How fast can Alzheimer's come on?

6 answers | Last updated: Nov 01, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What's causing my grandmother's rapid progression? Could she have something other than Alzheimer's?

My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 10 years ago. She's been at between stage 2 and 3 up until mid last year. Between just April and July of 2008, she seems to have progressed up stage 5 at least. In April, she could tell where she was, she had no delusions, and she could remember the names of all her family members. We were even able to correct her bad posture.

After about July of 2008, she kept asking where she was when she was at home. She had delusions of strangers living in her house. She forgot my cousin's name and his relation to her but she still recognized him as a family member. Her memory also worsened considerably. In April, she could remember at least half of what we tell her for a few hours. In July, she forgets 95% of what we tell her in a matter of minutes. However, her personality has remained fairly stable, albeit more exaggerated. Before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, she had problems with depression and she already had a very paranoid personality, bordering on a paranoid personality disorder.

What caused this rapid increase in progression? Is it possible that she's being affected by something else?



Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

My mother is having similar symtoms as yours. I noticed that if she consumes to much caffeine she will experience delusions and her memory is worsens. I don't know if the coffee is doing this to her.


Mushermaggie answered...

I would wonder about mini-strokes (which can happen while she's asleep),& would ask her doctor about the depression--if it can be treated, it might have less impact on the Alzheimer disease.


Tersiab answered...

On Easter Monday my Dad had a rare good, lucid day. He could still shuffle along and eat unaided. Since then he has fallen numerous times and seems to have completely "shut down". He is sundowning very badly and hallucinates. He sees spiders and ants crawling over everything. He is unable to even stand and has lost his appetite completely. He is also battling to swallow and I have to drop water into his mouth with a syringe. Dad has also developed Alzheimer's pneumonia. His muscles seem to be locking. I fear that he is nearing the end.

I am flabbergasted at the rate of rapid decline!


Tatammyb answered...

Recently my Mother's symptoms of dementia got noticeably worse in a short time. We took her to the doctor even though she had no other symptoms of illness. She had a urinary tract infection without any of the usual symptoms of UTI (like urgency, frequency, or burning pain when urinating). Once she was on antibiotics for a few days, her dementia symptoms backed down to her baseline. I was so thankful it was not a rapid decline and we got back some time I thought we lost!


Mushermaggie answered...

This happened with my MIL and unfortunately, a CAT scan revealed 2 brain tumors which had metastasized from her lungs. Not what we were expecting--we had thought about strokes also.


Tersiab answered...

I posted this in May and my Dad passed away within the week. The decline was unbelievable fast and I believe the agitation was due to the pneumonia. Infections increase the rate of decline!