85 year old woman with bulbar ALS

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Jacqueline

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My 85 year mother was diagnosed with bulbar ALS in May after exhibiting speech and swallowing problems since Sept. 2005. Her doctor kept thinking that she was having TIA's but she continued to decline even with speech and swallowing therapy. She has quickly progressed to a peg-tube and her speech in unintelligible.

Has anyone had experience with an 85 year old and this disease? I understand that it is very unusal for someone this age to contract the disease.
Jacqueline
 

Al

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While it is a bit unusual at that age there is a new member here hboyajian that's 84 year old father was recently diagnosed so it is not that rare.
 

Fortune

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Jacqueline

I too have just been diagnosed with Bulbar ALS at age 68 after more than a year of worsening symtoms in speech and swallowing. I have also had speech therapy and many suggestions on how to avoid choking when I eat or drink. How was the decision made about a feeding tube for your grandmother? My speech is slightly more intelligible in face to face situations, but I am soon going to see a specialist in assistive speech devices. Does your grandmother use a device? I've read that Bulbar usually occurs between 50 and 70. Is there any reason your grandmother has it at 85? What are TIAs? I hope you have been able to get some answers along with the help your grandmother has received. Fortune
 

Al

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TIA's are transient Ischemic attacks or mini strokes. They usually last a short time with just a bit of confusion and slurring with falling sometimes and most people return to normal in a short period of time but if left untreated can lead to a much more serious stroke. AL.
 
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My mother was diagnozed in April, 05 with ALS. She was 86 years old. At the time her speech was fine but she was having trouble walking with the drop foot thing. Initially she was diagnosed with arthritis, but after multipe tests it was ALS. she passed away July 4, 06. Her speech did go by Nov/Dec but she could still swallow if food was pureed and fed in small quantities. This is how she was fed up to end of June/06. I was told that this disease usually affects much younger people and was unusual in someone her age.
 

JulieWise

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Jacqueline said:
My 85 year mother was diagnosed with bulbar ALS in May .............Jacqueline
My mother turned 89 in February and was diagnosed with PBP in late spring. By now, she is on a feeding tube, cannot speak at all, and is starting to lose her ability to move around. Amazingly, she is still cheerful and a joy to those who care for her. She is in her own home and has 24 hour care now. Sadly, all of us kids live in different states.

I don't know about the rarity, but as my father used to say - if you live long enough, you'll die of something! ;-) (Quite a philosopher he was!)

Julie
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hboyajian

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My dad, who is 84 was diagnosed just a month ago, so I do not have a lot of experience or knowledge yet, but I'm trying to learn as fast as I can. We were told it was somewhat unusual in the older ages past 80. We were also told that the disease might progress faster because my dad does not have as much strength as a younger person to begin with. He has trouble swallowing, so a PEG tube has been recommended. The doctor said this could extend his life expectancy because without it he will continue to lose weight and have no reserves left to keep going. There is not much , if anything I can do to stop the disease itself, but I have done what I can to help him keep good nutrition. He eats blended food only, so I bought several kinds of protein and vitamin food powders to add to everything he eats. He also uses Ensure. I hope that with good nutrition other aspects of his health will not deteriorate as the ALS progresses.
 
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