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My Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 3 years ago, I know she had symptoms for several years before she was diagnosed. Mom lives with me now and I have noticed that there is not much change over the last three years, she has trouble remembering things but its not as bad as a lot of things I read on the site and that friends that have had a parent with Alzheimer's tell me. Mom is still active, helps me around the house with small things loves to have people around. I believe this all happened because of the loss of my father it devastated her she had also lost her Father and Mother 2 years before losing my Father, that is so much grief for anyone to handle. Is it possible that she could just stay this way and not progress any further, I could be wrong but in the last three years I do not see a big change. Has anyone else had someone with Alzheimer's progress this slow? I do not know that much about this but sometimes I wonder if there may be something else wrong.

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Actually Dementia is not a disease. It is a syndrome. Alzheimer's
Is a disease, one of many that can cause dementia.
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I just want to say 'thank you all'...I don't know any of you but these posts sure help me more than I ever could have imagined...it gives me different perspectives and different things to try...Peace to you all
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My mom was diagnosed in 2009 but had been having memory issues that disturbed her for about 3 years prior. She was still very functional for years, including working a few more years. I found that the decline was much slower early on and seems to speed up as she has progressed. I think the changes are more subtle early on too. My mom had great coping strategies...she used a calendar, wrote notes, got a gps... As I watched the stages (in the 7 stage scale) she went through the later stages much more quickly than the earlier ones. We are now at stage 7 but 2 1/2 years ago she was a 5-6.
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In Feb Mom saw her Gerontologist and was informed that Mom had declined dramatically since her last visit last summer; she has vascular dementia also. She is now mostly in the end part of the the moderate to severe stage of Alzheimers. So she's had Alzheimers for the last 5 years...But, now within the last 2 months she seems to have 'gone into remission' or a plateau... she has started to have more irritability and has become more demanding at times to my 63 yr old brother (but I don't let her do that to me at 58; my brother is a very passive person). I think at this point she is trying to 'fight' the disease (of which I don't blame her) but she gets downright mean. I set boundaries to just how far she can go with me but after a time if she continues her not-so-nice attitude, then I say I have to leave for an appointment and I'll see her tomorrow. I leave because I don't want to get into a shouting match with her or yell at her. I remind myself that it is the disease. I know there is no cure for Alzheimers dementia but it just seems like she is at a plateau, or that she is trying with all her might to fight it...has anyone else experienced this ??? She has had the small strokes confirmed with an MRI years ago, is on Aricept and Mirtazipine .... this disease is so terrible as I'm sure everyone here knows but I was just wondering if this is possible...I guess anything is possible but I just wondered if someone else has had this experience....Thank you...this is a great resource of venting and therapy for me.... :)
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I have not tried a week-end since my extended trip. However, I love and benefit from full day (or shorter) outings--not good to be home with too much time to think! (I'm still searching for answers myself)
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Thank you for sharing with us, KatyDid2. Are shorter outings better for you -- going for a weekend instead of a week? How about one-day outings, or going out for an afternoon? Or is it really better to stay home in familiar surroundings.

You are right. Each person is different. But it would be interesting to hear from you what seems best from your perspective.
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I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's last year at age 73. I have been taking
donepezil (generic for aricept) since that time and am still doing well. How-ever when I tried going on an extended vacation it seemed that I did better in my old home surroundings! I'm sure everyone is different! Don't give up hope for your loved ones--we are finally very close to a few drugs which may change the course of this horrible disease!
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Having visited (in the course of my previous work) probably about 40 homes that are registered for Elderly mentally frail in the UK I have these comments -
Positives - ie the good homes
Encourage individuals to do as much as they
spend time with them to encourage speech
Make sure they know in advance in what order people eat their food (oddly this is really important)
Know their history and understand the impact it has
Understand medication and what well being in the individual looks like
Have thened days of music art dance games etc on a regular basis and I mean 3 or 4 times a week
Provide outings
have church or religious engagement
Make sure individuals are showered/bathed regularly
Make sure that everyone has enough drinks to keep them hydrated
Negative - ie the bad ones
residents are over medicated and not treated as individuals
Sluices arent cleaned properly hence the stench or urine and faeces
residents not cleaned properly and bed sores common and not cared for effectively
staff are verbally or physically abusive
cares dont check on residents hourly at night
None of the stuff in the positives is evident
residents constantly found rocking wandering or sleeping
Staff often found drinking tea or smoking or chatting with each other rather than working

Bring on euthenasia in time for me please and be nice to your kids - they get to choose your care home!
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Yes staying home should be preferable. Safety is always what you need to think about. If it continues to be safe and there is a way to provide help; home is always the best route. I am not a fan of memory care units. They are costly and don't provide the one on one that is so often needed. They provide one aide to 8 clients which is more than challenging. Often they fall, fracture bones and or are asked to provide extra care that is costly to the family.
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I'm so sorry, I am hearing the same and I can't bare to thing about that day that it does come to that. Make me feel terrible about my recent post, I get so frustrated and hope for a break then I think well what about the day when it comes that I don't have her with me and it makes me sad and guilty again. I really wish my sister would just step up and help a little so I did not have to have these feelings. At least when the day does come I will know in my heart other than wanting a break, I can feel like I did just about all I can do for Mom, I also know My sister will be feeling very bad on her behavior. Your in my thoughts and prayers this is just an awful thing we are dealing with. I do understand from what I have been told that the patient is happy and does not really understand. Mom seems very happy, I hope you have the same situation.
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Jude, thank you for sharing the doctor's analogy. That really captures the experience. Even if no water spills, it is a long, hard journey. But it is also inevitable that water will spill -- we just don't know how much and when.

This is one smart doctor!
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My mother appeared to be "slipping" in late 2010, about a year after my father died. She went on a trip to Europe with some friends in the fall of that year, and I wondered if she'd manage ok with the logistics and the physical toll. I think she barely managed. Within the next year, she became suddenly very forgetful and more and more confused. It's now about 4 years later, and she's gotten physically more frail, but hasn't fallen at all, and she's probably more forgetful and more confused, but it's difficult to tell. She still bathes, dresses, and prepares simple meals for herself. She does need help with her medications now, but seemed to manage those ok up until about 6 months ago.
I actually wish for that drastic "event" that will propel her into a care facility. I don't really understand the desire to prolong the onset of dementia symptoms, once they've obviously arrived and things will only get worse.
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As I havew posted in another post I have just had a visit from the memory advisor who in fact turned out to be a doctor specialising in geriatrics not the memory advisor but hey it gave me a chance to ask questions. Now he has just done a thorough review of Mums medication and removed 3 from the list always a bonus. I asked him about dementia and he said and I quote. It is like holding a baby bath full of water and walking with it for a mile over rough terrain. One knows that water will be spilled but not where it will go, when it will go or how it will go. One just knows that even with the most careful handling that water will spill out eventually. So having given him an utterly amazed look.....Well he said your mums dementia will get worse eventually but when where how is by no means certain - it is something we cannot predict. The timeframes differ for everyone and we cannot say that this person will and this person wont it depends on variables and we are only just scraping the surface of this. He went on to say that eventually there will be such a change in Mum that I will have no choice but to put her in care. If I get lucky she will die before that happens but probably not. hey ho what a bloody depressing day today has been
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Mom was diagnosed in 2010. Mild to moderate but she also has a meningioma, a small "mass" behind her eye - inoperable. Gives her a great amount of pain and her memory problems were present long before the official diagnosis. She remained active all the way up to last Christmas. The decline since then has been really swift and has escalated in the last few weeks. She is in bed now, unable to get out of bed, unable to speak, to eat or swallow. Her body is shutting down and it is going very fast. I do not think she will last another day.
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Dementia is a terminal illness/disease and once correctly diagnosed, it does not get any better. She may not seem like she is digressing, but subtle changes are occurring in her brain every day. My husband has been mostly unchanged behaviorally for about 11 years, with the last six months showing a sudden change in symptoms. Every person with dementia is unique and presents with sometimes different time tables, but the end result is always death with the illness, or perhaps something else bringing life to its conclusion. Do not for one second believe the deaths of anyone brought on this disease. Learn as much as you can to help in your challenges with your mother. Best wishes.
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Actually, there is no such thing as "age-related dementia." However, there is something called "age-related memory impairment" which is what all of us get if we live long enough. Dementia is never normal. But memory impairment with advanced age is quite normal. The brain shrinks with age, neurons are lost and the processing speed of the brain slows down. These changes are unavoidable.
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Yes, a person can "plateau" for quite some time before they experience another noticeable decline. Also, different types of dementia progress at different rates. Typically the early-onset dementias progress rapidly, largely because they have a strong genetic component determining their onset.

By the time symptoms appear, the brain has already experienced quite a bit of irreversible damage. Also, many times relatives are not aware of a person's decline because they only see them occasionally or in limited social settings. If a person has excellent social skills, often these are retained fairly late into the dementia process, so they may "fool" even physicians who do not pick up on the subtle signs of dementia.

It was a visit back home from several states away that made me realize something was terribly wrong with my father. He had become disheveled, not bathing regularly, and was not paying his bills. All of these behaviors were totally unlike him.
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Dementia progresses, but it can progress very slowly.
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http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=133 has a great suite of information on the progressional stages of alzheimer's and a potential time span
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That should read "Sad to say wish we could progress out of this plateau."
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All these responses are so sad. My husband was diagnosed in 2006. Did well up until a year ago. Mind gone but body healthy. It is like having a 2 year old to take care of at my retirement age. So to say wish we could progress out of this plateau. It would be a blessing for him. He would be so embarrassed to see how he is.
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My mum is in the moderate stages and the doctors have told me the prognosis is 1-8 years. Hmmmm given that she is 92 any one could have told me that so I don't think there is a given "time" it's pretty much in the lap of the gods unless they start falling. Each fall seems to trigger a decline, at least it does here.
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It could be your mother just has age related dementia (memory loss) and not Alzheimers. If she truly had Alzheimers it would have progressed by now. My mother was also diagnosed with Alzheimers five years ago at the age of 90 and yet has not progressed to the late stages as they said she would. When I took her back to be re-assessed they said she was just suffering from age related dementia. Also, depression can cause memory loss and so that is something else to consider. Good luck.
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Wait, I'm confused. Do you mean the progression gets slower with age or faster? I always thought faster...
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Alzheimer's is another form of dementia. It's like a category of dementia. Generally speaking the older a person gets it, the slower the progression will be.
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stress does affect memory loss
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What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimers? People are always calling it the same thing.........
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In answer to another question, a helpful reader steered me to Teepa Snow (teepasnow or find her on Youtube). I found her videos to be very enlightening!
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there are many forms of dementia and they all have different time frames and behaviours from onset. like my father your mum has probably had undiagnosed depression since losing a life partner and now is stable even showing iprovement since living with you and now enjoys her life much more because she has a purpose and friends visiting and shes not responsible for a big dark empty house all on her own. some days i feel like throwing myself in the river caring for a socially inept reclusive dad because I
love him but dont want to live with him. he probably feels the same way.
as a nurse highly experienced in aged care and dementia specific nursing I can see shining out at me a light, from your story which clearly tells me that you are the single most positive effect and shining light on your mothers life and I would go as far as to say that you being with her and fostering a relaxed company environment has seen a marked improvement in her cognitive ability from a state which could have been heavily depression/grief/shock related mind sets along with early dementia or just memory loss due to shock. well done you marvellous lady xx
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Stress did not "cause" your mother's memory loss. No one yet has discovered why one loses their memory, not even genes, and a person can seem like they "stay the same for years" while little changes are happening in their brain you cannot see. My husband has been losing his memory for over 11 years, and he is still able to function pretty well at almost 89 yrs. So take each day as a gift with your mother and cherish the time you two have left. Best wishes!
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