Is this the last lap?

Discussion in 'End of life care' started by Onlydaughter, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. Onlydaughter

    Onlydaughter Registered User

    Aug 12, 2014
    My mum who is 95, has been in a care home for the last three years and an alzheimers victim for the last six or seven years, possibly longer. Sadly she no longer knows any of the family, even when we tell her who we are, they are just words, no longer have any meaning to her. Occasionally a spark of memory comes back, it last just seconds.

    Her speech is very very laboured, repetitive rubbish about nothing, sometimes the repeating goes on for about half hour, without pause, then she is struggling for breath, waxen colour, very distressing to see. Give her a sweet etc, she is unsure what you do with it. Double incontinent, blind, deaf, teeth no longer exist and what's left are black, can't get out of a chair without help, put in a wheelchair most of the time, they make her shuffle/walk when they can. Eating is now a major challenge, takes that long she now starts before the others and stays till the staff have eaten, she is that slow and needs encouragement and obviously needs extended time to get something down. Sometimes won't eat at all. Has to be moved into own room every day after lunch as the ranting about nothing is loud without a break and distressing to other residents. Photos taken over the last three months show she is failing quite rapidly both physically and mentally.

    Not sure how long this stage can last, and is this the last stage. We already have DNR in place, had a review so meds etc, and were advised by the doctor that although the alzheimers med obviously does not help any longer as she has been on it for numerous years, he believes to take her off would cause her more distress. Any advice?
  2. CeliaThePoet

    CeliaThePoet Registered User

    Dec 7, 2013
    Buffalo, NY, USA
    This is distressing. is she on a palliative care plan for end of life?
  3. Onlydaughter

    Onlydaughter Registered User

    Aug 12, 2014
    No not yet, unless we haven't been informed, but the care home appears to be quite good passing on info like that.
  4. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    #4 Witzend, Aug 12, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
    I am so sorry, I know how upsetting this must be, since my mother was much the same, not knowing any of us (for ages), incontinent, not reacting to any contact, not making any sense at all when she did talk, though that was not often. It was obvious for some time that she must be at or near end stage, but she had such a strong constitution that we had almost begun to think she could go on for years still. However she went downhill very suddenly just recently, and died the next day. She was 97.

    I am sorry, this is no help, but it is so hard to be able to tell. Even on the day she died, one of the staff came to check her and said to me, 'I don't think she'll be going any time soon!' They too were so used to her bouncing back from things that would have been the beginning of the end for so many.

    I hope you will all not have to witness this distressing stage for too long, nor that your mother will have to suffer this horrible disease much longer.

    Should add that we had discussed end of life with the care home, and had agreed that given her age and stage of the disease there should be no hospital unless absolutely necessary (e.g. for a fracture), no badgering or pestering to eat or drink if she started to refuse; in other words she should just be kept as comfortable as possible and Nature allowed to take its course. If you haven't had this sort of discussion with the care home then it would probably be a good idea.
  5. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    I used to swing from wishing Pete would end his torment to being really scared that he would die. It was his strong heart which kept him alive-all those years of keeping fit seemed to make no difference in the end. Why some people hang on and others pass away peacefully has always been a puzzle to me-but I hope your Mum's torment will soon end. It is so difficult to watch isn't it? To say your Mum is an 'Alzheimer's victim' is so true; an innocent victim of this terrible disease.

    Thinking of you at this terrible time-may you all find peace soon.


    Lyn T XX
  6. Onlydaughter

    Onlydaughter Registered User

    Aug 12, 2014
    Last lap?

    My previous posts when we thought the end was near, mum has always rallied, in a weaker form. This last 10 days or so has seen her deteriorate, the speech has gone, she had been talking rubbish to herself for months , to the level of disruption for other residents, now silent. Pushing away food and drink, what soft things she is eating are being fed to her. Sleeping most of the day. Dr been and reviewed medication, she is not ailing anything really, alzheimers for about 7 years plus, and 95 years old, body just tired and think she has given up. Latest problem is legs are weeping generally as heart failure kicks in. Not sure how much longer she can sustain life. But certain the end is near. For her sake I hope so.
  7. nita

    nita Registered User

    Dec 30, 2011
    Even though you have been prepared for this for some time, it must be heart-breaking to watch though it sounds as if she is peaceful, sleeping most of the time. I feel for you as you and she go through this rite of passage - I know it can't be that long before it happens for my mother too. I hope you are getting some rest, my thoughts are with you.
  8. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    Thinking of you. For your mum's sake, hoping it won't be long, but I know how dreadful that final parting is. xx

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