1. Ditto

    Ditto Registered User

    May 17, 2008
    Cape Town
    Hi everyone,

    I have just signed up as your newest member of Talking Point!

    I hope I can find some answers and possibly some verbal support here?

    I have been looking after a Dementia patient for almost four years and I'm permanently baffled at some of her behavior patterns.. Advise greatly appreciated.

  2. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    Welcome to TP. I suggest you start a thread asking questions about the things that worry you. You will soon begin to feel part of the family and hopefully receive much support.
    Best wishes Jan
  3. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Hi Ditto, welcome to TP.

    You'll get more replies if you start a thread on the main advice and support forum, that's the one people tend to read most.

    Just tell us a bit about yourself, and ask any questions you have. Or you could simply join in another thread, you'd be welcomed there too.

    Hope you settle in with us,
  4. Ditto

    Ditto Registered User

    May 17, 2008
    Cape Town
    Thank you

    Where do I start? Gosh, its a tricky one... Straight into the nitty gritty then?

    My patient is currently 88 years and female. She appears to have a morbid obsession with Doctors and perhaps even me! Every time I go out for an hour or so (always leaving her in the care of the housekeeper)she becomes seriously agitated and within an hour of me leaving the house, she is in an hysterical state, screaming that she needs a Doctor and that she it terribly sick and that someone must get a Doctor. As soon as I recieve the call from either herself, the housekeeper or whoever else she has called I immediately return to the house to find her frantic, angry and agressive. YET! within minutes of my return, she is completely calm and unaware of her behavior. This now happens daily.... Yes..every single time I leave the house??? Any ideas anyone? :eek:
  5. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004

    Unfortunately I cannot offer you a solution. I did have something similar with my mum who would lie in bed and tell the person who found her ( neighbour or carer or me ) that she was dying and could not get up.

    When the doctor arrived she would open her eyes and sit up and say something like “if I had known a handsome young man was coming I would have put my teeth in” then she would roll out of bed as if nothing had happened.

    This happened for a couple of months. Eventually we just left her in bed and after a couple of hours she would just get out of bed as if nothing had happened.

    Hope you can find a solution to your concern

  6. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    #6 Brucie, May 18, 2008
    Last edited: May 18, 2008
    Hi Ditto

    I've moved your thread into the main support area so you should receive more replies there.

    [actually, I think someone else beat me to it! ]:D

    I'd start by thinking she might believe that you are not coming back, gets frightened when you are not there, gets momentarily angry when you return ["why did you scare me?"] and then feels comfortable again.

    You are at the stage where you need to enter her world as she can no longer in any sense enter yours. This will only be a part of a solution, but at least it helps us to try to understand how they are feeling.

    ... just my thoughts...:)
  7. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    #7 Nebiroth, May 18, 2008
    Last edited: May 18, 2008
    It sounds like classic "separation anxiety". It's common enough to appear on the assessment forms - the ones that carers fill in whilst patients do their MMSE.

    The name is pretty much self-explanatory. I believe that a patient will sort of attach themselves to one particular person and become extremely anxious and agitated when they are not with them. Sometimes to the point of following them everywhere they go, even to the toilet, etc.

    I always supposed that it's rather like the anxiety of a young child who becomes detached from their parent whilst shopping in a strange place. They just become totally lost, and are usually inconsolable and incoherent.

    It also sounds like there's an element of a panic attack, which can not only be extremely distressing but leave the patient convinced they are about to die - sometimes even producing physical symptoms like chest-pains etc.

    So I'm guessing that there's an attachment to you, plus the panic attacks, plus (and I don;t want to sound harsh here) an element of inflicting a "punishment" on you for leaving her alone, or an element of "becoming ill when you're not there" - to stop you doing so.

    It;s perfectly possible that there's no concscious thought behind this or any intent to deceive.

    My Dad has, over the last year or so, become increasingly "clingy" towards my mother, wandering the house calling "are you there?" when shes away from him for more than a few minutes. He also detests being "left on my own AGAIN!" when mum is out for the one or two hours a week she gets away, shopping or at a church lunch. He gets quite agitated and will constantly ask "how long will mum be?", "how long did she say she was going for?". "is she all right?"

    He doesn't do this when I am out of the house but mum is present.
  8. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Hmm, excuse my crass analysis, probably totally wrong, but is this possibly just "attention seeking"? We experienced this with my mother in law who never had any signs of dementia whatsoever, but used various ploys to get attention when she didn't think she was getting enough. It sounds very cruel of me to suggest this, and might not apply in your case at all.

    Mum in law spent her life looking after people, her father, her mother, her husband, her son, and when they had all died or got married in the case of her son, her purpose had gone and along with it her constant stream of contacts. We would get 10-20 phone calls a day from her in her later years, telling us that she was lonely, and during most of them she would interrupt to say Mary had just arrived, or would sometimes phone us after a visitor had arrived. We never worked her out. She was simply attention seeking. I am not saying that should be ignored, but it is not the same as being ill, either mentally or phsyically and warranting attention.

    Sorry if this seems unduly cold, but we did get well and truly fed up with my mother in law. It was often a "cry wolf" situation. She would ring to tell us she was terribly ill, we would arrange the doctor, the doctor would refer her to hospital, she would spend a week there (with daily visits from us) and be discharged with nothing having been diagnosed. She was always in terrible pain, despite being on the "strongest painkillers possible" as she told us (and they weren't), and we were always in consultation with her GP who found it hard to avoid saying "she is just attention seeking".

    Maybe I am wrong, I am sure I am, but just bear it in mind.

    I am not now sure I am replying to the right thread. Those below don't seem relevant to my response. Perhaps I have the wrong thread. Forgive me if my respons isn't relevant.

    Love to all

  9. Ditto

    Ditto Registered User

    May 17, 2008
    Cape Town
    Thank you all

    Thanks to everyone that has posted to my thread.

    I have found all your insights and experiences really helpful if not interesting. Being new, I thought it would be best to tread a little carefully with my threads, but in some way you have all hit the nail on the head... as she is definitely suffering some form of abandonement, attention seeking, displacement disorder.

    First and foremost there is a huge element of attention seeking.. For example:- My patient's tantrums and hysterics always occur at +/- the same time of day (usually when I have gone out or am busy somewhere in the house and she has the feeling that she is being avoided. Her first reaction would be to say and I quote "something's hit me, I feel so funny" followed by "feel my head, feel my head, I think I need a Doctor, get me the Doctor, I want the Doctor" These verbalisations are generally made via the telephone to her (non dementia) twin sister, the housekeeper that I would have left at home with her or to the Doctors surgery or Pharmacy.

    I would then receive endless frantic calls on my mobile from all of the above and would end up dropping everything to rush back to the house. Generally within minutes of my return...ten minutes or less, she has suitably calmed down and innocently acts as though nothing has happened. I do understand that she can't help it, but on the other hand, I do beleive that there is a definite degree of knowing exactly what she's doing! (ie-being a spoilt brat) After all, it works every time!!

    Then there are my private moments... A friend may call me on my personal line which is situated in my bedroom. (next door to her's) I may receive a call on my mobile and I'd chat while in the garden or in the kitchen etc. Perhaps a neighbor would drop by for a coffee and the offer of a much needed chat or lighthearted moment. No Matter what the situation, if my patient feels that I am receiving too much attention instead of the attention being aimed at her, then she will do the whole "I'm so sick, feel my head, I need the Doctor" routine all over again.

    Its mentally and emotionally draining....

    During a discussion with her psychiatrist the other day, we came to an interesting conclusion... That generally a hot head would indicate a fever, a fever would require a Doctor and that a Doctor would first administer the " oh dear! poor you, where does it hurt" syndrome closely followed by some form of medication and a goodbye that generally included " call me if there's no improvement"

    So yes!! feigning illness ie (hot head) brings immediate attention seeking results along with all the extra sympathy that she so craves.

    The psychiatrist has since advised me to ignore as much of it as possible to try and wean her out of the habit as well as to take the telephone away from her when I go out. When I am in the house he wants me to simply remind her that she is not sick and that there's no need to be frightened or anxious as I'm just watering the garden or cooking the dinner and that although I'm not in the same room, I can hear her and I'm close by.

    The psychiatrist also thinks that she has developed a morbid attachment to me and is indeed using these ploy's to punish me or get back at me for leaving her and attempting to lead some form of life of my own. We also think that there is an immense element of jealousy attached to her behavior as I am 47 not 88, therefore I am still young and able to lead a normal life which she realizes she can no longer do.

    Thanks again all

  10. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Dear Ditto,

    Well, I thought I was being mean when I suggested it was attention seeking, but it seems you agree. However, that doesn't mean it can be ignored, as your friend will be in just as much distress as someone with a problem we feel is more worthy of attention.

    I have no answers. My Mother in Law had no alzheimers, it was all pure attention seeking. We didn't cope with it. We reacted by ignoring her phone calls (20 a day, often) and zonking out. Not nice to do, but we didn't know how else to manage it, hope you find some advice to do it differently cos our method wasn't right.


  11. Ditto

    Ditto Registered User

    May 17, 2008
    Cape Town
    Oh My!

    Oh my!

    I do hope I have not offended anyone here with my ramblings?

    Perhaps I put "IGNORE" out of context....

    My patient is never ever left alone. She could never cope and would more than likely harm herself. BUT.... the Doc feels that she is no longer capable of managing a telephone. She uses it purely as an attention grabbing tool and by taking it away from her, we are potentially disabling her urge to feign illness just to get extra attention. I must admit that the last few days have been very painful for me... I DO NOT WANT TO OR LIKE TO IGNORE HER, NOR DO I WANT TO TAKE AWAY HER LAST BIT OF INDEPENDENCE. However, if it helps in the long term, then it needs to be done.

    Well anyway, as usual....I"m trying to justify again.. its so not fair! Today, I did all of the above as prescribed by her Doc and I had no problems with her at all...that is, until I gave her back the phone at 4pm then went downstairs to start her supper. At 5.15pm her sister called me to say that she had rceeived three calls, all saying that if she didnt give my patient the doctors number NOW, then she would die!!

    Its taken me all but an hour to calm her down again and suffice to say I have removed the phone again.

    Ive just e-mailed her family and all her friends and asked them to call her on my mobile, so that she can at least have some phone time.

    Sorry again if my thread offended anyone.

  12. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #12 Margarita, May 21, 2008
    Last edited: May 21, 2008

    Gosh it read like I am reading about my mother , she so like that but when I am away she says to my daughter is going to die if she does not eat , she wondering up down to the door, have my daughter ring me up when am I getting back , she make they life hell till I get back & when I get back she settle go back to sleep, she getting worse lately . that the only break I can get is when she at day center . If on the days I go out on the days she does not go to day center leave one of my daughter with her, she stressing them out till I get home

    Same happen if I am in another room I have to keep reminding her where I am

    I have also been told to keep going out no matter how much my mother plays up when I am gone, that it be good for her , she get use to it They got to be joking :eek: I have warn all my daughters not to let mum stress them out when I go out , its just a symptom of her dementia . My older daughter is very assertive over my mother in a loving way mum seem to be OK with her, but Not for to long :D .

    I can't give a time when I am getting back to mum because mum panic if I am not back on Time . So I tell Mum I am getting back at 6 pm even if I know I am getting back earlier. If I have a night out I say 3 am , even if its 11 PM , because then mum well sleep . If I told her 11 pm she be waiting up worrying when am I getting back & its my daughter that gets the ear bashing from mum of repeating when am I getting home is it 11 pm yet .

    Just the same as my mother , but she say her leg hurt her or she needs this, or she need that , but I found as disease progresses her awareness go so I can talk longer on the phone without my mother interrupting me . all she does now, she pop up with who was on the phone and when my friend come around she just nap .

    To tell you the truth when your caring for someone with a dementia with in the same house as them , they no privet moments only when they are sleeping or at a day centre

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