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Why Do Dementia Patients Count Numbers

Why Someone With Alzheimers Is Repeating The Same Thing Over And Over

Aggressive Behavior in People with Dementia | Linda Ercoli, PhD | UCLAMDChat

In addition to short-term memory loss, repetitive behaviors can be triggered by stress, anxiety, frustration, discomfort, or fear.

A person with Alzheimers or dementia is often unsure of whats happening, where they are, or what time or day it is. Those are pretty unsettling feelings.

And if theyre feeling uncomfortable or in pain, they may not be able to clearly express their needs.

So when your older adult is repeating the same thing over and over, theyre not necessarily asking because they want an answer.

They may be asking because theyre feeling stressed or anxious and need reassurance or to have a physical need met.

General Care And Support

If you care for or know someone who is living with dementia, it can make you feel frustrated and helpless. Its important to have people around who take time to build empathy and trust, and help provide a safe and predictable environment. Your emotional and physical support will be a great help to the person when the world seems confusing and hostile.

In some cases, its helpful to make changes to a persons home environment to help them feel less disoriented . Visit Health Victorias website for some ideas on creating ‘dementia-friendly environments’.

Disregarding The Law And Other Social Norms

Some people with dementia lose their sense of social norms. Shoplifting breaking into someones house inappropriate interpersonal behaviors, such as sexual comments or actions and even criminal behavior, according to a study published in March 2015 in the journal JAMA Neurology, all make the list of surprising dementia symptoms. This could lead to trouble with the law, too: Early-onset dementia can hit people as early as their thirties and forties, well before anyone around them would consider their out-of-character behavior as a sign of dementia.

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Why Is This Happening

Some reasons why a person with dementia may repeat themselves:

  • The persons short-term memory is impaired and they have no recollection of having already said or asked something.
  • The persons repetitive questions may suggest both a need for information and an emotional need. Repeated stories often represent highly significant memories.
  • The person may repeat themselves because they want to communicate and cannot find anything else to say.
  • The person might have become stuck on a particular word, phrase or action.
  • The person might be bored and under-occupied.

Research On Reading And Dementia Progression

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According to a study published in Boston Medical Center Psychiatry, researchers were able to successfully identify people with dementia based on their ability to read using the National Adult Reading Test . Poorer performance on the NART correlated fairly highly with those who had a diagnosis of dementia.

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Signs Of Dying In The Elderly With Dementia

Dementia is a general term for a chronic or persistent decline in mental processes including memory loss, impaired reasoning, and personality changes. Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases of dementia. It is also the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, and over 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimers disease.

Alzheimers disease and most progressive dementias do not have a cure. While the disease inevitably worsens over time, that timeline can vary greatly from one patient to the next.

Caring for a loved one can be challenging and stressful, as the individuals personality changes and cognitive function declines. They may even stop recognizing their nearest and dearest friends and relatives. As dementia progresses, the individual will require more and more care. As a family caregiver, its important to be able to recognize the signs of dying in elderly with dementia. Hospice can help by offering care wherever the individual resides, providing physical, emotional and spiritual care to the patient and support their family.

Preparing For A Doctor’s Visit

  • 1Make an appointment with a doctor. The other sections on this page contain tests which you can take at home. These can give you a little information if you have no other options, but they are not a good replacement for a doctor’s diagnosis, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.XTrustworthy SourceAlzheimer’s AssociationNonprofit organizaton focused on supporting those affected by Alzheimer’s and promoting research on the diseaseGo to source
  • 2Prepare your medical history. Certain drugs and medical conditions can increase your risk. Similarly, a family history of dementia and other risk factors can put you at a higher risk of developing dementia, though the disease isn’t necessarily genetic. It’s important for your doctor to rule out conditions that can mimic the symptoms of dementia, such as depression, thyroid issues, and side effects to medications, which can affect your memory and thinking. If your issues are caused by these conditions rather than dementia, you may be able to reverse your symptoms.XTrustworthy SourceAlzheimer’s AssociationNonprofit organizaton focused on supporting those affected by Alzheimer’s and promoting research on the diseaseGo to source Be ready to give your doctor the following information:XResearch sourceXTrustworthy SourceAlzheimer’s AssociationNonprofit organizaton focused on supporting those affected by Alzheimer’s and promoting research on the diseaseGo to source
  • Other known medical issues.
  • Changes in your behavior .
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    Current Paradigm To Assess Dementia In Epidemiologic Studies: A Challenge

    Cited prevalence data are frequently taken from community-based studies aimed to research disease processes modulating the risk for dementia . In such studies, protocols are based on face-to-face examinations performed by, or under the supervision of, specialized clinicians, such as neurologists, psychiatrists, geriatricians, and neuropsychologists. Streamlined neurologic examinations, informant interviews, and targeted cognitive testing form the core of data collected to diagnose dementia and its sub-types. International diagnostic guidelines are applied, frequently in the context of a consensus conference of trained specialists. With this level of detail, clinical diagnoses of the major sub-types of dementiaAlzheimers disease , vascular dementia, and Parkinsons dementiacan be made reasonably accurately, but there is often not enough detailed information to accurately identify more rare sub-types of dementia, such as Frontal Temporal Lobe Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, or Progressive Supranuclear Palsy to name a few. This is a relatively expensive method of case ascertainment, necessitated by the need for well-characterized cases, by no established biomarkers, by no ante-mortem gold standard for diagnosis, and by incomplete, non-standardized data from health and death records.

    Stage : Severe Decline


    People with the sixth stage of Alzheimers need constant supervision and frequently require professional care. Symptoms include:

    • Confusion or unawareness of environment and surroundings
    • Inability to recognize faces except for the closest friends and relatives
    • Inability to remember most details of personal history
    • Loss of bladder and bowel control
    • Major personality changes and potential behavior problems
    • The need for assistance with activities of daily living such as toileting and bathing
    • Wandering

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    Not Understanding What Objects Are Used For

    Now and again, most people find themselves desperately searching for the right word. In fact, failing to find the word you are thinking of is surprisingly common and not necessarily a sign of dementia, says Rankin. But losing knowledge of objects not just what they are called, but also what they are used for is an early dementia symptom. Oddly enough, people who are losing this knowledge can be very competent in other areas of their lives.

    Are Your Conversations Getting Stalled

    We all have to search for the right word from time to time. And its normal for this to happen more often as we get older, Yasar notes. Whats not: extreme difficulty remembering words, calling things and people by the wrong words or names and withdrawing socially as a result. Having more and more trouble following, joining or continuing a conversation or even following plot on TV may also be a red flag for dementia risk.

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    What You Can Do For Your Loved One

    As an individual with dementia declines, you can help them by providing a loving and supportive presence. Sit with them. Hold their hand. Play music they enjoy.

    One of the greatest gifts you can give your loved one is helping to get their affairs in order. Ensure that financial and healthcare powers of attorney are put in place, so you can make decisions when your loved one is no longer able. Look into funeral arrangements before you need them, so you dont need to make important decisions in a time of crisis.

    Talk to your loved ones physician about the possibility of palliative care support in the home and hospice care when your loved one is ready.

    How To Test For Dementia

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    There is no single test that can determine a person is suffering from dementia. The doctor can diagnose different types of dementia such as Alzheimers based on their medical history.

    This has to be done very carefully. In addition, the doctor may conduct laboratory tests, physical examinations, and changes in the way the patient thinks.

    When all things are considered carefully, a doctor can be able to determine that a person is actually suffering from dementia with certainty. Determining the type of dementia can be hard, especially due to the fact that brain changes and symptoms that are associated with the different types of dementias sometimes overlap.

    It is normal for the doctor to give a diagnosis of dementia without really specifying the type. In such a case, it is important for the patient to visit a specialist in this area like a psychologist or neurologist for a more specific diagnosis.

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    Reading In The Middle Stages Of Dementia

    As Alzheimer’s progresses into the middle stages of dementia, most people can still read, but typically this ability will gradually decline over time. This can vary, with some people with mid-stage dementia being able to continue to enjoy reading, especially if it’s been a life-long habit. What often appears to decline is the ability to understand or remember what they’re readingthat is, the comprehension. This is related to the ability to understand what words mean and what a whole sentence is conveying. Additionally, when memory is impaired, it may be difficult to remember what it is that was read.

    If the time comes when an academic journal just doesn’t hold your interest anymore, you might still enjoy reading other simpler and more engaging books in the middle stages of dementia.

    Gait Testing As A Predictor For Cognitive Decline

    Gait testing as a tool for diagnosis looks at the patients gait cost or speed under various conditions. First, patients will walk at varying speeds to establish the baseline. After completing the single task, patients will then perform the cognitive dual task and motor dual task. Ideally, a person with healthy cognitive functions can perform multiple tasks at a time. But for patients with a high risk of dementia the ability to concentrate and focus decreases as additional tasks pile up on top of one another.

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      On the other hand, dual motor tasks pertain to completing two motor tasks at the same time. A dual motor task aims to measure changes in gait speed when another task is added. Will the patients gait speed change if asked to carry a tray while walking? The answer to these questions will make up the patients personal gait pattern. By exhibiting unique impairment signatures through gait testing, the link between dementia and walking offers promise as an early indicator of cognitive decline.

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      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 try to read and they skip lines. This is one of the signs of dementia that the patient might not completely be aware of, although people around them probably will be.

      Stage : Age Associated Memory Impairment

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      This stage features occasional lapses of memory most frequently seen in:

      • Forgetting where one has placed an object
      • Forgetting names that were once very familiar

      Oftentimes, this mild decline in memory is merely normal age-related cognitive decline, but it can also be one of the earliest signs of degenerative dementia. At this stage, signs are still virtually undetectable through clinical testing. Concern for early onset of dementia should arise with respect to other symptoms.

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      How Can I Support Someone As Their Dementia Progresses

      In the later-stages of dementia the person may become increasingly dependent on others for their care.

      They may have severe memory loss at this stage and fail to recognise those close to them. They may lose weight , lose their ability to walk, become incontinent, and behave in unusual ways.

      Not everyone will show all these signs, and some people may show them earlier on in the illness.

      Do You Lose Track Of The Time Date Or Season

      Once in a while, we all forget what day of the week it is, but we usually remember or figure it out quickly. More troubling: not knowing what day it is, the time of day or how much time is passingand not realizing that youve forgotten. Additionally, unable to remember appointments or even missing them despite putting it on the calendar or having received numerous reminders by family. These may be signs of dementia, according to Johns Hopkins experts.

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      What Are The Warning Signs That Life Is Nearing An End

      When an elderly person with dementia is almost bearing their end, it can be very traumatic especially for the loved ones. It is important to have an idea of what signs one needs to expect when the end comes as this can give you some sort of comfort.

      When you think of a condition such as Alzheimers disease, a person can live for over 10 years with it. It is possible to make the person happy over those years. Since we are not immortals, at some point life does come to an end when you have dementia and it is something that one needs to be prepared for especially if they are caregivers.

      Handling the final stage of dementia is much easier, especially when you are aware of the things that you should expect. It is important to give the person the kind of care that will award him or her dignified and peaceful death.

      Usually, when a person is about to reach the end, the dementia symptoms usually get worse and this can be quite upsetting. Some of the things that you may notice include:

      • Limited mobility so they may have to be bed bound
      • Limited speech or no speech at all
      • Double incontinence
      • Difficulties swallowing and eating

      It is important to note that the above symptoms do not really mean that the person will just die. There are people who can have such symptoms for quite some time. You should also remember that about two-thirds of dementia patients succumb to other ailments such as pneumonia.

      Some of the other signs that can indicate that death is indeed close include:

      When Should I Speak To A Doctor About Dementia

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      See your doctor for a full examination if you notice several of these signs:

    • Memory loss forgetting things that should be familiar, and not remembering them later
    • Difficulty with familiar tasks mixing up the steps in a task, such as making a meal then forgetting to eat it
    • Language problems forgetting simple words or substituting incorrect words
    • Disorientation of time and place getting lost on their own street, forgetting how they got somewhere or how to get home
    • Poor judgement such as making risky moves when driving
    • Problems with abstract thinking such as counting and doing finances
    • Misplacing things putting things away in inappropriate places
    • Changes in mood or behaviour such as rapid mood swings for no apparent reason
    • Changes in personality becoming more suspicious, fearful, uninhibited or outgoing than before
    • Loss of initiative becoming uncharacteristically passive or uninvolved in activities
    • Its important not to assume someone has dementia based on these symptoms alone. Other treatable conditions such as depression, infections, hormone imbalances and nutritional deficiencies can also cause dementia-like symptoms.

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      Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment

      Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:

      • Getting lost easily
      • Noticeably poor performance at work
      • Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
      • Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
      • Losing or misplacing important objects
      • Difficulty concentrating

      Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.

      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 this symptom off as just 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.

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