My sister is 86 and was diagnosed with beginning dementia about five years ago. Over the past two years her decline has accelerated She follows plots and comedians' jokes when watching television, so her mind is still alert, but she does not speak much. She answers direct questions, but sometimes lacks vocabulary to fully express herself. If she has been silent and attempts to answer a question, sometimes there is a rush of speech that is not understandable, but then her word choices and speed become normal and she expresses herself well. Other times she answers questions in a dialogue that is very polite, but her daughter will tell me that the content never happened. She has stated that she has seen deceased relatives over the past 6 months. My niece says that her mother is past the beginning phase of dementia.
I am worried about her weight, which I was told today is 85 pounds. She is 5' 6", and when I looked up BMI calculation, that came to 13.7; this is below the underweight score of 18.5. My niece has power of attorney over her mother's health and finances. She considers my suggestions to be interferences and meddlesome, but I feel that I need to find out whether this weight is dangerous. My sister was nimble until 2 months ago, and my niece was having trouble keeping up with her since she is obese , has a rare type of Cushings, had a pituitary benign tumor removed five years ago which is now growing back, had a mini-stroke two years ago, and is tiring from care of her mother. She insisted that my sister learn how to walk with a walker, my sister got up one morning to urinate around a month ago, and once she returned to the bed said that she could not walk anymore. The medical doctor visits the house and, according to my niece, does not find anything unusual about my sister's continual weight loss. My niece had someone come to teach my sister how to walk with a walker once a week, and a woman to come twice a week to wash my sister, change her diaper. That ended about two weeks ago, then there were problems with the furnace for two weekends until she said that it was repaired. They bought a new space heater that was strong, but I worried that my sister would get pneumonia
, given her weakened condition. The one time that I was allowed to be alone with my sister, my niece went into the bathroom and slid the door all but 5 inches closed while she watched me. My sister rolled her eyes around to signal that my niece was crazy, and I was unresponsive because my niece was watching me like a hawk. My niece's own medical condition has finally begun to improve, and she has lost from 400 pounds down to 289. She mentioned once that she may have to put her mother in a home, but she has not acted on this. Since she locks the door when she leaves the house, for fear that her mother may go outside, I purchased the necklace that has a GPS and button, but she does not put the battery in it, did not get a safety box for it, and mostly keeps it off her neck. She had said that it was not needed because she was rarely out of the house, and when she did leave she was gone only for four hours. Once I gave the necklace to her, the window for her staying out on errands dropped from 4 to 2 hours away. She bought hearing aids prescribed for her mother's hearing loss, but does not put them in because my sister does n