Infections and confusion

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Grable, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. Grable

    Grable Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    I've just had a horrible week with my mother. As I've posted before, she lives in the Midlands and I'm on the south coast and my own health is such that it isn't easy for me to get up to her at the moment. She's still living on her own and is keen to stay that way as long as possible, but it is aware that her memory is failing. She's been to the memory clinic and had a CT scan, but we have to wait until October 1st for a diagnosis.

    This week she has been suffering with a throat/chest infection. She reckons it's just a cold, so won't go to the doctor. However, she's been particularly confused while this has been going on. I remember my grandmother going very strange when she had a urine infection - is confusion a symptom of other infections as well? I phoned her today and she seems far more 'with it' now.
  2. IzzyJ

    IzzyJ Registered User

    Aug 23, 2015
    Hello Grable, I've seen this too, infections do seem to cause confusion, sometimes very extreme.I don't know the medical reasons behind this, but I am sure someone else will. Good luck and wishing you all the best, I am glad your mum is still able to live on her own.
  3. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    I suppose any infection with a raise in temperature and white blood cells is enough to cause someone with dementia to be worse.

    Mum with moderate AD lives with Dad in their own house behind ours.
    Since last Friday Mum developed a cold and cough. I have been taking her temp, which has been normalish, but she has been a touch more confused. Last night though she sounded a bit wheezy and looked awful.
    This morning I made an appt for Mum to see her doctor. I had phoned her and she sounded OK if not a bit more confused.
    Wasn't till I saw her this morning I realised she wasn't OK at all.

    She came over with 4 layers of mismatched clothes on, a jacket, socks and shoes ( its a warm spring day here) hair not combed, 2 different earrings in and no bottom teeth in. She was wobbly on her feet also, and my Dad never said a word. :mad:
    He also said this morning Mum was on her hands and knees picking bits off the carpet. It was the wool flecks in the carpet she was trying to pick out.

    Dr has put her on a course of antibiotics as her chest sounded rattly, and I have a sneaking suspicion Mum has a urinary infection but too hard to get her to do a sample. The Anti B's should work either way.
    In Mums case she also has Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia so her while blood cells are always raised and harder to fight of infection.
    Apart from a skin infection 3 yrs ago, this would be her first major one since being diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2013.
  4. Grable

    Grable Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    Thanks, folks. I've spoken to her again today and she's definitely on the mend - although refusing to go to the doctor about an infection that has been going on for over a week now.
  5. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Grable, glad your mum is feeling better and it is nerve wracking to do the long distance caregiving thing (been there, done that), no doubt about it.

    From what I've seen here on TP, and from what I understand from my mother's doctors, patients with dementia are definitely prone to infections (especially urinary tract infections, but also chest infections) and absolutely can be very negatively impacted by said infections. Also, they often don't clear up on the first try. There can be quite dramatic and sudden changes in personality, behaviour, et cetera.

    I understand your mother doesn't want to go to the doctor, but urge you to try. Can you ring her GP and see if she/he will do a home visit? Or ask the doctor to call your mother and ask her to come in for an appointment? I hope you're able to work something out. If it isn't clearing up, I suspect you'd be happier if she got checked out and had someone listen to her lungs.

    Lin, sorry to hear about your mum as well and hope you see an improvement soon.
  6. Grable

    Grable Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    Thanks for the advice, Amy. It does seem to be clearing up now and she's a lot more 'with it' again!

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