I would sure appreciate some info on what we should expect in the near/distant future for our Mom.
Mom's doctor has told us that she has end stages dementia. She is currently in a Assisted Living Home. She sleeps most of the day and night (falls asleep at the table/eyes closed) and has (in the last 2 weeks) stopped wanting to eat. The caregivers are trying to feed her and have gotten her to eat a bit and are giving her Ensure. She really doesn't have any interest in communication except to say "no" when she doesn't want food, but can still walk a bit. She had a urinary tract infection about 3 weeks ago and received an antibiotic for that.
I'm sorry to say that the UTI has probably knocked the socks off her and weakened her system so much that the body is losing the battle.
If she no longer wants to eat, and is sleeping all day, then it appears that her time on this earth will soon be over. However, in saying that, I have seen people rally. A lot depends on a lot of things. You need to discuss with her doctor the option of stopping medications that are prolonging her life and perhaps let her go with dignity.
There was a gentleman I knew who had a pacemaker put in years ago. When he was diagnosed with Dementia (early stages) he asked for the pacemaker to be taken out. He couldnt and wouldn't put himself through having a heart that continued to beat while he lost his mind ....... wise man I thought. Who wants to be fully demented with a pacemaker 'keeping you going'. Quality of life? Bah!
Another lovely lady I know admitted she had been trying to figure out how to suicide (she's lucid however). By talking to her about stopping her med's instead of a possibly painful death, she's decided to stop all life saving medications. It's going to take a few months for her, but her wish will come true. This lovely funny bed bound lady who's body has betrayed her will eventually be at peace. She's been bed-bound for 6 years .... never get's out of bed except for a once-a-week shower. Quality of life? Bah!
Talk to her doctor. Get your facts and options ready.
When my Mom stopped eating and began sleeping a lot, we were also told that her life was drawing down to an end. She was not in pain or feeling hungry - she just didn't need food any more. She gradually faded away over several months.
I wish you all the strength you need at this time.
Sleepiness may be caused by the meds she is on - the tranquilizers, anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers - all contribute to drowsiness/fatigue. As mentioned in previous posts here - find out from the Doc what meds she is on and also the dosage - can any be eliminated or dosage decreased.
It is my understanding from the NH medical staff where my spouse resides - a demented person may not want to eat due to throat irritation. Also, end stage dementia usually manifests itself in rigidity AND loss of appetite.
Since you mentioned that Mom does walk sometimes (even with help), her body is still trying to combat the effects of the condition. I have had her Doc eliminate meds and only provide the lowest dosage necessary to modify psychotic behavior. This has been very helpful for more lucid moments and less sleepiness as I visit her on a daily basis.
I feel the best prescription for end stage dementia, is TLC - from a family member. It will not reverse the ultimate outcome - but it may make Mom's journey more 'peaceful' - and that's the only thing I trying to do now with my spouse.
Dear Rekem, Martha & Gemini,
Thank you all for your replies; they are greatly appreciated. As with anyone who has not been down this road before, the not-knowing what to do or say is terrible.
Mother is now off all meds (about 3 weeks ago) except her blood pressure med. She now eats breakfast by herself, but wouldn't touch more than 4-5 bites of lunch (when I tried to feed her). She has no desire to communicate; still falls off to sleep most all the time.
I can't help but wish that one time when I visit she would be able to eek out a smile or anything that says "I'm glad you're here", but she just either shields her face with her hands or goes off to sleep. I guess I will never know how much of this is the dementia or if she is just expressing in the only way she knows how angry she is at us and the world in general.
My wish for her right now is that since she sleeps most of the time, she is at least having fantastic dreams of her youth and dancing!
Don't take it personal dear. She is tired and doesnt' know what else to do. She is at the end of her life and it is a struggle to go on. She feels pressured by everyone and everything. She doesn't mean it personally.
When my Mother passed, she shut her eyes and fell into a deep sleep, but i knew she heard me. It was 6 days before she left us and she refused to look at me just once...and I was her only child...and yes it hurt..so don't take it to heart, she isn't meaning to hurt your feelings. It is just more than she can handle right now....
Thank YOU! It must have been even harder for you being the only child. Thanks to you and the others who have posted I am starting to put this into perspective.
God Bless You All!