Please be patient: this is my first post and not sure where to start. My sister's husband was 24 years older than her and before he passed away just over two years ago, she became his carer. Amongst other problems, he had the early stage dementia. Since then she became forgetful, started stuttering and lost the ability to find the right words, etc.
The rest of the family put it down to the shock of losing her husband and having to live on her own for the first time in her life. However, over the following year her behaviour became increasingly odd. I live some distance from her and we organised for her to visit me for a weekend. Her behaviour that weekend shocked me so much that I called her GP's surgery and eventually managed to talk to her doctor. As a result, he arranged a hospital consult which then turned into 10 months of brain scans, EEG's, MRI's and a lumbar puncture - all to determine if she had dementia. After nine months of this, the consultant eventually diagnosed her with early Alzheimer's with short term memory loss. The consultant advised my sister's GP to start her on Aricept. Her GP didn't prescribe it and nor did he prescribe anything else.
By this time she was going out of her house between five and eight times a day to walk to the town centre to buy a pint of milk, or just because she could. She would also leave the front door wide open whilst she was out. Another time, she asked her neighbour to investigate a strange smell in her house. When the neighbour went in, she found all four gas rings turned on but not lit. Heaven knows how long they had been on. She had also lost the ability to cook anything and appeared to live on biscuits. She told meals on wheels not to bother because she didn't like the meals.
At this stage, my other sister and I decided she was unsafe in her home and after talking it thru with her, she was happy to stay in a local care facility for a four week trial, to see how she got on. Initially everything went quite well but following the honeymoon period, she has deteriorated beyond recognition. She has attacked members of staff and other residents (another resident hit her in retaliation); she doesn't want to wash or shower. I visited her a couple of weeks ago and whenever I tried to talk to her, she sat on the floor of her room banging a biscuit tin on the floor and wall.
Two days later the manager of the home called me at work to say that she had contacted the local mental health service and requested someone come out to assess my sister that day. If they failed to turn up, the manager said she would have no option other than to call the police who can section someone.
My sister is now in a specialist unit within a hospital that assesses the needs of people experiencing dementia. I'm told they can keep and treat her there against her will for up to 28 days.
I can't believe it has come to this and I'm devastated for her. I feel totally responsible: should I have shouted louder for her to receive Aricept or something else? Did I too readily accept the 'professional's' opinion that this was the natural progression of dementia, albeit a very quick progression in her case?
Apologies again for this post being so long but I am not sure what to do next. Any suggestions would be appreciated.