitive decline!! The best thing that did come from the fall and hospital stay is the doctor ordered a "Palliative" care team for us and she is a wonderful Nurse Practitioner who makes house calls, she comes once a month for a check up and more often if I need her to. Ask your father's doctor about referring you to a Home Health Agency who could perhaps get you started with some 'resources' and long-term help. Best of luck on your journey!!
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Reply to EDeanW
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Laughlin, oh my gosh, I spent every summer as a kid in Bullhead City, there was only the Riverside hotel and casino in Laughlin at the time. It took like 45 minutes to get there, you had to go over the damn or later they had a ferry. At least you are not snowed in. Getting ready to bake though.

I am sorry that your dad understands what is happening, it has to be so terrifying to know.

Can I suggest that you include him and start looking at facilities now, let him decide if he wants to stay around the Colorado river or if he wants to go to Vegas. My granny was in a facility in Vegas on Medicaid and she got the best care. I can probably find the name for you.

I would find the facility before you need it, that will make it easier for both of you.

Hugs!
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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It depends on how quick/slow important brain cells die, sadly
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Reply to shad250
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Did your dad actively serve in the military? If yes, he may qualify for Aid and Attendance. If no, have you checked into a Qualified Income Trust or a Miller Trust? These set up can get him approved for medicaid, I am not completely sure how they work, but a Certified Elder Law Attorney will know. You can go on www.nelf.org and find one in your area. I highly recommend that step.

Also, get him tested for a UTI, light switch behavior is an indication that something is going on and a UTI in seniors is a freaky thing to behold, not your typical burning sensation at all. More like overnight decline or sudden onset of dementia type symptoms. You don't want him to go septic with it either and that is pretty common as well.

I haven't read other responses but I hope I am not being redundant, but then again probably will be, we all experience the similar things. Hugs for all you do.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Laughlin Mar 23, 2019
No military history. I will check into those things. Thank you!
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Hard to say. I know what you are going through and have asked that question many times. Mom is very similar to your Dad, ( now 82 ) her dementia progressed slowly, first showing in her early 70’s, then she had a fall last year and she got significanty worse. I would say she is in the moderate to severe stage. She can still dress herself and even match her outfits, walk with no device, feed herself, put on make up (even though poorly applied) but she has delusions about where she is, what she does, etc. It is so sad! I wonder too how long this awful disease will let her go on deteriorating mentally much faster than physically. The answer is........there is none. A lot depends on what kind of dementia he has, I believe Mom has frontotemporal lobe as it seemed to be the one that “fit” her behavorial conditions above the rest. All I can do is pray she does not make it all the way to the end of the disease because it is so awful. My heart goes out to you!
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Reply to Rainey69
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Laughlin Mar 23, 2019
And mine to you. It is a very sad disease. But at least there is no pain.

My dad is at the stage where he is terrified because he knows he is losing him mind. Just happened this week.

I just wish I had some idea of how long we have together.

Thanks for your response.
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Your dad is lucky to have you beside him.  Its overwhelming to be the daily caregiver and find the time to plan for the short term and long term best care for your dad.  What you do know is that the dementia will progress. Is your dad set up with local elder services/council on aging? They were key in helping my family.  They should have options counseling & resources to provide services and direction. Local alzheimer support organization can be helpful too. There are many helping angels out there to provide support and guidance to you. Don't be afraid to ask - you are advocating for your dad. There maybe ways to reduce his income and assets to eventually qualify for Medicaid.  Look into free legal advice or find a book.  Be prepared to make decisions where the choices are a bad option or something worse option.
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Laughlin Mar 23, 2019
Yes, it is overwhelming, especially still working full time (from home) and not living in my own home. (He's in Nevada; I live in Chicago.)

I have started to check into various groups and offices, but it's all so confusing. It's nice to know I have people here and elsewhere that I can ask for help. Thanks for yours.
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Your answer is no. There is no time table. And yes each paitient is different. Mmy wife and a female friend were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s almost simultaneously. Our friend is on last stages in hospice. My wife is still ambulatory and capable of many functions like eating and minimal speaking.
sorry to say it is all case by case day by day.
i hope you are in an active support group so you can hear what others are living with and through
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Laughlin Mar 23, 2019
I was afraid of that, although I suspected it. I just wish I knew how long we had and how long I have before I will have to try to find a nursing home to care for him.

I have just attended two different support groups in my area and there are a few more a bit further away. The trick is timing. I never know if he is going to have a good or bad day and I've got no one to watch him. That's another reason why I was hoping to get some sort of a timetable. It won't be long before I won't be able to leave the house.
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Hi Laughlin (that's my mom's maiden name!). Have you tested your dad for a UTI? I'm asking because you said it's like someone turned a light switch. Unbelievable behaviors can come from seniors with any or no dementia when an infection is present. You can get home test strips, and if it comes back positive, take him to an urgent care or to his doctor for an antibiotic.

I'm an only child, so I hear what you're saying. Contact your state Office on Aging regarding the Medicaid. My mom was in the same spot, and finally qualified for a partial waiver from Medicaid. Also, if your dad is a veteran, he could qualify for aid and attendance from the VA. Getting help from either agency was a lengthy process--between 6 months and a year. A lot of times I thought I'd never get through either, as both take a lot of talking, forms, and patience, but it can be done.

My mom has been in an assisted living for over 5 years now, and doing fairly well for 94. Best of luck to you.
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Reply to patiencewithaP
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Laughlin Mar 23, 2019
Ha--Laughlin is the town my dad lives in. :-)

I will get some of those test strips. That we can manage. Thanks for the idea.

I'm NOT an only child, but my sibling is not interested in helping.
Dad was not in the military unfortunately. There are a lot of resources here for veterans.

I am going to try to push myself to get more into the organizations, hotlines, websites and forms. I'm dreading it (I'm on the computer 8 hours a day for work), but it has to be done. Sounds like I will need to get started is it takes that long.

Thanks so much for your time.
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