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Hello to all here. I'm hoping to get some feedback and information from those of you with more experience.
My mother just passed her 100th birthday. She has reduced vision from macular degeneration and she has a pacemaker. Other wise her health is excellent. She was living in assisted living MC until April when she fell fracturing her hip. She is now in a nursing home and bed/wheelchair bound.
Her dementia (no diagnosis) has been progressing for the last two years. She was terribly traumatized by the fall and injury and perhaps by efforts at rehab afterward. She is very unhappy as might be expected for someone in her situation but she is getting much worse.
She now is paranoid, thinking the aides are talking about her and taking notes on everything she says. She claims they are rude and sarcastic to her. She claims they do not feed her 2-3 times per week. If I say I don't see these behaviors she says they only do it when I'm not there. She is angry, anxious and very frightened, feeling helpless and at the mercy of people she believes hate her.
I do not believe these things are happening but they are real to her. I had one aide tell me today that she loved my mother and that Mom was such a "Firecracker" yesterday. Well, Mom is no firecracker always shy and stoic, she is acting out because she is terrified and paranoid, but the aide did not seem to see this.
She has not been happy since she left home to the AL facility in 1/17 and she really wasn't happy before that but at least it was familiar. She has been terribly bored up to this point not wanting to participate in activities and only wanting to be in her room where it is quiet and she can look out of the window. But the extreme anger, paranoia, and fear is new.
The unit nurse suggested a psychiatrist evaluation which is fine with me. She was very briefly on anti psychotics at the AL but had hallucinations and delusions. Are drugs really helpful in this situation? She is on an antidepressant which does not seem to do anything.
Would moving her to a different facility help? Would a fresh start likely be beneficial since she has come to hate this place so much? I have my doubts because her dementia and physical limitations are going to follow her. Much of her thinking, no one likes her, she does everything wrong, etc. seems to have been a life-long personality trait that is coming out, something she can no longer control.
I would opt for the psychiatric consult and explore if meds could help with her anxiety. A daily med really helped my LO quite a bit. Before she was extremely worried, anxious, crying, upset, obsessed with things and people, depressed, etc. She would say that something terrible had gone wrong, though, she couldn't tell me what. I would investigate to make sure things were really okay, but, always comfort her, tell her I had taken care of the problem, all was now fixed and no need to worry. This would bring her comfort, until the next time, but, medication really helped with this. She was in a great MC and they have taken excellent care of her.
I'd keep in mind that sometimes PWD may remain discontented. Nothing may be able to cheer them up or satisfy them. Some PWD are that way even if they are in their own home and cared for by their favorite loved ones. The brain just may not be allowing them to think clearly or process things properly. These changes in the brain can be frightening to the patient. My LO would sometimes ask me if things were real. Was she dreaming? Once she thought her neighbor was angry with her and she would not let it go. I told her that he was, but, he forgave her and wanted to start fresh.
Sometimes, it takes a while to get medications adjusted.