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Pandemic and Rapid Progression of Symptoms
Drew Wood
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2022 10:26 PM
Joined: 5/23/2022
Posts: 3

My mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and is now 75. She has had what seems like a rapid decline as her symptoms began about when the pandemic began. She is now what most would classify as middle stages. Has anyone else noticed rapid decline in health that correlates with pandemic?
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 6:46 AM
Joined: 1/11/2013
Posts: 132

I wouldn't say a rapid decline, but the pandemic disrupted routines and removed the social component which had a negative effect.
May flowers
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 8:26 AM
Joined: 4/9/2021
Posts: 523

My FIL was with us during 2020 and we kept his routine pretty normal so I don’t know that it affected him. Whenever Covid went through my husband’s work, he kept a little distance for a week.

We placed him in MC in May of 2021 and because they did not limit social interaction there he did very well. Even when Covid went through they did not keep the healthy from socializing, just limited visitors. After that facility flooded and he was moved to another facility. They confined patients to their rooms much more, very little interaction, and when Covid went through everyone was kept in their rooms for 3 weeks. At that facility, he had a very rapid decline, some due to an undiagnosed UTI, but overall he just wasn’t having much interaction with caregivers or other residents. We know his needs and ADLs were not being met. 

Anyway, I think the lack of socialization, the fear of Covid, and change of routine was hard on the elderly.


Quilting brings calm
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 9:17 AM
Joined: 10/16/2020
Posts: 1029

It’s very hard to tell.   My mom suffers from anxiety and depression.  Has for a long time.   In 2018, her symptoms were explained as that or other things. When she got rapidly worse in 2019, she was eventually diagnosed with a UTI.  My parents  went into assisted living in November 2019. She saw someone at a psychologists office in January 2020, but never went back for the intensive testing appointment. The covid restrictions were in place by March 2020 and lasted for a year.  No visitors allowed in, limited time with other residents.  No outside trips except for medical care.  Boy did my parents  come up with reasons for medical care so they could see me( I took them).    Some of moms’  symptoms persisted and may have been increased by the restrictions. She  She was diagnosed with MCI May 2021 once I finally got her PCP to refer her to a neurologist. .  Restrictions were lifted by then. I maintain that it should have been mild dementia then and  it’s still that now.  None of her symptoms have decreased in the year since restrictions have lifted. They have increased. 

Average duration of the stages of Alzheimer’s are listed several places on the internet.  MCI is 2-7 years.  Mild  dementia ( the stage where most doctors can diagnose it) is an average of 2 years.  Then it’s on to mid stages. What stage was your parent  in before March 2020?  It’s been over two years since the pandemic started.  So is your parent  rapidly declining due to the pandemic or just moved to the next stage more or less in a typical timeframe?  It’s so hard to tell as so  many factors come into play.  

Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 9:35 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 3658

Drew Woods-

Cobbling onto what fesk mentioned, did you mom's day-to-day routine change in any way? If she was in a facility that paused activities and group dining or at home in smaller COVID-bubble without the routines of running errands and family visiting you might see impact. If your LO contracted and recovered from COVID you might expect to see an obvious progression in symptoms.

That said, my dad had dementia pre-COVID and was diagnosed in the mid-stages in August 2016. He progressed rapidly and passed in spring of 2018 from complications of aspiration pneumonia. Had this happened in the context of pandemic lookdowns, I would have assumed that hastened the progress but that was not the case for us. 

Drew Wood
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 2:13 PM
Joined: 5/23/2022
Posts: 3

She had no symptoms when the pandemic started and none of her children could tell anything was wrong.  A few months into the pandemic we realized she was showing mild cognitive impairment and by the time she was properly diagnosed months later, we were told she needed full time care.  She has had other health issues come up but her cognitive function continues to decline, and she cannot function without full time care.
Drew Wood
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 2:16 PM
Joined: 5/23/2022
Posts: 3

My mom was living a normal life, completely independent when the pandemic began.  Symptoms began soon after and by the time we got a dignosis several months later we were told she could not live alone.  We got her full time care and her decline is continuing to where she is in middle stages of the disease.  Just within 2 + years.