Before.

Natashalou

Registered User
Mar 22, 2007
426
london
this has been puzzling me for a while now. Probably none of you have much in the way of answers....but what happened "before"?
What i am getting at is, Alzheimers or dementia presumable are not 21st century conditions. I know people all live longer now but since I learned through this forum that people in their fourties can develop the condition I have wondered even more!!
sufferers presumable HAD to be cared for at home...there werent any nursing homes..or were there? Did people get chucked in the work house and forgotten? Or were families and communities close enough to manage a lot better that we in fact do today with our busy lifestyles and multiple responsibilities??
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,119
Kent
I think Natasha, `before` the present time, people were in mental institutions.

There were many more institutions for those with so called psychiatric conditions, they went in, were drugged to the eyeballs, possibly had electric shock treatment, and probably died there.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
I imagine, if you had money, you became the relative that was never mentioned, locked with your nurse in the attic. If you didn't: that was what places like Bedlam were for. I hate to say it, but I suspect that somewhere between the two there was at least some level of euthenasia. If you were lucky, you simply became the dotty aunt, housed and tolerated. I think our forebears were in some ways considerably less squeamish about "appropriate" behaviour, unless, of course, you were part of the aspiring middle classes.

Jennifer
 

Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
There were huge mental hospitals in most areas where people were locked up if they had no-one to care for them. But mostly they stayed with the family, and were accepted.

Of course, people usually didn't live as long, so it was less of a problem.

Young onset cases seems to be a more recent phenomenon, but I suspect that they would have just been regarded as 'mad', and locked away.

There was no AD medication, and tranquillisers and anti-depressants were more or less just knock-out drops, so there was no real treatment. Certainly hallucinations and aggression would have been regarded as signs of madness.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
Something else occurs to me: it is possible that at least some cases of dementia are due to causes that are now routinely medicated for. My mother was on high blood pressure meds for over 40 years. I suspect that if those hadn't been available, she would have died from that underlying disease long before she actually had her strokes, because, with out meds, her strokes would have been even more catastrophic. You do have to count in how many people in the past died at a young age as well: if you look at who was left after the first world war, when almost an entire generation of young men were lost, you can see that there was a much smaller population even if the dementia rates were the same.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,119
Kent
People were taken into psychiatric/mental institutions even with nervous breakdowns.

I remember whispers about a family friend who was locked in a secure unit because he `went beserk` following the breakdown of his daughter`s marriage.

My mother , when dementia was approaching, was frightened she`d be locked up like `Auntie Annie` , one of my grandmother`s sisters, who must have had a breakdown of sorts at one time. She was a midwife and I remember her well, but I don`t remember what happened to her.

Any form of mental illness was considered shameful, and still is , to some. That is probably one reason why dementia is the poor relation, re provision, research and care.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
Let's face it: people were sent to mental institutions for "moral turpitude" which could often mean having a child out of wedlock. Can you imagine how many institutions we'd have to have if that was still the practice?
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
interesting this thread! Obviously, as has been said, in the past not as many people lived long enough to develop dementia. Not sure how long antibiotics have been around and widely prescribed, but that would also be a factor - infections that would finish peoplle off, don't now!

It's also possible that there is some kind of environmental factor that wasn't present in the past, that could somehow trigger dementia - other diseases are more common than in the past, including both types of diabetes. Type two is thought to be connected to lifestyle factors but there is no real explanation for the increase in type one. People with diabetes are also more likely to develop dementia! So we are into chickens and eggs!

I do remember a childhood friend who lived 2 doors away. Her grandmother lived with her daughter, 'the maiden aunt' but the daughter worked so the grandmother came to my friend's house during the day to be looked after by the other daughter. She just sat in the corner and barely spoke or moved. I am pretty sure that she had some form of dementia but it was not something that was ever really discussed.

I also think that in the past, and the not so distant past, many people with dementia actually lived in long term hospital wards. In fact my mum's nursing home had some staff until recently who were employed by the NHS, even though the home is not owned by the NHS. The home also got funding directly from the PCT for this reason. I think it was due to the fact that when these hospital wards were closed some of the patients were moved into the nursing home.
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
jenniferpa said:
Let's face it: people were sent to mental institutions for "moral turpitude" which could often mean having a child out of wedlock. Can you imagine how many institutions we'd have to have if that was still the practice?
I'd be in one for a start!
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Grannie G said:
Any form of mental illness was considered shameful, and still is , to some. That is probably one reason why dementia is the poor relation, re provision, research and care.
I actually personally don't think of dementia as a mental illness. Something goes wrong PHYSICALLY in the brain which causes dementia. If it was a mental illness it is possible it would be treatable.

That is not to say that I believe it is right that mental illlness should be stigmatised. It is every bit as real and as painful as physical illness and it is shameful that people are made to feel somehow 'weak' or responsible for their own illnesses.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
I agree with you Brenda, but I do think that a lot of people confuse dementia with "mental illness" in part, I suppose, because it has been traditionally lumped together.

Jennifer
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,119
Kent
I wouldn`t put money on it, but, to me, any illness which results in inappropriate or irrational behaviour would be considered a `mental illness` by the majority.
 

Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
I agree, Sylvia. Most people, even hightly educated ones, look at you in amazement when you tell them AD is a physical illness. Perhaps that needs to be stressed more in publicity campaigns.

Or would it not make any difference!:(
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Grannie G said:
I wouldn`t put money on it, but, to me, any illness which results in inappropriate or irrational behaviour would be considered a `mental illness` by the majority.
yes, I think that dementia is considered to be a mental illness by the majority. It's just that I have honestly never looked at it in that way.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
An incurable physical illness moreover. A case could be made, in fact, that mental illnesses like schizophrenia are physical illness, although sometimes more treatable.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,119
Kent
I honestly don`t think it would make any difference.

People see what they want to see and no label in the world would change it.

The only way to change attitudes is through education and experience, and, unfortunately, no-one seems very interested in educating themselves about dementia, unless, of course they are affected personally.
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Skye said:
I agree, Sylvia. Most people, even hightly educated ones, look at you in amazement when you tell them AD is a physical illness. Perhaps that needs to be stressed more in publicity campaigns.

Or would it not make any difference!:(
I think it's a good point Hazel. Maybe people think it will never happen to them because they don't see themselves as the type of people to get a mental illness, if that makes any sense. Maybe if it could be seen that dementia could happen to anyone, just like heart disease, cancer etc then it could be a more 'high profile' disease.

The only potential danger that I can see is that, in trying to raise the profile of dementia as a physical disease, the image of mental illnesses could somehow be further tarnished.
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Grannie G said:
IThe only way to change attitudes is through education and experience, and, unfortunately, no-one seems very interested in educating themselves about dementia, unless, of course they are affected personally.
That could probably be said about almost any other disease! I know quite a lot about type one diabetes now, because my son has it. I knew a little bit about it before - enough to recognise the symptoms before he became seriously ill thankfully - but would never have learnt as much about it as I do know had he not been diagnosed. The same is true of dementia. I know what I know about it because my mum has it.

Also, as far as fund raising goes. People are obviously more likely to give money to a charity that is connected to an illness they or their loved ones have been affected by.
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
A case could be made, in fact, that mental illnesses like schizophrenia are physical illness,
They can't do that no more can they

Yes now that is lack of education as they have found a gene that courses schizophrenia, it's genetic and can lay dormant be triggered by street drugs and when they say social conditions that caused it to trigger it off IE extreme high level of stress in childhood also in adulthood
some physiologist use to disagree , but now they have found the gene that courses it in 2002 I think it was , also can be seen in EEG and MRI scans abnormality in the bran waves
 

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