Sudden deterioration

My Mum was diagnosed with dementia several years ago and until recently her symptoms have simply been short term memory loss and forgetting names. However, she has had 2 water infections in quick succession, both bringing with them associated delirium. Mum now can’t remember where she lives and seems to think she is back in her teenage years as she talks about her home town as it was then and keeps talking about getting ready for school.
When a family member is diagnosed with dementia we can read up about what to expect but nothing actually prepares you for the reality check when they suddenly deteriorate like this, it is brutal. I have no-one to share this with as my sister never visits. My husband has his own health problems so can be quite short tempered at times when I try to offload after visiting her so it remains bottled up. I am finding it very difficult to cope with visiting her nearly every day (she was moved from hospital to a rehab unit to improve her mobility) but if I don’t visit she has no-one. The person I visit - it is becoming increasingly difficult to think of her as my mum - is either asleep, living in the 1940s or complaining about everything - it is exhausting. I know that delirium can take weeks if not months to lift but my fear is that this time the confusion will be permanent. It is now over a month since she was last taken into hospital and she seems to be getting more confused, not less.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get myself back on an even keel as at the moment I can’t even function.

Sorry to hear you are going through this. My late hubby was the same. He also confabulatated. I just went along with it…It’s a very difficult heartbreaking situation. You do have to look after yourself, and try to pace visits. Definitely need to do that to cope.
I used to tell what I called kind lies,. If he asked for his mother, long gone, I would say something like she can’t come out today it’s too wet, hot cold blah blah. He always accepted it. If he said l had been along time, I would say I haven’t darling, you have been sleeping and I didn’t want to wake you. You do find ways round. Trial and error. Your needs are important in order to cope with the situation. Have you any admiral nurses in you area? Or in the assessment centre. I spoke with one a few times which helped.

Yes, she is clearly going downhill fast. Was this EVER a safe discharge??
Did the hospital arrange 6 weeks free care for her?
Has she had a Needs Assessment from Social Services?

You cannot continue as you are.
If this placement isn’t working, then the next step is an EMI home, for the Elderly Mentally Infirm).
Is there an Elderly Community Psychiatric Nurse in your area? The doctors should know.

I think we may have an Admiral Nurse in our area - I’ll check the website.
The hospital discharged her because she was medically fit - and I had to fight to get her into the rehab place, they wanted to send her straight home (she lives alone with myself and carers visiting 3 times per day)!
I will contact her GP again before she comes home to get her referred back to the Mental Health Service - they simply discharged her when she couldn’t take the medication because it gave her blinding headaches - medication doesn’t suit everyone but it doesn’t mean you don’t need their help.

I thought she was already home?

If she is still in rehab, then tell them they cannot discharge her from there until she has had a full assessment from the Mental Health Team. It’s not fair on a patient or relatives to discharge someone only for them to be readmitted again almost immediately.

Yes, she was discharged from the hospital to the rehab facility but there’s been no mention of mental health at all, just physio to get her walking better. I’ll speak to them when I visit tomorrow. Thanks for that.

Hi Judith,
if your Mum’s memory it deteriorating and her reality is now her teenage years - I honestly think you would be ok to not visit every day. Sadly, she unlikely to remember whether you visited or not. Daily visiting is stressful and having a rest from doing this will help you keep robust enough to advocate strongly on her behalf.