My Mom, who has dementia, has gone downhill in the past 1-2 weeks. I'm worried I'll lose her soon. What to look for?

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She has lost all concept of how to get dressed, loses body functions, quieter than her normal, wants to sleep an aweful lot, has no concept to put medicines in her mouth, stability worse (shuffles slowly and with effort with walker). The only thing she continues to do well is eat.

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In my opinion a loved one does not have to pass away for their caregiver to experience all the stages of grief. My husband was diagnosed with dementia at 55 and had been showing dementia like behavior for at least 2 years before the actual diagnosis. I was so totally spent mentally and physically that suicide was always in the back of my head. I became so depressed (even while taking numerous psych and anxiety meds) I was literally paralyzed and unable to function or leave my home. I finally realized I was experiencing all the stages of grief. Grieving the loss of the person who had been my best friend for a decade. That person no longer existed. I grieved for me and I grieved for him.
Twelve years ago I lost my boyfriend of 12 years to lung cancer. He was the true love of my life but I handled the grief of losing him much better because he was actually gone physically. His death was final unlike the death of a person who has dementia who is still living and breathing but is unrecognizable to you. Once I realized that grief was what was keeping me moving on I could approach my depression in a more realistic manner. I do not know how long it will be before my husband physically passes but I pray every day that some night he will go to sleep and just not wake up so that his suffering will come to an end and he will be free once again.
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Kevin, my mom had seven UTI's in one year. Never once did she exhibit the typical symptoms of them. Her brain was not processing the UTI like people with healthy brains do. In my mom's case they showed as increased confusion and agitation. People with dementia often do not exhibit typical symptoms of anything. A very good reason for a geriatrician as the primarry care doctor.
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Kevin, generally in the final stages of dementia the person starts to sleep 20 hours or more per day. And it isn't a kind of sleep they can be coaxed out of.
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Oh my, Vegaslady, that video with Barbara Karnes Gone from My Sight is very informative! Great information. It really has answers some questions for me.
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Go to YouTube snd look for the Barbara Karnes video Gone From My Sight. Excellent, lengthy explanation of the dying process.
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Kevin, when our parents get into their late 80's and into their 90's they do sleep a lot... they are tired as you already know, they have lived a very long life. And the meds don't help. If you read the cautions on the bottle, so many say will say don't use drive or use heavy machinery, which means you will be sleepy.

My parents use to brag that they only needed 6 hours of sleep at night.... yeah right, they didn't count the nap they both took on the sofa for a hour after breakfast... the hour nap after lunch... the hour nap prior to dinner and again after dinner. Any time I visited them, at least once a week, I had to go wake them up.

Has Mom fallen recently? Would she tell you if she did? My parents use to hide Mom's falls. On Mom's final fall, scans showed a current and past brain bleed, and such head trauma will spiral a person into late stage dementia. My Mom went from someone fairly sharp for being 98, to being someone who couldn't do anything for herself, all within a couple of days. My Mom had refused to use a walker.
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Jeannegibbs, Mom sleeps 7 at night to 8/10am & has breakfast, medicines etc thereafter. Then she wants to sleep again but I try to keep her up. Sometimes not able to as she'll fall asleep in her chair. Eats lunch at 12 noon. I usually take her out in afternoon just to get out of house but sometimes that's not possible either. By 5-6 pm she wants to go to bed for night but I tell her it's too early and try to keep her up longer. I know her body is tired; real tired as she shuffles to walk with her walker and she is no spring chicken anymore.
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To: jeannegibbs...gladimhere.....lostsoul2345. Mom just turned 94 this month. She just saw her MD last week & he had no concerns of her health medically....blood pressure fine etc. she has had dementia for about 3-4 years now. No signs of urinary infection. Dementia is nasty. Feels like I've lost my mom before I really do. Best way I can describe it. If she had a small stroke unwitnessed this week, I don't know. I wouldn't guess that but obviously possible. Thanks for your concerns. All your comments helpful.
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I would see what her doctor can do to help your sweet mom. I would also see a counselor for your self and support groups in your local area. I would also ask other relatives to step in to help you where they can because it is not just us as the caregivers going through this, but it is also a family situation for the entire family to be involved with the situation.
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Kevin, your profile says mom has general age related decline. Has she been diagnosed with dementia? Dementia is not normal general age related decline.
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