Understand Why Someone With Dementia Says Mean Things
First, its important to understand why this hurtful behavior is happening.
Dementia is a brain disease that causes parts of the brain to shrink and lose their function, resulting in cognitive impairment.
These different parts control functions like memory, personality, behavior, and speech. Dementia also damages the ability to control impulses, which means actions arent intentional.
Even though its difficult, do your best to remember that they truly dont intend the mean things they say.
These mean comments and hurtful accusations often happen because the person is unable to express whats actually bothering them.
Working to accept the fact that theyre not doing this on purpose helps reduce stress and makes their behavior easier to manage.
The overall strategy is to take a deep breath, remind yourself that its not personal, take care of immediate discomfort or fear, and try to find the cause behind the behavior.
Next, look for long-term solutions that will help you get the support and rest you need to keep your cool in challenging situations like these.
The Emotional Impact Dad’s Diagnosis Had On Us
It has now been a year since Dads diagnosis and I have felt pretty much every emotion going. Sadness, obviously, especially in the immediate period after the diagnosis when I would switch between feeling fine to crying in the supermarket because they were out of avocados .
I have felt confusion. Dementia is so complex and every day is different. Dad can be perfectly clear and lucid one day and then have no grasp of what is going on the next.
Memory Problems Or Normal Aging Take This Quiz To See
For each question, choose the best answer for you.
This table shows the meaning of each possible result:
Showing Signs of Normal Aging
Typically, as we get older our mental process can slow down. Not being able to do things as quickly as before can be worrisome, but is normal. Older people who do not have dementia continue to be able to learn new things, don’t get lost in familiar places, can operate common appliances, maintain prior interests and social skills and perform normally on mental status examinations.
Showing Signs of Early Dementia
Dementia is memory loss which goes beyond the normal slowing of mental processes as we age. People showing early signs of dementia typically are less worried about their memory loss than other people. They may repeat questions, frequently forget names and words, become more withdrawn from activities and conversation, get lost traveling in familiar places, behave differently than before, be unable to recall recent events and have trouble with memory tests.
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What Other Factors Cause Alzheimers Or Dementia
People with no trace of the ApoE gene can still develop dementia and Alzheimers. There are other risk factors which doctors believe contribute to these conditions. They include:
Fortunately, all of these lifestyle factors can be addressed to counter the onset of Alzheimers and dementia. Strategies for preventing the onset of cognitive disease will vary with every individual, but clinical research continues to indicate that healthy lifestyles can make our brains more resilient.
Ways To Find The Right Words To Say
There are times in life when words escape us. This is one of them. You want to make sure your relative knows that you understand the news is difficult. Share that you are in this together. Be sure they know that people with dementia can continue to enjoy life.
Discussing the dementia diagnosis will be the first of many conversations as the disease progresses. The ideas that follow may help you express yourself in an honest yet loving way, both in your first conversation and those to come.
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How To Get Help Coping With Dementia Symptoms
For help coping with the experience whether its how to get your mom in to see the doctor, how to deal with the doctors, how to cope with your stress, how to manage her outbursts, how to plan ahead I would recommend you try the following resources:
- Talk to a professional trained to help people struggling with aging parents, such as a geriatric care manager or a senior care adviser.
- Visit online support forums. Theres a quite active forum at AgingCare.com. The Alzheimers Association is another good source of support groups.
- Read a few good books, as its hard to learn a lot by skimming web pages. For dementia, the 36 Hour Day is well respected, and I like Surviving Alzheimers a lot too. Or consider a course offered by your local Alzheimers Association. Another option would be dementia management videos, such as those by Teepa Snow. Pick whatever method of education works best for your style of learning.
- Remember to take deep breaths, and to take care of yourself. Dementia or no, helping an aging parent is usually a long journey. Building some daily walking and daily mindfulness practice into your day can make a big difference.
Good luck! Do get that dementia assessment and then get help learning to deal with her behaviors. Its an effort but it will pay off in the long run.
Top Tips For Dealing With A Parent Who Denies Dementia Symptoms
Tips For Dealing With A Parent Who Denies Dementia
According to the World Health Organization, there are over 50 million people living with dementia. It is the leading cause of a loss of independence in seniors and one of the hardest diseases to accept.
So what do you do when your aging parent refuses to admit there is a problem?
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Sleep For People Who Have Dementia With Lewy Bodies And Parkinsons Disease
The type of dementia you have can affect your sleep.
People who have dementia caused by Lewy body disease, such as Parkinsons disease or dementia with Lewy bodies are often sleepy by day but have very restless and disturbed nights. They can suffer from confusion, nightmares and hallucinations. Insomnia, sleep apnoea and restless legs are common symptoms.
A person affected with these types of dementia may often unknowingly act out their dreams by shouting and moving around in bed.
They can even cause injury to themselves and/or their sleeping partner. This is called rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder or RBD, and tends to happen from the earliest stages of the disease onwards.
This can be exhausting and often leaves the person feeling like they havent slept at all, so they are very tired and sleepy during the day.
It can be hard to stay awake during the day after a poor nights sleep but, if possible, its best to try to limit sleep during the day to small bursts or catnaps. Otherwise the persons body clock can become very confused and this makes sleeping well during the night even harder.
How To Diagnose Alzheimers Vs Dementia
Alzheimers is a progressive and fatal brain disorder. Dementia is not a specific disease, but an umbrella term that defines a syndrome and used to refer to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Alzheimers is one of the most common causes of dementia. Both Alzheimers and dementia are diagnosed using a variety of different assessments and tests, including a physical exam, lab tests, cognitive and neuropsychological tests, and an analysis of changes in behavior.
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If Youre Worried About Possible Dementia
Lets say youre like the man I spoke to recently, and youre worried that an older parent might have dementia. Youre planning to have a doctor assess your parent. Heres how you can help the process along:
- Obtain copies of your parents medical information, so you can bring them to the dementia evaluation visit. The most useful information to bring is laboratory results and any imaging of the brain, such as CAT scans or MRIs. See this post for a longer list of medical information that is very helpful to bring to a new doctor.
Benefit Concert Honors Dad And Raises Funds For Alzheimers
I am facing another big change later this year. In July, I leave for the Marine Corps. Its a bittersweet moment for me. I look forward to serving my country and honoring my dad, who is a proud former Marine, but its difficult to leave knowing the challenging journey that lies ahead for my dad.
Lately, hes been declining. Hes become very forgetful and unable to control his emotions. Although he’s still pretty independent, he leans on people to help with appointments and other planning tasks. He has a caregiver, Linda, who is with him every day. My dad’s favorite pastime is going over to one of his multiple properties and tinkering around, but his motivation to work on them has definitely gone down.
Earlier this year, I was thinking about ways I could support and honor my dad before my departure. The perfect gesture came to me in a dream . I decided to host a benefit concert in his honor.
My dream soon turned into a labor of love. I got to work immediately visiting venues, asking artists to perform, and soliciting community businesses for donations. It was a lot of work, but it provided a perfect opportunity to combine my passion for music with a meaningful cause: the fight to end Alzheimers.
My dad was ecstatic with my efforts and overwhelmed with the outpouring of support we received from our local community. I think he talked to almost every single person who attended the event!
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At What Age Can You Test Someone For The Signs Of Dementia
There is no one particular age that someone must meet before they can be assessed for signs of dementia, although dementia is more common in people over 65. Early-onset dementia can begin in people who are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Diagnosing dementia in its early stages is important as early treatment can slow the progression of symptoms and help to maintain mental functions.
How Do I Know If My Mom Or Dad Has Dementia
VirginiaLynne was a caregiver for in-laws with Alzheimer’s, and she shares her extensive research in dementia and elder care to help others.
Is It Dementia?
Have you noticed your parent or spouse forgetting things? Perhaps they’ve gotten lost on the way home from the store, or maybe they’ve asked the same question several times. What is the difference between normal forgetfulness and dementia? This article explains how to tell.
Short Memory Quiz
Below is a short quiz to help you determine whether the person you are concerned about is showing signs of early dementia. More quizzes for testing dementia can be found in Testing for Alzheimers and Symptoms of Advanced Alzheimers.
Fill out the quiz for the person you are worried about. Respond to each question with a “yes” or “no.”
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How Do I Talk To Dad About His Diagnosis
Whatever you do, dont tell Dad about his Alzheimers disease.
Doctors hear this line often. The families who say it are afraid that the truth will devastate their loved one and lead to hopelessness and depression.
Some physicians may comply, but most believe its a patients right to be fully informed about his or her situation. Even patients living with dementia deserve to hear the truth. Plain, truthful talk allows everyone to come together, be supportive, give lots of loving help, and make a game plan for care, says Dr. Lakelyn Hogan, Home Instead gerontologist and caregiver advocate for Home Instead, an international in home care company that has helped thousands of families coping with Alzheimers disease.
Consider Margarets experience: Margarets family was so worried about her reaction to her Alzheimers diagnosis that they faxed the doctor and left frantic voice messages insisting he not tell Margaret anything. The doctor ignored their requests and laid it out fully for her. Her response? I knew it! Ive seen those ads on television about those memory pills!
Like many people, Margaret found it comforting to finally understand the truth about her memory loss. While families dread this moment, in many cases its almost a non-event for the person living with dementia. He or she may already know something is wrong. Others may be protected from the bad news by their forgetfulness, or not fully understand or retain the information.
Medical Conditions That Can Mimic Dementia
While memory loss is a common symptom of many kinds of dementia, changes in memory alone do not mean that a person has dementia. Doctors will diagnose an individual with dementia only if two or more brain functionssuch as memory and language skillsare significantly impaired. Some of the diseases that can cause symptoms of dementia are Alzheimers disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Huntingtons disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Doctors have identified other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms, including reactions to medications, normal pressure hydrocephalus, metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, urinary tract infections, brain tumors, anoxia or hypoxia , and heart and lung problems.
Is It True That My Dad Has Dementia
My Dad Has Dementia-Hes Being Horrible to Me!My Dad Has Dementia-Hes Being Horrible to Me! Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Im hearing this same painful thing a lot lately. Aging parents who have early dementia are refusing help and verbally abusing their adult kids who are trying to help.
Grieving The Living: My Dads Six Years With Dementia
Two conflicting emotions were woven inextricably throughout the six years between my fathers Alzheimers diagnosis and his death: love and grief. The love was simple and clear. Its what made me willingly put everything else on hold to care for him, what made me search for things that would bring him pleasure or comfort, what made me rejoice every time we had a special moment together.
The grief, however, was not at all simple. To this day, 10 months after his death, I am still trying to sort it out.
My dad first showed signs of dementia as early as 2008, though I was the only one who noticed something was wrong. A sharp-as-a-tack lawyer, who also held Ph.D. in chemical engineering, my father was not someone who was easily mixed up. But I noticed he started to confuse elementary conceptsIm a lawyer, too, so it was obvious to me, but not noticeable to others. Even though I noticed he was different, I couldnt accept that he might have Alzheimers. I researched until I found mild cognitive impairment, a condition that sometimes leads to Alzheimers. Its a dark day when the best hope is for MCI, but thats what I clung to.
Grief came flooding in the moment his doctor spoke these words: After reviewing your exam, your neuropsychological tests, and the results of your spinal tap, we can say with certainty that you have Alzheimers disease.
Julie Fleming is the founder of The Purple Sherpa, a support group for caregivers.
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Can Dementia Be Diagnosed During A Single Visit
So can dementia be diagnosed during a single visit? As you can see from above, it depends on how much information is easily available at that visit. It also depends on the symptoms and circumstances of the older adult being evaluated.
Memory clinics are more likely to provide a diagnosis during the visit, or shortly afterwards. Thats because they usually request a lot of relevant medical information ahead of time, send the patient for tests if needed, and interview the patient and informers extensively during the visit.
But in the primary care setting, and in my own geriatric consultations, I find that clinicians need more than one visit to diagnose dementia or probable dementia. Thats because we usually need to order tests, request past medical records for review, and gather more information from the people who know the senior being evaluated. Its a bit like a detectives investigation!
Five Mistakes I Made In The Early Stages Of Alzheimer’s Disease
This is for those of you who are seeing the signs of memory loss or dementia in your parents. Why? Because its starting to happen. I may have been the first, but I wont be the last. In the past two weeks alone, Ive spoken with three different friends in their late 30s/early 40s who have alluded to a parent or their in-laws confusing behavior, memory loss, and possible dementia.
Im using examples taken from my own experience and my mistakes. I hope my stumbling will help you find your own path a little more easily.
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Listen For The Meaning Behind Their Words
Feeling misunderstood is a very frustrating aspect of dementia. Become an active listener and provide encouragement. Give the person the time they need to express themselves.
Try not to interrupt or jump in to finish their thoughts. Never brush off their feelings. Using the rules of improv with dementia can help. Things like listening fully, being in the moment, and going with the flow can all make communication go more smoothly no matter what stage of dementia they are in.
What Causes Dementia To Progress So Quickly
Dementia symptoms are typically mild at first and progress over time to moderate and then severe, over several years. The speed as which dementia progresses varies between individuals, but some factors can cause dementia to progress more quickly. These include the persons age, the type of dementia, and other long term health problems. Dementia tends to progress more slowly in people over 65 compared to younger people below 65.
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