??'s about moms confussion

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by KATES_MOM, Jan 29, 2008.


    KATES_MOM New Member

    My mother just turned 78 this month. For several months now she is very confussed apon awakening. When she takes a nap during the daytime, and then wakes up she is confussed about where she is and why she is there. She told me in the mornings when she wakes up she hears her mother, father, my brother, and my bro-inlaws voices, they are all deceased!
    She says they are trying to talk to her but she cant understand what they are saying. Sometimes she even walks around her appointment. looking for them.
    My sister took her to an appointment. yesterday and out to lunch. I talked to her when she got back and she was excited telling me all about her day. 40 min. later she called me very upset and asked me Why I didnt come and take her to her appointment. I was stunded! I recalled her day back to her and it took her a few sec. to remember this. But she seemed very upset with me on forgeting her and her appointment...?? Tonight she called and asked" Is is day or night?"
    Seems she layed down for a nap and woke up confussed again, didnt know if she had slept all night or what. She has been forgeting her 3 O"clock medications. So I now call her at 3 and tell her to take them.
    I usually go with her to all her appointment. doctor has said she needs to be in assisted living.
    But my other sisters seem to think this will be the end to her, as she would loose her independence, and give up and have a low quailty of life. So they out numbered me.
    During waking hours mom is pretty much with it, with some confussions. She still drives. The sisters dont want to take that away either, as she has had no accidents. I have found her roaming walmarts par/lot once trying to find her car. She had been looking for it for about an half hour she said. I have lost my car befor in the P/lot befor, so I didnt seem too concerned then. But now things are progressing rapidly!!
    I am taking her to doctor. tomorrow about this, they agreed to get her in quickly. What do you all think about this?? Is this alzheimers(sp) dementia, or what> How to handle the sisters also. Thanks, Kathy
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm no expert-obviously- but it sounds like alzheimers to me- or something along those lines. My grandmother had it- it doesn't shorten life, but it shortens quality life. When it first starts, it's just being forgetfull, then it turns into a period where they are mentally "there" with you (reality) sometimes and they are in a different era or period of their lives sometimes.- At least this is how it was with my grandmother. At first, we all would try to correct her (no, I'm your grandchild, not your sibling; or well, you just did that an hour ago, don't you remember). Then a dr told a couple of people in the family that this just frustrated her more. You can't bring her back into reality, so play along. It hurt my feelings when she thought she was a kid and I was her sister and she was trying to tell me to come in and quit playing or something (I was in my early 20's- I was her only son's child). Anyway, it probably prepped me for what my difficult child is going thru- and I do wonder if there is a gentic connection between alzheimers and mood disorders.

    This might not be what is going on with your mother- docs are supposed to be better now about diagnosis'ing and there should be medications that help slow the process. What they told us though, is that at any period that they are in a memory loss or different time period, just go along or it can cause extreme stress for them. And prepare, if this is what it is, because they gradually stay in that other "phase" longer and longer, until they reach a point where they never mentally come back. My grandmother died in a fetal position- after mos- and the family had allowed one blood transfusion to help with physical problems, but wouldn't allow a second because she was in her 80's (this was in the 1980's) and we had accepted that she was back in "baby" land and would never come back and she would not want to lie there - well, it was hard.

    I hope I haven't floored you- this might not be what is going on with your mother, and as I said, there are medications that can help these days. I don't know what the specialty is called, but there are docs who specialize in geriatric medicine. I would suggest getting one on board- if this is who she's seeing now, call and let them know she's your mother and you need to know what is going on with her.

    But, if this is what's going on, she will need assisted living- it won't stop her independence, unfortunately, the illness stops her independence.
  3. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    In this day & age 78 is not that old. How's mom's blood pressure? High blood pressure could be an indicator of possible small strokes which can cause confusion.

    What medications is she taking? Those can be some cause for concern. Sometimes the combinations of certain medications can cause confusion as well.

    History of diabetes? A concern for high or low blood sugars?

    Any outside activities to keep her mind & body busy? Bingo games, weekly church outing, etc.

    Just a few things that may be contributing to your mom's confusion.

    Don't panic yet - time to do some research for mom.
  4. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Has she has any other health problems? My mother in law was like this after some mini-strokes. She would wake up really confused---always after sleeping or napping---and then seem fine.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I was just thinking that I might have put a panic out there too soon- The others bring up some good points- would a neurologist be able to help pin point this? (Question to others trying to help)
  6. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    What you're describing is exactly what we've been going through with my mom, who is 85. This past summer she started showing similar symptoms to your mom's. Her Dr had a slew of blood work done this past week along with a Cat scan - we're hoping he can determine that mom suffered a series of small strokes. Back at around 80 she had 5-bypass surgery and they said that if she wasn't careful with her diet and faithfully take her aspirin each day she could and most likely would suffer some mini-strokes. We think that's what happened. However, one sister chooses to believe that mom has full blown alzheimers.

    Based on the research I've done, if my mom had/has alzheimers it would have shown up long before now. At 85, losing one's memory is mostly attributed to a combination of depression caused by loneliness and most of all simple dementia caused by old age and loss of good circulation.

    We're in the process of finding a gerontician and we have an appointment with a geriatric neurologist. The gerontician will examine mom and go over her diet and medications (she often forgets to take her medications and my sister who lives near mom isn't sure which she is supposed to take or when). The neurologist will do specific exams to rule out alzheimers and explore some of the dementia related symptoms.

    I urge you to get your mom in to see a geriatric neurologist. If you can't see one immediately, seeing a gerontologist in the meantime is a start.

    We had to take away mom's keys about 3 years ago after she side swiped a telephone pole and left the scene "to go find a cop" and then forgot about the accident until she saw my brother in law and he asked about the HUGE dent in her van. She took him to the scene and then he called the police. It was pretty scary.

    It's been very difficult to become our mom's caretakers, but what I've told my siblings is that from now on we have to make decisions based on what is in the best interest of mom's health, welfare and safety - even if we don't like what we have to choose.

    Best of luck, you're certainly not alone.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry you are having to cope with this. It must be terribly hard. I would find a doctor who specialized in geriatrics, and a neurologist.

    medications, lots of things could be causing/contributing to the problems.

    I KNOW that if my gma had not had an assisted living facility she would have died many years before she did. And her life would NOT have been nearly as nice or half as much fun.

    The ALF my gma was in had 2 towers. The low-care side had all meals provided (and they had little mini-kitchens in their rooms). A staff member could help with baths, minor care things. If they didn't come home after they signed out, then an alert was sent out earlier than would otherwise have been. They were ASKED to sign out, but no one was penalized for not signing out unless they were gone through several meals or a full day with-o letting anyone know. It was a safety thing. Many still had cars, but there was a van to take them places also. AndLOTS of activities like meals out, shows, boat trips (it was in Florida), all sorts of entertainment.

    The more care unit was a separate tower. It was NOT a skilled nursing facility, but they did have an RN to dispense medications, they could be wheeled or just accompanied down to the cafeteria, and still were allowed to go on as many outings as they could.

    There is a wide range of quality in ALF's, from what I hear. It may be worth looking into.

    As for the car, is she truly capable of driving safely? I am asking, I have NO idea the answer, just know it is a really HARD decision for family to make. Maybe a discussion with someone at the police dept would give you some criteria to make this decision?

    As to who makes her health/other decisions, does 1 of you have a durable medical power of attorney, other power of attorney, or whatever papers your state deems necessary? It is worth the hassle when she is lucid, because in many states if you wait until she is not then the state makes the decisions, or makes it harder for you to make them.

    Again, so very sorry,


    KATES_MOM New Member

    Hi all, My mom has continued to go in and out of confussion. All her medications are the same as of July 07. I am waiting to hear from her neuro. doctor . He sees her for parkinsons. I am worried that she has had a stroke( no indications ) she looks the same. Or I am scared the parkinsons has progressed. Her psychiatrist he sees her for depression feels this is not due to medications, because she has been on all same medications. since July. These are the types of behavior we are seeing and hearing from her:

    Calls us through the middle of the night and hangs up , when we return a call she dont answer.
    My sister had taken her to an doctor appointment. last week then out to lunch and shopping. I called her when she got home and she told me all about her day. 30 min. later she called me back and raised H*** with me for not taking her to her appointment. "how could I forget the important appointment." I reminded her that sister had taken her they had lunch and shopping, it took a few min. then she said oh yeah thats right.
    Now she says someone came into her apartment when she was not there and pooped in a white bucket. She cleaned it up and when she went back to the bathroom the white bucket was gone.

    She had a convo with my sister that has tripplets yesterday ( these triplets are 17)
    mom asked her which hotel her and her babies are staying? She told her mom the kids are 17. Mom insisted no they are not, and why doesnt she want to tell her where they all are staying. Then she came back to reality. This is the kinds of things that come and go with her. Now she wants a pistal to keep in case someone trys to break in. I told her no, they will not give a gun to anyone over the age of 60 now. Ha she believed me then aske for me to pick her up a billy club like the police use. Then if anyone tries to get in she can beat the H### out of them. Then like I said I can carry oa normal convo with her then all the sudden she is off again. Any help?? any sugg. I had her to the emergency dept. last even. the were so full we had to stand, and then we found out the wait from her sign in time was 6.5 hours just to be seen. I am soooo scared. Kathy
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Kathy, your latest post sounds less like alzheimers and more like a tumor or something else going on in your mother's brain. Hallucinations are not typical of alzheimers and are more common with seizure activity as well as tumor growth in certain parts of the brain.

    Has your mom had a brain MRI lately? I would speak with her DR alone and/or with your sister present and urge him/her to order an MRI of your mom's brain. If she had a stroke, it may show up. Of, if she has a tumor it will show up. You can also get her an EEG to measure her brain waves. There is definitely something strange going on and it may NOT be alzheimers. Just because she has confusion does not mean it's senility, alzheimers or dementia - it could be caused by a multitude of factors.

    Sending hugs and prayers. I hope you're able to find out what's going on. Under no terms should she be left alone, in my opinion, and definitely NOT with weapons of any kind.
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I think you do need to have her seen ASAP--I'd take the first appointment I could get with her PCP, neuro, or ger. specialist. There are some medical problems that mimic Alzheimers and you do want to make sure all the bases are covered. Call her PCP and ask to speak to a nurse and relay your concerns--don't stop with the receptionist.

    Regardless of the cause, it sounds like time for a family pow-wow to make plans for her care and to remove the car keys. Individuals who are hallucinating don't belong behind the wheel.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Are you sure she is hallucinating- or maybe she actually did some of these things then forgot?
  12. Kate's Mom,

    My grandmom had Parkinson's and she had issues with hallucinations when she was on the wrong medications. I called her one afteroon around 4:00pm to say "hi", and she said," how can you call me when you're right here on my sofa?" Needless to say, I was very concerned. I asked her to hand the phone to "the lady on the sofa", but she kept saying "she doesn't want to talk". Needless to say my Mom and I got her to the doctor pronto. It was the medications and with a change she cleared right up. However, her Parkinson's did progress and her issues reappeared several years later.

    The neurologist told us about the "sundown syndrome". Apparently late afternoon and early evening are hard times for the elderly. They can experience more confusion at that time of day - and no one really knows why. It is a well documented phenomenon. Maybe a couple of these issues are going on with your Mom.

    I'm so sorry that your family is experiencing this. Parkinson's is a serious disease. There are more options for treatment than ever before, but it is a progressive illnesses. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Actually lots of these symptoms sound so familiar to me. My mom did "sundown" quite a bit. She also would seem to know things at different times and then forget them...she would get confused and talk about people as if one person was another one. She completely forgot who I was but knew Tony and the boys for a bit longer. She remembered Ronald Reagan...lol. When 9/11 happened she thought it was the start of WWII again. She was always telling us to take her back home to Boston but she hadnt lived there in 50 years. We moved her in with us from Myrtle Beach. She had been there for almost 17 years. We had to take her car away from her before we moved her because it simply wasnt safe...and to do that I simply took the car keys but it made her so mad...but we told her that the state came down and put a control lock on the car. She believed us! I simply got this little magnetic key box and stuck it on the car. She ranted and raved about how unfair the state was...lol.

    We had her tested with a neuro and a regular doctor. Her mental status exam and the mri all came up showing she was "indicative" of alzheimers. You really cant diagnose alzheimers until after death. I have no doubt that is what she had. We didnt do the autopsy. She died 4 years after we brought her to live with us.