1. Expert Q&A: Protecting a person with dementia from financial abuse - Weds 26 June, 3:30-4:30 pm

    Financial abuse can have serious consequences for a person with dementia. Find out how to protect a person with dementia from financial abuse.

    Sam, our Knowledge Officer (Legal and Welfare Rights) is our expert on this topic. She will be here to answer your questions on Wednesday 26 June between 3:30 - 4:30 pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

  1. 88alli

    88alli Registered User

    Jan 11, 2007
    Hello everyone.
    I am going to ask what might seem a bit of a silly question. MIL (AZ) has developed a new sort of habit. My husband and I were trying to describe what she does with her mouth and Richard said it resembles a cow chewing its cud. She has nothing in her mouth but constantly does this weird chewing habit. When we thought about it, her brother (also AZ, now passed-away) also had the same habit. I don't know if it it something to do with meds? or something that happens with AZ?
    Sorry for a bit of a bizaar question, just wondered if anyone else has heard of this.
    Love Diane & Richard
  2. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Can you call it a habit?

    Lionel has been through many phases in the last 6 years, more especially in the last 18 months.

    Weeks and weeks of grinding his teeth, then the stage of constantly spitting. All whilst lying motionless in his special chair.

    These days 'chewing the cud' describes it nicely.
    Who know what is going through his mind?
  3. 88alli

    88alli Registered User

    Jan 11, 2007

    Sorry Connie, no I shouldn't have called it a habit, no offence intended to anyone. Sometimes I find it hard to put into words what I want to ask.
    Thanks for the reply, much apreciated.
  4. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Hi Diane - how is MIL's speech? Is this a substitute for communication? Suspect it may well be habitual - as does shredding tissues for others etc ...... but I would watch for whether it happens all the time or just certain times .... may give you a clue as to why......

    My mum developed a 'clicking noise' for a while - took some observation to realise it happened most when she was most anxious and unable to communicate something (although generally mum's communication has remained good) ..... Dental health good? Thrush? Mouth ulcers?

    I'd just try to rule out any physical possibilites with GP/dentist and then just accept this as a 'phase' ....

    Karen, x
  5. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Dear Richard & Diane, I cetainly was not offended by the word 'habit'. T'was just my way of querying?

    Stages, phases, incidents............nothing quite fits, does it.

    Karen has a very good point, keep close eye in case it is a sympton of 'something else'.

    TP is a good place to share notes, and exchange theories.
  6. charleyfarley

    charleyfarley Registered User

    Mar 28, 2008

    My husband "chewed" for quite a few months and still does but not as much, but before it was constant. n fact he did it so much he worked out a loose tooth. I thought that may have been the reason for doing it but as he continued long after it came out, it couldnt have been. Just another foible of the disease maybe? carole x
  7. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    Dad grinds his teeth - so we give him bubblegum to chew on to save his poor teeth!
    He often also twists his mouth around a bit, possibly similar to chewing his cud...but I think he does that when he is thinking of words to try and say...
    Noticed that the teeth grinding seems to be worse when he is agitated.
  8. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    Hi Diane and Richard,

    I suppose there may be any number of reasons for this behaviour, but as you mentioned meds, it might be worth investigating to see if anti-psychotics have played any part in this.

    There is a condition called tardive dyskinesia (explained in the link below) which is related to the use of certain medications:


    It is one possibility.

    Take care,

  9. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Hiya Diane and Richard,
    Are you sure there is no food present. I know that pouching food at mealtimes is common.....it then gets chewed later. I have looked in mum's mouth..been unable to see any food remnants...only to find that she is chewing later.
    Love Helen
  10. citybythesea

    citybythesea Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    coast of texas
    I am in agreement with Helen, I wonder if there is food left in the side of the mouth. Mom would do the saving of food in her cheek until later (I still try to figure out how she would seperate fish pieces from rice....what would seem like hours later the rice would be digested but here would be the fish in her mouth again...and all this saved having also had drinks with her meals!)

    Only did these episodes stop when she was on baby food...when she was back on a soft diet it restarted.


  11. 88alli

    88alli Registered User

    Jan 11, 2007
    #11 88alli, Jun 18, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
    Thank-you all

    :):)Thanks very much for all the advice. Nan does talk alot, nothing makes very much sense - we could publish a whole new dictionary of her own words, she does talk a lot though and we do our best to understand what she is trying to put across. She doesn't give the impression that she is anxious when trying to communicate.
    We have had her teeth checked-up on and also the inside of her mouth and that was fine. As for food her mouth it is empty. It must just be one of those things!! There are plenty aren't there?
    Maybe it is the side-effects of the meds.
    It's just so nice to be able to sit down and share problems/queries with you all.
    Thanks again-really apreciate you all being there
    Diane and Richard.
    ooops!! Please ignore the question mark beside the title-don't know what I did and can't seem to get rid of it.
  12. alfjess

    alfjess Registered User

    Jul 10, 2006
    south lanarkshire

    To quote Sandy.

    It can be a side effect of some anti-psychotics.

    My Mother is in a continuing care facility and I notice this movement of the mouth, in quite a few of the patients, who are obviously medicated.

    My Dad is in the nursing part of the home and a resident there looks as though she is continually chewing something, I don't know if she is prescibed anti-psychotics or not, but she does have dementia of some sort. I don't like to be nosy

    Take care
  13. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    Hi All,

    If it's possible that meds are involved, I think I would ask for a review.

    The link that I gave above (The Merck Manual of Geriatrics) makes this comment about prevention:

    When antipsychotics are needed, the lowest effective dose should be used for the shortest time possible, and if possible, 2nd-generation antipsychotics should be used. If long-term antipsychotic therapy is required, drug holidays as tolerated are recommended. Once established, dyskinesia is difficult to control.

    Take care,


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