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Worried for My 87year old mum

(15 Posts)
Anneishere Sun 15-Dec-19 13:31:12

Hi all,
I have 2 sisters & 2 brothers. My mum aged 87years diagnosed with mild dementia and quite fragile although still capable of looking after herself with regards to personal hygiene etc we do have a carer popping in twice a day just to keep an eye on her medication and that she feeding herself - the carer has said compared to many 87year olds she is quite good considering. Mum does get confused quite a bit / memory loss as most 87year old people do. My sister has taken mum to New Zealand to attend her mum’s granddaughter‘s wedding and at first I thought this would be great for her but she did appear to deteriorate the last couple of weeks resulting in her being admitted to hospital for almost 3 weeks & to have a little operation to remove a blockage from her bile duct. This did bring her down. However my sister felt she would be fine in NZ. I personally felt this could be too much for her but said nothing - nor did my other siblings. This has involved a very long journey flying from UK to NZ and I received message from sister yesterday saying the flight was very difficult in that mum was suffering hallucinations/ talking non stop throughout therefore suffering sleep deprivation. I am very worried. I have not heard anything else - no other updates. Mum will be in NZ for six weeks - hopefully she will settle but then there is the journey back!

Hetty58 Sun 15-Dec-19 13:39:58

It's very important that she isn't dehydrated. Regularly sipping water is essential. She needs to see a doctor for a check up to rule out any urinary infection (for which she'd need antibiotics) and she really must get sufficient rest.

However, the opportunity to visit NZ and get some lovely summer weather, especially at 87, sounds brilliant. It could be that she would have been the same at home.

trisher Sun 15-Dec-19 13:42:50

DearAnneisshere how worrying for you.I think you should ask your sister to get your mum checked for a urine infection. Halucinating is a symptom of that sometimes and old people frequently don't drink enough when they are travelling because they don't want to use strange loos. Any change is difficult for old people. I used to take my mum on holiday and although she hadn't a dementia diagnosis she could never manage to find her way around the hotel. My mum did communicate with other members of the family by Skype which my DS used to set up for her. If your sister could link it up it might be a good way for you to get some reassurance. It will probably be harder for a bit when she gets back. Good luck!

Hetty58 Sun 15-Dec-19 13:45:03

(2.2 covers hydration)

BlueSky Sun 15-Dec-19 13:56:03

Wow! How fantastic to have the opportunity to fly to NZ to visit family at 87! I wouldn't worry too much about it, she could have been ill even if she had stayed at home and in any case excellent medical assistance is available if needed.

Septimia Sun 15-Dec-19 16:43:36

Trisher has a point. My FiL had recurring urine infections and was always more inclined towards hallucinations and being cranky when he did. He didn't drink enough.

SparklyGrandma Sun 15-Dec-19 16:49:29

Sometimes flying can bring on psychotic symptoms in a person already vulnerable to such things. A trip to the doctor before her next flight to possibly ask for something to stop the hallucinations during the flight.

I am just a lay person but have flown with family members who needed help to get through flights.

BlueBelle Sun 15-Dec-19 17:28:22

Oh I think it was a not such a good idea at 87 and with dementia
I fly to visit my son and family in NZ and it really is an arduous journey I m more than a decade younger than your mum and I m now finding it hard hard work and wondering how many more trips I can go before I hang up my long very long journey shoes
From door to door is 31 hours for me (counting changes and waits in airports and the journey at each end)
Dementia like autism doesn’t always do well with change bluesky that’s a dismissive post Anneishere is rightly concerned and what is exciting to you probably isn’t to an 87 year old with mental health issue and who has just got out of hospital where she’d been for eight weeks
I hope everything is better than you’re thinking you say you haven’t heard from them, since they first arrived, can you ring them I d be worried sick
I would expect your mum to take a lot of adjusting when she gets back too
I hope it’s good news

Witzend Sun 15-Dec-19 17:34:35

A change of routine and surroundings can be extremely unsettling and confusing for anyone with dementia.

After a great deal of experience of it in 2 relatives, I wouldn't even think of taking anyone with dementia away from their familiar surroundings unless it was absolutely necessary. As for such a long flight, with jet lag on top, absolutely no way! It's hard enough when you're relatively young and fit, and have all your marbles.

Daisymae Sun 15-Dec-19 18:00:43

This is very difficult but there's not much you can do now but wait and see how things go. I would not worry too much, at the end of the day there is absolutely nothing that you can do. I assume that health insurance will cover any medical costs should the arise, but your sister has undertaken this responsibility so really the ball is in her court now.

BlueSky Sun 15-Dec-19 18:15:32

Bluebelle not dismissive at all just trying to be positive under the circumstances. And yes I hope I'll still be able to visit my far away family at 87!

TrendyNannie6 Sun 15-Dec-19 23:11:01

My dad had multi infarct dementia /Alzheimer’s he lived with us for many years, me taking care of him until went into a home, never had urine infections with us, but did at the home which made him very disorientated,personally I would be very concerned as change can affect them very much, there’s nothing you can do now, hoping the flight goes well coming back, totally agree with everything bluebelle has said,

BlueBelle Sun 15-Dec-19 23:56:45

Well I hope you can too bluesky and although I m pretty healthy in my mid 70 s and pretty upbeat I don’t envisage going when I m heading up to 90 it’s a brutal journey for an elderly well person let alone a not too well person I like positivity too but you have to be realistic
Hopefully all will be well, but I personally think it’s unfair of the sister to put her mother through this, a wedding is a big affair for someone with dementia who needs routine and familiarity let alone that journey
I took my mum and dad on a weeks holiday (her request) to a seaside town about an hours journey away when mum had Alzheimer’s (early stages) she was completely thrown, she was in a real panic We hired a wheelchair as she had some arthritis in her hips and at one point she was screaming in the street because I was pushing the wheelchair instead of Dad it was a bit hilly and he was struggling but he was so embarrassed It was not a success at all and after three or four days he asked if we could please go home Mum would have been about 81/2 she went into residential at 83 as she had become a danger trying to cook Dad dinner in the middle of the night and going on walkabout etc
Hopefully your mum will settle and have a lovely time but I m sure you ll feel better when you hear from your sister again to confirm she’s ok
Try not to worry too much I m sure your sister will be very vigilant in looking after her mum

BlueSky Mon 16-Dec-19 00:49:41

BlueBelle you are right of course but as Annieishere's mother is already in NZ I'm trying to look on the bright side. Hoping she'll have some positive updates from her sister.

kittylester Mon 16-Dec-19 06:12:52

Dehydration could play a huge part as others gmhave said. But, as your mum has dementia, the flight and new environment will be very confusing for her and you should expect her to be confused fir a while when she gets back.