TRC is primarily funded by ad revenue. If you like the content you find here, don't block the ads check them out instead. Thank you.
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Dealing with advancing dementia?

  1. #1
    Should Get Out More Taipan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Boerthal's hill
    Posts
    46,130
    Like
    14,452
    Liked 8,928 in 4,667 posts

    Question Dealing with advancing dementia?


    TRC is primarily funded by ad revenue. If you like
    the content you find here, don't block the ads check
    them out instead. Thank you.
    My Dads wife has "advancing dementia". In many ways she is fine, still travels on buses into town and has lunch and although we have power of attorney, she still manages her money okay. Her flat is very dusty now and she sometimes lets washing up build up which was a "cause for concern" for social services as she may eat off of dirty plates. Her personal hygiene is fine. The problem, I have with her is she is in denial about my Dads death. She keeps going to the hospital where he last was to see him and they call me. This is slowly but surely getting worse. I used to remind her that my Dad had died and she'd cry and say how can I forget that. Social Services told me its normally best to humour them and say just go home, he'll turn up soon, rather than make them relive the news of his death each time, which I understand and i've been doing this for a while, but I hate lying to her like this. To me she seems to be acknowledging that he isn't there lately? When I say he's gone out for a walk and wander about and he'll see you at home later no doubt. She has now started saying well he wasn't there when I woke up this morning.

    So I'm thinking of taking my Dads ashes round there and a copy of the order of his service from his funeral so she has a constant reminder that he is dead. I have no emotional connection with his ashes, so if she threw everything out, it wouldn't bother me, but is this the right approach? Anyone got an experience of a similar situation?

  2. #2
    Should Get Out More Horse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Always Sunny Central Southern England
    Posts
    20,479
    Like
    2,357
    Liked 2,972 in 1,960 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    FinLaw was in a nursing home, was usually lucid etc., but often forgot that his wife had died a decade earlier.

    Filly & SiLaw would tell him each time (hat was the advice they were given). I don't think that there is a right or wrong way.

  3. The following user liked this post made by Horse:


  4. #3
    Should Get Out More irie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Noviomagus Reginorum
    Posts
    20,061
    Like
    4,962
    Liked 2,723 in 1,933 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    Taking the ashes around might achieve something with a rational person, but the sad fact is that the woman you knew as your Dad's wife is no longer there. Of course you'll feel bad about lying to her, but getting her to recognise the fact that your Dad's dead won't change her advancing dementia. Best is to humour her but keep an eye on her physical wellbeing - little else you can do I think.

  5. The following user liked this post made by irie:


  6. #4
    Should Get Out More Silly Car's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Deep, dark, 'n' dangerous
    Posts
    14,238
    Like
    672
    Liked 1,786 in 1,054 posts
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    It might be worth looking up the Dementia Friends Bookcase analogy for what is probably happening in respect of her short term memory.

    Sadly, it is highly unlikely that matters will improve and any constant reminders of the loss are likely to be detrimental.


  7. The following user liked this post made by Silly Car:


  8. #5
    Should Get Out More Kneerly Down's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Highlands
    Posts
    9,005
    Like
    568
    Liked 1,260 in 769 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    Starting to go through this with my mum, having had similar with FiL and MiL some years back.
    My current strategy is being completely honest but making sure my mum knows that she has an illness, hoping the 'how can I forget something like that' is relieved through knowing that it isn't 'her'...it is the illness.

    It is so difficult to know what to do for best, but that you are asking for help and experiences can only be a good thing.
    My mum's younger brother was diagnosed with dementia about 5 years ago.
    Strangely, she got a call from him while we were on holiday last week saying he no longer seems to have it, something confirmed by my still very much lucid aunt and, apparently, his doctor.
    Other than that, the thing that surprised me was him saying to my mum that the thing that has seen him through this was and is his faith in Jesus.
    I didn't even know he was/is a Christian, but apparently so.

  9. The following user liked this post made by Kneerly Down:


  10. #6
    Should Get Out More Taipan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Boerthal's hill
    Posts
    46,130
    Like
    14,452
    Liked 8,928 in 4,667 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Silly Car View Post
    It might be worth looking up the Dementia Friends Bookcase analogy for what is probably happening in respect of her short term memory.

    Sadly, it is highly unlikely that matters will improve and any constant reminders of the loss are likely to be detrimental.

    Never heard of that, but then we've had almost zero support, but that was very helpful. Thanks for making me aware of it.

    In case it maybe of interest to others.

    Last edited by Taipan; 15-04-19 at 11:26.

  11. The following 2 users liked this useful post by Taipan:


  12. #7
    Should Get Out More Horse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Always Sunny Central Southern England
    Posts
    20,479
    Like
    2,357
    Liked 2,972 in 1,960 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kneerly Down View Post
    My current strategy is being completely honest but making sure my mum knows that she has an illness, hoping the 'how can I forget something like that' is relieved through knowing that it isn't 'her'...it is the illness.
    Yup.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kneerly Down View Post
    My mum's younger brother was diagnosed with dementia . . . he no longer seems to have it
    Without going near the 'miracle' aspects, that seems unlikely . . . Misdiagnosis?

  13. #8
    Should Get Out More
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    6,873
    Like
    32
    Liked 1,386 in 877 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Horse View Post
    Without going near the 'miracle' aspects, that seems unlikely . . . Misdiagnosis?
    There are some treatable medical conditions that can imitate some symptoms of dementia.

  14. #9
    Should Get Out More Horse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Always Sunny Central Southern England
    Posts
    20,479
    Like
    2,357
    Liked 2,972 in 1,960 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Breaker View Post
    There are some treatable medical conditions that can imitate some symptoms of dementia.
    In the current issue of Neurology, Sacks and Shulman1 report one of these rare cases of a reversal of dementia involving a patient on steroid medication. They describe a man with a painful muscle condition who was being treated with the corticosteroid drug, prednisone (a powerful medication used especially to decrease inflammation). His problems began with a change in his behavior and memory while he was traveling. He was admitted to a local hospital where he was described as “grandiose and disinhibited.” When he admitted that he had been purposely overdosing himself on his prednisone, his physicians put him back on the low dose originally intended. But, he remained confused and did not return to his former self. Several months later, the man had a thorough evaluation for persistent problems with his thinking. That evaluation led to the conclusion that he had a dementia due to a degenerative disease, perhaps AD. It was thought that the high-dose prednisone might have unmasked the AD and hastened its appearance. He continued to worsen over the next several months. Then, a new neurologist recommended that the prednisone be stopped completely. At that point the man began to improve dramatically.

    It is well known that high-dose corticosteroids, like prednisone, can cause agitation or even a manic state.2 In this man's case, even the low-dose therapy seemed to be bothering his thinking. Previous experience with the effect of prednisone on thinking showed that when the drug is stopped, there may be a lag period of months before improvement occurs. For this man, it was not until the prednisone was stopped completely that his recovery began.

    The message that Sacks and Shulman wanted to convey to neurologists was that even low doses of prednisone can cause confusion. A careful reader might question the certainty that it was the prednisone that caused this man's problem. There was no blood test or brain scan that proved that the prednisone was responsible. The case for blaming prednisone was based on the very high doses he received. Also, the parallels in time between when he received prednisone and when he was ill pointed to the prednisone as the cause of his confusion. To a neurologist, however, there may be other explanations for this man's illness. Perhaps he had a brain infection or some other acute neurological disorder that wasn't detected when he was first diagnosed. In this case, his delayed recovery just happened to coincide with stopping the prednisone. Or possibly, there were two problems. First, the overdosage of prednisone occurred. Then, second, side effects of the medications that were started to treat his behavior appeared and led to his prolonged difficulties. For example, it is well known that risperidone (which is used to treat psychotic behavior) can cause stiffness and slowing down. Then, valproic acid (which may be used as a mood stabilizer) can make a person drowsy and confused if the dose is too high. So, was it the prednisone or not? We will never know for certain what really caused his condition.

    https://n.neurology.org/content/64/4/E18

  15. #10
    Should Get Out More Kneerly Down's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Highlands
    Posts
    9,005
    Like
    568
    Liked 1,260 in 769 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Horse View Post
    Without going near the 'miracle' aspects, that seems unlikely . . . Misdiagnosis?
    I'm nothing like near enough to the full facts to comment, other than he had all the symptoms and a diagnosis of dementia and now doesn't.

  16. #11
    Should Get Out More Horse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Always Sunny Central Southern England
    Posts
    20,479
    Like
    2,357
    Liked 2,972 in 1,960 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kneerly Down View Post
    I'm nothing like near enough to the full facts to comment, other than he had all the symptoms and a diagnosis of dementia and now doesn't.
    Several issues, aren't there? Signs & symptoms, diagnosis, parallel conditions & treatment, changes in medication . . .

    Even something as 'simple' as a UTI in the elderly can cause restlessness, hallucinations, social withdrawal, agitation and confusion.

  17. #12
    Should Get Out More Taipan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Boerthal's hill
    Posts
    46,130
    Like
    14,452
    Liked 8,928 in 4,667 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Horse View Post
    Several issues, aren't there? Signs & symptoms, diagnosis, parallel conditions & treatment, changes in medication . . .

    Even something as 'simple' as a UTI in the elderly can cause restlessness, hallucinations, social withdrawal, agitation and confusion.
    I think checking for a UTI is the first port of call though, because, as you say, it gives very similar symptoms.

  18. #13
    Should Get Out More Horse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Always Sunny Central Southern England
    Posts
    20,479
    Like
    2,357
    Liked 2,972 in 1,960 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taipan View Post
    I think checking for a UTI is the first port of call though, because, as you say, it gives very similar symptoms.
    Just giving that as an example that I've seen with family members of how something relatively simple can completely alter someone's personality. The example we all recall is when FinL was hospitalised; he saw paratroops in the sky over Reading, bugs crawling out of the ward heaters . . . Contrast that with when his dementia was getting worse and late one particular night when the secret police arrived and got him out of bed.

    Not saying that KD's relly had that, just giving it as an example. Also see the lengthy example from neurology.org

  19. #14
    Really Bored
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    2,370
    Like
    241
    Liked 599 in 146 posts

    Default Re: Dealing with advancing dementia?

    I can't provide much insight other than that my Mrs works with Dementia sufferers (she is a nurse) and the feeling I get from her is to be gentle as it is the shock of something coming back to the person can be the trigger for upsetting them, which gets them wound up and confused. This will inevitably happen so the other thing is forward planning. It sounds like you have the PoA sorted but look at everything else, funeral plans, what she wants to eat and drink - to give her as much control as possible now for her future.

  20. The following user liked this post made by futter:


Go Back to Forum My Forum

TRC Affiliates - Help TRC make a small amount of commission