Now whose confused?

None the Wiser

Registered User
Feb 3, 2020
11
I’ve just taken my husband to his annual dementia review. It was a twenty minute session with a nurse at our GP practice. I would say that my husband has all the elements of stage 5 dementia with occasional stage 6. He walked into the surgery, took his jacket off by himself and proceeded to behave in a completely ‘normal’ fashion. He told her that he has no trouble with his sight or hearing, that his mood is good most of the time, and that he’s never disoriented or lost. He did admit to having trouble sleeping at night. He rolled his sleeve up to have his blood pressure taken, responded appropriately to being asked to stand against the wall for his height, and got on the scales without being asked to twenty times and being shown how to do it. I felt like screaming. I wanted to tell her what I see on a daily, and hourly basis, and it isn’t that! Has anyone else experienced this?
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
6,332
Bristol
A belated welcome to the forum @None the Wiser. I've never seen my partner with vascular dementia presenting herself quite as well as that, but she has her moments at lunch with her daughter or her son when she can suddenly look more "with it " than usual. She has done the same with doctors and social workers who don't know when she is confabulating to hide the gaps. The subject does come up a lot and is usually referred to as host or hostess mode. I was looking for a factsheet to explain it, hopefully someone can.
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
1,602
I was just about to post the same thing! It sounds like host/hostess mode, a common, often frustrating, phenomenon where the person with dementia puts a lot of effort into appearing 'normal' in front of guests, doctors, social workers, relatives they haven't seen for ages etc. Was your husband really tired afterwards, as usually the effort involved wears them out.
 

Jale

Registered User
Jul 9, 2018
385
Not quite the same as your Husband, but I always dreaded going to the doctors/hospital with Mum as she always put on a show for the doctors/nurses and even the cleaners. It is so frustrating when you have spent time trying to explain how difficult it is to get the PWD to do something and then they meekly do exactly what they are being asked to do for someone else.
 

Lladro

Registered User
May 1, 2019
115
Hostess Mode - Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes - It happens a lot. I can pretty much guarantee that my wife will be perfectly nice to EVERYONE EXCEPT ME! They will guess that something is up because of the random chatter and odd remarks, but everyone thinks that she is so lovely - and she is of course, but there are times...lots of them...just no-one else seems to see them.
You are not alone my friend - it is a very common phenomenon . Take heart - We on here, totally understand . Loads of hugs to you.
 

None the Wiser

Registered User
Feb 3, 2020
11
A belated welcome to the forum @None the Wiser. I've never seen my partner with vascular dementia presenting herself quite as well as that, but she has her moments at lunch with her daughter or her son when she can suddenly look more "with it " than usual. She has done the same with doctors and social workers who don't know when she is confabulating to hide the gaps. The subject does come up a lot and is usually referred to as host or hostess mode. I was looking for a factsheet to explain it, hopefully someone can.
Thank you for your kind welcome and response.I had no idea that this phenomenon has a name. My mother frequently behaved in a similar way and we were always taken aback, but sort of explained it away as being part of her personality.
 

None the Wiser

Registered User
Feb 3, 2020
11
I was just about to post the same thing! It sounds like host/hostess mode, a common, often frustrating, phenomenon where the person with dementia puts a lot of effort into appearing 'normal' in front of guests, doctors, social workers, relatives they haven't seen for ages etc. Was your husband really tired afterwards, as usually the effort involved wears them out.
Hello Louise. Thankyou for your reply. I didn’t realise this phenomenon has a name. My husband was quite tired afterwards, but also seems to have been having a better day. It was such a contrast though from usual that I was really quite shocked.
 

None the Wiser

Registered User
Feb 3, 2020
11
Not quite the same as your Husband, but I always dreaded going to the doctors/hospital with Mum as she always put on a show for the doctors/nurses and even the cleaners. It is so frustrating when you have spent time trying to explain how difficult it is to get the PWD to do something and then they meekly do exactly what they are being asked to do for someone else.
Thank you for your response. I was taken aback by how differently husband was, and found myself questioning whether I was the one ‘loosing it’.
 

None the Wiser

Registered User
Feb 3, 2020
11
Hostess Mode - Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes - It happens a lot. I can pretty much guarantee that my wife will be perfectly nice to EVERYONE EXCEPT ME! They will guess that something is up because of the random chatter and odd remarks, but everyone thinks that she is so lovely - and she is of course, but there are times...lots of them...just no-one else seems to see them.
You are not alone my friend - it is a very common phenomenon . Take heart - We on here, totally understand . Loads of hugs to you.
Oh thank you Lladro. You feel as though you’re going mad yourself! As I write this my husband is lying next to me and is talking away to himself about the Germans gassing his lovely wife and granddaughter ( we were born after the Second World War, so goodness knows where this is coming from). He seems to be addressing a group of people. I just can’t get my head around how someone who does that, and daily can’t find the bathroom or toilet in a house that we’ve lived in for 30 years, can’t dress himself or shower without help etc.etc.can appear almost completely ‘normal’ when talking to the nurse. Your hugs are much appreciated. Thankyou
 

annielou

Registered User
Sep 27, 2019
479
Yorkshire
My mum does this when SW and MW comes, she also tried it when we first went to drs over her memory. We've been to GP about something else today and mum managed quite well while there even though she kept asking why going and what to say before got there and after was asking why been and what gp said.
Depending on how long visit is and how much shes asked that makes her uncomfortable, she can look like she knows what shes doing and saying and she tells them she is fine and can manage things fine without help and she sounds quite convincing.
She is usually shattered afterwards and gets more confused and often if I've told truth about how she really manages she gets quite annoyed at me after a visit too. She also does it when my sister comes to stay for a few days, at first she seems much more with it than usual, but she cant keep it up all visit and gradually goes back to more her usual self the longer sis is there.
Its a shame they can't keep it up and aren't always as with it as they try to be when people are there but it must be so exhausting. x
 

None the Wiser

Registered User
Feb 3, 2020
11
My mum does this when SW and MW comes, she also tried it when we first went to drs over her memory. We've been to GP about something else today and mum managed quite well while there even though she kept asking why going and what to say before got there and after was asking why been and what gp said.
Depending on how long visit is and how much shes asked that makes her uncomfortable, she can look like she knows what shes doing and saying and she tells them she is fine and can manage things fine without help and she sounds quite convincing.
She is usually shattered afterwards and gets more confused and often if I've told truth about how she really manages she gets quite annoyed at me after a visit too. She also does it when my sister comes to stay for a few days, at first she seems much more with it than usual, but she cant keep it up all visit and gradually goes back to more her usual self the longer sis is there.
Its a shame they can't keep it up and aren't always as with it as they try to be when people are there but it must be so exhausting. x
Thanks Annielou for your reply. My husband was definitely more lucid yesterday, but is back to being in a significant ‘fog’ today. What a rollercoaster it is both for those with the disease and those looking on. X
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
70,349
Kent
Hello @None the Wiser

My husband was a master at Hostess mode.

The best was when I had a Physiotherapist make a home visit because I had grave concerns about my husband's mobility.

My husband did everything asked of him . He followed all verbal requests and was as steady as a rock when moving. The Therapist said he wished men half his age had this level of agility.
 

Lladro

Registered User
May 1, 2019
115
Oh thank you Lladro. You feel as though you’re going mad yourself! As I write this my husband is lying next to me and is talking away to himself about the Germans gassing his lovely wife and granddaughter ( we were born after the Second World War, so goodness knows where this is coming from). He seems to be addressing a group of people. I just can’t get my head around how someone who does that, and daily can’t find the bathroom or toilet in a house that we’ve lived in for 30 years, can’t dress himself or shower without help etc.etc.can appear almost completely ‘normal’ when talking to the nurse. Your hugs are much appreciated. Thankyou
Hi, my wife will "take on board" lots of things that are mentioned by me, someone else or on the news etc and then continue with the theme in a completely different context> she will come to me with an ornament or slipper and tell me that it is needed to "enter a plea" (she worked in the law for years and years). The subject matter that she becomes fixated with can last for the remainder of the day and will disappear the next day when she wakes up. Perhaps your hubby heard something about Germans or the war and has picked up on it? Sounds like more hugs are needed - Here you go...
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
42
When I take mum to the GP I always type out a very brief history and then clearly write what we are there for on that occasion. This saves so much time.
Mum always turns on the most excellent hostess mode.
Last time we went I mentioned in the letter she was sleeping for large amounts of time in the day ( to be expected with old age and heart failure ) I also said I would fully expect mum to claim she never ever slept in the day.
The GP asked mum at some point if she slept in the day, ' no, I never sleep in the day' says mum, and I just caught the smallest twitch of a smile on the GP's face.
It was lovely for me because when you are dealing with healthcare professionals you sometimes wonder if they are thinking ' mum with dementia or daughter with mental health' ?
The lovely thing about the forum is the feeling you are not on your own , many of us have convincing ' hosts and hostesses '!
 

None the Wiser

Registered User
Feb 3, 2020
11
Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I have been dipping in and out of the forum for awhile but have shied away from joining in. It’s amazing the difference it makes to know that others understand and may have experienced what you are experiencing. The feeling of living with a stranger who you can’t communicate effectively with anymore is so incredibly disconcerting. Warm hugs to all of you. I know I shall be needing more of your support and wisdom over the next few days, months and years.
 

None the Wiser

Registered User
Feb 3, 2020
11
When I take mum to the GP I always type out a very brief history and then clearly write what we are there for on that occasion. This saves so much time.
Mum always turns on the most excellent hostess mode.
Last time we went I mentioned in the letter she was sleeping for large amounts of time in the day ( to be expected with old age and heart failure ) I also said I would fully expect mum to claim she never ever slept in the day.
The GP asked mum at some point if she slept in the day, ' no, I never sleep in the day' says mum, and I just caught the smallest twitch of a smile on the GP's face.
It was lovely for me because when you are dealing with healthcare professionals you sometimes wonder if they are thinking ' mum with dementia or daughter with mental health' ?
The lovely thing about the forum is the feeling you are not on your own , many of us have convincing ' hosts and hostesses '!
Thank you Weasell. This is a helpful suggestion. I will give it a try.
 

Mousehill

Registered User
Nov 28, 2018
44
My mum is absolutely fabulous at hostess-ing too! It's one of the hardest aspects of dementia to get used to because if you are the person who doesn't get the hostess treatment, it can feel so lonely and it's hard not to take it to heart.

After a couple of GP visits after dad died, where mum fussed over the GP like a mother hen and declared she was fine, I eventually made an appointment to see him by myself and just explained everything and we concocted a plan together. He dropped in 'unexpectedly' (to mum) telling her it was time for her annual check-over and she just went along with it. He started to chat with her about things in the village and mum totally tripped herself up by getting everything mixed up, without once realising she wasn't doing a brilliant job of holding a conversation.

So, finally, we are awaiting a trip to the Memory Clinic and I've done as Weasel suggested (thank you Weasel :)) and written out a summary of what I really want them to know. I think my lowest moment was when mum's previous care agency actually accused me of being paranoid and deluded because they only saw her in hostess mode and blamed me for the times she was down because apparently, my 'anxiety' rubbed off on her.

It's only thanks to the good people here that I know about host-mode and I knew the agency boss was talking utter nonsense when she came out with the statement that greeting the carers the 3 mornings they came round cheerfully and showing none of the problems I had raised would be 'unsustainable'. It's scary how they tried to manipulate and shame me into buying more of their time. The proof of the pudding is in the eating though and since I informed them that their services are no longer required, the difference in mum has been pretty amazing. She still has the 'blank stare' spells which are really grim, but they aren't usually quite so bad, unless they have been triggered by over-stimulation the day before or more often caused by worry or frustration.

I've learned just to sit back and enjoy the hostess moments, but brace myself for the aftermath! The worst bit can be telling relatives that they should limit their visits and keep the conversation simple and light...............then wait 2 hours for them to leave after they've told mum all the family woes with knobs on and left her dehydrated and desperate for the loo.....oh and telling me on the way out what a lot of good their visit did :D
 

Taffbird

New member
Feb 14, 2020
1
I’ve just taken my husband to his annual dementia review. It was a twenty minute session with a nurse at our GP practice. I would say that my husband has all the elements of stage 5 dementia with occasional stage 6. He walked into the surgery, took his jacket off by himself and proceeded to behave in a completely ‘normal’ fashion. He told her that he has no trouble with his sight or hearing, that his mood is good most of the time, and that he’s never disoriented or lost. He did admit to having trouble sleeping at night. He rolled his sleeve up to have his blood pressure taken, responded appropriately to being asked to stand against the wall for his height, and got on the scales without being asked to twenty times and being shown how to do it. I felt like screaming. I wanted to tell her what I see on a daily, and hourly basis, and it isn’t that! Has anyone else experienced this?
Yes I have you feel like screaming at them.because they don't see the full picture..so frustrating
 

PalSal

Registered User
Dec 4, 2011
777
Pratteln Switzerland
Yes, it is not very helpful is it. But I think we have all experienced the hosting mode. as we went thru this process of the disease.
I wanted my husband to enjoy our friends, but his pretense to being "OK" was really exhausting for him. And then with me he was completely needy, after visits from friends or family. (especially his family as he wanted them to think he was ok) That was all long ago now..there is no pretense of normalcy. Long past hosting.
Now when I have friends round for music or dinner, I hire a carer for him to concentrate on him -cut his food , help him, so that I can concentrate on our friends. Eventually there are no illusions....they get past it all.