My mother has come to a plateau, has anyone else experienced this?

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It seems my 81 yr old mother has come to a plateau. It really seemed as if we were beginning to lose as she was getting lost and getting very wobbly on her feet. She had an emergency room visit after a fall and they managed to do all kinds of tests on her (she resists going to the doctor on a regular basis). Turned out she had a urinary tract infection. Prior to this she had been formally diagnosed with mild Alzheimer's. Since clearing her infection, and getting her moved into the apartment right next door to mine she seems to be doing amazingly well. She did live in my apt for about a month, with my two kids and myself and that was a bit nutty. Now, on her own, she is doing so well I am really quite surprised. Would love to hear more stories like this. In general, I do think the UTI had a strong impact on her mental/emotional state, and her equilibrium. I would also add, that since living with me/closer to me her diet has improved immensely. It's amazing though. She by no means can do everything, but it is a marked "improvement". Thanks for reading!

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In general, dementia gets worse over time. It does not improve. BUT dementia isn't the only condition that a loved one can have. If there is something else making the symptoms worse and adding its own symptoms, then when that something else is treated and goes away, the loved one is going to appear much better. The dementia is still there, but the part of the symptoms that were caused by the "something else" are gone.

In your case, LauraAnne, the main "something else" was a UTI. That is notorious for making everything worse. Clear it up, and lots of things are significantly better! Another "something else" that you appear to have handled is poor nutrition. If that was contributing to your mother's weakness then she is going to be stronger now. And removing her from a chaotic "nutty" environment can help reduce confusion.

Dementia cannot be cured at this time. But there are many way that symptoms can be treated. In some kinds of dementia some drugs are very effective for specific symptoms. But drugs aren't the only possible treatments. Treating UTIs and other illnesses promptly, providing good nutrition at regular times, providing a soothing environment, providing social contact, encouraging exercise, providing mental stimulation at a suitable level -- all these things and more can have an impact on the quality of life of the dementia sufferer.

There is no cure. Many doctors throw up their hands and say, in effect, good bye and good luck. But it isn't hopeless. There are things that can be done to improve quality of life. Dementia is going to win in the end, but we don't have to surrender while there are still things we can do.

LauraAnne, rejoice in your mother's improvements. Enjoy them while they last. And feel proud and grateful for your role in the quality of her life.
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We just had an experience with my mom having an unidentified UTI. She started wandering at night and seeing people and hearing noises that were not really there. She became progressively weaker--not eating well, and just not generally feeling well. She ended up going to the hospital, where she was treated for a UTI. She is now back home, has gained 3 pounds, has started sleeping quietly through the night, and just feels better overall. So I think there really is something to a UTI being very debilitating for an elderly person.
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My mother's PT brought to our attention how UTIs affect cognitive and behavioral abilities. She's so hyper vigilante on this theory that she was convinced my mom's tiredness and mental fog were attributed to one. Turned out not to be the case (just Parkinson's progression) but I can see how mom's PT looks for this first b/c in many cases -- a UTI is what it is and once the antibiotics kick in the patient improves!
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I'm so glad to hear that your Mother's health seems to have stabilized. UTIs really do affect the elderly both physically (dizziness; weakness) and cognitively (much more confusion).

I don't know if people truly "plateau" with Alzheimer's (someone else will have to respond to that question), but I think some of the Alzheimer's drug (Aricept, Namenda) are supposed to slow the progression of the disease so there is the perception of a plateau. I have learned to be thankful for "uneventful days" when my mother is thinking more clearly, eating better, happier, etc. It sounds as if your Mother is enjoying some "uneventful days" in her apartment near you. What a blessing!
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