If anyone has had experience with this, please let me know. This is kind of long, sorry. A month ago Dad was living at home, doing the things 77-year-olds do, like reading novels, going out to dinner, watching sports, listening to his CD collection, shaving, showering, paying bills, etc. He was starting to get a little forgetful and confused, like not remembering he went to the dentist. It started getting worse, aspecially at night, almost like he was lost in his own house, not knowing where the kitchen was. The he stopped reading his novels and the daily paper. Mom grew worried and took his blood pressure and it was 200/170. So that day, he walked into the emergency room, and that day, over a month ago was the last time he walked on his own power. He did not have a stroke, just the beginnings of age-related dementia.
During his month long hosptal stay, docs got the blood presure under control, but after his first night, his mind seem to snap. He became delerious and combative, totally un-characteristic for his intelligent, sweet, compliant personality. He coudn't see us or communicate with us when we visited. The hospital staff had to restrain him and put on oversized cotton "boxing gloves" because he tried to hit them. Doctors told us it was due to the strong anti-hypertensive drugs and it would wear off, but it has not.
He's in a nursing home now, thin, frail and weak, being fed by an enteral tube. He's bedridden, and can't seem to understand how to use a phone, change a TV channel with a remote, and the list goes on. He's getting phys. therapy, but he has soooooo far to go to get back to where we want him. It seems like the stroke patients are doing better and going home sooner then he is.
We had similar incidents with my husband's dad (except his symptoms happened over a longer period of time). He too, at one time, read the paper, then that stopped.....he used to watch TV, that stopped too. He also has basically stopped talking. Once all this happened, it was the end of him doing "anything" except for sitting. It is thought that he's had multiple mini-strokes which has caused brain damage. What do the dr's say?
Docs say the stress of being in the hospital is often enough to push an elderly person with mild dementia further into it.
I read this also. Even a cold can accelerate this disease. Alzheimer's has many masks...unfortunately none of them have kind expressions. I have watched the progress of this disease in my mother for 9 years...both in-laws have also been diagnosed in the last 2 years. Each of them have progressed at a different pace...and sometimes skipping stages.
A month seems unusual to show such extreme changes...but the tenacity of this horrific disease shows no favoritism. My belief is that the "patient" is somewhat aware of these drastic...or subtle...changes, and is scared beyond what any of us can comprehend. My mother, and FIL both needed meds to calm them down, but my MIL remained her own little sweet self.
I remember some of the same challenges Meadowshoes, and my heart goes out to you.........and you'll find many kind shoulders here who have come to understand and accept what we have no control over. My life seems to live by the saying "what is...is".
Each of us found this place to find information, share experiences, and soften the burden for others facing the same situation............Pam
Sorry all that happened to your dad, and so quickly. Yes, I think it is worse than a stroke. A stroke can kill you, however...so maybe it isn't.
Anyway, it's true that almost any illness and most certainly a hospital stay can accelerate dementia. He was already quite forgetful, so it is likely he already was in stage 3 or 4 (at that stage people can cope with life but need help with things like balancing check books, keeping doctors appointments, etc ) but the hospital stay pushed him into stage 4 or 5 .
Yes, the anti hypertension drugs can also do it, and especially some combinations of drugs can do it. I always suspected that Mom's dementia began after an attack of heart failure and 4 days in the intensive care unit. She came home drugged and confused, on 6 different pills, and was never quite the same again.
This is a good place to come and vent and cry and feel the love and care of others in the same boat. Welcome!