Mom has end stage renal disease, clinical depression, and dementia. The dementia is progressing at a rapidly accelerated rate due to her kidney disease and surrounding issues. She sleeps a lot, falls once or twice a week, can no longer walk more than a few steps (and usually needs assistance for that), has little to no appetite, and is very weak, depressed, confused, has short-term memory issues, and is sometimes pretty zoned out. At times, she's almost catatonic, even while sitting up (like, not even hearing directions even when I repeat them many times). Sometimes I need to walk her through very basic things, like every single step of getting from the car seat to the wheelchair ("Put this hand here, now move this leg here," etc.). She has also started to have mild delusions in the hours after dialysis, but they don't last too long, and she seems to find them more entertaining than troublesome.
Just as recently as last night, she had several tests and scans to rule out stroke, brain injury, dehydration, and infection.
The nurse on the renal ward told me yesterday there's nothing they can do to help beyond her renal care, and that I need to get a referral to geriatric psych from our GP, and then get mom some meds for her dementia.
I don't know anything about what to expect from geriatric psych. I gather they will do a cognitive assessment and probably prescribe some meds, but I don't know much about the meds. I don't want her to take something that will make her worse or harm her health! Can anyone tell me what I might expect, or what kind of meds are available and what the pros and cons are? (For example, I've heard that some meds only work for a limited period of time.)
I'd especially appreciate hearing about people's personal experiences with medicating their loved ones' dementia.
Mom is palliative - meaning the doctors think she has less than 6 months to live, but can continue treatment until she is ready for hospice care. She has been on a low dose of Zoloft for 20 years for her depression, but I think it stopped helping about 5 - 10 years ago. In her alert moments, she is very interested in something that would help her with her "confusion."