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What Are Dementia Patients Thinking

What Would You Like To Know


Most of the participants with dementia declared they would like to know what was wrong with them or wished to get more information if they already knew. Ten wanted to know their diagnoses, 5 were interested in the possibility of improvement, and 1 wished to know more about the causes of the disorder. Sometimes they could not specify what exactly they would like to know , but some of their questions might have been difficult to answer, for example: Why me? or How long will I suffer?

Prevalence Of Delusions In Alzheimers Disease

Approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of people with Alzheimers will develop delusions at some point during the disease, many of them being paranoid delusions. The incidence may be increased in those who have a history of abuse or trauma.

Delusions appear to be more common in vascular dementia as well as in Parkinsons-related dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. Up to 70 percent of people with Lewy body dementia experience delusions or hallucinations.

What Does Dementia Feel Like A Neuroscientist With First

When Dr. Barbara Lipskas hand disappeared in front of her face, her first thought was a brain tumor. She understood exactly what that diagnosis would mean because, in addition to losing her first husband to brain cancer and battling breast cancer herself, she had dedicated her life to studying brain abnormalities in rats and the frozen brains of humans as the director of the human brain bank at the National Institute of Mental Health.

Barbaras instincts were right, several melanoma tumors were growing in her prefrontal cortex and over the course of her treatment, there would be as many as 18 at a time. The moment she lost sight of her hand would mark the beginning of a harrowing journey that involved several experimental treatments including surgery, radiation, and an immunotherapy clinical trial. Her diagnosis should have been a death sentence, and many of the treatments came with difficult and painful side effects, but at the time of this writing, Barbara is fortunately in remission.

While new tumors continued to grow, the treatment caused significant brain swelling putting pressure on the prefrontal cortex and mimicking symptoms of the very dementia patients she had studied in her lab. For months, Barbara experiences cognitive changes in many of the same brain areas commonly affected by dementia.

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Ten Tips For Communicating With A Person With Dementia

We arenât born knowing how to communicate with a person with dementiaâbut we can learn. Improving your communication skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with a dementing illness.

  • Set a positive mood for interaction. Your attitude and body language communicate your feelings and thoughts more strongly than your words do. Set a positive mood by speaking to your loved one in a pleasant and respectful manner. Use facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical touch to help convey your message and show your feelings of affection.
  • Get the personâs attention. Limit distractions and noiseâturn off the radio or TV, close the curtains or shut the door, or move to quieter surroundings. Before speaking, make sure you have her attention address her by name, identify yourself by name and relation, and use nonverbal cues and touch to help keep her focused. If she is seated, get down to her level and maintain eye contact.
  • Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart. Be patient in waiting for your loved oneâs reply. If she is struggling for an answer, itâs okay to suggest words. Watch for nonverbal cues and body language, and respond appropriately. Always strive to listen for the meaning and feelings that underlie the words.
  • Patient Who Does Not Want To Know

    When Do Dementia Patients Need 24

    Nine participants did not want to know what was wrong with them or to receive any information about their illness. Although we did not asked them why, some of them spontaneously tried to explain their choice. Their motives seem to display a wide spectrum from probably full insight through more or less conscious decisions not to know the truth to complete denial of their illness .

    I could not find any clinical or demographic characteristics indicating those who would prefer to be told from those who would not.

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    What Is The Clock Test For Dementia

    The clock test is a non-verbal screening tool that may be used as part of the assessment for dementia, Alzheimers, and other neurological problems. The clock test screens for cognitive impairment. The individual being screened is asked to draw a clock with the hour and minute hands pointing to a specific time. Research has shown that six potential errors in the clock testthe wrong time, no hands, missing numbers, number substitutions, repetition, and refusalcould be indicative of dementia.

    Support For Families And Carers

    Dealing with these 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.

    Keep in mind that feelings of distress, frustration, guilt, exhaustion and exasperation are quite normal.

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    Why Does It Happen

    Dementia can cause people to have difficulty with recognising people, places and things, particularly in later stages. Dementia can also affect peoples memory, so that they might not remember where they left something or why theyre in a particular place.

    These problems with recognition and memory can lead to suspicion, paranoia and false beliefs. They might think that strange people are in their house they might find themselves unexpectedly in a place they dont recognise. Objects might seem to disappear from the place they were sure they were in. Conversations theyre having might not make sense to them. People seek to understand these confusing and worrying events, and might do so by blaming someone or something else.

    Delirium can also lead to the appearance or increase in false beliefs or different realities. If there is a sudden change in someones behaviour or thinking, or they appear much more confused than usual, it could be due to delirium. This should be investigated by a doctor immediately .

    How can I recognise when a person with dementia is experiencing delusions?

    The person with dementia might:

    What Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Dementia

    What is dementia?

    The term dementia refers to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Often, people who experience subtle short-term memory changes, are easily confused, or exhibit different behaviors or personality traits are mistakenly thought to have dementia. These symptoms could be the result of a variety of other conditions or disorders, including other neurocognitive disorders such as Parkinsons disease, brain growths or tumors, mild cognitive impairment , and mood disorders, like depression.

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    What Have You Been Told About Your Illness

    Of the 30 participants, 20 reported that nobody had ever talked with them about their illness. Only 5 had had an opportunity to discuss it with their physicians. Sometimes the information was provided by nurses and friends but never by the family members. Only 1 participant said that she had been told her diagnosis. In 2 cases, the professionals attempted to reassure the patients and advised them to take prescribed medication. Three participants reported clearly untrue explanations allegedly given by their physicians: hearing impairment, angina pectoris, and bereavement had been suggested as responsible for their present conditions. Two participants declared that the content of the information they were given was insulting . Two participants either did not remember or could not understand what the informers had been trying to tell them.

    How Long Do Dementia Patients Live After Diagnosis

    Dementia symptoms typically progress slowly. People with dementia will progress from mild to severe dementia at varying speeds and may be diagnosed earlier or later in life. Some people with dementia may live for up to 20 years after their diagnosis, though according to the Alzheimers Association research shows that the average person lives for four to eight years after a diagnosis of dementia. Its important to point out that the diagnosis of dementia is often missed, delayed, or diagnosed when the illness is moderate or advanced. The impact of that variable may not be accurately reflected in the research regarding the years of life post-diagnosis.

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    Loss Of Mental Ability

    Memory problems are usually the most obvious symptom in people with dementia. Forgetfulness is common. As a rule, the most recent events are the first forgotten. For example, a person with early stages of dementia might go to the shops and then cannot remember what they wanted. It is also common to misplace objects.

    Early memories stay longest. Events of the past are often remembered well until the dementia is severe. Many people with dementia can talk about their childhood and early life. As dementia progresses, sometimes memory loss for recent events is severe and the person may appear to be living in the past. They may think of themself as young and not recognise their true age.

    Someone with dementia may not know common facts when questioned . They may have difficulty remembering names or finding words. They may appear to be asking questions all the time.

    Language problems can also develop. For example, someone with dementia may have difficulty understanding what is said to them or understanding written information. Problems with attention and concentration can also occur. It is common for someone with dementia not to be able to settle to anything and this can make them appear restless.

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    Anosognosia: When Dementia Patients Cant Recognize Their Impairment

    Empathy and Dementia

    Are dementia patients aware of their condition?

    Family members and caregivers often ponder this question as their loved ones begin experiencing telltale symptoms like memory problems, poor judgement, confusion and behavior changes. In a similar vein, members often seek advice on the AgingCare Caregiver Forum as to why an aging parent or spouse is adamantly refusing care. For many seniors who have been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease or other forms of dementia, they refuse to stop driving, wont accept in-home care and resist the idea of moving to senior living because they are unaware that they need assistance. The sad truth is that a decline in mental function essentially affects ones ability to understand and acknowledge of the extent of ones impairment. This leaves dementia caregivers in a tricky spot.

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    Arguments For Limited Truth

    Arguments for limited disclosure and deception quoted by Beauchamp and Childress include the following.

    Therapeutic privilege

    Honesty should not be confused with cruel openness, and if disclosure of the information seems to be harmful to the patient, the physician may be justified in withholding the information or even in using benevolent deception. The therapeutic privilege has a long tradition in medical practice, although more recently it has been criticized as an example of unacceptable paternalism. Misleading the patient contributes to the cult of expertise surrounding the medical profession and to a view of physicians not as providing a service, but as guardians of a special wisdom that they may determine when, and to whom, to divulge. However, paternalism frequently appears to be unavoidable in dementia care, and some professionals still defend telling lies to cognitively impaired patients. After all, anxiety, depression, and catastrophic and psychotic reactions do occur as the result of disclosure, and even suicides committed by patients unable to live with the burden have been reported.

    Patients are not able to understand the information

    Some patients do not want to know the truth about their condition

    The Effect Of Dementia

    In order to get to know someone with dementia it is helpful to appreciate how the dementia affects a persons view of what is going on around them. There are many types of dementia and most are caused by damage to the brain which gets worse over time. In this feature, well look at some of the most common problems that people with dementia struggle with as a result of this damage to the brain.

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    Understanding And Supporting A Person With Dementia

    This page can help you understand what a person with dementia is going through in order to give them the help and support they need to live well.

  • You are here: Understanding and supporting a person with dementia
  • Understanding and supporting someone with dementia

    Living with dementia can have a big emotional, social, psychological and practical impact on a person. Many people with dementia describe these impacts as a series of losses and adjusting to them is challenging.

    This page aims to give people – and carers in particular – a better understanding of what it is like to have dementia. It looks at ways to support someone to live well with the condition, based on that understanding. It also looks at how supporting someone with dementia can affect carers.

    Press the orange play button to hear an audio version of this page:

    Why Do Dementia Patients Stop Talking

    Living with dementia

    There are many signs that can tell you death is near for a dementia payment. Even though you may be prepared for the end, it is never easy. The ten signs that death is near include:

  • Sleeping. The patient may stop responding or may be more sleepy than usual
  • Loss of interest in fluids and food
  • Coolness: the patients legs, feet, arms, hands, ears, and nose may feel cool to touch because of the decrease in circulation
  • Change in the color of the skin because of the low circulation of blood usually called mottling
  • Rattling sounds within the throat and lungs
  • Bowel and bladder changes
  • Changing vital signs
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    Common Forms Of Dementia

    There are many different forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form and may contribute to 6070% of cases. Other major forms include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies , and a group of diseases that contribute to frontotemporal dementia . The boundaries between different forms of dementia are indistinct and mixed forms often co-exist.

    Suggested Responses To 4 Common Dementia Accusations

    1. You stole my money!Having dementia means giving up control over their own finances.

    That loss of control, combined with paranoia or delusions, can cause them to think people are stealing their money.

    Suggested responses:

    • Oh no, is your money missing? I can see why youre upset. Dont worry, Im going to help you look for it. Lets start by checking this drawer
    • Oh no, is there money missing? That can be very upsetting. Lets check your bank statements to make sure its all there.
    • It sounds like we need to look into this. Lets go to the bank tomorrow when its open to get it straightened out. Since the bank is closed right now, lets do .

    How to help them feel more in control:

    • Give them a checkbook to help them track their money
    • Let them keep a wallet with a small amount of real money or realistic-looking fake money
    • Keep files of very old bank statements for them to review when they feel anxious
    • Let them write checks to pay bills and secretly shred them later

    2. You stole my purse / wallet / glasses / hearing aid / dentures !Someone with dementia may accuse you of stealing an item when they cant find it themselves.

    Its easier to cope with the changes in their brain by saying that someone stole the item rather than admit they cant find it.

    Suggested responses:

    How to help them feel more in control:

    3. Youre poisoning me! Im not going to eat.Paranoia or delusions can cause someone with dementia to believe that youre putting poison in their food or drinks.

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    Do Try To Be Forgiving And Patient

    Do not forget that dementia is the condition that results in irrational behavior and causes dementia sufferers to act the way they do. The patients demand plenty of patience and forgiveness from the people looking after them. Have the heart to let things go instead of carrying grudges around for something that the patient may not be in control of.

    Do Not Try And Alter Undesirable Behavior

    Activities For Dementia Patients: How To Do Them And How ...

    Lack of understanding may push one to try and change or stop any undesirable behavior from patients who have dementia. Keep in mind that it is almost impossible to teach new skills or even reason with the patient. Try instead to decrease frequency or intensity of the behavior. For instance, respond to emotion and not the changes in behavior. If a patient insists on always asking about a particular family member reassure them that he or she is safe and healthy as a way of keeping them calm and happy.

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    How To Deal With Dementia Behavior Problems

    • How to Deal with Dementia Behavior Problems: 19 Dos and Donts

    Dementia is a disease that affects millions of people across the globe every year. It is often a highly misunderstood condition that is marred by numerous misconceptions, which make the condition difficult to understand and study.

    You should know that dementia is not a name for an illness, rather it is a collective term that describes a broad range of symptoms that relate to declining of thinking, memory, and cognitive skills. These symptoms have deteriorating effects that usually affect how a patient acts and engages in the day-to-day activities.

    In advanced dementia stages, affected persons may experience symptoms that bring out a decline in rational thought, intellect, social skills, memory, and normal emotional reactivity. It is something that can make them powerless when it comes to living normal, healthy lives.

    Relatives, caregivers, spouses, siblings, children and anyone close to a person who has dementia need to know how to deal with behavioral problems that surface because of the illness. Examples of dementia problems may include aggressiveness, violence and oppositional behaviors. Find out some of the vital Do and Donts when dealing with a dementia patient.


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