I had to change my phone number 2 weeks ago due to my mother's daily phone tantrums which were making me ill, and step back for a while to rest.

She's had Parkinsons for 15 years, dementia for 6 or 7 years, many strokes over time and she's now in a nursing home. This time last year she was "with it" sort of and I was able to take her out to the hairdresser and on short shopping trips. Since then she's deteriorated terribly, broke a hip and had another stroke such that she can no longer sit up or stand by herself.

When I dropped by today she was in her wheelchair with a wild sort of blank look and unable to speak. I also noticed that her legs were shaking uncontrollably - with meds she's never had the shakes before.

The NH staff and doctors are wonderful and she receives the best care but I'm wondering if we're coming to an end and, frankly, I hope it is so as she has no quality of life whatsoever. In her 88 years she's had more, been places and done things than most people so she's had a good kick at the can. In some ways we're kinder to animals than we are to people. When they're suffering and there's no hope we let them slip away in peace.

I'm by no means psychic but over my lifetime I've had experiences, premonitions and seen things that were not of the here and now. A couple of nights ago, around 3 a.m., I heard her voice - not the slurred gravel voice she sometimes has now, but her good voice - saying loudly over and over "I can't breathe".

Her little dog, who now lives with me and sleeps in my bed, was standing over me. In the gloom and my foggy sleep state she looked like a gremlin and I was pushing her away. Maybe I'd been calling out in my sleep. Heart racing, stomach thumping it took a while to go back to sleep.

From my previous experiences I consider it to be a sign that the time is coming for her to pass over the Rainbow Bridge. Yes, the Rainbow Bridge. As total animal lovers that's where we go. There's an old saying "If there are no animals in heaven I'm not going there, I'm going where they are".

We've never been close so I'm not upset about her eventual passing but I feel she will pass in the not too distant future. What do you think?

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Thanks for the input. Although my mother and I have never been in any way close, I'm a caring sort and visits are extremely distressing. Apart from my mother's condition, the majority of the residents are in awful shape, calling out, wandering and a few follow me around ranting. There are 60 residents but whenever I've visited there is never more than a car or two in the visitor parking and I can understand why.

My mother is still obsessing about buying a house and getting live in staff "when I can walk", which she never will. Although hardly able to speak yesterday she managed to get out "Now I want to talk to you about getting a housekeeper". I just said when you can walk and go to the bathroom by yourself we'll talk about it, you just need to rest and get better. That seemed to satisfy her for now.

She has a big thing for apple juice drinking boxes and goes through a lot. I noticed yesterday she's almost out of them and, though I don't want to visit for a while, I'll pick up a load and take them to her as staying hydrated is important. If I don't feel I'm up to a visit I may well drop them at the front desk saying I won't go to her room as I have a cold.
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I'm not sure I could really handle any more insight than I usually have, lol.

Dementia progresses. Parkinson's progresses. Both of them end in death. You are seeing progression of one or more of her illnesses. I don't suppose it matters greatly which has progressed faster. The best that can be done is the treat the symptoms to keep her comfortable.

Have you asked her doctor about hospice care? They can often make that trip across the rainbow bridge a little more comfortable.

Did taking a little time off help you? I hope the rest of this journey is less stressful for you.
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Yes pst animals do indeed know. Wen I come home after visiting, her little dog sniffs me. I've taken it to visit her but after a minute or two it just wants to go explore and the heck with her. The doc regulates meds, I am not allowed to even provide an over the counter laxative. That is the way it is here, which is ok as I am not a doctor..

Strange thing. The minute I go to bed my mother's little dog is in, under the covers for the night. Tonight, nope and it's bitterly cold. I slept for a couple of hours, unhinged over developments, then she came. Somehow she knows. If only we could have the insight they do..
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Animals know. Ask the nurses what changes they have seen and when and if they have contacted the MD or if the MD changed medications.
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