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My mother in law is 91, but as of 4 months ago, you wouldn't believe it. My once spry and steady MIL (who walked to the mailbox down the lane every day with her "all terrain walker" is now suddenly frail and weak, disheveled and forgetful. She fell and broke her leg back in September, and loved the attention of the nursing staff. After a month in rehab she came back home. All of a sudden she was helpless and wanted me to wait on her hand and foot...but I slowly was able to get her to be more independent. Everything was going fine until about 3 weeks ago. She has changed in appearance, I need to hand her pills to her and watch her closely. She says the iron pills are making her confused. It's like she's given up. She is not the same. She goes to the doctor for regular check ups, but should I take her somewhere else for this new development? Would they even care? They'd probably just say "she's 91, she's supposed to act this way" (yes I've heard that before, seriously) is there anything anyone can do? She has lived with us for about 7 years now, and if it weren't so suddenly that her behavior has changed, I wouldn't be so concerned. She cries alone sometimes, and stares off into space. I feel bad that I don't sit with her all the time, but I just can't do that.
I work at home luckily, oh and my own mom lives with us also. Plus I have a 16 year old son, so I can't devote all my time with my MIL. But I'm always close by in the next room where I can see her. Maybe it's something simple like getting her to a daycare, but after the fall she had, she doesn't get around as well as she did. Her leg healed but it still hurts.
Well this topic got a little rambling...I'm sorry. I guess I just wonder what you all would do, or tell me what I should do.
Maybe the doctors are right, after all she is old, and maybe it just now caught up to her...after the fall.

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Chloe, the babbling and the falls risk - I think you could justify calling an ambulance and saying you think she might have had a stroke. Between you and me I'm not at all sure, but it could be and you've got good enough grounds to give that as the reason. If you're not keen, call a doctor out to see her. This is acute, she needs to be examined. Best of luck x
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I haven't been on for awhile since things with my Mother have been going smoother than usual. BUT, I started noticing strange things happening yesterday, just gradually and then today it's like her dementia exploded! I thought first well, there is a full moon coming up on the 30th, and usually she is usually really affected by it...........It is now 2 am in the morning and I have put her to bed 15 times plus since 8 pm. I have dug her out from between the bathtub and commode. I have found her wandering in other rooms. She is talking "off the wall". She is trying to find my husband's panties (he works away during the week and lives away from home). When I found her between the tub and commode she was looking for a box of cakes to pack his lunch and the last time I put her to bed, she is after the girl that was there and when I tucked her in she was upset that she never fixed that boy anything to eat.
This is my 2nd day without sleep and my eyes hurt and burn as I type from no sleep at all. Here she comes again. I told her I would take her to the doctor if she didn't go to bed and go to sleep and it looks as if that is what I will have to do. I hate to drag her out in the wee hours of the morning in the dark, but I cannot handle her by myself and she is wandering all over the place. If I don't get her confined, she might end up with a broken hip or a fall (which she already had 2 surgeries for brain bleeds from 2 falls before)........Does anyone have a clue what might be going on, UTI or stroke symptoms or anything else? I have to go chase her down again so if anyone has any ideas of what might be going on, any advice will be appreciated. I can see a trip to the ER when I figure out how to get her there. Thanks for any info you can spare!
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Brokenshoe, thank you so much for taking the time to update us. Hugs to you.
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Brokenshoe, good for you for fighting her corner, well done. Hope for the best, don't look too far ahead right now. Big hug.
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UPDATE: ok, after noticing more confusion, one morning my MIL didn't get out of bed. I went to check on her after a half hour, and she said she was sick to her stomach. That was 8 am. I tried giving her frozen cups of fruit, ginger ale, etc. Nothing stayed down. Long story short, by 3 in the afternoon I called 911. I felt silly...after all, it may just be something she ate.
The EMTs came. One of them made me feel really stupid, said I should have called the doctor instead of calling them. I almost backed down.
But I kept thinking about everything...confusion, vomiting, slight pain in lower abdomen, anemic, etc. Nope. Take her to the hospital.
Turned out she has a bowel obstuction. They put a tube! Through her nose to her intestines, and drained out more bile than I could ever imagine.
She can't eat or drink anything for 2 days. Tomorrow is the last day. The doctors say she won't survive surgery , and my husband won't consent to it. If the tube doesn't work by tomorrow...well, I guess she dies anyway. Holy crap I'm beside myself... I just keep praying the tube straightens out the intestinal kink by tomorrow.
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Oh yessssss! If caught early meds can slow down the progression to almost a stop. There isn't a way to make it better but you can keep it from getting worse quickly. My FIL tried to hide symptoms and went un treated for years with symptoms being hidden by my MIL. By the time it was finally caught he was at stage 5-6 out of 7. He overdosed on his meds and had to go to a nursing home as we just couldn't provide the care he needed. My MIL had a stroke last year and it was found she was in stage 2-3 dementia. She has meds now and there hasn't been any noticeable progression. Just like any other illness early treatment is always a good thing
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Thank you all again. I was able to have a good discussion with her yesterday, asked her if I could take her to a Geriatric. It's not that her doctor isn't good, I just don't think he is looking out for her aging concerns. She's never been like this before...at least until lately. Also keep asking her about urine color and output..and taking sunflo's advice, want to get that checked out as well. From Bermudas answer, I found drugs.com and you can type in any interactions with other drugs she takes. She's only on 4, plus iron and bone density nasal spray. I give them to her. I had her current doctor reevaluate all ALL ALL the many drugs the hospital shoved at her, and stopped that nonsense.
I also read from another discussion board that PAROXETINE could cause confusion, but she's been on that for a few years.
She's basically in good health for an "old broad" hah and she has a great humor and tries to stay as active as she can. I'd just like to keep it that way. She may be a total pain I'm my butt sometimes, but she's also one of my best friends. Well, most of the time.
Oh, and to konacaregiver..you make me wonder if she is still taking her daily vitamins. When she gave me her pills to administer to her, I recall seeing those in her closet.
Again. Thanks to all of you. I love this website.
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I'd say do a review of her medications - has anything new been added recently or is it possible that she's not taking them as she should?
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Just for the record, here are statistics from the Center for Disease Control
Number of deaths for leading causes of death:
Heart disease: 597,689
Cancer: 574,743
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
Alzheimer's disease: 83,494
Diabetes: 69,071
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364
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Thank you all so much. I am going to check all of this out- as soon as our blizzard stops. Thank you.
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I agree with others, a sudden change in behavior is definitely a reason to see the doctor. My mother suddenly became lethargic over a few short months and when we finally took her to the ER, the doctors tested her for a urinary tract infection and found that she did have an infection and that it was beginning to develop into sepsis. She was in ICU for 2 days too. So yes, get her in to the doctor and demand that he run a urine exam to check for a UTI OR get her into the ER ASAP!!!

One more thing that most people on this list will not address are the drugs that doctors prescribe for the elderly. FYI, prescribed drugs when taken as correctly prescribed by a doctor are the FOURTH leading cause of death in the U.S. That being said, all drugs when taken long-term ARE TOXIC if not DEADLY for an elderly person especially when the doctor prescribes more than one drug. Check her drugs because they are likely the cause for her behavior changes. She would be safer and behave more normally if you could get her on vitamin supplements. Most elderly people become deficient in vitamins and minerals and when those vitamins (like Vit A and Vit B) and minerals (like magnesium, etc) are provided in their food or given to them as a supplement, they actually do better than the drugs. We took our mom off of all of her prescriptions including her beta blocker for her high blood pressure and she is doing a lot better just being on supplements and eating a healthy diet. Of course we have to puree her food since she has no teeth to chew anymore.

All the best. Aloha
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Yes, always report abrupt changes in behaviour or overall condition - all sorts of easily treatable things want ruling out.
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Call the MD and advise him of the sudden change. He may want to do a CT scan of her head and check for stroke activity.
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If this is sudden, by all means, take her to the dr for a checkup and have them do a urine check for UTI (this can make their behavior change suddenly) and often comes on and gets worse without the elderly recognizing symptoms.

Depending on what dr says, he may be able to help. It not UTI, there may be something he can prescribe to lift her mood. Not sure she will return and this could be progression of the disease or just a phase. My mom has dementia and will be 91 next week.

She doesn't live with us and manages independently for now. But she has had these spells where she is really out of it, paranoid, dreamy, stares off into space for hours, sleeps for hours and has no interest in anything but just sitting and staring into space or talking to herself. At first I found alarming, but she does come around after we engage her in an activity and/or keep her actively engaged by bringing in lunch, going for a drive, etc. to get her out and about.

The fall, slow healing, etc. certainly may be contributing to her decline -- most elders don't bounce back as quickly or fully following a big health issue such as fall, injury, hospitalization - so slowly, each incident robs another small piece of their brain/mental health it seems.

See a dr, enlist his help. Consider writing him a letter documenting your observations of her behavior to him in advance of your doctor visit -- or take it with you and hand it too receptionist asking her to add to mom's record so doc can take a glance before he examines mom as a heads up. Thats what I've done, and it made the exam more inclusive and thorough. I also requested extra time when I made the appt for a mental health work up vs just physical.
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