What is happening?????

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by melbee, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. melbee

    melbee Registered User

    Sep 23, 2006
    North West England
    Hi there,

    I haven't been here for a while and some may remember back in July/August 07 the decision we, my sister & I, had to make re our Mum moving to a Residential Nursing home. She had spent 9 weeks in an assessment unit at the hospital, where they were monitoring her & trying various levels of medications and eventually took her off the Aricept because it was making her aggressive as she also has Bipolar (Manic depression - only just diagnosed) as well as the Alzheimer/Dementia.

    Well she moved in to the Residential part of the home on 10th August 2007, and all seemed to be 'NORMAL' whatever that is. Some days Mum doesn't want to be there, but after explaining that I couldn't look after her like they can. (I have a 4 yr old daughter and couldnt allow her to witness certain things - Mum is now doubly incontinent too). She is usually okay and we then talk about something else, although we do have the same conversation at least once a week. The staff at the home are lovely, friendly & caring keeping us informed and up to date with events that occur. My sister comes up every other weekend with her 2 youngsters to see Mum, travelling 450 miles round trip and rings the home up too. We have also started to take Mum out, but this weekend she wandered off a couple of times & we all (Me, sis and 3 kids aged 4, 4 & 6) spent ages looking for her as it happens so quick.

    Anyway getting to whats is worrying us the most is that approx 3 weeks ago Mum had a couple of falls out of bed. Luckily she was fine and no brokens bones etc. The home phoned me to advise me and phoned the doctor. So Mum now has an alarm mat beside her bed and a foam bolster thing which velcros on her bed under the sheet at night to prevent her from rolling. She has become quite slow in her movement which we put down to the decreased activety, but her voice is very very quiet and she is not eating properly. She puts the food in her mouth and chews it but then sometimes gags and has to spit it out. The home have tried offering her all different food alternatives, even pureeing some foods and ask me what Mum likes and dislikes as I know her better.
    Mum always liked her food with a passion, especially sweet things & puddings but she even gags on yoghurt, trifle, custard, cream you name it we've tried it. She is also not taking in enough fluids and only has a sip of tea, water, juice etc then leaves it.
    The Consultant from the hospital was contacted too & came to see Mum last week, and witnessed Mum gagging too. She is also aware that Mum liked her food as saw her in the hospital daily. She has referred Mum for another CT scan (to see if she has had a miny stroke) and to see an eating & speech doctor?

    Should I chase it up? Why is this happening? What is happening? Mum is along way off from the end of this awful illness and will end up back in hospital if this continues. Is she just being stubborn, as never liked being told what to do? Is she having a tantrum because she doesnt want to be at the home? I am at my wits end with worry.

    Anyway sorry if the above is a bit confusing, I read it back several times - and am confused myself. So if anyone has any thoughts or ideas - they would be greatfully

    Love and Best wishes to all

  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Hi Melanie

    I must emphasise that what I'm about to say is just speculation, but forgetting how to chew/swallow can be another stage in the dementia. Whether your mother has reached this stage or there is soemthing else going on is a toss up. I would say, though, that it is unlikely to be a concious decision on her part: you say she sometimes tries to chew but then gags - that would lead me to suppose that it is a "mechanical" problem rather than anything else.

    Unfortunately, there is no set path with AD, and different things happen at different times for different people. I assume when you say the above that she is in other areas less far advanced, but I'm not sure it's possible to say how far along the road of AD someone is. If they "forget" how to swallow that means that part of their brain has been affected. That may not happen until the later stages for most people, but there is no rule that says it can't happen earlier.

    When she has been seen by the speech and language therapist you should have a clearer idea of what is going on. Often they will prescribe a thickener for fluids (strangley thicker is easier to swallow than thinner). If that doesn't work you may be looking at PEG feeding. However, I should reiterate that this is just random speculation on my part: I imagine there are other health issues that might contribute to this. I assume she's in the process of being or has been checked for a sore throat etc?
  3. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    Hello Melanie:

    We are not medics here and certainly I have no medical experience. I fancy that your Mum is NOT having a tantrum or being stubborn. I think the consultant is very wise to go ahead to check for mini-strokes and if it is not that, then maybe the brain is just not 'instructing' your Mum re appetite and swallowing.

    I would go along with the tests that are in hand - only chase if the delay is too great.

    You will no doubt get other replies and advice too.

    Good luck Jan
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Dear Mel.

    The last line of your post says it all. You are at your wits end with worry.

    From the rest of your post it seems as if everything is being done to get to the cause of the change in your mother`s condition.
    I know it`s easy for me to say, but take a deep breath and let the medics do their work. Specualtion isn`t always the best path to follow and there caould be many causes. However, I would be very surprised indeed if your mother is in control of the situation.

    Take care

    Love xx

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