1. Our next Q&A session is on the topic of Christmas and dementia.This time we want our Q&A to involve our resident experts, you! Share tips and advice on navigating Christmas here in this thread.

    Pop by and post your questions or if you prefer you can email your question to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.
  1. helsingborg55

    helsingborg55 New member

    Jun 2, 2018
    #1 helsingborg55, Jun 23, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
    My father has mixed dementia (Alzheimer's + vascular) - I think middle stage.

    When we watch television together, he is frequently convinced that he has seen programmes/films before.

    Although he can't remember any of a plot, he seems to lose interest in watching as soon as he has this conviction. Is this a symptom of his dementia? What's the best way to respond?
  2. Baker17

    Baker17 Registered User

    Mar 9, 2016
    My husband does this as well even if it’s a brand new programme, I just say something like oh maybe we have but we’ll just watch a bit more, then he loses interest anyway so I can continue to watch it, it must be symptom because he never did it before. I used to worry about it but now it’s just the norm and there’s nothing I can do about it unfortunately x
  3. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    Yes it is normal, my dad has seen everything, been everywhere and knows everyone on TV He has been to the Himalayas, knows every shop on bargain hunt, he recognises all the shop assistants because he served with them on a ship somewhere.

    Baffles me too.
  4. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    My Dad has mixed dementia but he watches the same programmes over and over as if its the first time though.
    @Duggies-girl you made me laugh as my Dads similar.
    He knows everyone, he knows everything. If you take him to a new shop or cafe hes been there before or he painted it ( used to be a painter & decorator)
    Even Mums care home which was built 4 yrs ago, Dad worked there and painted the buildings.
    Even reminding him hes been retired for nearly 20 yrs just doesnt compute.
  5. nae sporran

    nae sporran Volunteer Host

    Oct 29, 2014
    Welcome to the forums, @helsingborg55. My partner seems to have trouble following anything on television, and conversations too sometimes. That is definitely getting worse as her memory and cognitive abilities are slowly reducing over the past year or two.
    We rarely watch television and tend to listen to music more often. Would that be something your father would enjoy instead.
  6. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    Welcome from me too @helsingborg55 .

    My dad used to do the same when he was in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. I just used to say something like “oh really?” or “Mmmmm”
    Like your dad he’d also lose interest as soon as he was convinced he’d seen something and go to sleep... but I think he slept a lot anyway.
    Sometimes, as @nae sporran has suggested, music would get a better response.
  7. helsingborg55

    helsingborg55 New member

    Jun 2, 2018
    Dear All. Many thanks for the welcomes and for very useful advice. It's reassuring to know that this behaviour is to be expected, and the suggestion of listening to music is an excellent one. I'll give it a try.
  8. hillyjay

    hillyjay Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
    I hadn’t realised this was so common! My husband has always seen things before and he’s so convincing I find myself worrying in case it’s me who’s forgotten! However I know it’s not me when he tells me that we’ve been to this or that place he’s seen on TV. He’s reasonable though, it’s never anywhere exotic, usually some place in the West Country which he visited a couple of times with school groups but to which I have never been!

    I’m told I must remember being in Bath, whenever it’s shown on TV, we got lost driving in the centre, didn’t we. Took a wrong turn...I’ve never been there in my life. Neither, to the best of my knowledge has OH
  9. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Making up stories like this is called confabulation.
    It happens because the brain is subconsciously trying to make sense of the fragments of memory that it has left - so it takes these fragments, plus things seen on TV, with a dash of things someone has said to them and a large dollop of imagination, stirs it all up and comes up with something that fills the gaps in the memory and seems to the person themselves like a real memory. They are totally unaware that its not true, because they can remember it, so you cant argue with them. I just make non-committal noises like "really?" and "well, well"
  10. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    My Dad being Scottish has also met every Scottish celebrity there is, Sean Connery, Billy Connelly, Rod Stewart who he apparently played a game of football with. :rolleyes:

    Also when Dad was in his late teens, early 20’s he was an up and coming welter weight boxing champ ( true) but he insists when he had a fight in Glasgow Billy Connelly came to see him.
    Never mind the fact Billy would have been 14 at the time :rolleyes:
  11. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    Dad's been to Baghdad, I asked him if this was before or after Sadaam. Dad said he wasn't sure because they only had a day ashore when the cruise ship was in port. His cruise ship has visited many ports including the Himalayas and the great wall of China.
  12. Banjomansmate

    Banjomansmate Registered User

    Jan 13, 2019
    The Banjoman hasn’t so much had false memories like that, he already knows about something I start telling him, even though it has just happened to me. Of course with his confusion it is sometimes difficult to tell what has really happened. Back in March I treated myself to a short train ride pulled by The Flying Scotsman and when I started to tell him about it he knew because he had seen it! I thought maybe he had seen a report on the local TV news then I found out a friend had taken him out for a drive and they had been passing over the railway line when The Scotsman went through, so for once he was spot on! My trip had been on a different day but he had seen the engine.
  13. Rosalind297

    Rosalind297 Registered User

    Oct 14, 2017
    I’m so sorry but these stories have made me laugh. Does seem to be mainly the men who have “been there, done that”

    I have totally the opposite experience. Mum has never been anywhere before, including my brother’s house where we have Sunday lunch every week and restaurants and garden centres that we visit regularly. On odd occasions when we return to her home of 45 years she can’t remember ever having been there before.

    I would love a few stories about how she reached base camp of Everest or won an Olympic Gold for Bob-sleigh.

    We do have to be careful what we watch on TV though as she can get get distressed watching property programmes like Escape to the Country as she thinks she has to buy a new house and move or Dragons Den as she hasn’t got a pile of money by her chair and thinks all of her money has disappeared somehow. Oh this blessed disease
  14. Mumof3kids

    Mumof3kids Registered User

    Aug 12, 2018
    Whenever my dad with vascular dementia sits to watch anything he too tries to have a connection to whatever the programme is. Unfortunately though he watches everything through negative eyes, HATES everyone and everything and talks all the way through whatever they're watching - telling mum what a load of rubbish it is that she watches. He only acts this way when he is watching TV with someone in the room - it's like a kind of bravado. When he's on his own he seems to be very content.

    The illness seems to have stripped him of any light heartedness which is a real shame.
  15. northumbrian_k

    northumbrian_k Registered User

    Mar 2, 2017
    My wife thinks that everywhere she sees on television is 'just up the road' or 'at the top'. She knows everybody and went to school with most of them. Wherever we went on holiday she had been there before. TV programmes we had seen many times she said that we hadn't. Those we had not seen she had! I think that this is very common,can be irritating but is harmless.
  16. Rob_E

    Rob_E Registered User

    Feb 1, 2015
    #16 Rob_E, Jun 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
    Every time mum sees a City on television, no matter where it is, it's always Manchester. She was from and worked in Manchester until she was 21 and now it's as though Manchester is the only city in the world that she has any experience or knowledge of and in her world, that's probably true.

    Last night I made us sausage and mash for tea and she 'has never had sausage & mash before', in spite of cooking it for us when we were children more or less every week. There are so many simiar examples, I could go on all evening!
  17. Jaded'n'faded

    Jaded'n'faded Registered User

    Jan 23, 2019
    High Peak
    That could be my mum! I take her a bag of chocolate buttons in every time I visit. She says, 'I showed them to the girls (carers) and they'd never seen chocolate like that before!' Or, 'I like chicken but I've never had potatoes with it.' She also swears that one of the staff (the lovely activities lady) has always been stupid, as apparently she was like that years ago when mum taught her at school. Er, no - didn't happen. Today she told the nurse that she used to be a doctor. Not true either! She also has two (new) sons who live in America but pop over all the time though funnily enough, never when I am there. Pity - I would love to meet my new brothers. :rolleyes:

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