My mother has dementia and has developed a raspy cough and has trouble swallowing? - AgingCare.com

My mother has dementia and has developed a raspy cough and has trouble swallowing?

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She has a runny nose and doesn't like to eat the same foods she always has. She developed dementia five years ago. She is 77.


Her teeth keep falling out and now she has dentures.


She doesn't like to talk and only answers questions with one word answers. Recently she has started gasping for air after she speaks.


Today she seemed unsteady on her feet and kept staring at me with a blank look.


I guess my question is, how much longer does this disease go on. It has robbed her of so much. I've been watching her decline for five years and now have finally reached a point where I can't watch this alone anymore. Please send me your advice and connect with me if you would like to discuss a similar situation that you may be facing in your life.

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Grandaugher74, this, sadly, is normal. For someone in a late stage of dementia, UTIs are often part of the decline and yes, hallucinations may come with the territory. If he's not on hospice care, I'd call you local hospice right away. Stage 6 means that death will occur soon. It seems to me that keeping him comfortable should be the priority. With the help of the doctor, hospice will find a way help him.

We'd love to hear from you again when you feel up to it.
Carol
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unsteadyness n blank look sounds like a mini stroke.please take her to the dr.immediately.it happened to my mum,she also had dementia.we didnt know it was. a stroke until she had a major one 4 days later.
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Here is an article I found on Aging Care regarding the different stages of Alzheimer's which is probably similar to that of dementia. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/Stages-of-Alzheimers-disease-118964.htm

As for the raspy cough and has trouble swallowing, you will need to discuss this with your Mom's primary doctor. Maybe it is something like acid reflux which can be controlled, or maybe it is something else.
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Yes, time to see the doctor. Have blood work done, check for a UTI, maybe she needs some meds. But, swallowing problems is quite common. Because this disease progresses differently in different people it necessitates seeing the doc to see if there may be a treatment that will help. Doc may order a swallow study. If it is part of her dementia because of damage in her brain. Are you her 24/7 caregiver? When caring for our loved ones becomes difficult for us it is time to find appropriate level of care somewhere else.
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And hang in there. We know how hard this is. It is a long, long good-bye. You must be exhausted. Get your mom to the doctor, as suggested, and then maybe get yourself to a therapist??? I did, and it really made all the difference in the world.

It sounds like you are caring for your mom at home. If so, stand up and take a bow. If you have been doing this for five years, you should be proud of yourself. You have done something noble. You have stamina and courage. So, be proud, and now, take care of yourself a bit, too!

Tell us more. Do you have any help? What do you do to relax?
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My father in law recently passed from complications of dementia (Alzheimer's). He began having these same symptoms that you are talking about. UTIs, difficulty swallowing, aspirating his food and drink. He had to be fed, and started eating less and less. He got aspiration pneumonia. He saw and talked to his dead grandmother. He stared into space. He got weaker and weaker. He slept more and more--almost constantly. From what I was told, they go into a sort of 'sleep coma'. When this happens, death is very near. All of this happened within about a 1-month period.
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I am seeing a lot of great answers! They all have merit. UTI's do cause confusion and I've been told it is very prevalent among the elderly. When your loved one also has confusion, it makes even harder to diagnose. If you don't have problems getting her to a doctor I think it would be the best thing to do first thing. GERD/acid reflux is also a very good possibility with the raspy voice and possibly not wanting to eat. My mother developed a cough and when it seemed to return after a course of strong antibiotics it turned out to be aspirated pneumonia. The hospital did a swallow test and liquids and such were not going into her stomach but into her lungs, so she was put on a soft diet. Low oxygen is also another likely factor. When my mom said she just wasn't feeling good, or just wasn't acting right, sometimes it would be due to her oxygen level a bit low. The unsteadiness and blank stare can be a lot of things. The more information that you can give your doctor the better chance for a proper diagnosis. I remember a phrase that somebody told me. When you see a case of dementia, you've seen a case of dementia. No case is ever the same and the routes can be similar, yet even those can differ in each person. I did finally have hospice come into our home. They were able to give medical attention to her when needed, but the main focus was her comfort. I did not want to go that route when it was first mentioned to me in the hospital, as I felt like I was giving up on my mom. I was able to talk to others who had gone with hospice and received positive feedback. I would also have to give positive feedback. Not knowing the extent of things, I would probably try getting to the doctor, who can also give you some advice, and also put in a request for hospice if he/she felt a route to go. I took care of my mom for 6 years and it did get to be exhausting. Sometimes I would hate myself for not liking my mom...always loving her...but then realized it wasn't her that I didn't like, but the disease. I lost my mom about 2 years ago and I don't regret any of the time given to her. Actually, she left us quite quickly and thankfully peacefully. It sounds like you are being an awesome daughter. It is a very exhausting road, but in the end I hope you will find it to have been a rewarding one.
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Have not seen a reply from OP. Hope all is well and that you are getting help.
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I'm so sorry for what you, and your mother, are going through. Both of my parents have dementia. I totally understand your question about how much longer this can go on.. With each stage I've wondered how my parents could continue and get worse. Unfortunately, there is no real answer. Every dementia patient is different and though they all have similar symptoms, no two are exactly the same. My father also has a cough, especially after eating, and he also has problems with swallowing. I've been told this is yet another stage of the dementia. He eats, but doesn't seem that engaged with his food, but does LOVE popcorn, cookies and nuts.. We've been told the last taste bud to go is sweet/salty, which is why he loves these foods so much. He has vascular dementia, and he too, has had the blank looking stare from time to time, when we suspect, he's had another TIA. He will be more confused and unable to verbalize than normal for a couple of weeks, then tends to spring back a little. This has been going on for a number of years, but the last year has been the worse. He's never been a big talker, but is now down to just a few words, only being able to use one word answers most of the time. If you haven't done so, getting Hospice involved may just be a Godsend. We were able to get both of our parents hospice approved, which meant they sent a RN to their home once a week to check on them, take vitals, check for problems, etc... They sent an aid 3 times a week to help with cleaning the house, personal hygeine or just to visit, a Pastor once a week just to chit chat and a music therapist every other week, which both my parents really enjoyed. We tried very hard to keep them in their home, but even with hired help during the week and my sisters and I all taking turns on weekends, it wasn't enough (we all live long distances from them). The time came when we knew they needed 24 hour help, so we have now moved them to a lovely facility with a very long waiting list, but because they are both hospice aproved, they were placed within a month. Hospice is not just for the dying any more. They do much more than that.. They are also there to help improve the quality of life.. It may be helpful for you to contact Hospice and see if there are any services they can provide for your mom... Best of luck.. This is the cruelest of diseases, robbing people of their personalities, memories, dignity and pride.. I'm so sorry for everyone on this site for having to go through this.. It is heartbreaking.
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My support group would say time to call hospice. They will help both of you according to friends who have used them. Ck w yor doc.
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