Why does dementia escalate?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by HerOnlySon, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. HerOnlySon

    HerOnlySon Registered User

    Nov 21, 2005
    2
    Kingston Upon Thames
    My Mother Peggy, is already way into her nightmare journey. She has vascular dementia. She just lays there mouth open, fist clinched tight, mainly with her eyes closed and if she opens ....her pupils are dark. It's just like looking into the sea as then the seabed falls and just goes on into infinity.

    This is an awful way for her to "live" I have already mourned her passing. I have cut locks from her hair (she would kill me) so that I can feel close to her when she finally leaves. My poor mum.

    I am at work right now but she is always on my mind. What I really find hard to come to terms with is that I have a 3 year old son that she will not know but he knows her. I point to her picture on the shelf and he says "grandma" . She does have 5 daughters. But I am her only son.

    I came across this site and I wanted to write and express how I feel and participate with you.

    I do have a question for anyone who wishes to answer. Why, after a fall does dementia escalate?

    Thank you for your time
     
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hello, welcome to TP,

    As for all of us, this is a sad path we are having to take, but the fellowship of TP helps, so do post whenever you feel the need.
    My truthful answer is that I don't know. As with so many of these things we have to make our own conclusions.

    My wife deteriorated drastically when the hospital she was in on assessment let her fall and fracture her pelvis. It was a case of much more quickly downhill after that.

    But it is not just falls.

    Deterioration may happen after a virus, or a change of medication, or a change of location.... or, with vascular dementia, after a serere mini stroke, or a series of mini strokes in quick succession. Vascular dementia has a stepped development and quite naturally, it tends to get worse in a more pronounced way that say, Alzheimer's.

    My take on the deterioration is that with dementia, their brain is working overtime to maintain as much normality as possible. In essence, it is juggling with a thousand [probably many more] balls in the air at one time, one for each faculty, thought, memory.

    When a fall occurs, a lot of those balls get dropped in order to try to cushion the fall. Once dropped, the balls can't get picked up again and re-used. The balls that are dropped are quite random, so the faculties lost are different for each person.

    Best wishes
     
  3. EllieS

    EllieS Registered User

    Aug 23, 2005
    170
    SOMERSET
    Good morning

    I hope you slept okay.

    re your question "Why, after a fall does dementia escalate?"

    As we (I) get older it is a fact that it's not quite so easy to "bounce back" , so I suppose it makes sense really.

    Dementia sufferers seem to be highly sensitive to changes of any kind at all - may be like Brucie says because their bodies/minds have so much to juggle that it's kinda like the last straw!

    I'm so sorry your young children are not able to get to know their real Grandma but they can see just how much her son loves her and cares for her - and that is a wonderful thing and hopefully will help them develop into very nice and very caring adults. Not everyone does!

    It must be dreadful to have to see your Mum like this - somehow it seems wrong doesn't it? We wouldn't let a dog suffer so! But the alternative is I suppose open to misuse! I don't know....

    Anyway, ENJOY those children of yours - your Mum would want you to be happy and would SO like to be able to enjoy them with you.

    You can only do what you can do!

    Very best wishes.

    EllieS
     
  4. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    836
    Australia
    An improvement first?

    Does this happen for other people too....?

    With Dad not only does his dementia state deteriorate further after any kind of shock, but he often for just a very short period after the shock he really improves briefly. We've especially noticed it after he has had to have general anaesthetics, he has become delightfully clear headed for an afternoon or two, often gets a few words out, appears to be more 'here' than usual, might even be able to coordinate his movements better than normal, more like he used to be. Have also noticed this if he gets a fright or gets really angry.

    We've always put it down to a survival mechanism, when his body thinks its in danger it suddenly focuses to protect him, perhaps the adrenaline rush helps to do this.....(i.e. he suddenly focuses on the most important balls). Its always wonderful to see he come back to us like this momentarily but over time the joy has turned bittersweet because he appears to then suffer more damage after it, takes one step forward, but two steps backwards so to speak. I think the ball analogy works really well, or even a cooking one. When Dad's body realises one of the saucepans on the stove is in real danger of catching fire, he focuses on saving that, but meanwhile while he turns that situation around briefly and it looks like he's going to achieve some fine cuisine afterall, the other three saucepans start to catch alight, so not only do they get ruined, but in an attempt to fix the other 3 saucepans again, he lets the first one go again. In the end, all four are worse off then they were to start with.
     
  5. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    yes, and it also seems to happen just before a drop [ie a TIA], for those with vascular dementia.

    I always worry when things seem to get better because I fear we are about to hit another step down.
     
  6. KarenC

    KarenC Registered User

    Jun 2, 2005
    122
    Los Angeles, USA
    When my mom had a couple of short seizures of some sort (although the doctor said they might not really be seizures), we were afraid it would really set her back, but she was alert the next day. The nurse I talked to at the home said sometimes they are more alert after a seizure.

    Karen
     
  7. HerOnlySon

    HerOnlySon Registered User

    Nov 21, 2005
    2
    Kingston Upon Thames
    Vascular Demetia

    Thankyou all for posting your replies and experiances. Great discussion group. In this at times horrible world there are some wonderful people.

    Thankyou once again for taking the time to post> James
     

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