GMTV Alzheimer's and loneliness

Discussion in 'Dementia-related news and campaigns' started by Brucie, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
  2. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    6,847
  3. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    It would be interesting to see more detail on this. the BBC report says "Questions posed to those being studied included "I experience a general sense of emptiness" and "I often feel abandoned".

    Now if people with early dementia symptoms are those being asked the question, then I'd reckon that loneliness, or a perception of such, is a result, not a possible risk factor.

    If they asked a broad range of people some years ago that question, then checked back later to compare the responses with the same population of people who had and who had not developed dementias since then - then I would have some sympathy for the findings.

    In my experience, the onset of dementia - right from the start - leads to isolation and loneliness both of the patient and the spouse [in my case].

    There would be interesting research findings if they also considered early onset patients in this context. Perhaps they did?
     
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,649
    Kent
    It is commomly accepted that ` If you don`t use it, you lose it.`

    Perhaps this has some bearing on the link to loneliness and Alzheimers.

    If we become inactive, we lose physical strength and stamina, and our muscles waste.

    If we have less mental and emotional stimulation, the strength and stamina of our brain cells might be affected in a similar way.

    Re The Guardian`s report; I would agree that Alzheimers definitely causes loneliness.

    Just a thought. Sylvia
     
  5. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    I didn't see the Guardian take on it, but everyone else is presenting it as a cause.

    I can only ever go by Jan's dementia - which developed at one of her most active times, mentally, since university. She was in full time work, playing organ at church, involved in amateur dramatics, friends, etc. She did crosswords, watched and joined in TV quizzes, read books, played music at home.
    Please don't think I'm arguing on this one but I've never gone with the phrases people trot out like "use it or lose it", or "if you don't pay for it you won't value it". Generally they are initiated by people who are trying to sell you something - books on sudoku, gym memberships, computer software, etc. People generally don't normally tend not to walk, think etc to the extent that they forget how to do it. And they certainly don't forget how to write their own signature....

    My take on this is still that the dementia - with Jan, at least - was what caused her withdrawal and isolation and then loneliness, coupled with her family and some friends just walking away. Before the dementia all seemed well in the world!:(
     
  6. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    Yes, my mother "used it" far more than other people around her for years, yet she got dementia and they didn't.

    Lila
     
  7. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,418
    While it's true my mother's demnetia is vascular rather than alzheimer's, I also don't believe the use it or lose it mantra when it applies to brain power. Have you ever tried to sit and NOT use your brain? It's just not possible. Even following the plot of something like Coronation Street requires you to use a lot of processing power. I would agree with Bruce - a lot of this is put about by those who want to sell you a product or a philosophy. I do think you can lose the facility to do something if you don't do it on a regular basis, but if there is nothing organically wrong you can also re-learn it.

    Back to the original post and loneliness: I do find it hard to define exactly what loneliness actually IS. I suppose it's a feeling that you don't have connections to others, and I would imagine that that would be an inevitable response to the onset of dementia - you must feel that you don't have all the connections to yourself, let alone other people.

    Jennifer
     
  8. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,649
    Kent
    Forget it folks. I don`t know where I was coming from on that one. Sylvia
     
  9. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Sylvia, the important thing about these discussions is that they enable us to think outside our normal boxes. When I'm thinking about things and talking to someone, I use the scattergun approach - I fire all sorts of ideas, daft, and sensible alike, and I find that others can help me weed the wheat from the chaff.

    So please don't be slow to throw out ideas! You never know, if thinking does help ward off dementia, you'll be helping us all.

    Jennifer, its great to see you back on TP!

    Regarding loneliness - I never knew what it was. Then Jan went into the home, and I felt huge internal loss, and external loss, like my reason to be had been taken. Took me awhile to realise that was loneliness. Sometimes I think family members may feel the loneliness more than those with dementia.

    [Yes Sylvia, that is probably total tosh, but I'd like to think it were so]

    Hey-ho, back to garden reconstruction...
     
  10. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    Could not agree with you more on this Bruce.

    Like Jan, although 10 years older, , Lionel was at his most active, still in full time employment, just starting a new exciting phase in his life.

    Loneliness, I believe, is more a state of mind................ I experience more loneliness than dear Lionel does..............however he would now be unable to quantify this.

    Interesting thoughts all round.
     
  11. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    6,847
    #11 Sandy, Feb 6, 2007
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2007
    The Alzheimer's Society has now put this on the News section of the main site (getting very fast at this sort of thing):

    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Research/Research_in_the_news/060207_loneliness.htm

    A more detailed/technical report on the study itself can be found here:

    http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/psychiatryNews/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197003531&cid=BreakingNews

    The study only looked at older adults (823 over a four year period), none of whom had symptoms of dementia at the start of the study.

    One of the other intersting things was that the risk was associated with how lonely the person felt, regardless of how many people were in their social circle. So the question might be, could feelings of loneliness and isolation cause some biochemical changes that made certain people more likely to develop dementia? That said, the researchers found no correlation between feelings of lonliness and physical signs of AD in the brains of the 90 participants who died during the course of the study.

    The conclusion stated by the researchers is "Loneliness is associated with an increased risk of late-life dementia but not with its leading causes."

    Many of us say that TP helps us feel less isolated, so study or no study, that can only be a good thing.

    Take care,

    Sandy
     
  12. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Thanks, Sandy, for the additional info.

    The imponderable for me is just how long before the symptoms of dementia appear is the sufferer aware that something is wrong? Or indeed are they NOT aware that something is wrong?

    My thinking is that my Jan was probably discounting strange things that were befalling her for some time before she drew my attention to her fainting, which was the start of it all - for me.

    If the person is worried about changes that are happening to them, but perhaps reluctant to tell a partner, family member or friend - or perhaps, they feel it is everyone else who is strange [as happens later on] - then a natural thing to do is to withdraw into themselves, and thus the loneliness starts. In that way, someone who did not have dementia in the beginning might be thought to have loneliness as a risk factor, whereas in reality, it is an early symptom.

    There's no way of knowing, yet, of course...
     
  13. Lonestray

    Lonestray Registered User

    Aug 3, 2006
    236
    Hereford
    Loneliness

    Granny G, You are the first person who has spoken my thoughts. Over the years the things I have observed with my wife's condition I find fascinating because I'm a free thinker. Nature gives us ways of coping with most things. Consider, as a child (1930s) in an orphanage run by Nuns I made my own world, with make believe horses I plowed fields! and tended and talked to imaginary livestock! Anyone watching me playing on my own, might think I was hallucinating, ring a bell?
    Loneliness as such, I was unaware of, as I was only one of many children, aged from months old up to what they considered young men at 10yr old.
    On reaching that age I was transfered on my own to what is now known as Notorious Artane (since wiped from the face of the earth). I was put to work making clothing, and later worked full time on the Poultry Farm. Released (disposed off, the offical word) into a new strange world at 16yrs old.

    I had to learn quickly about every thing, eg there was a difference between boys and girls. People celebrated birthdays and had parties and presents at Christmas!
    The point I'm making is as a stranger in a strange world I had to keep very much to myself. The benefits I have derived from having to use my God given brain have and are wonderful.
    What I observed around me were people accepting what they are told, what to wear, eat, drink, that they have this or that disorder, take this or that medication etc etc. Now there are gagets in your car to tell you how to get to places.
    According to the experts I should be suffering with Alz as I'm over 75 and lonley, I was already told about 8 years ago I would never run again because I required an operation on my back. It never happened and I'm still running thank God.

    Right on Grannie, if you don't use it you lose it. Good luck and God bless.
     
  14. Alan+Gina

    Alan+Gina Registered User

    Oct 21, 2006
    4
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    Raising false hopes

    I don't know much about eggs or chikens but I do fear that journalists with inadequate knowledge are just raising false hopes.
    Based on seven years of experience with my wife's Alzheimers, I, personally, am convinced that lonelyness is an effect of AD, not a cause.
    Another notion recently expressed is that drinking 3 cups of coffee a day will stave off AD!!!! My wife and I have been drinking at least that amount for as long as I can remember (we've been married 33 years) and it didn't help at all.
    Don't all go rushing off to organize coffee parties; you'll just be raising false hopes and AD is allready bad enough as it is.
    Regards,
    Alan & Gina
     
  15. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    On the coffee thing alone, LIONEL HAS ONLY EVER DRUNK COFFEE, not to excess, normally interspersed with good red wine, so where does that leave him.

    Provoking thoughts?
     
  16. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
  17. KenC

    KenC Registered User

    Mar 24, 2006
    913
    Co Durham
    #17 KenC, Feb 20, 2007
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2007
    Hi all

    I think it is very easy when you have Dementia to sit back and feel lonley because your life is falling apart.
    When I was first diagnosed I was never allowed to sit and think about it, but was pushed by my wife and daughter to do things that I felt incapable of doing, even though I had done them before. Had it not have been for them I would have given up and sat back, and would never have got involved with the Alzheimers Society. With their help I have gained a new life since loosing my job and now feel wanted somewhere else.
    But I think a lot of these journalists are out to make a name for themselves at everyone elses expense. I also think we feel lonely because of the illness, and we feel unsure about what the future holds for us, and in some cases we feel cut off because there is still a stigma these days with Dementia. Its does not bother me but I have seen others in a total mess with it.

    Best Wishes

    Ken
     
  18. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,649
    Kent
    Dear Ken, Each time you post on TP, my admiration for you grows.
    The fact that you responded positively, to the pushing of your wife and daughter, highlights your strength of character.
    As one who has tried to push, and found myself pushing against a brick wall, I speak with first hand experience.
    Onwards and upwards Ken!!
    With love, Sylvia x
     
  19. KenC

    KenC Registered User

    Mar 24, 2006
    913
    Co Durham
    Hi Sylvia and Nada,

    There have been many occassions recently when I felt like giving up completely, but I am being held together by those in the family.
    But as I was told early on in this illness that all life is like one big exam, you fail parts and you pass parts. Its a weired way of putting it but I think I have failed more in the last few weeks than I have passed. But then as we all know thats life, and its no good knocking it, we just have to live with it.
    Its strange I now find that my wife finds it hard in fact very difficult to talk about this illness , and I think I can understand why bless her, but my daughter is the opposite, but then she is a Biologist and understands what is happening.

    Thank you for your messages and keep up the good work, its so nice to be able to write to people like this..

    Very Best Wishes

    Ken
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.