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I don't know what is happening to Mum


Registered User
Mar 17, 2009
I'm not sure whether my mum is recovering from the trauma of shingles or if shes declining
My mum 89, has mixed dementia for 5 years and was admitted to hospital 12 weeks ago with pancreatitis - that cleared up after 3 weeks then mum got several infections and almost 3 weeks ago she got shingles!! She has complex needs: macular degeneration, mobility problems, incontinence, kidney damage, etc. Mum is still in hospital and since being in hospital she can't seem to weight bear and is generally weak and she has definitely deteriorated

Since the shingles mum has deteriorated, normally she likes to banter and make jokes and talks to everyone and anyone. Now she's very tired, sleeping a lot, subdued, not wanting to eat or drink. She can't seem to articulate her thoughts and gets very confused and can't seem to understand anything we say to her - just looks vacant and muddled, even when I mention family names she seem lost. Mums speech has become garbled and her voice is weaker. Some days when I go to see her she's sleeping so soundly I can't wake her. She looks worn out. She seems to get fits of shaking too. The staff say she doesn't want to do anything.

Mum has had a very tough time with the shingles, the antiviral medication made her sick : 800mg 5 times a day for a week. The doctor asked about me about DNR which I agreed to. She's not on antivirals now but I'm wondering if this is the after effects of them plus the trauma to her body of the shingles. Will she pick up or is this a decline towards her dying? I don't know ....


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Hello nellen. Im sorry your mum has had such a rough ride.

Infections of all sorts (including pancreatitis and shingles) and hospitalisation are can very definitely cause progression of dementia. She may pick up a certain ammount, but probably not to the level she was at before the infections/hospital admittance. How far away the end is, though, is impossible to say. With dementia its really difficult to predict - my MIL declined rapidly on 3 separate occasions and we told to expect the worst, only for her to bounce back.


Registered User
May 10, 2015
Surrey, UK
Hi Nellen, my 90 year old mum also had shingles. She was very ill for months, had to be hospitalised, slept all the time, didn't eat; we thought she was going to die. She looked awful. But no. She hasn't exactly bounced back but she has recovered apart from some facial neuralgic pain for which she is on Nortriptyline which helps. Her dementia has definitely progressed since being so ill but she is much better from the shingles. All the best to you and your mum.