My first time on this forum and the way things are progressing, it's unlikely to be the last!
After having three falls in 18 months (one very serious, where she was in a coma and suffered some brain damage), and most recently being hospitalised in Dec 2011, my Mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia with some Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Syndrome at the end of Jan 2012.
While we had noticed her functions slowing since the "very serious" fall (see above), this diagnosis of an "advanced, progressive" illness has come as a real shock to our family and we're all very much still coming to terms with it.
Mum moved into a nursing home at the start of March and is settling in okay so far. However, over the past few days, Mum has become very uncommunicative and often zones out or gives a thousand yard stare when you try to talk to her. This is both disconcerting and upsetting and I was wondering if anyone on the forum could suggest any creative strategies about how to communicate with a close relative in that case? Is it just a case of being extra patient and waiting until Mum comes 'back in the room', or are there any ideas which have worked for other people and might help us? (For info, Mum is a 76 year old retired art teacher, very creative, funny, interested in animals, literature and music.)