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Help - can anyone advise on sudden changes in ability/behaviours?

OnlyChild1

Registered User
Jan 19, 2018
23
North Yorkshire
Hi, it's ages since I posted on here but wonder if anyone can help - feeling a bit lost at sea and not really knowing what to do for the best.

My Mum is now 86 and lives with my husband and I - I guess she is now in the middle stages of dementia (so hard to get any professional to 'grade' the illness). Up until about 2 weeks ago, Mum could manage to get up, get dressed, do her make up, come downstairs and make her 2 slices of toast with marmalade and a cuppa for breakfast. We could have some reasonable discussions with her and she was pretty alert throughout the day, although did cat nap in the mornings (bedtime medications make her sleepy, so a lot to do with that I think). However, over the past couple of weeks, she has declined, quite rapidly - can barely string a sentence together at any time of the day, takes hours to get up and dressed or ready for bed, can barely manage her breakfast and cannot remember a lot of the things which she has been doing for years and were ingrained, such as making her breakfast, cleaning her teeth etc. She has been unable to make sense of time for quite a while but over this weekend, she was completely confused about day and night and why it was bedtime/what this meant and so on. She slept, on and off most of the weekend when up and dressed and downstairs on the sofa, but she had also got up in the early hours (around 1am) got dressed and come down stairs but fallen asleep sitting (slumped) on a chair in the hall.

For a couple of years now we have had CCTV cameras installed so we can intermittently check on Mum (up until Covid, my husband was away at the office all day and I work from home, but not in the house as I have an office detached from home - the cameras allow us to see that Mum is ok and speak to her if needed in between me popping in and doing meals and so on). Checking on the footage, the number of times Mum has been getting up in the night, getting dressed and staying in her bedroom but falling asleep sat on her ottoman (and nearly falling off) is a regular thing, coming downstairs is new and very worrying event as she is also becoming increasingly unsteady on her feet. You could knock her over with a feather these days and her ability to get downstairs when half asleep is a real worry to us. We have even contemplated a lock for her bedroom door to ensure she doesn't come downstairs and fall in the night or try making toast and sticking a sharp knife in the toaster to fish out the bread (seen her attempt this a couple of times now!) whilst we are asleep. Both of us feel this is rather drastic, but are not sure how to sensibly tackle it. Mum is also sleeping a LOT, she falls asleep whilst eating and drinking and seems so very, very tired.

We have always said we want Mum to remain at home as long as she is safe for herself and for the household, but without some interventions (not sure what!) it seems things have rather rapidy changed. I have checked her for a UTI and her urine is clear. She does have a degree of heart failure and I wonder how much this could be attributable? I am going to call her GP and have a chat but has anyone else experienced a similar decline with their PWD in the absence of any illness? How did you manage the safety elements for the PWD?

Sorry to ramble on by the way...just feel a bit lost about where to go for help, if indeed there is any to be had.
Thank you for reading.
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,760
66
Toronto, Canada
The first thing I thought of was a UTI. It might be possible that she does have a UTI or perhaps some other illness that is causing this. Perhaps one of her medications is either not working or starting to affect her adversely.

My mother had a catastrophic year when she declined rapidly and spectacularly. The very nature of the disease with its roller-coaster ups and downs make it so much more difficult, in my opinion.

Let us know what the GP has to say.
 

OnlyChild1

Registered User
Jan 19, 2018
23
North Yorkshire
The first thing I thought of was a UTI. It might be possible that she does have a UTI or perhaps some other illness that is causing this. Perhaps one of her medications is either not working or starting to affect her adversely.

My mother had a catastrophic year when she declined rapidly and spectacularly. The very nature of the disease with its roller-coaster ups and downs make it so much more difficult, in my opinion.

Let us know what the GP has to say.
Thank you for replying, and sorry to hear about your Mum too. I guess this awful disease manifests in so many guises it’s really difficult to predict any one course... no two cases are the same, are they?
Will let you know what the GP says.