My mom's health is declining....

wadybug59October 21, 2007

My husband & I are sole caregivers for my 82y.o. mother with moderate dementia. Her health has been declining for the past 6 weeks. She went from basic independent functioning to almost total dependence. She constantly complains of nausea, but no vomiting, accompanied with intermittent bouts of diarrhea. Her appetite has decreased dramatically. BP and blood sugars are all good. No recent changes in what meds she's taking. One doctor visit & 2 ER visits have yielded nothing. We are at our wits end. We consulted a geriatric specialist, he changed her antidepressant from Zoloft to Prozac, but I don't think there's been time to reach a therapeutic effect.

If anyone has any suggestions...

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She is a candidate for Hospice. Medicare has a hospice benefit. Her doctor can order a hospice evaluation, they will come out at a time convenient for you and assess her, and you won't be at your wit's end anymore, and your Mom will be comfortable. This can be a very special time, actually, for all of you! I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 9:41AM
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The same symptoms happened to my 80-year-old mother. We took her to the ER, where at first they couldn't find anything particularly wrong other than her usual old-lady complaints. It turned out to be a UTI. UTIs cause all kinds of symptoms in the elderly that are different from what happens to younger people.

She's fine now, after a course of antibiotics -- or as fine as she ever gets. Her appetite has returned, and digestion is okay. Hospice would have been premature for her.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 4:50PM
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How are things today? I agree about the UTIs, check with the doctor.

I also want to urge you to check and try to find some sort of support for yourselves. In my area, we have a caregivers support group. CHeck at the hospitals, the Alzheimer's association, the hospice, and ask about either a group or private support, so you'll have a local shoulder to lean on.

Best of luck to you. CHeck in here when you can.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 12:18PM
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Thank you for all of the responses and ideas. We were finally able to get an appointment with an internal medicine/geriatric specialist Monday. He was great! He made some changes to her medications and also gave us something to treat the nausea. Today was a good day. I am cautiously optimistic. I have also contacted our local community services board to find out what kind of assistance/support is available to us.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 10:15PM
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