Dorothy Bishop

Registered User
Jan 1, 2008
I am new to on line help. my husband has had vascular dementia for 5 years. we manage ok but the thing i find hard is the repetetive grunts & other rhythmic noises he makes. he says he is aware of them but usually has an irrelevant reason or says he can help it but wants to do it. has anyone else the same problem


Dear Dorothy

Hello to you, Dorothy, on TP

Yep, same problem ... with my husband who doesn't have dementia! He says "I'm singing" or "I'm thinking", and I say ... "well, do it quietly, please, or else I will start my version of singing too". Sorry to be slightly facetious, but I do understand the problem.

Guess there's not a lot you can do about it, apart from put some of your or his favourite music on, and perhaps it may calm you and/or him!

How have you coped for 5 years? Are you all alone in your coping? Do you have lots of support and help? Hope so. If not, just tell the TP mob what you would like and need, and they will all come up with lots of ideas.

Meanwhile, nice to know I'm not alone in the "noise" department.



Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Hi there, welcome to Talking Point.

Actually I think what you have there is face-saving behaviour rather than a genuine recognition that he's doing it. Lots of people, with and without dementia, have these "nervous tics" and mostly they are unaware that they are making them - they're involuntary in the same way as saying "you know" at the end of every phrase. The difference is, of course, that when you add vascular dementia into the mix, it is extremely unlikely that your husband will be able to change his behaviour. I don't think you can place any reliance at all on his assertion that he's doing it deliberately - as I say, that sounds as if he trying to save face, even if from your point of view, that seems ridiculous. Many people with dementia would rather be seen as damn difficult rather than not in control.

Has it been going on for long? It is possible that this is a stage that will eventually disappear. To be frank, though, I'm not sure that any management techniques will change the behaviour. Possibly it may go, or more likely you will find that you can come to terms with it once you accept that he can't help it. That's not easy though, and it's understandable that you find it irritating.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
i find hard is the repetetive grunts & other rhythmic noises he makes.
my brother who has a
mental illness use to live with me would do repetetive grunts , then my mother with her AZ would copy him , while I would tell my brother shut up .

when I ask why he does it he said because he felt like it . I did ask CPN why would he do that . he said it could be because his feeling frustrated Or thinking of something he does not like does not know any other way to express it
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Registered User
Aug 9, 2005
Yes, my Mum is doing this too. Not all the time - seems to be when she is concentrating. In earlier life (before dementia) she would often whistle whenconcentrating. Now this repetitive little grunt pattern seems to have replaced whistling.

I wasn't sure whether this was dementia related, but sounds like it could be if others have experienced similar.


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
My husband has periods when he grunts continually when letting out his breath. He started this about a year ago, and when he is irritated, unhappy, or unsure of himself, the grunting begins. When this first started I thought he was struggling with something heavy -it's that sort of noise he makes. When asked to stop only then does he realises he is making this noise. He does have control over it once he realises he is doing it and gradually stops.

He also burps a lot. I think this is because he finds getting food in his mouth very much a 'hit and miss' affair. One mouthful and his mouth is crammed with too much food, the next mouthful the food has slipped off his fork/spoon and he puts an empty fork/spoon into his mouth. He also gulps any drink and swallows air in this way too. All this air, of course has to come back out.

I used to be embrarassed when he did these things in front of friends and relatives but now I just explain to them that it is a part of his illness and he cannot help it.

I don't know if this post has helped you but at least you know that peculiar noises are made by other dementia sufferers and perhaps they don't realise they are doing it until it is pointed out to them.