My mother is in the advanced stages of dementia.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the disease, or at least have only a passing acquaintance with it, this means for my mom that she is agitated almost constantly. When she gets agitated, her arms flail, and she chants. "Aiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiai," she'll say for hours on end. If we ask a questions, she will reply, over and over. "Mom, are you ready for bed?" "Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes" until the next distraction. It is bothering the other residents and their families.
We have been working with hospice on getting the meds balanced so Mom is calm. Unfortunately, the nurses at the facility think Mom should be alert, not realizing that for her, alert equals agitated. I spoke at length with the hospice case manager on Friday, and I told her, "If Mom sleeps the rest of her life away, so be it. However, having her risk being in that agitated state for hours because she should be awake is just cruel."
She agreed. We talked to the nurses on duty, and they began giving the medications on a preventive basis. So, Mom was sleepy, but she was calm. There was peace. Yesterday, the Mom's doctor came in and visited Mom. "She is too out of it. I don't like this at all," she said, and cut way back on Mom's medications. When my sister went in yesterday at suppertime, Mom was charged up, chanting, and had been parked in her room, as she was again disrupting the facility and making a great commotion.
So this morning I have a call in to the hospice case manager and a fax to the doctor. There is no quality of life left for my mother. Let's let her be comfortable, and let's let those around her have some peace. I know I will rest better knowing she is not alone and shouting over and over again.