Pneumonia in elderly people. Any hope to recover?

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I'm absolutely terrified right now. My Grandmother is almost 90, and today she was diagnosed with Pneumonia. She also has Alzheimer, so at first it was hard for me to see the problem. And yet, I'd noticed that she had shortness of breath and was unusually fussy (even for a person with Alzheimer).

Tomorrow we're starting the antibiotic treatment.

I've learned that pneumonia this late in life is one of the leading causes of death. I know it's life-threatening. I'm so scared. I don't want to lose my Grandmother like this. We (my mother, brother and I) have made sure she stayed at home with her relatives, loved and taken care of, insted of being placed to an elderly home. We've taken a good care of her since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer and couldn't take care of herself. Apparently, it wasn't enough.

I just want to know if there are any chances for her to recover. I'm shaking right now and I need something, just something.

I have to apologise for my English since it's not my native language.


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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Don't apologise for your language, as far as I can see it is perfect and a lot better than many native speakers!

    It can be hard to see any relative with a life threatening illness. How bad is her dementia? Alzheimer's is such a cruel condition when loved ones are no longer recognised and behaviour becomes difficult to cope with.

    Pneumonia can respond well to antibiotics and she has a good chance of recovery but a period in hospital can lead to much distress and confusion and deterioration of mental state. Personally if I had bad dementia I would prefer to die of pneumonia than many other conditions and I hope to make a living will to tell my relatives that. 

  • Posted

    Hello Anna, well done on keeping your grand mother at home and not having to use a care home, I know this can be very difficult. I can only be honest with you and say sadly in my opinion that Pneumonia could be what brings about your grand mothers demise, it can be treated with antibiotics, maybe IV which would involve a hospitalisation for her. Some do recover. I also wonder if the doctors would want to activley treat her, due to her age and Alzheimer's. I'm so sorry if that sounds harsh but these days that is often the case. I wish you luck Anna and hope for a good outcome for you and your grandmother.
  • Posted

    First of all, your english is absolutely perfect!  No need to apologize at all.

    Secondly, it sounds like you and your family did a fantastic job taking care of your grandmother at home.  You are to be commended for that.

    Now it's just a waiting game.  Some times the antibiotics do work and they do recover, if caught in time.  Try to focus on that.  However, please prepare yourself and your family for the worst.  Pneumonia is brutal.  My father in law just passed away Sunday from pneumonia.  He too had Alzheimers-Parkinson's-Lewy Body.  He was 83.  Praying for you and your family.  Hugs!


  • Posted

    Unfortunately, my Grandmother passed away a couple of weeks ago. Pneumonia was a part of the reason, even though it seemed mostly cured (we never took her to hospital though, knowing how badly she would've taken it, but we'd had a doctor and a nurse visiting daily). It had weakened her a lot and her heart couldn't take it.

    She'd had a good, long life (at least before the Alzheimer), but I'm very heartbroken nonetheless. I can't forget her lying helplessly and dying after the last breakfast in her life. The ambulance didn't make it in time, and, frankly, I doubt they could've done much. I guess such things are never fair.

    Thanks a lot, everyone, for your kind words. They mean a lot. I'm glad there are people who understand.


    • Posted

      Awe.  I'm so sorry for your grandmother's passing.  It's never easy losing a loved one.  You all did a wonderful job taking care of her during her last days and I'm sure she's smiling down on you now.  Lots of hugs to you.
  • Posted

    I can understand what you have been through.i just lost my father cause of pneumonia 15 days ago.he was 81 and perfectly fine.never knew pneumonia is such a deadly disease for elderly people.sorry for your loss.god bless you.
    • Posted

      I'm so sorry for your loss as well! My heart goes to you and your family.

      Yes, sometimes it feels like medicine hasn't really gone far at all. We've got so many things at our disposal nowadays: various innovations, pharmacological options, but sometimes they just don't work at all, and it's hard to accept.

  • Posted

    Hello anna !   My grandma was admitted to the hospital 4 day's ago with Pneumonia & she is 97 year's old, the nurse's have told me that they have tried 3 different antibiotics & that they have done nothing. So now their answer is morphine & no feeding tube or drip bag ? So not only is she not going to get better ? She is also starving. You would think that they could come up with a little bit better way to handle this situation, but instead we can sit and watch them die slowly. I'm sorry grandma, I don't know what else to do ? Except Pray

    • Posted

      I'm so sorry your family is going through such hard times!

      You're right, it should have been way more humane than this, and it's just not fair. My Granny was fed, but she was never given any real painkillers (apart from the drugs prescribed by her psychiatrist that could somewhat help with the pain). Because of Alzheimer, she couldn't properly express her pain or let us know how well her drugs were dealing with it, but we, her family, knew that some days were painful for her, and we felt helpless.

      I wish you and your family to be strong and support each other. And maybe it wouldn't hurt to seek consultation of another doctor, just to get a second opinion?


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