In Carole's story, a woman living with dementia "woke from a nap and was talking and acting different than she ever had before."
The woman's caregiver described her as "hallucinating and that her sentences contained words in the wrong place in the sentence and even had some non-words in the sentences."
Carole described this as “word salad”. "Incoherent speech consisting of both real and imaginary words lacking comprehensive meaning, and occurring in advanced schizophrenic states."
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The results of this episode was a trip to the hospital where things like "mini-stroke" were ruled out; and, it was finally discovered that the woman was suffering from a urinary tract infection.
There is some bad news. This situation included an extended stay in the hospital.
It is very likely that something like this will happen to you unless you become very diligent. In fact, we have hundreds of readers that ended up in the emergency room along with their loved only to discover that the patients was suffering from a UTI.
The issue: How do you stop urinary tract infections before they become a problem that ends up in a trip to the emergency room, or worse, a couple of days or more spent in the hospital.
Here is how I did this successfully.
I started taking my mother's temperature twice a day. Why did I do this? Because the best way to catch an infection is to catch an elevated temperature as soon as it happens.
This is what I learned by taking my mother's temperature. Her core body temperature was not 98.6. It was 97.6. It is not unusual for core body temperature to drop in the elderly.
Why is this important? Well, you could go to the doctor and they can easily miss an infection. If the typical nurse, or aide, takes the temperature an it is below 99, lets say 98.6, they will immediately assume that nothing is wrong.
Guess what? Every time, every time, my mother's temperature rose to 98.4 she had a urinary tract infection, or an infection.
Read this closely. 100 percent of the time.
When her temperature rose to 98.4, I immediately called the doctor's office and asked for a work-in to be sure he saw my mother that day. Any good doctor will allow for work-ins. In other words, they would work my mother into the schedule even thought she did not have the appointment that day.
Why didn't I wait a day to go to the doctor. Because it was likely that by tomorrow that her temperature was going to be above 99. Or worse, it would spike that night and we would end up in the Hospital emergency room.
Let me alert you. If you are waiting around for the typical Alzheimer's patient or patient with a related dementia to tell you they are sick -- God bless you. Hundreds of readers have told me there were no obvious symptoms, or complaints from the person living with dementia when they had a UTI or infection. No complaints of a burning sensation, nada. Well, not until the patients started hallucinating or speaking gobbledy gook.
Many Alzheimer's patients beyond a certain stage in the disease can't tell you they are sick. Mostly, they don't even know they are sick. There were times when Dotty was so sick she couldn't get up out of bed on her own. You know what she would tell me. There is nothing wrong with me, I am not sick.
I just gave you some good advice. Take the temperature every day, and establish a core body temperature.
There is additional excellent advice in Carole's article.
Sister Raymond Mary said it best, "a word to the wise is sufficient".
I would say, you get to choose. If you want the burden of the emergency room and a hospital stay, fine by me.
Me. I didn't want those ugly E. Coli breeding like mad in my mother's body (look at the image at the top of the article to see E. Coli). And, I didn't ever want my mother in the Hospital for any reason. Not even for minute.
So I choose to make sure we would do everything in our power to make sure we stayed out in front of illness, and out of the Hospital.
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 3,811 articles with more than 306,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room