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Why Do Dementia Patients Have A Blank Stare

Stage : Mild Dementia

Episode #51 – The blank look and the glazed over eyes with Dementia

At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:

  • Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty recognizing faces and people

In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.

Do Dementia Patients Tell Lies

Lying and Confabulation. Its true that in the early stages of the disease, people with dementia might fib to cover for memory loss. But most examples of lying are dementia symptoms rather than intentional deception. Theyre more like an unconscious defense mechanism, says Kallmyer.

How do you know if dementia is set?

Although the early signs vary, common early symptoms of dementia include:

  • memory problems, particularly remembering recent events.
  • increasing confusion.
  • Dementia Symptoms To Track In Elderly Parents

    No one knows your parents personalities, hobbies, or quirks like you do. So if you notice unusual behavioror experience a persistent feeling that something is offtheres a good chance it is. Aging is a well-known risk factor for Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia. In fact, the risk of developing Alzheimers disease doubles every five years in people 65 and older.

    Learning to spot key dementia symptoms in aging parents and documenting the early stages of dementia can make a big difference. Your observations could provide helpful insight to doctors, which can lead to a quicker and more accurate diagnosis. Discover eight dementia behaviors to track and how to get a diagnosis and treatment.

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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.

    Building A Lewy Body Dementia Care Team

    After receiving a diagnosis, a person with LBD may benefit from seeing a neurologist who specializes in dementia and/or movement disorders. Your primary doctor can work with other professionals to follow your treatment plan. Depending on an individual’s particular symptoms, physical, speech, and occupational therapists, as well as mental health and palliative care specialists, can be helpful.

    Support groups are another valuable resource for people with LBD and their caregivers. Sharing experiences and tips with others in the same situation can help people find practical solutions to day-to-day challenges and get emotional and social support.

    Also Check: Difference Between Dementia And Senility

    A Person With Dementia Can Feel Confused When They Get Something Wrong They May Feel Annoyed And Angry They Might Feel Upset With Other People Too They May Not Know They Are Upset And Can’t Descibe Why They Feel Like That

    Everyone feels confused sometimes. Its the feeling you get when things dont make sense, or you dont know what you should be doing.

    If someone seems angry with you, it can feel horrible. Remember that its not your fault, and its not their fault. It happens because the persons brain is not well. They may not be able to control how they feel any more. They may not know they are upsetting you.

    People with dementia can still have nice feelings too. They can feel happy, safe and calm. Some people with dementia may seem like their usual self a lot of the time and you may only notice small changes every now and then.

    Some people with dementia may not have as many good days. Those days when they do feel more like their old self can be very special.

    Everyone with dementia is different. Dont be afraid to ask questions. If the person you know has not been ill for very long, they may be able to tell you what dementia feels like for them. A person who has had dementia for longer may not be able to tell you how they feel. But you can often see when they are feeling happy, safe and calm.

    Drowsiness Staring And Mental Lapses May Signal Alzheimers Disease

    Seniors who feel drowsy much of the time, or who have periods when they stare into space or their thinking seems illogical or disorganized, may be at increased risk of Alzheimers disease, a new study reports. The findings were published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

    If you have these lapses, they dont by themselves mean that you have Alzheimers, said James Galvin, M.D., a Washington University neurologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and a senior author of the study. Such lapses do occur in healthy older adults. But our results suggest that they are something your doctor needs to consider if he or she is evaluating you for problems with thinking and memory.

    These mental lapses, or cognitive fluctuations, are common in a type of dementia called dementia with Lewy bodies, but researchers previously did not know how frequently they occurred in people with Alzheimers disease.

    The study involved 511 people with memory problems whose average age was 78. Researchers interviewed each participant and a family member, evaluated the participants for dementia and tested their memory and thinking skills.

    People with three or four of the following symptoms met the criteria for having mental lapses:

    * Feeling drowsy or lethargic most of the time, or several times per day, despite getting enough sleep the night before.

    * Sleeping two or more hours before 7 p.m.

    * Staring into space for long periods.

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    Types Of Lewy Body Dementia And Diagnosis

    LBD refers to either of two related diagnoses dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia. Both diagnoses have the same underlying changes in the brain and, over time, people with either diagnosis develop similar symptoms. The difference lies largely in the timing of cognitive and movement symptoms.

    In DLB, cognitive symptoms develop within a year of movement symptoms. People with DLB have a decline in thinking ability that may look somewhat like Alzheimer’s disease. But over time, they also develop movement and other distinctive symptoms of LBD.

    In Parkinson’s disease dementia, cognitive symptoms develop more than a year after the onset of movement symptoms . Parkinson’s disease dementia starts as a movement disorder, with symptoms such as slowed movement, muscle stiffness, tremor, and a shuffling walk. These symptoms are consistent with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Later on, cognitive symptoms of dementia and changes in mood and behavior may arise.

    Not all people with Parkinson’s disease develop dementia, and it is difficult to predict who will. Many older people with Parkinson’s develop some degree of dementia.

    Caregivers may be reluctant to talk about a person’s symptoms when that person is present. Ask to speak with the doctor privately if necessary. The more information a doctor has, the more accurate a diagnosis can be.

    Blank Stare Compulsive Behavior Confusion And Delusions

    DEMENTIA-ALZHEIMERS…. confused at ‘sundowner’ times

    Reviewed on 12/14/2020

    Confusion and delusions can be features of dementia such as Alzheimer disease or dementia due to other causes. A blank stare can accompany certain psychological conditions or can be present with some seizure disorders. Talk to your doctor any time you are experiencing worrisome symptoms.

    While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:

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    So What Causes Pacing In Dementia

    • Restlessness
    • Relieving pain and discomfort
    • Feeling lost
    • Responding to anxiety and stress
    • Need for the bathroom, hunger or thirst
    • Disorientation or confusion

    Heres how you can respond to pacing behavior:

  • Your loved one might wander or pace in response to basic needs like human contact, hunger, or thirst. Ensure that their basic needs are met, and that he or she is not in pain.
  • If night time walking or pacing is a particular issue, your loved one may have sleeping difficulties. Monitoring caffeine and alcohol consumption in the evenings, as well as avoiding daytime napping can reduce restlessness and pacing.
  • Constant pacing may also reveal that your loved one is not getting enough physical activity. Encouraging them to incorporate more exercise in their daily routine can reduce the spare energy exerted during restlessness.
  • New surroundings can trigger feelings of confusion and uncertainty. If you find that your loved ones behavior has worsened due to a new location or surrounding, showing them familiar items can assure them that they belong. Your loved one may also need extra help finding their way about. It may be helpful to provide signs to familiarize them with their surroundings.
  • Offering meaningful activities that engage your loved one can relieve boredom and diminish pacing. Being occupied can provide them with a sense of purpose, keeping them mentally engaged and physically active.
  • What To Do When Someone Asks You A Question About Alzheimers

    Reassure the person with a calm voice and gentle touch. Dont argue or try to use logic Alzheimers affects memory, and the person may not remember he/she asked the question already. Provide an answer. Give the person the answer that he or she is looking for, even if you have to repeat it several times.

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    Knowing The Stages Of Dementia Helps You Plan

    Even if the stages arent exact and symptoms can still be unpredictable, being able to plan ahead is essential.

    The truth is that Alzheimers and dementia care is expensive and time-consuming. Being financially prepared for increasing care needs is a necessity.

    On an emotional level, having an idea of what symptoms to expect helps you find ways to cope with challenging behaviors.

    It also gives you a chance to mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable changes in your older adult.

    How Can I Support Someone With Parkinsons At The Advanced Or Palliative Stage

    In the advanced stages of Parkinsons, your patients care needs may be more complex and require careful planning along with the patient, their family and other health and social care professionals involved.

    Palliative care should be holistic, considering the whole person to support the personal, social, psychological and spiritual needs of your patient and their family. It should give your patient some control and choice over areas such as treatment options and where they will be cared for, as well as providing advice and support to all the people involved in their care.

    Palliative care in Parkinsons may be supported by a number of professionals, including a Parkinsons nurse specialist, local hospice or specialist palliative care team, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist or dietitian. Many people with Parkinsonâs also find complementary therapies beneficial.

    It is important that you find out whether the person has a care plan in place regarding their preferences for how the issues surrounding advanced Parkinsons should be managed. This could include legal documentation such as a Lasting Power of Attorney and an advance care plan. Advance care plans include information on what the persons wishes and preferences are for their care in the future. They may include decisions on any treatments the person doesnt want to have in the future this is called an Advance Directive, Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment or Living Will.

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    Theyre Not Wrong About Everything

    Weve seen it many times: the person with dementia is almost completely ignored when they say something, whether its about their level of pain or what happened yesterday when their grandson came to visit. You cant always believe everything that you hear from someone with dementia, but give them the courtesy of allowing for the possibility that they might be correct periodically.

    Increased Difficulty In Concentrating

    Decreased ability to concentrate begins in the earliest stages of Lewy Body Dementia, but those with moderate cognitive impairment will have significant problems with concentration. It may become challenging for those in this stage of LBD to complete daily tasks, such as managing finances and navigating to new places. Problems with executive function may also arise. Examples of issues with executive function may consist of not being able to organize and complete tasks, inability to multi-task, and not being able to operate remote controls or telephones properly. A large symptom is fluctuations in cognition from one day to another or, at times, from one moment to the next.

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    About Dementia With Lewy Bodies

    Dementia with Lewy bodies is a common form of dementia estimated to affect more than 100,000 people in the UK.

    The term âdementiaâ describes a loss of mental ability associated with gradual death of brain cells. Itâs rare in anyone younger than 65.

    Symptoms usually develop gradually and become more severe over the course of several years.

    How Is Parkinsons Managed

    The Unspoken Impacts Of Dementia

    There is currently no cure for Parkinsons but there are medications and therapies that can help to manage Parkinsons symptoms.

    Medicines that increase the level of dopamine in the brain are the main treatment used to manage the symptoms of Parkinsonâs. Medicines are tailored to each individuals needs.

    Symptoms will get worse when someones Parkinsons medicines are wearing off and improve again after Parkinsons medicines are taken. If people with Parkinsons dont get their medication at the right time, it leads to their motor symptoms becoming uncontrolled. It can take some time to get their symptoms under control again. If you work in a hospital or care home, it is important to be aware that medicine timings will vary from person to person and may be different to ward medicine rounds.

    As well as medicines, surgical options are available for some people with Parkinsonâs, depending on their symptoms.

    Treatments can help to manage the symptoms, but may become less effective in the later stages of the condition.

    Parkinsons UK has more information on how Parkinsons affects people and how it can be managed.

    Recommended Reading: How Do You Treat Parkinsonâs Disease Naturally

    Also Check: Early Stage Dementia Treatment

    Eyes Hold Clues To Changes In The Brain For Rare Frontotemporal Dementia

    Frontotemporal dementia is like Alzheimers disease but attacks much earlier and accounts for just 10-15 percent of dementia cases. It can cause an array of alarming behaviors: Victims say inappropriate things, forget the names of objects and lose the capacity for empathy. As the symptoms worsen, patients require constant care.

    But before all of that happens, scientists now say, the eyes undergo a benign change that flags the impending onset of the disease. In people with a genetic predisposition for frontotemporal dementia, their retinas get thinner, a valuable signal for researchers. Neuroscientists at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco reported their findings in the Journal of Experimental Medicine on Monday.

    “This finding suggests that the retina acts as a type of ‘window to the brain,'” said lead investigator Dr. Li Gan in a statement. “Retinal degeneration was detectable in mutation carriers prior to the onset of cognitive symptoms, establishing retinal thinning as one of the earliest observable signs of familial . This means that retinal thinning could be an easily measured outcome for clinical trials.”

    Source: L. Gan, A. Green, et al. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2014.

    Changes In Behaviour Judgement And Moods

    Becoming quiet, withdrawn or restless or frustrated or angry can be early signs of dementia. Someone may develop repetitive behaviour for example, they ask the same question over and over again, do the same thing repeatedly or make multiple phone calls to the same person. They may become insecure and anxious or start hiding and losing items. They may withdraw from social activities or give up hobbies and interests they have enjoyed.

    They may show poor judgement, for example putting summer clothes on in cold winter months, not knowing when a kettle is full or overfilling cups when making cold and hot drinks, putting a kettle on the hob or leaving a cooker on or tap running. Someone with dementia may become very emotional and experience rapid mood swings or become quieter and less emotional than usual.

    Read Also: Does Alzheimer’s Cause Dementia

    Dementia With Lewy Bodies And Parkinson Disease Dementia

    , MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, University of Mississippi Medical Center

    Dementia with Lewy bodiesParkinson disease dementia

    Dementia is chronic, global, usually irreversible deterioration of cognition.

    Dementia with Lewy bodies is the 3rd most common dementia. Age of onset is typically > 60.

    Lewy bodies are spherical, eosinophilic, neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions composed of aggregates of alpha-synuclein, a synaptic protein. They occur in the cortex of some patients who have dementia with Lewy bodies. Neurotransmitter levels and neuronal pathways between the striatum and the neocortex are abnormal.

    Lewy bodies also occur in the substantia nigra of patients with Parkinson disease, and dementia may develop late in the disease. About 40% of patients with Parkinson disease develop Parkinson disease dementia, usually after age 70 and about 10 to 15 years after Parkinson disease has been diagnosed.

    Because Lewy bodies occur in dementia with Lewy bodies and in Parkinson disease dementia, some experts think that the two disorders may be part of a more generalized synucleinopathy affecting the central and peripheral nervous systems. Lewy bodies sometimes occur in patients with Alzheimer disease, and patients with dementia with Lewy bodies may have neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson disease, and Alzheimer disease overlap considerably. Further research is needed to clarify the relationships among them.

    Caring For Someone With Lewy Body Dementia

    Caring for someone with LBD, or any form of dementia, is hugely challenging. Just as LBD can impact every aspect of a person, caring for someone with the disease can impact every aspect of your daily life. Youll likely face tests of stamina, problem solving, and resiliency. However, your caregiving journey can also be an intensely rewarding experience as long as you take care of yourself and get the support that you need.

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