Mom's dementia has progressed and she's having more and more difficulty swallowing. Any ideas?

Follow
Share

I take care of my mom at my parents home. Her dementia has progressed and she's having more and more difficulty swallowing. We have given her creamed soups, ensure, ice cream, etc for a good while now, but getting harder and harder for her to swallow. I had her evaluated by speech language therapist and says does not need thickened liquids as this would cause choking. I am a nurse and worked at many nursing facilities and we usually had to crush meds and put in applesauce with sugar to get patients to swallow but my mom spits these out and continues to swallow pills with difficulty, only giving what is necessary now. Takes soups, but not really interested, she was never a good eater, I think really has no appetite, weighs 80 lbs but we keep doing the best we can. Most problem I have is sleeping at night, wakes in 2 hour intervals, and trying everything to get back to sleep even sleeping on outside with mom in middle and my dad on one side and me on the other in just a full size bed. I think Trazodone has pooped out, remeron has actually worked well with plain Tylenol. I ask GP and geriactric psych, just can't seem to find right combination? Wondering any other suggestions? I know meds almost all come in liquid form, maybe I should try that, just don't know? Thanks again for any ideas

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
6

Answers

Show:
Nothing is unusual when someone begins their final journey on this earth.
Have the Dr review all the medications and eliminate those no longer needed, for example cholesterol meds.
Request a Hospice evaluation. I don't know what her other health issues may be but she should qualify as failure to thrive.
Are you ready to accept that Mom may pass soon? if you can let her eat or not as she chooses. I am not sure it is true she is more likely to choke on thickened liquids if she tolerates soups. The trick is to give very very small mouthfuls and if she can suck on a straw this may help. Make sure she is very upright when she eats or drinks and keep her sitting upright for half an hour after meals, When she swallows have her tuck her chin. As a nurse you already know to keep her mouth very clean. Many pills are given rectally to Hospice patients.
A lot of medications can be made into suppository form. You may have to find a compounding pharmacist to make them for you. i know Tylenol and Compazine are commercially available as suppositories.

The reason someone can't receive hospice care in a facility is because there has to be a contract between Hospice and the facility and many places are reluctant to let hospice come in. The usual problem is because acute care facilities like to do what they do best which is to preserve life at all costs. Lots of Drs and many nurses feel hospice is giving up. They are also very bad about giving a very short prognosis. An experienced hospice nurse can immediately how the patient is doing. It is just a matter of skill and experience and kinder to all concerned. If Mom is not quite ready for hospice she can be enrolled in Palliative care and transfer to hospice.

Have you tried having Mom sleep in a recliner. Blessings
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thanks so much, you guys are all great! Yes we did use the ideas given of whipping cream, butter, etc and helps, still losing wt.

To our GP today and Dr is getting in touch with hospice as I need more advice. When I worked I found hospice to be very knowledgeable, actually more than docs in knowing meds to help, diet, exercise, etc. I used hospice ideas when my husband was passing from acute leukemia as said he could not receive hospice at the large university hospital he was at, still don't understand that, another story all together.

My Dad loves my Mom very much and is dealing with all this as best as he can, married close to 67 years. I am also small and do start out in my old bedroom for several hours, so not a big deal.

New problem, passed out for at least 10 minutes this am and did same about a week ago just not as long as this time, so Dr changed her meds. Seems more of fainting after sleeping, I believe too many bedtime meds and I'm sure getting weaker every day with condition decline. I hope Hospice has an idea for this.

I've not seen many things as with my Mom even though I worked over 20 years and have seen most everything.

Has anyone else had these type of spells with loved ones?
Thanks to all
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You could try adding melatonin. How is your dad handling these sleepless nights? It might be time to consider different sleeping arrangements.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mom and I barely can sleep in a full size bed together let alone three across - if you have to be nearby, can you get a futon ?

Mom's facility uses yogurt, pudding, chocolate syrup, ice cream and early on with her they put her meds in her morning coffee which I really didn't like

I've used her protein shake and she still makes a face - crushed Tylenol is bitter as are antibiotics
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

About a week ago you got several suggestions for increasing her food intake. Are any of those helping?

Several people suggested an hospice evaluation. Are you considering that?

Now you are asking specifically about helping her take her pills, is that right? This is what my husband preferred: dissolve the pills in a small amount of grape soda pop, swallow them, drink some more plain grape pop, to take the taste away. Grape is the flavor that seemed to mask the pill taste best for him. A pharmacist can tell you which pills are OK to dissolve, and also which come as liquid.

What does Mom do when she wakes up every two hours? Does she think she has to pee? Is she thirsty? Does she get up and walk around? Continue to ask her doctors for help for her to sleep all night.

I know your mom is very small, but sleeping three adults in a full bed does not seem like a good idea to me. If Mom wakes up, can Dad deal with the situation? Can you sleep in your own bed unless he comes to get you or calls out?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

helping-hang on there will be some good advice come your way, there are a lot of wise people here that know this situation.
Will be praying for you and your family. Hang in there, you are such a loving daughter.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.