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My mother is 94. Six months ago, she was still pretty mobile, but has declined since. She takes very few medications. She has had 2 knows strokes (one in 1982 and one in 2005) and a heart attack (5 years ago). She has expressive aphasia, I am told as a result of previous strokes (or TIAs that went undetected). The aphasia really started in Sept. 2016, though, and has gotten progressively worse (I am told as a result of strokes, but that is an unknown.). That is really the only real "issue" she has -- no dementia diagnosis; but she occasionally appears to show some signs of sundowners. Her blood work, CT scans, urinalyses, etc., have all come back fine. She is sleeping more and more, though. Lately, she has had a several bad days -- sleeping most of the time, speech is bad, can't walk well, falling. Then she will have a few good days. Since I am one who likes to know answers to things... can anyone explain this? It is a normal progression to an eventual and total decline? What do I look for to know that she will not be with us long? On the bad days, I think, "This is it." On the good days, I think, "She will be around another 6 months." It has been an emotional roller coaster the past few days....

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I had the same experience with my Mom in her last weeks/mths/days. There was many a day where I thought this is it, and then she would rally and so on and so on. Eventually, I got to the point where I just took each day as a clean slate and acted accordingly. It was easier than trying to predict things. So my advice to you would be to try to do that. Just live each moment with your Mom in the moment. I know I've probably said this a lot on this forum but my one biggest regret with my Mom was a lot of the last times I spent with her I was so worried about her and preoccupied with my worries that I forgot to just be with her where she was on her journey.
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Thank you freqflyer and golden23 for your replies. Golden23, she does have a walker, which she uses occasionally (she's a tough bird...). Her hands are very weak, though, so she doesn't hold onto it very well (to suit me). Her main problem is she loses her balance, particularly when she steps backwards. She will use the walker then leave it in the hallway and continue to walk to the bathroom. The doctor has not done anything to see if she has had other strokes. They are just assuming, I guess. I am told that they could do tests, but at her age, they would not treat her. She is on Plavix (because of a heart stent), but they are saying it is not working to prevent TIAs (again they assume that is what she is having). It isn't until recently (since my oldest brother's health has declined. (He lives with Mom.)) that I have been taking her to the doctor and caring for her. I did find out yesterday that my brother had her meds messed up. One was for her thyroid. So maybe she will feel a little perkier when that right dosage gets in her system. The doctor stopped her diuretic. Her blood pressure was way too low. That could also cause brain issues. It is hard, as I am sure others have experienced, having a parent be so active and all of a sudden not. I cherish the good days. On the bad days I just want it to be over. Then I feel so guilty. I always say that no matter how someone dies, it is always harder on the people they leave behind.
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Your mom sounds a lot like mine did at 93/94, at the time I was convinced she wouldn't live another year. As is often the case with stroke and heart problems her decline has been slow with a couple of major slides along the way, today she is 97 and I'm still unsure if she will be gone tomorrow or will live to be 100.
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Exactly what Gershun said, with hugs.
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Mapotter,
I had a similar thing happen with my mother. When she lived with us a few months ago, she would take off all her clothes and urinate on her bedroom floor. Thankfully, my floors are tile. We would have to "tape" her pjs on her or she would wiggle them off, remove the 2 diapers in the bed and urinate. I had many layers of Chux, other bed pads and a 'waterproof' mattress cover but I was terrified that she would soak the mattress. We couldn't afford to buy a new one.
She would also stay awake all night, so we had to hire a night sitter. When she lost control of her bowels, I knew it was going to be too much for all of us (hubs, the sitter and me). We had to put her back into memory care . My back is bad from 39 years of lifting patients and hubs had a previous back injury also.

Please heed your body's warning signs. When you can no longer lift or assist her without pain or difficulty, it's time to give up hands on caregiving. Many a caregiver is in worse physical shape than the person they care for. It sounds as if your time to place her is near. Please don't feel guilty for knowing your physical limitations. It sounds like she requires more care than you and your brother can provide. Even though you hired help for 12 hours, who will do the other 12?

You're not a bad child for having her live where there are 3 shifts of fresh young aides to help her. It's also not fair to have your brother try to assist her if he isn't well also.

I don't think there is an answer to your question because I've been searching for it too. Everyone's experience is different. I'm watching a continous decline but then there will be a good day where she's more alert. She's in much worse shape than a year ago. I think it will just happen. We don't have access to God's book of birth and death dates.
I feel like I'm waiting for a bomb to drop and can't do anything about it.
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Again, thanks to everyone. You are a great help. We have reached another low today. Hospice had a hospital bed delivered on Friday, but she refuses to sleep in it. I got to my Mom's this morning, and she was sleeping in "her chair." She had taken her pants and Depends off and they were on the floor. It was soaked with urine, even though I had a waterproof pad on it. So, we had to get rid of the chair. My brother could not do anything. His health has declined too much. So, I called a home care agency and am having someone come to sit/help her from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. I will see how that works, but we may have to look at sending Mom to a home/hospice center. it was another emotional day. I know in my heart that I have done all I can to keep Mom out of a home. I just don't know what else I/we can do.
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(((((Mapotter)))) It is very hard seeing your LO slide downhill. You mention that your bro's health has declined, Is he still able to give your mother her meds properly? Can someone else do it? Certainly, not getting her thyroid meds, as she should, will make a big difference. (personal experience here).

Many of us here feel our parents have outlived any quality of life. My own mother is 105, and always was very active, but started showing signs of dementia in her late 90s. This quickly led to loss of mobility. and now she sits in a wheelchair in front of the tv for the mornings, has lunch, sleeps in the afternoon, is gotten up for supper and put to bed not long after that. She attends a few of the offered activities a week. She can hardly speak, and understands less and less. It isn't a pretty picture, but it could go on for some years yet. And we wonder why. Truthfully, I want it over for mother. She has little quality of life. I know she was ready to go once she reached 100, but neither she nor I are in charge of her life span. Please try to let go of the guilt. What you are feeling is very normal. I think we all are going through some anticipatory grief. It is a difficult time in families.
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(((((hugs)))) The emotional roller coaster is hard on you. I doubt that anyone can given you any definitive answers regarding your mother's future, other than that she is declining and will continue to decline. If TIA's are happening, they are causing brain damage which accumulates. Certainly there are signs of that. My mother has vascular dementia ( no strokes, just accumulated damage from periods of high BP) and went from being able to walk with a walker, to being in bed or a wheel chair and sleeping half the day, and all the night in a couple of months. That was about 3 years ago. She has lost more and more mobility, and now needs help to feed herself pureed food. Her labs are good, she doesn't get infections and she is 105. No one can predict how long she will be around.

Does your mother have a walker or other devices to help her her from falling? I am afraid all you can do is care for her where she is at. Has the dr not done any tests to identify new strokes? My father had similar episodes and eventually was diagnosed with vascular dementia. He would fall, black out, then sleep and appear to recover. but the damage accumulated. He still lived a number of years after this started, declining slowly till he was bedridden and finally the brain damage took him. As with mother, his heart and other organs were strong.
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Hugs all around. {{{{{{°^°}}}}}
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Mapotter, aging can be quite complex. I noticed with my own parents, who were also in their 90's, all it took was one fall to move it up a notch with their age decline.

As for the sleeping, have your Mom's primary doctor look over the list of medicines Mom is taking. So many can cause one to feel very sleepy. Also, if your Mom isn't mobile and not doing thing around the house, she will fall asleep a lot during the day. I would drop by to visit my folks, and both would be totally zoned out to a point where they didn't even hear me ring the doorbell.

There will be good days and bad days. Keep a journal to see if there is a pattern. Weather can cause changes. Rainy days can make one feel achy, and with no sunshine, a bit grumpy. And one also needs to know once into their 90's, they have lived a very long long long time, so they are entitled to be tired :)
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