My FIL is in a lockdown unit and will be celebrating his 85th birthday on Tuesday. He has always been active up until the past month or so. He needs help getting out of a chair, but can still walk with his walker. His speech has become extremely slow in the past month and is really had to understand. He still has a good appetite, but it takes a long time for him to eat a cookie these days. Of course, he no longer uses his lower dentures as he would lose them constantly. He has been incontinent for more than a year.
I guess my question is whether Stage 7 can occur so quickly or if the myriad amount of drugs he is taking (Seroquel, departake, Zoloft, etc,) are taking a toll on his system. He also takes several medicines for high blood pressure. Physcially, his color looks good and he is not losing weight, mainly because he no longer paces constantly.
Is Stage 7 a phase that he can stay in for several years? We have talked with the nursing staff about scaling back on some of his antidepressants as he was extremely lethargic a few months ago. A sleeping pill was eliminated as they were having to wake him up to take it, but it doesn't seem as if much else has been eliminated or scaled back.
I wish I had an answer for you. My Mom is in stage 7, but with her it has been a gradual progession.
She cannot do anything for herself. Someone gets her up in the morning, transfers her to a wheelchair, washes her, dresses her, diapers her, pushes the chair to the group dining area, her food is put in front of her but she doesn't touch it, an aide comes and spoon feeds her a little bit. She is rolled to the community area where everyone is sitting around, a TV is on, some are talking, some hold real conversations. Until recently Mom talked a lot, now she is uninterested. Bill comes and takes her wheelchair down in the elevator to the park like courtyard, he talks to her, she may or may not respond. He sits with her for awhile, and takes her back up. That is her stage 7 life.
Up until recentlty she actually enjoyed some of the food, feeding leftover bread to the birds, talking, singing a little, teling a vaguely remembered joke. That seems to have ended at the time she had her second hospitalization for heart failure, in late November.
Now it's just waiting, waiting, like waiting for a train that never comes. I wish it could be speeded up. Since I believe in an afterlife, it is my opinion she would be better off on the other side. But we have no right to question God in this matter, and perhaps her existence on earth is now helping someone else learn patience - a new employee, a nurse, me, my brother. At least she is in no physical pain.
Since all her heart meds have stopped working, she is not on a lot of pills any more, but there has been no change in her mental capacity.
Thanks, Martha, for your reply. Have you been able to understand your mother when she talks? I think that is the biggest change I have noticed in FIL in the past few weeks. When he tries to answer something you say, he seems to working so hard to form words and when he does say something it is so difficult to understand him. He did make one spontaneous comment a few weeks ago. When my husband and I were discussing another resident, he asked, very clearly, what we were talking about.
I am wondering as well if he may have had another small stroke and that is affecting his speech.
Yes, you have had a long journey with your mother's descent into AD. I feel such guilt sometimes because I want my FIL to go quickly from some other cause before this horrible disease takes even more of a toll on him, but, as you said that is not in our hands.
My mom has just gradually lost her speech during this past year. I can still understand her, but she has a really hard time trying to find a word, and really, just doesn't talk any more. It is entirely possible your FIL had a slight stroke. It is fairly common and there isn't really any way to know for sure. I recently took my mom to the hospital because she was found out of her bed, sitting on the floor. Then the staff thought her speech sounded a bit slurred, and she was more tired than usual. She was in the hospital for 3 days; they ran as many tests as they could think of, and then discharged her. At that time they explained that I should think about what I'd want to do if this happened again, that they couldn't do anything if she did have another stroke due to her age (89), etc.
Isn't it odd how they can say something, seemingly out of the blue, that makes perfect sense, is in a complete sentence, and you can understand it clearly? At the hospital my mom couldn't tell them her name let alone anything else...but the next day she started talking about needing to get back to Florida (something she hasn't mentioned for five years!), and it was all very clearly stated. We were just amazed!!
Yes, we were shocked when he came out with that one sentence a few weeks ago. Since then, however, it seems his speech has really deteriorated. His dementia was caused by small strokes so I am always thinking he has had another one when there is a change for the worse.
My sister-in-law, who sees her father once a year, thinks he is on too many drugs and this is the reason he is so confused. When I emailed her about her father actually saying a sentence on his own she answered that maybe if his drugs were further decreased he "would be more his old self". Needless to say, I am really dreading her annual visit this summer when she realizes no amount of drug reduction will make him his old self.