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4 months ago, mom went into home for memory care. It is a really good place and she has a lot of care 24/7. But In four short months, she went from walking okay, a little slow maybe, to needing her hand held, and falling twice already. She is now in pull ups, depends, and needs assistants to be taken to the bathroom every few hours.
She is eating well, thats it. She no longer watches tv, even when its on, and is sleeping 19 hours a day, even while being coaxed to join in events.
She was taken off her Diazepam, to only when needed, to see if it helps her stay awake.
When I call, I say, Hi Mommy, she replies back, Hi mommy. We no longer have any conversation and she shows me she does not understand more than 3 words, when I ask anything or say anything.
Every week, she is falling further down, she is 89 and I feel like she is slipping away so fast. When she first arrived there, so many of the people were worse than her and now she seems like she is passing them up.
What is going on ? Everyone else does not seem to be changing week to week as my mother. I visit 2 to 3 times per week. She knows my name, but I am wondering if she thinks I am one of the workers there, having repeated to me 5 times in 10 minutes,"I already ate. Then repeating, "You don't understand I already ate."
Your feed back is appreciated. My emotions are beyond myself watching my mother decline so fast.

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Screamples no - she will not regain what she has lost. Sadly it is the nature of the disease. I felt better when my father lost the awareness of where he was at in terms of his illness. I am sorry your mum is scared.
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I am currently going through the same situation - my mother will rapidly decline, then level off, then rapidly decline again....it is a vicious cycle because she never regains what ground she loses. When I take her to the doctor she will call me a liar when I tell him how her health really is. She has been an RN all her adult life so I think that ties in with some of the denial. She has difficulty speaking in complete sentences and has forgotten how the use the television remote. My siblings all live 150 plus miles away so I am the only one to care for her; I moved in with her in 2014. Sometimes I question myself about the severity of it then when one of them comes to visit they are in shock at the rapidness the disease is taking. It is truly heart breaking. I try to put myself in her shoes - she is scared, she sometimes realizes that the end is near and there is NOTHING she can do to stop it. I want to be able to hold her hand until the very end and let her know she is not alone.
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Jessie, is she wearing TED hose? Keeping her legs elevated?
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I think VaD is probably more common than is reported, golden. My father dementia that was primarily VaD mixed with some Alz. I think the same thing is happening with my mother. In doing research, it was difficult to find very good information on VaD online. Most sites mention it, but don't really address the differences in symptoms very well.

Right now my mother is having an unusual new symptom of swelling in her legs that isn't responding rapidly to Lasix. She's diabetic, so I'm watching. We're going to the opthamologist today, which was inconvenient -- I couldn't give more Lasix this morning. So many things wrong, with treatment for one thing causing problems somewhere else. I wish she didn't have to take the strong bp medications so we wouldn't have to deal with the leg swelling, but it is the way it is. There has to be a better answer than Lasix, which is hard on the kidneys.

One day maybe they will have a magic pill that fixes everything all at once with no side effects. Dream on. :-)
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Hi Jessie - meant to answer you earlier but lost track of the post. From what I have read about your mother she seems like a mixture of my mother and my ex mil. Apparently the higher functions diminish - evaluation, judgement, planning typically in early VD, I saw that in mother, not in ex mil as much. Ex mil had falls and got worse after and also had UTIs that were increasingly difficult to treat. I think it is very possible that your mother had small strokes. Step wise decline is also typical - seeming to stay pretty stable then a noticeable decline. You are right about there being no treatment except keeping blood pressure and general health markers as good a possible. My father had it as well with small strokes from which he appeared to recover, but in fact permanent damage was done that accumulated.

It is a waiting game, and with that comes a feeling of helplessness especially with people like your mother and mine who are not happy people anyway. Mother's world is getting smaller and smaller. She has not gone out in a trip since last winter and I could see that even going on the patio was not entirely comfortable for her. She has been started in antidepressants and I hope they help her depression. I am not sure there is much more anyone can do. It is different from Alz in many ways. Maybe we should start a vascular dementia thread to compare notes.
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Have they checked to see if she has a UTI? How are her potassium and B-12 levels. These can all be factors in rapid decline. Good luck.
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golden, your mother is so much like mine in what you describe. My mother's steps turned to shuffling about 10 years ago. I think she has had VaD for a long time. She had two major falls before all these things happen. She said she tripped, but I now wonder if she had small strokes that caused her initial most serious decline. She fell the other day and she declined again. I think she had a small stroke that caused the fall and the decline. She is now avoiding going out, though she still wants to do the familiar things like going to church.

My father also had VaD, too. He wasn't diagnosed until after death. He was very similar to my mother, with gradual change over many years with times of rapid decline. I imagine he had small strokes at these times. It is hard that there is no treatment for it, really, except trying to keep the blood pressure and chemistry right. Beyond that, all we can do is wait.
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soul - I have see similar changes in my mother. She was a geriatric hospital and was diagnosed with VD (vascular dementia), on top of her life long personality disorder. Like nojoy's mum she became very paranoid and thankfully an antipsychotic helped that. In the hospital she was quite mobile with her walker, watched tv with other patients, did word searches and jigsaws and enjoyed going out to the mall for a meal and a little shopping and still read. End of January she was moved to an assisted living.Her care there is excellent. In the following months she started to shuffle and now has trouble getting to a standing position from sitting, no longer watches tv as far as I can see, no longer reads or does puzzles. Our conversations are very slow though she still makes sense when she does speak. She has no interest in going out. She does go to exercise class in the ALF but I see such a decline in her and from what I have read it is pretty typical of the VD. I talked with her social worker from the hospital who commented that it was a big decline. She also has depression and it is being treated now and that may help her to have a little more interest in things, but anyone with dementia will decline and the rate is not predictable but it is inevitable. It is hard to see.
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About 6 weeks ago my 91yo Mom with dementia began a severe decline. She had to be started on a med because of delusions, hallucinations and some paranoia that caused her (and me) extreme mental distress. The night before starting the med she was awake for almost 24 hours very delusional, paranoid and trying to get out of the house. It was horrible to see her like this pounding on doors and windows calling for someone to help her (in her mind I was the bad person keeping her locked upstairs so she couldn't get to her wedding). The med seems to have helped some. It does seem to sedate her but I would much rather see her sedated than go through that mental anguish. She's also really become unable to communicate very well at all. For example, if I ask her a question she'll answer with a totally unrelated answer or just give me a blank look like she hears what I I'm saying but it doesn't register. She can no longer find her bathroom, or her chair in the living room or her bedroom. She has trouble getting into the car now. She needs direction for all tasks now. The last couple days she has had more episodes of urinary incontinence. I am beginning to think that her care may be becoming more than I can provide. Currently I am her 24/7 caregiver. I hate this disease!!!!!
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Dementia is so unpredictable. I guess the type of dementia also affects how the progression goes. Alzheimers is supposedly slower than some other kinds.

My cousin has VD mixed with AD. She had mild symptoms for a couple of years and then declined rapidly. She went from running her own household, (granted she was quirky) to being unable to stay alone and entering AL within weeks. Then, within months, she was double incontinent and in a wheelchair. A little over a year later and she now has severe dementia. She can talk, but most of the time, she says she doesn't know or she doesn't remember. I can still make her smile sometimes and that's my reward.

A little over a year ago, I moved her to Memory Care and her roommate was very welcoming. She immediately invited her to watch tv together in their room and treated her like she was a long lost sister. Her roommate was very mobile and even spry. She was very personable and a great communicator. Then over the course of a few months she changed rapidly. She started laying on her bed more and more. She stopped talking as much. Then last month, when I took her and my cousin lunch and ice cream, she ate, but didn't say anything. She just stared into space or napped. Something physically happened and I don't know the details, since privacy prevents them telling me, but she went to the hospital by ambulance and is not coming back. I suspect a heart attack and Hospice. I've checked the obits and she's not there yet. My cousin is heartbroken and misses her roommate. There is nothing I can do about it.

I'm sorry to hear about your mother. It must be so incredibly difficult. This disease is so cruel. It robs us of so much. Good people who should enjoying their lives are not there in mind. God bless you both.
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Soulfulgirl - the same thing happened to my father except it happened physically and during a five week rehab stay. Daddy walked in under his own stream - just a bit slow for him and a little shaky. He had been diagnosed with CHF but it hadn't really become an issue yet. He was at rehab because of a prostate issue. Also he had developed a UTI from pulling his catheter out - 3 times! I know - ooweee! Dads rehab stay was suspose to be 2 weeks. But at that time he started having breathing problems and became very weak. When he was released after five weeks he could barely use a walker. 3 years later my mom was in the same rehab from a fall. I started seeing her deteriorating mentally at an alarming rate - we got her out of there as quickly as it was safe to do so.
Guesswho - I had the same issue with my brother - although he lives about 20 miles away he would only see mom twice a month at the most - and at the time she could hold it together pretty well for an hour or so. I saw mom three times a week and I would call him when I saw some alarming things. He never believed me and/or thought I was blowing things out of proportion. Often he would start yelling at me so I stopped calling him. In the past year she had a few occurances while he was visiting - he would call me after his visit as stunned and shocked as if she had grown wings before his eyes and flew around her apartment. I gotta admit I would get off the phone with him feeling quite smug! Brother retired in July and now sees mom a couple of times a week. While he still at times is in denial - he has certainly changed his tune.
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Its so sad and frustrating to see such a sharp decline. And even more difficult when staff and family don't acknowledge your concerns. With my dad its important for me to rule out medical conditions like UTI's, and also let family know about issues and changes even if they disagree. And most important is spending time with my dad because he's still here and every once in a while I see that familiar twinkle in his eyes, or smile, or...
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My dad died 35 years ago very suddenly. I was with him that morning and he was gone that afternoon. I always thought that was the worst way to loose a parent. After all these years of working with seniors, I now know differently. There is no easy way to loose a parent. But saying goodbye for years to a parent has to be a grief that is with you forever, even before the actual death. My heart goes out to you and all who write on this support group. Comparing your mom with others is useless. This is her, only her. You have to walk this time in her life with her. I have faith in you. You can do this.
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I'm in the same place with my mother right now. I could have written it word for word. I have been struggling with my mothers decline so fast in the last just even two months and it is hard to watch her slip away so quickly. I know I'm in denial but she does have dementia, I know it but she says she is just fine and doesn't remember what the doctor told her only a week ago. She calls me and asks what time it is or what day it is. She forgets that she called me and say's I called her! It gets kind of funny at times but watching her decline is hard on me. My brother doesn't understand and and I gave up on talking to him about it. He says she sounds fine on the phone. My aunts say the same thing. She sounds fine on the phone. But they don't see her every week like I do. And they all live far out of state. So I'm the only one that does and I feel like I have no support from her own family of brothers and sisters. They think I made it all up or something and that the doctors were wrong and she shouldn't have been put in Assisted Living. I know it has been the best thing for her but it is hard to watch her decline so quickly. This is the only place I can express my sadness and know that it is real and others have gone through the same thing. How do you get over watching them decline right in front of you? When will I know that the end is near and I need to call her brothers and sisters to tell them she is not going to be able to talk to you any longer because she's forgotten who they were? Do I just let it go and have them figure it out and not have a chance to see her again? I'd like them to know but they won't listen to me anyway. I have to make most of her decision for her now and they are only going to get harder as time goes on. Like she will go to the bathroom and I know she has diarrhea and I'll ask her have you been having diarrhea for awhile and she will say no. And she is back into the bathroom in 5 minutes with it again. So I make a appointment for the doctor to see her and she says what for? Then proceeds to tell the doctor no I haven't been having it for at all. I hate contradicting her in front of the doctor so I try to fax the doctor ahead of time but that doesn't always work. Should I just get use to this for the next 5-10 years? It is going to be really hard if it goes on that long. Someone give an idea how to accept this bitter pill easier.
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Have her checked for a UTI...
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soulfulgirl, it does sound like your mother is slipping away. My ex's aunt would repeat our words to us. She couldn't communicate except this way during her last months of life.

People with Alzheimer's progress at different rates. There is no predicting what areas of the brain will be involved and how fast the disease will progress. It is sad to go through this, because I can tell you love your mother a lot.
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It is so hard watching our parents decline. This may be a natural progression for your mom. You can't really compare her to elders around her. As they say, When you've seen one case of dementia, you've seen one case of dementia. I've been watching my Dads decline for about 5 years now. It's beginning to accelerate now and it's shocking at times when you see a new example of decline.
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