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My mom is 82 years old. She has had three strokes and one mild heart attack within 3 years. She has dementia and and is bed ridden. She takes nine medications and now doesn't want to eat. Her doctor has said she is in her last stage of life but I just need to know if there is anything I can do?

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at 59 (just) with LBD I'm doing anything between 12-20 hours sleep a day :~(
Drives me nuts on the 20 hrs days but if I try to fight it then at best I'm foggy at worst I vomit & seizure.
It's def true that dementia makes our brains work much harder than we're used to add a lifetime of experiences to be collated and sorted before the end and sleep becomes imperative. Sleep also allows the body to heal things that are out of sync.
Even when she was sleeping I used to gently massage my Aunt's hands/arms, feet and legs with body lotion. Talking very quietly about things we used to do. She'd stay asleep but there would be the odd smile or for a moment her hand would grip mine.
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Can't rule out the cumulative of meds as a cause, as virtually all the meds commonly used to treat dementia symptoms have drowsiness listed as a side effect (though as the body gets used to the med, the side effect usually goes away). If meds are a suspected cause, consult the doctor.

Also have to consider the possibility of end stage. My grandmother, who died of Vascular Dementia, slept probably 90% of her 98th year of life.

Aside from those two considerations, don't overlook brain fatigue. As people, we tend to take everything internal for granted, and we forget our internal organs (pumps, filters, and even the brain) become tired too and need to rest. Ever hear of mental fatigue? Ever drive down the road at night, drowsy, long after you should have gone to bed, and suddenly see a deer run across the road only to find, on second look, there was no deer? That's your brain saying "I need a break."

We don't think of all the work the brain does, and we presume it does not get tired. Think back to when you were a student taking a difficult test, like the SAT, or as a parent trying to help your child with math homework, or trying to fill out a 1040 for the IRS without using eFile or a myriad of other income tax softwares, or maybe even using them; remember how tiring that can be? That's your brain saying "Whoa. I need a break"! So you walk away for a few minutes, get a drink of something, and 30 minutes later your ready to give it another go. And this time you successfully accomplish your mission!

Understand: Dementia is a disease of the brain. Dementia makes things more difficult; things that once were simple (like 2+2=4) now become difficult (2? + maybe 2 more? = wait a minute, I got it, 4?). The more difficult the tasks become, the longer and harder the brain works, the tireder it gets and the more rest it needs.

How does the brain rest? Sleep. For years, 8 hours of sleep has been the norm. As people age, 8 hours plus a nap becomes the norm. With dementia, 8 hours turns into 10 or 12, and a nap becomes 1-2 hours, sometimes multiple times daily. And that's without the influence of medications, side effects and difficult mental tasks (including crosswords, mahjong, and other games).

I've never been a morning person, but on non-work days I've always been up, coffee in hand, by 10 at the latest, and even on work nights in bed after the 10 PM news. Now, 6 years in with FTD and LBD, I normally go to bed 9 to10 PM (I'll catch up on the news in the morning), sleep using a CPAP till 10 or 11 AM (occasionally later), wake and get coffee (frequently in a fog that, for the last 2-3 weeks never seems to go away ), 2 to 2 1/2 hours later take a 1-2 hour nap and sometimes a second nap of equal length a few hours later.

In other words--until 6 years ago I functioned well on 7-9 hours sleep, sometimes less (I was on call 24/7). Now, with dementia, I need 12-16 hours sleep daily to function as well as I do.

Such is life with Lewy and FT.
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As a businessman of hope, I suggest checking the type of medications she's taking. How many are opioids (narcotics)? If she's taking three and they happen to be potent, of course she'll be sleeping and too tired to chew. If this isn't the case, then I you should prepare for her departure to a much higher level of existence.
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First of all, what meds is she taking? These can cause her to be drowsy and lethargic. What is the cause of the dementia? Is it the drugs - a very likely cause. Drugs can also cause loss of appetite. Have you had her checked for a Urinary Tract infection. This can cause all of the above symptoms.
Go online and research the drugs. Educate yourself about the symptoms and take matters into your own hands.
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To 1 rarefind and Lindaz...Thanks for your good advice. Rarefind, I already changed the medication that causes drowsiness to the bedtime meds. Since I sent my question, my mom tricked me on Monday and was smiling and trying to talk a little more so I got excited but quickly had to remind myself that this is very temporary. Sure enough, today when I arrived to her house, my mom had an empty stare and barely wants to talk. So I just kiss her and tell her I love her very much. Lindaz- my faith keeps me strong and gives me the courage to help my mom get through her battle. Everyday I have her say the "Our Father" in Spanish of course, so until the day comes that she can't remember it anymore, I will know things are still ok. I can relate to many of the experiences you had with your mom. I lost my father to bladder cancer and dementia in 2013 but my mom was still ok to help with him. Now she is in the same boat and I sometimes get overwhelmed but would never give up. I vow to be with her until the end no matter how much it hurts to loose her little by little. I'm so happy I found this site.
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Thank you for your kind words it helps me more than you know. I will continue to be by my mom's side as long as I can or as long as she is still with us. Just seeing her smile makes my day.
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Love her, forget the past ...no guilt at this time...cuddle if needs be to help yourself. The good Lord is preparing her final resting place. Let her do what she wants to do, when she wants to do it. We don't know or even understand that she herself is preparing....and what is there is just a shell with natural body functions, her soul could have already gone Home. God bless during this time of grief, but also make it a celebration of her wonderful life & be thankful she is enjoying her eternal home. Hugs
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Hi Jacqui. My mom died of Alzheimer's last year and your doctor is right, when they are in the final stage and are bed-ridden they often lose the ability to talk or do anything other than doze almost all of the time. In my mom's case as she neared the end she slept almost all of the time, she stopped eating and would just let the food put in her mouth just slide out or she would clamp her mouth shut. She would sometimes drink small amounts but stopped that also at the end. I talked with Hospice and her doctor and was told that this was normal as they start the dying process and that it would do her more harm than good to try and 'force' her to eat or drink as her systems (like digestion) were just shutting down. And by 'force' I simply mean putting food into her mouth. It is hard on the caregiver, as it is natural to want to feed them and to make sure they are well hydrated. But this is the time to step back and let nature take its course. Love them, comfort them (my mom liked having her hands held) and talk to them in a soft voice, tell them how much you love them and that you will miss them and that it's OK to let go. Sometimes that is all they need for a peaceful passing. My dad and I did everything we could for her during her illness and we too had to let her go. It was not easy at all, but in the end, we were at peace. Blessins to you, Lindaz.
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Besides considering the dying process as a possibility, you may want to see if any of her medicines have a drowsiness side effect. They should have a warning label about this on the bottle, so you may want to check the bottles for side effects to see if any of them are causing drowsiness. If any of them cause drowsiness, you may want to have her take them closer to bedtime and help retrain her to sleep earlier if she happens to stay awake late. Anytime you're up late, you'll sleep later. If you lose a little sleep here and there, your body will catch up with you sometime, especially if you've been losing sleep here and there for quite a while. You may also want to consider the type of bed she sleeping on, because if you're not getting a very good quality of sleep because of the type of mattress you sleep on or even the pillows, it'll someday rob you of your health. Sleep is important to good health, and your mattress really does matter along with the pillows and several other factors. If you don't have a very good quality of sleep, it'll catch up with you, but it also won't be a very restful sleep because you wake up very tired, which is only one reason why so many people depend on coffee. When you wake up tired, you need something to wake you up and keep you going. If you've noticed, this has also become a sleep deprived nation since the world has changed and adapted around technology. There are so many things on the market to keep you awake, but people often forget how important and vital sleep really is good to good health. Another reason for sleeping excessively is boredom, you tend to make unhealthy choices when you're bored, but you also tend to sleep more when you're bored and have nothing to do. From what you described, being bedbound would definitely be a low quality of life that may be causing your loved one to give up hope of ever leaving her bed again.

As for not wanting to eat, this might be part of the dying process, but it may also be some of her medicine causing this. Another thing to consider is when you sleep a lot you may not even be hungry when you first awaken, especially if you're tired enough to fall back to sleep. Another reason you may not be hungry as if you're in active for long enough because your metabolism will slow down.
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Your mother is going to be tired at 82, having had 3 strokes, a heart attack, dementia and on a LOT of medications. Don't expect her to get up and do much of anything. She's lucky to be alive!
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Sleeping is the body's way of shutting down in end stage dementia. Having any tests done is pointless and will be wasting money. Allow Mother Nature to take its course and give her the dignity of dying a peaceful death. I am sorry for your impending loss...
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Sleepiness or drowsyness goes with anything negative going on in the brain.

Dementia and strokes are definitely negative. For example: I have frontotemporal dementia--FTD--and Lewy Body Dementia, and last year had a mild ischemic stroke. I have never been a 'morning person', tho a couple of cups of coffee usually get me going, but I have always been a 'late nighter'. Now I routinely sleep 10-12 hours nightly, followed by a 1 to 1 1/2 hour nap 2-3 hours later, and another nap a couple of hours after taking my little care partner for a half hour walk. If my wife and I travel, I'm exhausted after 3-4 hours and must nap, in the car or after we get where we're going. If I've been doing a lot of 'brain work' (I like hidden object puzzles, mahjong and crosswords) after a couple of hours I'm ready for a nap. My brain needs to rest!

Another factor to consider, other than age, is medications. Many many meds cause drowsiness, and when you take two or three, or more, with the same side effects, it builds up and your brain has to rest to metabolize the meds.

The most frustrating thing to me is I'm aware of what is going on, of who I am with, where I am, what I want to do, etc., but frequently my brain just won't let me respond or do what I want.

Love your mother, support her, keep her comfortable. Don't assume she doesn't know or doesn't care what is going on, just let her live her life. If you become really concerned, or if something seems to change for the worse, talk with her doctor. That's what I want my wife to do (DON'T EVER GIVE UP).

Don't know if this helps, but I hope it does. God bless you on this journey.
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The B12 deficiency can be both the cause and the result of not eating. If the doctor hasn't tried giving it to her, suggest it. I would just say "what can it hurt?" and encourage it. The doctor gave it to both Mom and then later, Dad when each started losing weigh. (Both had Alzheimer's). BTW, Lowered B12 can result from just being old. Heck, even my very elderly dog started losing weight as a result of low B12. I was quite surprised to see her put back on a few pounds within just a few weeks after getting a B12 shot. It's worth a try.
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Hospice can help. It is a Medicare-covered service that provides palliative care for a person at the end-of-life and spiritual care for the family. It typically includes a weekly RN visit and help with personal care from a nursing assistant. It does mean that any medications or procedures meant to cure her conditions will be discontinued and that any meds in hospice will be for pain relief and comfort.

Here is more information on hospice. http://hospicefoundation.org/
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Have you had her B12 levels checked? This can cause ALL of these symptoms including Alzheimer's disease. Please have this checked ASAP. Doctors don't routinely check vitamin deficiencies. They tend to look for Alzheimers rather than thyroid disorders, vitamin deficiencies etc.
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Just love her for the time she has left. She doesn't recognize who you are and you need to start preparing for her departure to a better world. My best to you as you go through this process. I've been there already with my mother and it still hurts since I last saw her Jan. 30, 2002.
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My Mom was bedridden for 16 months and became less and less responsive, stopped reading a few months before, stopped watching TV a month before, and was sleeping all the time a couple of weeks before she passed away. She began eating less...then only soft foods like pudding, yogurt, smoothies etc. Then she stopped eating and a few days later refused liquids. The hospice nurses and a friend who's Mom died told me to absolutely not force her to eat if she refused the food. I would put various small amounts on a tray of things that she liked and sometimes she would eat a bit. I would offer her food but tell her she could take what she liked and it was ok to send it back. Then about 3 weeks before she passed on she slept all the time which kept her comfortable. The best thing is to keep your Mom comfortable, clean, and pain free. {{hugs}}, Katie.
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My mother did the same thing, really the only thing you can do is make her comfortable and prepare yourself. It's not easy but love her enough to let her go down this final part of her journey. God be with you all.
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Your Mom has lived a long life, she is going to be tired at 83. Even more so after having 3 strokes and one mild heart attack. Let her rest. And if she is in her final stage, let it be, there isn't anything you can do to turn back time.
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