Rebuilding Your Life After Caregiving Ends
Caring for Aging Parents Who Didn't Care for You

Trauma After a Fall Can Create a Dangerous Domino Effect for Elders

Comfort29Dear Carol: Four months ago, my mother fell and broke her hip. She was admitted to the hospital for surgery and then sent to a nursing home rehab. The care seems good but Mom has completely changed. Before the fall, she was mentally sharp for someone nearly 80. Her only issue was an occasional memory gap. Then, right after the emergency surgery, she began showing signs dementia. She’s only worsened in rehab. The facility doctor says that she has Alzheimer’s, but how could that happen so fast? I thought that Alzheimer’s took time to develop. How could she go from having almost no sign of Alzheimer’s to hardly knowing me in just four months?– DN

Read the full column on Inforum about how trauma can affect the brain of an older person:

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The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards

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Hi Mary,
This is true in some cases. Others, the sooner they are out of the hospital, the better. Your point about getting them back to a regular routine is right on. Some facilities are great about that, but there are still too many that are not. Obviously, your community does better with hospitalizing than nursing homes which is very sad. You did exactly the right thing for your dad. Blessings.

The reason why she seemed to go down hill was lack of care. Hospital care is top notch compared to nursing home care. Dehydration can cause dementia as well as poor diet and the dark dingy rooms and the residents that are placed in the same area with recovering residents that do have Alzheimer's. This causes the patient to easily become depressed and forgettful.
This is what happened to my dad after a stroke. When he was active a going through rehab he was more alert and more himself. But one Medicare stopped his PT he spiralled down. I had to take action and start taking him for outings myself just to get him back into the "normal" world again. He did better and cheered up and became his ole self. Those nursing homes are depressing and the majority of employees are young and uncaring.

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