Mother's mental state? -

Mother's mental state?


My mother came down with severe Bronchitis, and then it became pneumonia. She was admitted to the hospital on a Friday. On the following Wednesday she went into a nursing home for Rehab because she wasn't better. She will be in rehab for three weeks. She has been in the home now for one week. I go visit her every night. I've observed that it does appear that she is getting "a little better physically", HOWEVER, mentally she is much much worse. My mother does have Dementia. She is 92 years old. Mentally she just seems more and more out of it now. Her short term memory is totally shot. Her skin tone has a grayness to it. Her eyes have this blank, no one there look to them. Three nights ago she told me that she had been in that home for a month....she has only been there a week. I just don't understand why her mental state has deteriorated so much since she has been in this home for rehabilitation. She put her spoon in her soup upside down the other night, and she seemed utterly confused as to how to make it right. What do you all think of this?



This happened with my mom too. During rehab I was terrified at her mental decline. She said things like she was in a hotel - said she woke up and started making cookies for everyone (no, never did) - would ask to go upstairs to her bedroom (like our old house 20 years ago) - forgot friend's names who visited. Didn't know time and place. She too had that blank look in her eye. Her appearance was alarming. When rehab released her, I thought NO WAY would she be able to live at home independently with dad again. However, she recovered after a couple weeks. Now she is back to where she was before the whole hospital/rehab began.
I've come the the conclusion that hospital and rehab is extremely draining for those with dementia. However, they can recover once back at "home". I hope this happens to your loved one too. If all blood tests come out OK, then please just help her get comfortable again once released.
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Reply to GingerMay

Willen, I think the adjustment from home to hospital to rehab could be the main factor in your mother's change in mental status. When you think about it, it's traumatic, and more so for older people. They go from a familiar situation to an unfamiliar one in which they're poked, prodded, awakened for blood draws, and more.

The atmosphere is dry, tissues (especially nasal and mouth ones) dry up and the person becomes uncomfortable, often very, very uncomfortable.

Then there's another change at rehab, where everything is done for them - there's not much choice when to get up, when to get therapy. You live by a facility's schedule.

If there's some dementia involved, the change can be even more startling. I often wonder if people in that situation could articulate the confusion and would say that their lives have literally been taken over by strangers.

There are a few things you could try. Is there anyone, or can you, visit during the day, to help create a more personalized atmosphere? If so, can someone bring a CD or some type of portable device to play her favorite music? Even a portable radio could help. If she can relax, there's at least a possibility of lowered stress level.

Ask the staff for a calendar if one isn't posted in the room. Help orient her as to date, but also check the schedule and see when pet and music therapy are scheduled. Both are soothing, calming, and can help bring people "out of their shell".

Sometimes taking someone for a walk (or wheelchair roll) around the facility to see outdoors can help; viewing outside areas, especially lovely ones, in my experience helps people to relax, and reorient themselves.

I think the effort would be to try to stabilize her mental state as much as you can, help her relax and feel oriented, not overwhelmed by being in a strange surrounding, and become a little bit more comfortable to the point that it will help her recover and go home.

You might also want to begin researching either private duty or another place with higher level of care than she can get at home. Neither is an easy option to accept. I've found in my search for qualified private duty people that there are a lot of franchise operations with dubious management and staff. It was not an easy search or choice.

Assisted living or memory care would mean yet another move.

I don't want to frighten you, but perhaps your mother has reached that stage of tough decisions.
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Reply to GardenArtist

I think Pnemonia can cause confusion. And like said, change can do it too. Grayness bothers me. This means her heart may not be working or she needs oxygen. Ask the DON to check her oxygen level. If below 95 she needs oxygen.
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Reply to JoAnn29

UTI or any infections, dehydration, change in medication. Ask if they changed any of her meds. They don't always keep family informed.
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Reply to ItHappenedToMe

I'd ensure that any change in mental status is reported to her doctor. They can check to see if she has any new infections, like a UTI. Plus, I have read that some patients get worse after a hospital stay and it may take months to recover. Or, it could be that her dementia is just progressing. People progress at different rates. Do you know what is causing her dementia, like Alzheimers, Vascular, etc?
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Reply to Sunnygirl1

Lack of oxygen would cause confusion too.
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Reply to JoAnn29

I wonder if there has been a big change in her diet. Foods affect our body chemistry, which can affect the brain.
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Reply to Lilacalani

I do believe that my mother has Alzheimers, however she has never been diagnosed with it. She would refuse. I have been told by others that sometimes when an elderly person goes into a hospital/home that they can get worse. My concern here now is that I really don't think "in her current state of mind" that she could go home and take care of herself alone. I am an only child dealing with this, so I just don't know what to think.
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Reply to Willienme1950

My dad whose 93 and has dementia was hospitalized for pneumonia. After 3 days he was transferred to a rehab facility. For him ,it was too much change in a short period of time. It took another 2 weeks to get him out of there and back home to his assisted living facility. I literally had to really push to get him home. They started running all sorts of tests that had nothing to do with the “pneumonia “ that he was recuperating from. They phoned me to tell me that he was weepy and depressed and wanted me to sign off on a psychiatric evaluation. I refused. He was weepy because he wanted to go home and because of the dimentia , couldn’t verbalize what was wrong.
I’m happy to say that he out of there with visiting nurses and some follow up PT. It was quite an ordeal. He also lost 10 lbs because he wasn’t eating his normal meals in a dining hall with people that he knew.
Dimentia really wears you out. It’s tough. Hang in there. Thank God for support sites like this.
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Reply to Rumswizzle

My mother also experienced a steep mental decline in NH for rehab after a hospital stay. She was angry, paranoid, accused me of stealing her house and wanted me to call the police on her roommate who she said was running a drug ring and selling explosives. When she returned to AL she seemed to forget she ever had lived there for a while (it had been nearly two years). Some of her memory came back and she is no longer hostile, but she is not the same. At the AL staff told me they see this a lot. I doubt very much whether your mother can return home though a memory care facility might be possible. . I am also an only child so I know the stress you feel. I console myself with the thought that I don't have to argue with siblings about my choices.
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Reply to Rosyday

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