my dad passed away Friday from dementia. Why did he decline in the matter of a week? The week before he passed away
he was still somewhat verbal you couldn’t really understand it all that well and he was still active moving walking everything still hostile and aggressive Friday night we had got him into hospice for his back pain so hopefully try to get his days and his nights back to normal and that night he fell asleep and almost like he never woke back up at first he was swallowing his medicine or any liquid we gave him but then Wednesday it’s like he forgot how to swallow in the span of an hour. Is that normal? He went from walking talking and everything to death in a weeks time it seems like is that normal?

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So sorry to hear about your loss.

It is only natural to wonder..

I used to wonder how a Grandparent actually died, as talking, then not, then peacefully slipping away in less than a week. What would be the recorded 'cause'? Regardless of a word, a label - it was *old age* really.

Old age is process. Just like dementia is a process. An umbrella term covering many processes/diseases. Some effect plauges & cause tangles in the brain, others caused by vascular issues that also cause TIAs/stroke/heart attack.

I think of dementia as the lights on a big ship being slowly turned off. (Not just the sudden power failure of one event). A slow winding down, a peaceful slowing down to finally rest & stop.
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Reply to Beatty
Annie65 Aug 17, 2022
Beautiful words- thank you for this way of describing the demented mind and helps me picture the process of aging in a relatable way to imagine the old mind as a ship "slowing down to finally rest..."
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The exact same thing happened to my mother. She went from being pretty much okay, talking & socializing as usual with her friends in the Memory Care ALF she lived in, eating (albeit much less than usual), etc. Then one morning she went into her bed, and went into a semi-comatose state, and never got out of her bed again, but died one week later. When the hospice nurse tried turning her over a bit onto her right side (to prevent bed sores), mom turned blue, so the nurse knew it was her CHF at play and her heart was shutting down.

Really, our parents' with advanced dementia had been declining for quite some time before their final decline, when you think about it. I know I was saying that my mother was in a state of decline for a good year before she actually passed. I was still surprised to see that she died 'so quickly', within a week's time, even though she'd been suffering from advanced dementia, CHF and other issues for a very long time. There's nothing 'normal' about any facet of dementia, or anything that happens to them, unfortunately.

I also suspect my mother was having quite a few TIAs or small strokes in the last few months of her life b/c she was leaning SERIOUSLY over to the left side in her wheelchair. Without diagnostic testing being done (due to hospice care), I'll never know. What I do know is that my mother is at perfect peace now, thank God, after a long bout of suffering with dementia and heart issues. So is your father.

My condolences on your loss. Sending you a hug and a prayer for peace as you grieve this loss in your life.
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Reply to lealonnie1

Short answer - yes.
Every person's dementia, can be similar in the fact they all decline, and yet different in the rate of decline. There is no definite timeline.

Some people decline slowly, plateau, then decline more. Others take a steady, rapid decline. Still others decline slowly, have a sharp decline after a fall or illness, plateau, then have another sharp decline, etc. I've heard of someone going from a day of being lucid and chatty and waking up the next day barely aware of their surroundings.

In my experience, dementia and end of life issues frequently lead to eating and swallowing problems. I think it is the body shutting down.

It is highly possibly your father also had other health issues going on related to his back pain.

I'm so sorry for the loss of your father.
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Reply to XenaJada

Thank you for all the condolences. I know now he’s not in pain anymore. He was a retired doctor and had genus level iq. I know the dementia really took his spirits out of him. He hated not remembering the smallest things. He hated having to rely on me to help him go to bathroom or shower. It was killing his spirit. In a way I’m glad he didn’t lay in the hospice bed suffering through the caregivers changing him or rolling him. As hard as it is/was I’m both my parents/now just my moms primary caregiver. The last month we had finally hired some help with him. I didn’t want to hate coming home or dislike him. I’m glad we had the caregivers because for a few days I got to be the daughter for a few hours. My siblings hate that I think this but to me when my dad got bad (maybe 2-3weeks before), aggressive/not remembering my name/ mean towards me is when he died. It’s still very hard because he and I was so close but I’m happy he has his memories back and isn’t in pain.
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Reply to Dadscaregiver86
lealonnie1 Aug 16, 2022
Nobody but the primary caregiver can understand what it's like to witness a parent with dementia and losing him to the ugliness of the disease. I used to pray daily for God to take my mom and put her out of her misery. I was relieved when He did, honestly. Always shove those ugly memories out of your mind and remember dad on his BEST day instead of on his worst. Remember him smiling and laughing, that's what I do with both of my parents. It helps.
Why? Well, he suffered from a terminal disease, and the course isn’t the same for everyone. I’m glad that you recognize that he is okay now. Actually, I longed for that kind of end for my own mom, who died of dementia. Instead her death took 5 years, and it was horrible. Unless you’ve seen it, you really can’t imagine that kind of torturous death. Be grateful. I’m sorry for your loss.
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Reply to Fawnby

A stroke would be my first guess.
My Husband went from walking one day to not walking the next. I suspect he had Vascular Dementia with the Alzheimer's so a stroke would not have been unexpected.
If you believe this is possible, he passed because he was ready to.
I am sure he passed with no pain and at peace.

You can spend the rest of your life wondering all the why's but you will not get an answer.
Just know he is no longer in pain. Let that be your comfort.
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Reply to Grandma1954

I’m sorry for your loss. Every person has a different path leaving this world, some seem to change very quickly and leave suddenly. It’s often a blessing in disguise. Though it’s natural to wonder, I hope you won’t ruminate on this for long. I wish you peace and the comfort of memories of happier times
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Reply to Daughterof1930
Daughterof1930 Aug 16, 2022
I’m sorry you’ve never experienced the joy of a blessing. They come in many forms. One for our family was that my dad passed peacefully and didn’t suffer a prolonged dying process. Though I miss him every day, it was a blessing that he got to leave this earth just as he wanted. And yes, we all die, it’s not a betrayal but an inevitability. Sorry you find faith upsetting, it brings many of us great peace
That is pretty much what happened with my mom. She was in my care (4 years) up until her last two weeks and then hospice. I truly believe that every ending is as it is meant to be and all are normal ...just unique to each and in my moms case the decline was slow at first and rapid towards the end. She was able to let go in the peaceful hospice she was in and I was very tired of full time care taking by then (my body was kinda shutting down from fatigue). So please know in your heart it was his real rhyme or reason and you will come to see that in time. It is six months since mom died and in my grieving process I have tried to focus on forgiveness.... for my dear crazy ma and also myself for things I felt I coulda done better.
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Reply to Annie65

He may have had a stroke.

PMy nurses called it an "episode". Something happens while they sleep and things change over night. My Dad was on Hospice. It was Thanksgiving and he watched TV with my brothers. He was having a speech problem but otherwise his old self. He went to bed at 10pm and never woke up. My daughter was sure he would have been fighting for every breath but he went peacefully.
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Reply to JoAnn29

I'm so sorry for the loss of your father.
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Reply to Cover999

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