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Decline in cognition in care home

Minniepippa

New member
Aug 29, 2020
8
I'm wondering if this is a common experience. Since mum has been in care, about 7 weeks, her cognition has declined significantly. Shes often, actually, mostly confused, she asked me today on the phone when Dads funeral is, (he died 25 years ago), and other weird and wonderful stuff.
When my mum was at home she wasnt like this at all.
Does anybody else have this experience? I dont understand. She was only ever diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment although I accept it moved on from that over the past couple of years.
It feels like the mum in her own home is fading 😔
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
2,101
Hi @Minniepippa it could just be a normal decline or it could be the move. My dad had 3 weeks in hospital that really affected him. When he came home he hardly recognised his own place anymore. He did kind of get used to some rooms but he never understood where his kitchen was again.

I would have to direct him to his bathroom and when he came back to his front room he would be looking all around as if trying to spot something familiar.

He also started taking sugar in his coffee for the first time that I could remember and denied that he had ever worn a cap in his life even though he had at least six of them hanging up in his kitchen.

It is nobody's fault it is just the illness.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
689
Hello @Minniepippa . It's always worth checking with the staff that there's no sign of urine infection when there is a sudden or significant change. It's also possible that a change in medication could make your mum more confused, although the care home should tell you if medication has been changed. Care homes do sometimes use a short term sedative to help newer residents settle in if they are agitated at first.

As @Duggies-girl mentions, any move seems to make confusion worse really. It could be that there is a lack of stimulation in the care home, particularly at the moment when outside entertainers, hairdressers and so on aren't allowed in. Have you been able to ask the staff about the change in your mum?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,663
South coast
Sometimes a move can throw a cruel spotlight onto a person with dementias difficulties.
When they are at home they can often hide their symptoms for a long time because their home is familiar, but when they move it is all stripped away from them.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
321
I wonder if your mum was in hospital prior to the care home? I noticed a significant accelleration of decline in both my parents following operations under general anaesthetic in advanced old age.
 

Minniepippa

New member
Aug 29, 2020
8
I wonder if your mum was in hospital prior to the care home? I noticed a significant accelleration of decline in both my parents following operations under general anaesthetic in advanced old age.
Yes she was, for 10 days, and ALWAYS suffers with delirium in hospital. Usually, once home, she would get back to her baseline in a couple of days. But this time she went straight into the home so I'm sure that hasnt helped. But she needed to be safe so it had to be and we had no choice.
 

Minniepippa

New member
Aug 29, 2020
8
Sometimes a move can throw a cruel spotlight onto a person with dementias difficulties.
When they are at home they can often hide their symptoms for a long time because their home is familiar, but when they move it is all stripped away from them.
I can look back over the past couple of years and see that her dementia was slowly progressing, and I suppose because you're in daily contact you just accept it and get on with it, but now we have such limited contact due to covid, we notice it so much more. What we see as our mum not being mum, the care home staff see it as her being fine! Whenever we ask how she is we get positive reports. But we notice the difference, shes our mum and we know her best.
And I'm sure you are right...the move has brought her issues into sharp relief. Mum has never moved home in 70 years....
 

Minniepippa

New member
Aug 29, 2020
8
Hello @Minniepippa . It's always worth checking with the staff that there's no sign of urine infection when there is a sudden or significant change. It's also possible that a change in medication could make your mum more confused, although the care home should tell you if medication has been changed. Care homes do sometimes use a short term sedative to help newer residents settle in if they are agitated at first.

As @Duggies-girl mentions, any move seems to make confusion worse really. It could be that there is a lack of stimulation in the care home, particularly at the moment when outside entertainers, hairdressers and so on aren't allowed in. Have you been able to ask the staff about the change in your mum?
Yes, mum has had a uti since being in the home, only mild, but nevertheless they were onto it and she had a course of antibiotics. The home is very good at listening to us and taking action.
The new gp has been in touch with us (had to register her with the gp attached to the home) and is doing blood tests. She seems very accessible as she told us to ring her with any concerns which is great.
As far as I am aware, mum is encouraged to join in with activities and she does sometimes, but other times opts to stay in her room. It is so hard to really know how she is there as we cant spend anytime in the home with her.
All so difficult
 

Minniepippa

New member
Aug 29, 2020
8
Hi @Minniepippa it could just be a normal decline or it could be the move. My dad had 3 weeks in hospital that really affected him. When he came home he hardly recognised his own place anymore. He did kind of get used to some rooms but he never understood where his kitchen was again.

I would have to direct him to his bathroom and when he came back to his front room he would be looking all around as if trying to spot something familiar.

He also started taking sugar in his coffee for the first time that I could remember and denied that he had ever worn a cap in his life even though he had at least six of them hanging up in his kitchen.

It is nobody's fault it is just the illness.
That must have been such a shock for you.
I must admit, I am struggling to accept dementia, mum was only ever diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment but it is clear what is happening, and a gradual decline when she lived at home eg, she would not understand how to use the toaster, would phone me asking how to turn on the washing machine etc, and yet, because I was spending a lot of time with her, she would be fine for much of it (or I had become used to the new normal).
So I have probably been in denial, and the move to the home is making me have to face up to it.
So sad.
 

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