My grandmother has been diagnosed with alzheimers and according to the doctor she is in the beginning of the middle stages of the disease. She has been able to hold conversation, and still has the ability to do most tasks yet she is losing it due to her spending most of the day in bed or sitting on the loveseat in the living room. Right now I am pushing fluids through her because she is dehydrated. It has happened once before so I know how to recognize and treat it. She cannot form many words. She can some every now and again, its almost like I can see her wanting to come back to a coherent state. Why would her disease take such a giant leap overnight? What should I do? I plan on having her into her neurologist on monday, but is there anything else I can do in the meantime? Please...somebody help me. I'm her 24 yr old grandson. My grandparents raised me, so of course i'm here helping her, but I am literally going crazy worrying. I'm at my wits end, please help.... any suggestions would me tremendously appreciated.
Sorry, I'm late to your question but it just happens that I gave a lecture today on Alzheimer's disease to the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians. One of the many things I mentioned was to consider delirium any time someone w/dementia gets abruptly worse. Delirium is considered a medical emergency and may be due to many things, not the least of which are dehydration and infection.
Your grandmother is very luck to have you to care for and about her. Get her to her family physician immediately so that they can figure out what's going on and treat her appropriately. Of course, you also need to realize that at some point, it will become her time to pass away. To help both of you, ask her family physician about hospice.
And don't feel that you have to force feed her, force water into her, or offer her antibiotics. Many studies have shown that force feeding/hydration and antibiotics don't improve quality of life. When she's hungry, she'll eat. When she's thirsty, she'll drink. Oftentimes, by force feeding/hydration, we're just prolonging the inevitable. Sorry.
Finally, don't forget that you're not alone. Your family physician can point you towards many community resources to assist you in caring for your grandmother.
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