I’m caretaker for my mother. She had a massive stroke on Mother’s Day last year and is now unable to live by herself. She also has a history of heart attacks(2), heart disease, high bp, and was diagnosed with dementia in February.

For the past week or so, I’ve noticed mom is behaving differently. She’s crabby, very moody, and hateful with my grandkids whom I take care of part time. She’s also mixing up names, having memory lapses, and is noticeably weaker. She’s also sleeping a lot more. I’m not silly and I know what dementia is. What I don’t or didn’t realize is how quickly mom can change. Is this normal? Or what is normal? I don’t know if I know what normal is anymore.

I have started checking into getting mom into memory care or a nursing home. It’s getting to be too much for me to handle now. I’m just worried about how she is going to handle all of the changes that are coming.


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Call her doctor immediately. Your mother already had a massive stroke. Now she has had what is deemed a "medical emergency." Echo CountryMouse.
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Reply to Llamalover47
Countrymouse Mar 28, 2019
Not necessarily a massive stroke! More likely a quiet little rumbly stroke - but that could mean another is on its way, and therefore all the more reason to get help ASAP.
If your mom had a cerebral stroke, it is possible that she now has vascular dementia--caused by strokes in the brain. My late husband had what we now recognize as TIAs (transient ischemic attacks) caused by small clots in the brain, where he became very confused and said he felt a sense of impending doom, sometimes had hallucinations--but nothing was picked up on MRI. Most of the time, he would recover somewhat, but eventually he had a major, fatal stroke.
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Reply to Arleeda

[Edit: I should have said this first.] Call her doctor.

Your mother has had a cardiac and/or cerebral "event." There was probably no particular sign of it at the time, but you can see its footprints in her abrupt change of behaviours and level of fatigue. I wouldn't say normal, but it is so common that you would almost expect it; and, one might add, your mother's doctors could have done well to point you towards information that prepared you for it. Sigh. They didn't warn me, either...

Clinical investigations done now may or may not tell you anything useful and probably aren't worth the trouble to her. BUT you must get proper medical advice as soon as possible, because it may be that her body is gearing itself up for a Big One that could be prevented. I should pick up the phone now if I were you.
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Reply to Countrymouse

What type of dementia was your Mom diagnosed with? Based on your reports, I'm afraid your Mom's moods are very normal depending on the type of dementia she has. She'll be alright. You'll be alright too: you've got us here to help if you need to vent or ask questions.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to mmcmahon12000
tmaurer60 Mar 25, 2019
All the dr. said is dementia. The memory thing started before the stroke but after...WOW. I have days where I’m handling this just fine and then some days where I just want to hide under my bed! I have my own health concerns and this is kicking my anxiety over the top lately. 😫
I did get in contact with the local Senior linkage line. I am going to talk to her dr as well as getting some tours at the nursing homes near my home. I was told the dr will sign her into the N.H. Which would be better than me and my sister having to do it.
It could be a UTI, so best to get that checked out first. In my experience of looking after my parents who both have dementia, changes such as you mention can happen quite quickly. However, they can also revert back again and be fine for a while before deteriorating further.
There comes a time when time is of the essence regarding placing the person with dementia in AL or a Nursing Home as it really can become too much to handle and affect your health as carer. You have to be strong concerning the transition as well as it will not be easy for her to make the adjustment and it may take her some time to settle.
Eventually though things settle down and you can visit without feeling stressed out.
My mum is sleeping more and more. She has periods where she really deteriorates and can hardly walk, has falls and finds it difficult to feed herself and I think she is nearing the end, then lo and behold, she begins walking fine again, manages to eat food herself etc.
It is a strange disease and a cruel one.
Good luck and I hope I have helped.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Els1eL
mmcmahon12000 Mar 25, 2019
Good point! I didn't even think of that (UTI).
Have her checked for a UTI will cause these changes.

I was watching my grandson when I had to take Mom in. He was 20 months, she was 85. It was only 2 weeks till daughter found a daycare but it was like taking care of 2 toddlers. I would have preferred my Gson. I put Mom in daycare just to get a few hours to ourselves. They picked her up and dropped her off. Fed her breakfast and lunch. Showered her for me. It was nice. Eventually, I placed her in an AL.
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Reply to JoAnn29
SparkyY Mar 27, 2019
I don't mean to bounce in on OP's post but I've heard so much about UTI's being either a cause of some dementia or at the least a cause of worsening dementia in someone who already has it. I've been holding out that mom will bounce back from this last hurdle because she had a UTI that was so bad it went septic. This was about a month ago and she did seem to get better in some capacity but has also developed new symptoms of dimentia. I know the disease basically only goes one way but am I being unrealistic to hope that it was a major factor? She also got really sick a year ago with h- pylori and double pneumonia. She seemed to come back further and faster from that. She's never come all the way back but I keep hoping her new normal will last longer than it does.
My understanding is that change can be slow over years, but it also can be quite quick. Has your mother been checked for a UTI? Has there been an event that might have stopped her masking symptoms that were already there earlier? Before she is diagnosed as not legally competent, do you have all the paperwork signed and in place – HIPPA, POA, will etc? I hope that someone will give you details about rates of change for different types of dementia. You have to wait and see how she will handle changes - there is no point in worrying yourself now. Courage and best wishes.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
tmaurer60 Mar 25, 2019
Yes there is no UTI. That I had already thought of. Thank you

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