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What Do Dementia Sufferers Die From ? - Carers UK Forum

What Do Dementia Sufferers Die From ?

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Hi all, I know that sounds a daft question .I went to see my 91 year old Mum in her care home over Xmas ,and she is drifting far away from me now.Although she only ever says 2 stock phrases over and over again ( how nice of you to come , lovely to see you ) she did used to be able to answer a question about something from the past, if she recalled it.Now on this visit ,I asked her how her sister was and she said " number 1 station rd ."Her mind was worse than ever and most of the time she wasn't aware we were there.Physically though , apart from bad legs,poor mobility,she is doing fine.So I wondered - what happens when the mind is totally gone ? does her body just soldier on until it gives up ? or will it stop sending messages to her body ? sorry if this seems morbid but in lots of ways she looks good for another five years or more but by then she will be silent. Anybody know?
Hi Barrowgirl

Your question isn't morbid at all - providing that pneumonia doesn't take hold then generally what happens is that the brain's messages to the vital organs don't get through so death is usually attributed to something like kidney, liver or heart failure - you'll rarely see dementia alone as a cause of death on a death certificate. The most common cause though is pneumonia.

Unfortunately many dementia patients do go on for many years in a near vegetive state as they lose the ability to communicate and we can only hope that they are happy and comfortable in their own little world.
Thanks for that sensitive answer .It is a depressing thought that she may linger on in this manner for many more years , it seems so unfair on her.She had led such a hard life bringing up 6 kids ,having to take in lodgers etc that she would prob have never dreamnt that she'd last this long,her own parents both died when they were 45.
As you say,we can only hope she isn't aware of the indignity thrust upon her and she feels safe in her own little world. Image