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She's been sleeping 15+ hrs a day, and said she wakes up and don't know where she is? Does someone know what I should do?

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Since my last post, I've had to evacuate my mom to my sister's because she was ridden with bed bugs. Been there for years the exterminator said. She'll be back in a day, but I don't think she will remember why she left. I'm exaggerating a little, but only some. I told her I took the drapes to be cleaned ( a few times), and last night she thought she was coming home to everything normal. Her place and furniture had to be fumigated twice and everything is in bags still. The furniture is turned upside down and the mattresses are all standing up. So I think her dementia is escalating. Hopefully, on the bright side, she wont remember any of this in a couple of months.
Thank you all for caring.
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A month ago we had the same problem with my mom. All of a sudden she could not swallow liquids and food as she had all these years, was chocking if she ate too fast, and we could not longer lay her flat when sleeping (my mom is 100% bedridden). Her physician who does her endoscopies let us know that her Acid Reflux (GERD) condition was worsening and the acid was messing with the lining of her esophatus, and because she is 84 and is not usin her throat muscles as much -- the muscles in her throat had drawn up which caused the food and liquids to hesitate and go down slower than normal. So he did an out patient procedure in the hospital to stretch her lower esophagus so she could swallow normally again. She has been doing fine ever since. We are so glad, because we thought that she might have been going into another stage of dementia which sometimes stops a person from swallowing normally (which sometimes means to get the nutrition they need daily they have to go on a feeding tube). If your loved one has GERD (or Acid Reflux), and has a physician who does their colonoscopies, they can also do an endoscopy to see what might be going on in the throat and esophageal areas leading to the stomach. I wish you much love and success in the care of your loved one.
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After they did mom's scope, i think they called it a edg, they ended up doing a procedure called esophagus dilation.
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Saw the Dr. today. He ordered blood work to check for vit b12 and d deficiency, ordered gastrointestinal scope to check on the choking, gave her a quick memory test, which she missed a couple easy ones, and the paper he gave us stated possible early stage dementia. she is going with my sister to lake havasu for 10-12 days so I can get her mobile ready for someone to come live with her. She has an apt in July, to return, and the Dr was okay with that time period. Thanks everyone for pushing me to get this started. Maybe her tests will come back with good results. And she has other problems that just need attention and she is just getting a little older on her memory. Will update as soon as the test results come in. Thanks to every again! God Bless!
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Dear Jrokay - I didn't mean to imply that you were, in any way, at fault. I apologize if that's how it came across. If anything, I was confessing that I feel I may have taken too long at the mental adaptation process of becoming my mother's decision maker. I do hope you get some good, definitive information tomorrow. Then you'll know how to proceed.
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SamanthaW- As far as I know she hasn't had a stroke. Her swallowing problem has been accelerating over the past couple of years, with an occasional cough, to more choking, foods or liquids. I haven't been on "top" of everything, and its my fault of course. It just seemed like if it wasn't her knee replacement, 2 auto accidents, bed bugs, her finances, etc, it was my back and not working for over a year, my fiancée with her knee and shoulder, and the list continues. No excuses, I accept my shortcoming and my fault. Monday, May 18th, I will be at the Dr.'s appt. with her, to start and get the prognosis. I appreciate everyone's feedback, and in doing so, everyone kicked me in the rear to help me get her the help she needs! Thank you, and I will update Monday, May 18th.
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Dear jrokay - Yr bio indicates that your mom has dementia? and from the sound of it; a stroke. Therefore, she is not thinking clearly and should not be the one making the medical decisions. I'm not sure when you started this journey with her, but I remember when I started mine that I had to get past my initial reflex reaction of asking my mother what she wanted to do. That's what we were programmed to do. I had to remind myself that her response was not reliable. You will need to take the reins and call her doctor when you see something strange. Meanwhile - you didn't indicate if her swallowing difficulty was with liquids or solids - or both. Depending on her level of difficulty; soups are really good and baby foods (ie) smashed up pears, bananas, etc. Keep some water nearby at all times for hydration and as a smooshing agent. Good luck. My thoughts are with you.
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My mom has that problem too. The do a soft diet and add "thicken" to her food and drink.
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it sounds like a stroke...even a minor one will cause that. the hospital will do an mri to see if there is a brain bleed. the longer you wait, the less she will recover.
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Thank You, Everyone, for all your feedback! I have scheduled a Dr.'s apt for Monday, May 18th. I will update asap. This was the earliest I could get and she refused to go to a hospital. This is with her primary care physician. Thanks again!
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My mom had the same problem after a stroke. Please get her to a doctor.
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I could ask questions like 'did this come on slowly' or 'was this sudden'? But I agree with Pam - take mom to the doctor and let him/her ask those questions and more for a full eval.
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You need to get her cat scanned (or some such).IWhen my mother was admitted to a hospital for high blood prssure they did this and found a weakness in her throat. A speech therapist worked with her to learn how to put her chin down when she swallows.
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Definitely see the doctor, explain what is going on. She may have undiagnosed medical conditions that can be treated. A speech therapist can do an evaluation of her swallowing abilities and suggest some therapy techniques that may help with the issue. You can also speak with a dietitian who can give you tips on food items and thickeners. I find you can cook a regular meal and puree it so the person can eat, meats can be mixed with gravy-it something is to thin, you can use a thickener such as thick-it. You can use a crock pot as well as it makes meats and vegetable so tender. You don't say how old your mom is or what her medical condition is, if she is unable to eat, then her doctor may discuss a feeding tube for her. This decision is not to be made lightly, you have to weigh the pros and cons of a feeding tube. Will the feeding tube improve her quality of life overall? Make sure you discuss pros/cons with her doctor no matter what he suggests. It all comes down to quality of life & what care the person would want. Good luck.
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jrokay, does your mother choke only when she is trying to swallow food or liquids, or does she start choking at random times? There are many possible answers to what her problem is, so as others have said, it is important to take her to a doctor, preferably one specializing in geriatric issues.

There is one cause of choking that everyone should be aware of and which I learned about when I mentioned my problem to an acquaintance following a choking & coughing fit. I was experiencing bits of food & liquids going down the "wrong pipe" with increasing frequency and thought I would have to get medical attention. We've all had that experience, mostly when we try to talk or do other things while eating, but this was happening even when I was sitting quietly and not talking or eating or drinking anything. My epiglottis was not functioning properly and I would even choke on my own saliva. (I was not salivating excessively.)

My friend said simply "Chocolate or mint." She had the same problem and was told by her doctor that the cause was chocolate and/or mint. I said, "Well, for me it would probably be a different food allergy." "Nope. Chocolate or mint." I said, "Well, the mint goes first!" LOL. Turned out to be the cause in my case.

Then I found out how many products contain mint. The most problematic have been the creams and lotions that I use for muscle and joint pains. They all have some form of mint in them: spearmint, peppermint, wintergreen, lemon balm, etc. I didn't have an issue with mouth care, as I brush my teeth with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, and I make sure that any herb tea I drink doesn't include mint as an ingredient.

If you or anyone you know has a problem with the epiglottis not functioning properly, as opposed to difficulty swallowing, you ought to look into the chocolate and mint connection. (I would have been better off if I had been forced to give up chocolate, LOL!)
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Yes you need to get her help immediately, my dad has this problem due to throat cancer and radiation damage, he had multiple bouts of aspirational pneumonia, this is deadly!
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I used to be a home health nurse for years and the doctors always suggested "thick it". It is something you mix with liquids to make them thicker and it really works well.
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This is a stage of Dementia unless she's has had damage to her esophagus especially waking and not remembering asperation and dysphasia are very much the same with dementia thickener sold in the drug store added to all her drinks and soups makes it a little easier doesn't make it taste different
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Swallowing problems (dyphasia) is very common among elders and I have it myself. there can be multiple causes so it is important to get a proper diagnosis to rule out problems that can be adressed and include endoscopic evaluation, a barium swallow and food chalenge,a visit to a neurologist and possibly an ENT.
Having ruled out all treatable problems the key is using a very soft diet .Foods can be purried and liquids thickened. it is a lot of trial and error and great care chewing properly and swallowing small mouthfulls. Liquids can be thickened but so far i find things go down fine if they are warm and i use a straw with liquids like soda at room temperature. Aspitation will cause coughing and can lead to pneumonia which will shorten the life of many. Nutritional drinks can be added and at the worst a gastric tube can be added for an other wise healthy person. A speach therapist will teach exercises and exercises to strengthen the neck muscles. Be sure to learn the Heimlich manouver in case your loved one does choke and call 911. This condition can be managed with care but it is not easy to make the changes when dealing with someone who has dementia. pills may be difficult to swallow and feel as though they are stuck in the throat which they may be. In this case they can usually be coughed back up. To prevent this many pills can be crushed and mixed with something like apple sauce. be sure to ask the pharmacist if the medication is safe to crush . Some meds are designed to be long acting so must be swallowed whole. if crushed those will not las tthe amount of time they are designed for. This is especially important with long acting narcotics. Always have a drink available when the patient is eating so they can wash things down. if having to feel your loved one use a small spoon, like the smoothe thick plastic onse like you would use for an infant.
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She needs to see an MD for a referral to a Speech
Therapist who will evaluate her swallowing and DX where the problem may stem from. (The MD too will probably due a scan to look for a stroke) Additionally to providing direct treatment, the speech therapist will guide you what to feed your mom, if you need to thicken the water, puree the food, etc You do not want her aspirating and sucking the food down her lungs, which opens up a great number of dangerous consequences,. Speech therapy is available through a skilled home health medicare agency and is considered a skilled service under Medicare A with no cost to you. If you go to Out patient, it will be covered under Medicare B and you pay 20% with a set limit on what treatment will be paid for.
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My dad had the same problem and ended up with aspiration pneumonia. The speech therapist worked with him for several weeks, and while he is much improved, he still has to be sure his food is well cut up and he uses a powder thickener in all his liquids. While he doesn't like the texture of the liquids very much, the problem has not returned (this is six months later). I agree with Pam. Getting her seen by a doctor is extremely important. Had we realized sooner how serious this was, he may not have spent three months in the hospital and rehab. Good luck with this.
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Very first thing would have been to get to either a doctor the ER. As for swallowing, my dad had a minor stroke. He's almost 95. I noticed in the hospital that he coughed horribly. They changed his diet to chopped food, but let him drink regular soda, juice, etc. Now at rehab, the speech pathologist has him on a chopped diet and they put a thickening agent in his liquid. The problem is that the unthickened liquid would be aspirated, leading to more problems. Hopefully with the daily monitoring of the speech pathologist and perhaps a barium swallow test at a hospital, he can go back to regular liquid again. Please, take your mother to be evaluated by a physician immediately!
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MIL had the same problem and did choke - ended up with aspiration pneumonia -- speech therapist did swallowing test - they xray as she's swallowing. There was nothing antomically wrong. It was a symptom of Lewy body dementia.
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And the cause of the dysphasia is..?

Pam was right first off and I sincerely hope you have already taken her advice. Any news?
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This is dysphasia. Give only soft or pureed foods, nothing with multiple textures. Use the crock pot for all foods; veggies and even meats can be softened easily after 4-6 hrs in the crock pot for great meals! Make scramble led eggs in microwave and soften things in microwave. I lived with this with my dad, and had to accommodate.
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My mom has this issue with the swallowing. She been to several specialists and nothing is physically wrong. They say it is neurogenic. Been a problem for 4-5 years. Makes eating difficult. She can get disoriented when she first wakes up but then is fine once awake and getting ready.
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I would be more concerned with the swallowing then not knowing where she is. As Pam suggested, make an appointment for mom asap. This issue definitely needs a professional's attention. Good luck.
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agree with pam. Sounds like something neurological and needs immediate attention. all the best!
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You get her to the MD ASAP and have her diagnosed, there is clearly something serious going on. Today. No delays.
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