Thursday, June 1, 2023
HomeEditor PicksDementia And Talking To Oneself

Dementia And Talking To Oneself

The Seven Stages Of Dementia


One of the most difficult things to hear about dementia is that, in most cases, dementia is irreversible and incurable. However, with an early diagnosis and proper care, the progression of some forms of dementia can be managed and slowed down. The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia conditions does not happen all at once – the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct, identifiable stages.

Learning about the stages of dementia can help with identifying signs and symptoms early on, as well as assisting sufferers and caretakers in knowing what to expect in further stages. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.

Eating Nonfood Objects And Rancid Foods

One surprising early sign of dementia is eating nonfood objects or foods that are rancid or spoiled. This is partly because the person forgets what to do with the things in front of them. For example, people with dementia might try to eat a flower from a vase on a restaurant table because they know they are there to eat but dont know what the flower is doing there, says Rankin.

Unlike some other Alzheimers symptoms or dementia symptoms, this one has few other likely explanations.

How To Support Your Elderly Loved Ones When Their Cognitive Faculties Are Failing

If self-talk does turn out to be a sign of cognitive failure, there are ways you can support your loved one during this time.

Empathize with them, and make it clear that you support them. Ask them open-ended questions.-

Be patient with them, and take things slowly.

While people of all ages can and do suffer from mental health issues, elderly people who talk to themselves could be exhibiting signs of schizophrenia, anxiety, or other mental health conditions.

Read Also: Can A Vasectomy Cause Dementia

Use Nonverbal Cues To Facilitate Understanding

Making eye contact to convey seriousness or smiling at the right time goes a long way in facilitating a meaningful two-way interaction with your senior. Nodding your head in agreement or giving a thumbs-up can also be beneficial. Finally, if your senior is experiencing a good day, a gentle pat on the back or loving caress can do wonders.

Dont Say No Dont Or Cant

At Locate Motion, our aim is to create highly affordable and accessible ...

One of the biggest mistakes in dealing with patients and/or loved ones with memory loss is being negative and telling them that they cant do something. Words like no,” don’t, or can’t create resistance. This comes up regularly with family members when the patient and/or loved one might be still driving, and the caregiver and/or family member has made the decision to stop them from driving. One should never say, You can’t drive anymore. They can still technically drive , and they can get very combative when told no. A way to counter this is to say, I know you still can drive, that’s not even a question, but you know what happened the other day? I was out on the highway and this car cut me off, and I had to make a split-second decision it was really scary Its likely they will say, You know what? I’m having a little trouble with those decisions too. The issue isn’t the mechanical driving, it has more to do with comprehension, and many times this answer works much better than, You can’t drive anymore, which can be construed as confrontational.

You may find a patient and/or loved one up too early or confused about time. Instead of using messages such as, Youre up too early, you need to go to bed, try leading with statements such as, You know, I’m getting sleepy. Id like a little snack before I go to bed, and then gesture for the patient and/or loved one to sit with you.

Recommended Reading: When Can You Get Tested For Alzheimer’s

Play To Their Strengths

Sometimes memory loss is so devastating that we all forget that there is a person still in there somewhere. Family members can be distraught by what’s missing and forget that there’s still a lot there within the person, and that they have strengths.

They still have long-term memory, so its up to the caregiver and/or family member to find them. It’s interesting that, medically, doctors do tests on other conditions but when it comes to memory loss, it’s often looked at like a switch: Either they got it, or they don’t. Just like everything else, there’s a progression of memory loss, and its up to the caregiver and/or family member to find out where the patient and/or loved one is, and bolster that.

Strength #1: Long-term memory & stories

Everyone has a short-term memory drawer and long-term memory drawer, and we put information in each. People with dementia and/or Alzheimers have a short-term memory drawer that has no bottom. He/she puts things in, and then they get lost. The long-term memory drawer, however, has a solid bottom. Lots of stories that are retrievable await . Encourage your patients and/or loved ones to tell you stories. You can even use photos to encourage stories. Photos are wonderful long-term memory reminders.

Strength #2: Humor & music

Strength #3: Spirituality

Is Talking To Yourself Healthy

Self-talk may have several benefits. It causes no significant health risks unless a person also experiences other symptoms of a mental health condition, such as hallucinations.

While performing a task with a set of instructions, self-talk may improve control over the task, concentration, and performance. It may also enhance problem-solving skills.

A 2012 studyexamined how self-talk affects visual search tasks. The findings suggest that self-talk while looking for a particular object, such as a lost item of clothing or set of keys, or trying to find products in a grocery store, may help a person find them sooner.

Research also suggests there could be benefits to engaging in self-talk during sport, depending on how the person self-talks and what they say.

For example, self-talking in a motivational or instructional way could improve performance. However, although negative self-talk may increase motivation in sport, it may not improve performance.

You May Like: How To Deal With Early Signs Of Dementia

Stage : Fulltime Care

Eventually people who are experiencing dementia become so unable to choose their own activities or make sense of the world around them that they need to have someone present at all times in order to feel comfortable. To me, this is the greatest heartbreak of memory care facilities, because their residents are left alone for hours at a time. Even people who have anosognosia will eventually welcome the full-time presence of other people.

At DAWN, we know it is time for full-time care when we arrive and find someone whos only been alone for minutes wandering from room to room, unable to relax they have lost the ability to know what they want to do. These people will say, I just dont know what Im supposed to be doing when you arrive, and Do you have to go? when you get ready to leave. This will happen long before they become bedridden or unable to communicate.

At this last stage of dementia, we make sure that someone is always present. We are careful to continue the same schedule of daily activities so they continue to receive enough sensory and social stimulation to avoid sundowning or wandering. We maintain the same evening and bedtime routines so the sleeping habits weve helped them develop can be maintained for as long as possible.

Lifestyle Changes To Improve Vascular Dementia Symptoms


A diagnosis of dementia is scary. But its important to remember that many people with dementia can lead healthy, fulfilling lives for years after the diagnosis. Dont give up on life! As much as possible, continue to look after your physical and emotional health, do the things you love to do, and spend time with family and friends.

The same strategies used to keep your brain healthy as you age and prevent the onset of dementia can also be used to improve symptoms.

Find new ways to get moving. Research suggests that even a leisurely 30-minute walk every day may reduce the risk of vascular dementia and help slow its progression. Regular exercise can also help control your weight, relieve stress, and boost your overall health and happiness.

Create a network of support. Seeking help and encouragement from friends, family, health care experts, and support groups can improve your outlook and your health. And its never to late to make new friends and expand your network.

Eat for heart health. Heart disease and stroke share many of the same risk factors, such as high LDL cholesterol , low HDL cholesterol , and high blood pressure. Adopting a heart-healthy diet may help to improve or slow down your dementia symptoms.

Make it a point to have more fun.Laughing, playing, and enjoying yourself are great ways to reduce stress and worry. Joy can energize you and inspire lifestyle changes that may prevent further strokes and compensate for memory and cognitive losses.

Recommended Reading: What Doctor To See For Dementia

Stage : Clinginess Or Clingy Dementia

When someone slips into this stagebecoming clingythey are experiencing confusion on such a level that they are commonly unable to do simple tasks when alone, or cannot understand whether its morning or afternoon, Tuesday or Saturday, October or May. They might say, Id feel better if I could hold your arm. They may not be able to verbalize this need and just reach out and take their companions arm. In a crowd, even in a small group, these people sidle closer or lean into their companions. They look for eye contact and want to make eye contact often. For them, at this point most people have become strangerseven family members and dear friendsalthough they will still do their best to mask it. Memories can be recalled and faces placed, but it requires careful leading through a series of related memories to get there, if at all.

Routine and familiarity are now essential. The smallest change can bring on a crisis of fear and confusion. When someone reaches this stage, we need to vigilantly watch for the moment they move to the next level of need, which will be a transition we dare not ignore. The change may be sudden or gradual, the result of a crisis or merely a response to an accumulation of daily failures or irritations. They will now need someone with them at night.

Staring With Reduced Gaze And Trouble Reading

Reduced gaze is the clinical term for the dementia symptom that alters peoples ability to move their eyes normally. We all move our eyes and track with them frequently, says Rankin. But people showing early signs of dementia look like theyre staring a lot. Rankin adds that they might skip lines when they try to read. This is one of the signs of dementia that the person with dementia might not completely be aware of, although people around them probably will be.

Don’t Miss: Can Alzheimer’s Happen At Any Age

Should You Keep Trying To Communicate

Family members may frequently ask, How often should I visit?, or, Should I visit at all, because they dont seem to be understanding what were saying, most of the time they dont seem to recognize me, etc. Caregivers can encourage family members to visit because its important to them. Also, the person with memory loss may catch some things on some days, and if family members can make the interaction a pleasant moment, it can be rewarding for both.

Communication amongst family becomes particularly difficult when the person with dementia and/or Alzheimers doesn’t recognize family members anymore. In this situation, a spouse or children can think that it doesnt do any good to go talk to the personthat anyone could talk to him/her because they dont remember who they are. But there is a richness that happens because of family history together, something that can only come from people that have been family or friends for a long time.

The type of communication families can get out of visits can be pulled from the strength of the patient and/or loved ones long-term memories. They can still talk about the past, and for family members, to hear those things are perhaps a worthwhile gift.

Even though the patient and/or loved one can no longer communicate the way they used to, there are still other ways to enjoy time together. There is beauty and simplicity in being in the present moment.

Dont Just Yell At Them

Games For Dementia Patients Australia

Because not everyone with dementia has hearing loss, employing a loud tone may make them feel as though youre shouting at them. To begin a discussion with someone, use a clear, natural tone of voice.

You can raise your volume if the person doesnt answer or if you notice they have difficulty in hearing. If one has a hearing impairment, speaking in a lower tone little lower register might also prove beneficial.

Also Check: Can You Divorce A Person With Dementia

A Failing Sense Of Direction

A persons sense of direction and spatial orientation commonly starts to get worse with the onset of dementia. They may have difficulty recognizing once-familiar landmarks and forget how to get to familiar places they used to have no trouble finding.

It may also become more difficult to follow a series of directions and step-by-step instructions.

Vascular Dementia Signs And Symptoms

Vascular dementia affects different people in different ways and the speed of the progression also varies from person to person. Some symptoms may be similar to those of other types of dementia and usually reflect increasing difficulty to perform everyday activities like eating, dressing, or shopping.

Behavioral and physical symptoms can come on dramatically or very gradually, although it appears that a prolonged period of TIAsthe mini-strokes discussed aboveleads to a gradual decline in memory, whereas a bigger stroke can produce profound symptoms immediately. Regardless of the rate of appearance, vascular dementia typically progresses in a stepwise fashion, where lapses in memory and reasoning abilities are followed by periods of stability, only to give way to further decline.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Vascular Dementia
Mental and Emotional Signs and Symptoms
  • Slowed thinking
  • Language problems, such as difficulty finding the right words for things
  • Getting lost in familiar surroundings
  • Laughing or crying inappropriately
  • Difficulty planning, organizing, or following instructions
  • Difficulty doing things that used to come easily
  • Reduced ability to function in daily life

Read Also: Why Do Alzheimer’s Patients Keep Their Eyes Closed

Having A Hard Time Managing Money

One of the classic early signs of Alzheimers disease is an increasing difficulty with money management. This might start off as having trouble balancing a checkbook or keeping up with expenses or bills, but as the disease progresses, poor financial decisions are often made across the board.

Though many people brush off this symptom as a normal part of aging, they shouldnt. We tend to associate aging with losing your mind. Thats not healthy aging its a disease, emphasizes Rankin.

Support For Families And Carers Of People With Dementia


Dealing with dementia-related behaviours day in and day out is not easy. It is essential that you seek support for yourself from an understanding family member, a friend, a professional or a support group. Remember that you are not alone.

offers support, information, education and counselling through the National Dementia Helpline.

is a national telephone advisory service established to support carers and care workers of people with dementia, who experience dementia-related behaviours. Telephone advice, assessment, intervention, education and specialised support are available 24 hours a day.

You May Like: Does Drinking Diet Soda Cause Dementia

Speak As You Usually Would Gestures And All

Be mindful not to raise your voice and to speak in a standard, relaxed tone. If youre calm, you have a greater chance of keeping the atmosphere calm too. It is also important to note that using hand gestures can sometimes save a wandering mind. If this is your usual way of conversing, dont change anything. If youre prone to speaking without making use of your hands, dont force it. A reassuring gesture or even holding your seniors hand can go a long way.

Dont Counter Aggressive Behavior

People with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s may become aggressive in response to the environment. Bath time is often when the aggressive behavior is displayed. The caregivers and/or family member’s approach may also play a part. Rushing, speaking harshly, or forcing a person may result in an aggressive response. When someone with memory loss displays aggressive behavior, it is a form of communication. It may be the only way a person has left to say, Pay attention to me! I don’t want to take a bath! When someone is communicating vigorously, it is the caregivers and/or family member’s job to respect that communication. Hitting, kicking, or biting are ways of saying, stop. The appropriate response is to stop. That doesnt mean not to try again in five minutes or a half an hour.

Read Also: How Long Does Sundowning Last In Dementia

Stick To One Topic At A Time

Where possible, try and finish off one topic when talking to your senior before starting another one. Bouncing between ideas and talking non-stop will no doubt cause confusion and an eventual breakdown in communication. Instead, it might be a good idea to check in with your senior before moving on to the next topic. Again, remember to keep your sentences short.

Do Memory Slipups Interfere With Daily Life

Why Do Dementia and Alzheimers People Make Up Stories? · Artsy Fartsy Life

Forgetting the name of your neighbors dog is normal. Whats not: No longer being able to do everyday activities the way you used to, and you now need help of your family or professionals,

If you used to balance your bank accounts to the penny and now youve lost track of where your household money is going, bills have not been paid and as a result electricity or phone service has been turned off. Similarly, you feel lost and overwhelmed making, or even worse, being unable to make, Thanksgiving pumpkin pie with your favorite longtime recipe, it may be a sign of early brain changes, Yasar says.

And one of the biggest concerns, from a doctors point of view, is the issue with medication management, such as forgetting to take medications or taking them incorrectly. If you or a loved one are having issues managing medication correctly, it’s time to reach out to your doctor.

Recommended Reading: What Effects Does Alzheimer’s Have On The Brain


Most Popular