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  1. #1
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    Faking Alzheimers

    Hi everyone,

    I'm a little dumbfounded this week. They've always suspected that she was faking a lot of the symptoms to get sympathy. Last week, i saw it with my own eyes, heard with my own ears... after giving the benefit of the doubt for quite some time.

    How in the world does one care for someone who DOES have mild Alzheimer's (only little memory loss) but fakes the more serious symptoms? I can handle her wanting to fake it, but my concern is... one day if the symptoms were real, how I do tell it apart from when it isn't? It's like the story of the boy crying wolf too many times.

    Regards,
    J
     

  2. #2
    J, From what you've said elsewhere, this woman has always been manipulative, so why would she change the habits of a lifetime? If anything, I would expect this particular aspect of her personality to get worse - any kind of dementia is going to tend to diminish that little voice inside that says "this isn't appropriate".

    Having said that, of course, people can have good and bad days, or even 30 second bursts, particularly at the early stages. So the fact that she seems at times fully concious of her actions, doesn't mean that that she's always concious (although I know you know that).

    While I understand your concern about how to tell if the symptoms are real, I'm not sure that there is anything you could do differently if you knew for sure one way or the other. Whether she can't do something because she chooses not to, or whether she simply can't, makes no real difference to the outcome - she still doesn't do whatever it is. I realise you're going to more ticked off if you think she's faking, but to be truthful, even with someone who isn't faking there are going to be times when you're ticked off. It's not a saintly response, but it is human (that's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it).

    Jennifer
     

  3. #3
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    I'm going to look at it from another direction. That of the person with whatever level of dementia.

    Firstly, I'm going to return to 1989, before I ever got exposed to dementia through Jan's condition, which was yet to develop.

    Had I developed the early stages of dementia at that time I would not have known what to fake to make myself seem to have more advanced dementia.

    I reckon that anyone who has not been exposed to dementia in someone else - directly - would not be able to fake anything like the real thing... it is just not memory, it is a host of other things.

    Sure, someone will go for sympathy if they can, no matter whether they have been manipulative or not previously.

    I'm just doubtful that someone could know enough to fake advanced dementia when they are at an early stage. They would have to know what to fake.

    Of course, dementia causes so many different signs that, on the principle of random things sometimes proving the case, perhaps it might be so.

    ...I'm not disagreeing with your suspicions - I just wonder if what she is faking is advanced dementia.
    Bruce

    I'm still a Carer.

    "I don't suppose I'll see you much more. We had lovely times. I love you very much." Jan's words, October 2000

    "You'll take care of my daughter, won't you?" an ailing mother's words, 2013

    "I always thought you were thick" an ailing mother's words to me, 2013. How right you are….
     

  4. #4
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    Hi JT13
    I agree with Jennifer. My Mum has always had an "asthma attack" when not getting her own way. even before AD. Was prescribed inhalers, which she never used. As this disease has progressed the asthma attacks became "fainting, dizzy turns" I assume because she had forgotten how to do asthma. Now we don't get any of that, again I assume she has forgotten, how to act.
    I would say though don't put everything down to faking, because when Mum and Dad were in their own home before coming to live beside me, some of the dizziness was genuine, through lack of food and stress in trying to cope on their own.
    alfjess xx
     

  5. #5
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    Dear Jennifer.... thanks for your comments. Blunt it may be as I've also thorugh about that. Hence, my concern when she actually gets the symptoms. However, I sure do wish Dementia was easier to test for but the huge variety of symptoms makes it so much harder to predict.

    Dear Bruce... yes, you are correct to say that there are a host of many symptoms apart from memory loss. I had particularly looked at major symptoms like physical ability to walk. I was merely in the right place and the right time to watch her playing games. Wish not to go into detail... but remember those old black and white movies when they show a man in a wheelchair, unable to walk and when everyone goes away, he stands up and walk? Those are the kind of scenarios I'm speaking about. It's not that she knows what the symptoms of Alzheimers are. Alzheimers symptoms comes in many forms... and she merely emulates them and coincidentally fall under the list of Alzheimers sysmtoms.

    Firstly, I'm not very pleased of her playing certain games because it truly mocks those who are real sufferers of such symptoms. However, I can see that she merely wants attention which is common... just more pronounced from her character. Secondly, my concern still remains the same, that when the symptoms are no longer fake but are true, how do I tell them apart?

    Thanks guys for your response...

    J
     

  6. #6
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    Hello J

    the more I see in the content of posts on TP, the more I realise how blessed I have been to have known Jan.

    J, you are quite an amazing person. Do keep posting here where there are so many shades of dementia described, and it helps us all, to see what others see.
    Bruce

    I'm still a Carer.

    "I don't suppose I'll see you much more. We had lovely times. I love you very much." Jan's words, October 2000

    "You'll take care of my daughter, won't you?" an ailing mother's words, 2013

    "I always thought you were thick" an ailing mother's words to me, 2013. How right you are….
     

  7. #7
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    I was often amazed by the speed of my mother's transformations, one moment lying on the bed moaning and looking as if she'd never get up again, the next outside the front gate. Once when relatives came to tea she was lying in bed looking as if she could hardly hold a cup and saucer, (they didn't want to go because they thought she was dying that night), but when at last they went she jumped up and started re-arranging the furniture. I signed most of her Christmas cards for her explaining that she wasn't well enough, then she trotted out to the postbox and posted them, recipients probably thought she was too weak to hold a pen. And whenever she went to hospital she was eagerly listening to other people's symptoms in order to produce them herself later. (There had to be someone ill in her house, and if it wasn't me or my father she had to do it herself.) Some of it I think was a repetition of her own early childhood illnesses. I can't remember how many times she claimed to be dying or threatened suicide.

    I also accused her of crying wolf, perhaps that was why we didn't realise when she really was dying.

    I don't know how you distinguish the true from the false.

    Lila
     

  8. #8
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    Faking it

    How these messages struck so many chords.

    My mother was ill all her life .Just a few years ago she was on 17 different prescribed medications. ( which she used like a pick and mix sweet factory).

    The only silver lining in the cloud of her dementia is thaT SHE HAS FORGOTTEN WHAT A TERRIBLE hYPOCHONDRIAC SHE USED TO BE.

    Every day, day after day for years I had to put up with her constant whinging about her aches and pains. 5 years ago she was on Morphine Sulphate for her arthritic pain. After she fractured her hip they put her on Tramadol. Now she's in the nursing home she manages on paracetamol. The reverse dosing to whaT YOU WOULD EXPECT. i SEE HER WINCE OCCASIONALLY BUT IT DOESN'T STOP HER ENDLESSLY WALKING THE CORRIDOORS OF HER NURSING HOME WEARING HERSELF OUT ON HER zIMMER FRAME.

    I actually think a lot of my mum's problems including VD are iatrogenic ( ie caused by her treatment. A few years ago I took her to her (elderly) GP to review the 13 medications she was on having found a bin bag full of them hidden around her house. The Gp took her blood pressure which was very high and insisted on writing her up for yet another medication. I tried pointing out that maybe her BP was high because she wasn't actually taking the medication she was already prescribed.......! That and a course of antibiotics and something else for her bowels brought us up to 17 which is when I gave up and dealt with it myself. I'm convinced her VD is the direct result of her BP varying wildly along with what other pharmacodynamics were going on with all the other medication. She'd also been on Vioxx among other nasties for some time.

    But back to your point, there certainly was a time ( going back to my childhood) when my mum was almost certainly "putting it on" But there is no denying the memory vacuum that develops with dementia. If your mum has the capacity to fake it as it were then you still have the capacity to have some quality time with her. It may indeed be the disease itself that has affected her capacity to sense the social unacceptability of pretending to be ill when you are not.

    My mother spent many years of her early childhood in a TB sanitorium and was then sent to the country to stay with relatives for the good of her health. My hypothesis about her hypochondria was that what she learned ( in a very big family) was that the only way to get love and attention was to be ill. I would wonder what your mum gets out of her behaviour, what's the pay off ?

    If it is love and attention, then ensuring she get's enough of it anyway might cause the behaviour to diminish. But then again not all parents are kindly and lovable and the onset of AD or VD can cause us to revisit relational issues that have lain painfully dormant from the past ( As many siblings, children and partners have testified on this site many times over)

    Much Love to you and everyone else for posting
    Lou Lou
     

  9. #9
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    J's 'Faking Alzheimer's' and the replies, were the best reading of the day. It made me understand much more about what's going on in my own household. In my case, I don't think for a moment that she's faking it, but my goodness I recognised the similarities in your letters. I've been SO worried at times that Eunice (92) is dying one minute, then finding her making a cup of tea the next. She tells me on a daily basis that she's got terrible pains in her chest or stomache or leg or whatever, but within a minute or two she's forgotten it. What a bizzare illness this is!
    Jilly
     

  10. #10
    I must say this is a good read and meant to pop in the other day ,but have been busy .

    I do agree with Bruce when he said

    I'm just doubtful that someone could know enough to fake advanced dementia when they are at an early stage. They would have to know what to fake.
    Puting that aside as I go on to say that my mother has always been manipulative .

    I must admit that in the early stages I use to think that my mother was faking it or should I say was milking it if you no that saying . I think the early stages are the worse, there I was with a mother who was very manipulative in the first place and now need my help what a lot of issue I had to deal with in myself anyway putting all that aside also .


    Mum at the moment is very deminding if she does not get what she wants NOW .
    3 weeks of

    Respite and mum now in the routine of eating at 1pm also at daycentre so I have to cook mum a main meal at 1pm where I am use to cooking a meal at 5’O clock. If I say no we are eating at 5am OMG on, on she go nag , nag , nag .

    Mum diabetic blood sugar reading is gone up so I said she need insulin , she remembered what she told the nurse 6 years ago where to stick the needle up need I say no more. So there no way I am going to force mum to take insulin.

    Then mum tell me and my teenagers about the lady who repeat every thing at the respite so my son pop up with see Nanny AZ is not that bad this was on Friday when she said that .

    So yesterday when my son walk in I complain about the how nanny not going to take insulin about routine changing about dinner ,son said she not that bad she remembers thing that happen few days ago . So I ask him to ask Nanny her date of birth what year is it. Say no more! Then I realize how much he loves his Nanny and hate to hear a word against her. Then I say yes mum not that bad we are lucky that she can still drive me around the bend ,because come a day that she won’t be able to anything at all not even talk .


    PS

    On a positive note of changing routine is that mum has main meal at 1am leavening me evening to work just to get out of house I use to work twilight hours in the past so don’t mind evening work . Have a good friend that will sit with mum while I go to work, my teenager will help, and I could get a carer for some evening if need be .that is fingers cross that I get the job on Friday
    Last edited by Margarita; 03-10-2006 at 12:41 PM.
    "You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only option."
    Author: Unknown

    Each person experiences dementia in their own individual way.
     

  11. #11
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    Gosh these things are so familiar - nearly dying one minute and then 'what are we doing today???' - bright as a button. But there is something inside me saying 'DOES ANYONE IN THEIR [B]RIGHT MIND[B] FAKE DEMENTIA????'
    Best wishes to all BeckyJan
     

  12. #12
    nearly dying one minute and then 'what are we doing today???
    lol sounds like my mum you did make me laugh BeckyJan thanks

    Now as I just gave mum her dinner strange thing is she so cram afterwards until later then give her a sandwich. The thing is if I can get her food under control yes makeing my life easy also she will not need insulin
    Last edited by Margarita; 03-10-2006 at 01:14 PM.
    "You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only option."
    Author: Unknown

    Each person experiences dementia in their own individual way.
     

  13. #13
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    Faking

    Hi JT13, How I wish I was back at the time when my wife was able to perform a task one minute and not the next. After 11 years caring for her the one thing I have learned is the stop start ability to perform almost every function never ends. Each ability fades slowly, the ability to walk, talk, releave themselves etc, they al do finally end. Sometimes the're gone forever before you nitice. Example, one day my wife was suddenly scared to come down stairs, so I told her I had to get on with doing dinner, hoping to hel her down later. A short time later she was stood beside me in the kitchen! The same with her stoping smoking. Even now having removed her from hospital on the 5th Sep four hrs after she was reventilated, I notice she has a blank stare next minute I can see she's taking notice of me. I'm aware the periods of blankness will last longer as we inch our way along this unknown road. Now there's no stress but a great joy knowing I'm in control and understand my wife's condition having gone through all the stages of the unexpected people talk about. Why can't anyone tell me where we're at now with this illness? Could it be no one knows? God bless Padraig
     

  14. #14
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    Dear All,

    Thank you kindly for your posts on this thread. I think I need to clear something up. In most cases, one wouldn't think of how to fake Dementia. However, from where I come from, Dementia is not always tested or widely . Society tends to categorise it as "getting old". And hence, everyone generalises "getting old" as having symptoms of memory loss, muscle aches. Add that with the culture that elderly don't need to do anything and should be taken care of and served.

    In my case, I'm speaking from a point where there was preconcieved intention to fake such symptoms. Such as, checking and looking out if others are watching prior to speaking or walking. If no one's watching, then there was no need to shuffle slowly with a walking stick. If there were people watching, then walk if there was much pain. If were to speak, she'd be open only to one or two persons she tusts not to rat out on her about certain intentions.

    I understand and see from where your points are coming from. And I do agree, Dementia changes a person very drastically from A to Z and back again in mere seconds... but that's without preconcieved intention.

    We here wish that it were the same situation as you guys so that we do not need to keep playing a guessing game if it was Dementia or preconvieved acts.
     

  15. #15
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonestray
    , anyone tell me where we're at now with this illness? Could it be no one knows? God bless Padraig
    That is the question for whic we all want an answer.
    Padraig you will understand me when driving along this morning I looked up into the sky and said 'God where are we going with this' - still no answer!!
    Best wishes BeckyJan
     

 

 

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