@katherinebenton I have just reread your post and I wish I could give you the answers you are seeking. Many of the things you mention are very similar to the dementia progression I have experienced with my Mum and I know there are many others who have similar stories. My Mums' song is Galway Bay- we went from her singing the words, to mash ups with O my darlin Clementine and a church hymn none of us recognized, to using the melody to communicate with her words, to humming with basically no intelligible speech in a period of about 4 years. Based on the published stages of dementia, and the random abilities she has lost she could have been in early, mid or even late stages at any time during this period. Even now at what I believe is the late, possibly even end stage there are moments when her previously expansive vocabulary will burst through in a single shouted sentence , which seems to be part of a vivid delusion. There have been times when I have listened to the humming for 48 hours at a stretch, to the point I wanted to scream, but now the infrequent humming is the only time I have a glimmer of hope that she still knows it's me. I have been lucky that my Mums' generally sweet nature has not changed so I have not had to deal with the aggression you are experiencing, but it did take me a long time to figure out that the best way to keep my Mum calm was to present as calm and sweet ( NOT my nature) face and voice as I could manage. Two nights ago I was in despair as she was so non responsive I was afraid to leave at bedtime. Last night she was somewhere back in time and I heard her speaking in her normal pre-dementia voice with her lovely little Irish accent to my Dad, her brother and some other folk I could not see. Most of it was actual conversation with a few strange garbles here and there but it was one of those strange gifts at a time when the journey is getting harder and harder. At times she has been on all of the different psychotic medications, most of which only dulled her completely and some left her rigid and unable to move at all. In the end I decided that her delusions seem to bring her comfort so as long as she was not agitated by them I just said a lot of uh huh, really? and you don't say-an Irish standard lol. It does sound like maybe a different medication to calm your Mums' aggression could be in order so don't be afraid to try out whatever your Dr will order. It was Donezipil that made my Mum so stiff although it did help with the delusions but if your Mum has been on it a long time she may need a change as medication can lose its effectiveness over time. My heart goes out to you as I imagine how difficult it must be to have to wear protective equipment just to give your Mum a shower. Are you getting any home help? Here in Canada they will provide a carer in your home for 2 showers a week, when I did that with Mum it was amazing how much of a break it felt like.I have been taking care of my Mom since 1998, when I came back from Germany & made her my dependent. We were stationed in Ft. Benning, GA then in Ft. Sam Houston, TX. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1983 & I think her dementia started in 2013 at the young age of only 62. My belief is that after 30 years of taking antipsychotics then brain deterioration was accelerated. First, she started wondering about the neighborhood & was still living on her own but I would spend 8 to 10 hours a day with her, checking her blood sugar, preparing her meals, cleaning, etc. In 2015 Mom moved in with my husband & I. In 2016 & 2017 Mom dleep became more interrupted with hallucinations. In 2018 I noticed the blowing & constantly looking in the mirror then more hallucinations during the day & disrobing. In March 2019, she started taking Donepezil or Aricept & everything calmed down some with the hallucinations, blowing & mirror watching & there was no more disrobing. Now the doctor has greatly reduced her Aricept because she was having breathing problems & I see her blowing in mid air & she starts singing Somewhere over the Rainbow. In recent weeks she is humming songs, church hyms or music from childhood. I'm trying to figure out what stage Mom is in, she is still walking & getting around well & using the rest room on her own which back in 2018, she would have daily accidents. I am noticing her forgetting to flush the toilet in recent weeks & start the day with anger that normally wouldn't occur until sundowner. Can anyone please help me guess what stage Mom is in? She still talks well & has an expansive vocabulary. I do notice more aggressive behavior, I have many scars on my arms from her scratching me but last week is the first time she has ever scratched my face. I was giving her a shower & had my protective gear on my arms, legs & chest but she scratched my nose. Now I have ordered protective plexi glass masks. Last week she also pulled my hair which she has never done while I was driving. She does sit in the back seat to prevent her from scratching my arms. I wish you all the best & am grateful for any insight on helping Mom's journey easier.
The only other thing I can suggest is to come here and tell what you are going through to the most sympathetic group you will ever meet. Sometimes just putting it down and sending it off to people who know first hand what you're going through makes it feel less lonely. There is nothing you can share here that will surprise any us who share this soul destroying journey.
Wishing you strength along the way.