My 94-y-o mother with Alzheimer's called out to me from the bathroom. When I got to her, she was slumping in the doorway, unable to walk or stand. Her speech was slurred and she had no control over her left side. Asked her to smile, and left side didn't respond. I think it was a TIA. She was fine within 30 minutes and ate dinner. She has a DNR order and prays to die every night. Should I have her evaluated or just monitor her? She has a fear of needles and anything medically invasive.

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That is completely up to you! You didn’t do anything wrong by not taking her to the hospital. Honestly, there isn’t much they could’ve done. It does sound like she had a small stroke. I saw this happen to a male resident of mine once, and, just like your mom, he was fine in 30 minutes or so. It might be a good idea to look into a hospice company if you haven’t already: they can come check her out and avoid sending her to the hospital.

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Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

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