Observations on dementia

HillyBilly

Registered User
Dec 21, 2015
1,947
Ireland
Yawning and empathy

I've another observation that links dementia/lack of empathy and yawning. Normally yawning is "contagious" - one person starts and everyone's off and then expressing tiredness. Well, not with Mum!

Last night I was so so tired that I was genuinely yawning and yawning (but maybe overdoing it a little in the hope that Mum might get the hint and want to go to bed) but no, not a sausage :rolleyes:
 

looviloo

Registered User
May 3, 2015
463
Cheshire
Thanks for the thread HillyBilly, you're not alone! I recognise a lot of it (except the yawning - I have that joy to look forward to haha).

Dad has always been a very polite person, and always asks how I am, how the family is etc., but it's just a habit. He switches off immediately I start to tell him, so I now make vague responses such as 'ok', 'bit tired' and so on. He only ever rings to order me around (he's now living in a care home) and has no understanding of anything going on outside the home. Not long ago he was complaining to my sister about it being my fault he was imprisoned in the home, and how family should look after their parents. My sister got annoyed with him and explained the amount of work that went into looking after him... no point of course, because it was soon forgotten.
 

SoAlone

Registered User
May 19, 2016
139
Devon
Yes, my mother (who is another vascular dementia sufferer) can yawn massively - it's as if she's wanting lots of air. She's currently in one of her sleeping for England phases. Wolfette - don't despair or feel mortofoed. There aren't any drugs that can help vascular dementia so the memory drugs given for AD don't help. There may be other drugs that are helpful for some of the side effects such as sleeping tablets or mild tranquilisers (my mother takes one Mirtazapine at night) but nothing can help the changes to the brain. All the best. Sue
My OH has no medication for dementia either, I don't know what type he has as I can't get to speak to GP long enough as all OH wants to talk about is his driving licence, which is a whole other tale. GP prescribed Mirtazapine, but within very short while of taking OH was really badly affected, off balance slurred speech and totally confused. Took around 36 hrs for him to settle again. Very similar effect to the suspected tia he had which I think triggered the deterioration in the first place. Told GP and he said not to take, but nothing else offered. OH is sleeping/resting a fair amount of the time at present so I haven't pressed for anything else.
 

Cole_H

Registered User
Oct 3, 2012
40
Your observations ring so true with me.

My OH is woken in the night by by mum, and I tell her. "So what" is her reply, I tell her will will also wake up our 12 year old. Then she says she doesn't care.

Really difficult!

But weirdly a relative was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. I made the decision to tell my mum. At the time I told her my mum was really unresponsive , just sitting there glazed over but as soon as I told her it was like she came back to life. She was upset and full of empathy. She has been like this for a week now.

Such a weird illness, as if something else kicked in suddenly and she was awoken.

The same thing happened one day when I got lost in a country road at night with her in the car. Suddenly she 'woke up' from her illness and became really supportive and helpful.

Not sure what that's all about :/
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,327
South coast
My OH has apathy (goes with the FTD territory), but if its something that he wants to do or will actually affect him the apathy suddenly goes.
 

mrsapple

Registered User
Feb 4, 2013
49
Northumberland
I was dreading having to tell my mum (vasD) that her beloved son had died suddenly, as he was the light of her life. When I told her "Mum, I've got some really bad news, I'm afraid A has died" she just looked at me blankly, said "oh well never mind" then carried on talking about something else and never referred to him again.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,327
South coast
I was dreading having to tell my mum (vasD) that her beloved son had died suddenly, as he was the light of her life. When I told her "Mum, I've got some really bad news, I'm afraid A has died" she just looked at me blankly, said "oh well never mind" then carried on talking about something else and never referred to him again.
How very upsetting for you. Im so sorry
 

Pinkys

Registered User
Nov 13, 2014
157
South of England
With my mother and MiL, I have always tried to make sense of behaviour, since that way, I do not feel so mad (!) and also it sometimes leads me to make a good response.

The utter lack of empathy is a tough one. My MiL has always been very demanding and self centred, and it seems she is just like that more intensely, but that is not true of all the people mentioned. Perhaps it is intolerable for the person to face up to the fact that someone they love is having to do everything for them, so they rearrange reality to make it so that they are doing it themselves, or invisible pixies do it. if you ignore a soiled pad, it is not really there.

Children can be very self centred, but they can be encouraged to think about others.They seem to have the 'empathy centre' in their heads, just need help to access it sometimes. PWD do not seem to be able to access it, so maybe it is part of the brain damage. Terrible.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,327
South coast
Yes, the lack of empathy is indeed part of the brain damage. So, actually can be the denial - its usually not actually denial, its that the part of the brain that recognises that there is something wrong with them is damaged. Its called anosognosia.
 

HillyBilly

Registered User
Dec 21, 2015
1,947
Ireland
Mum's developed a really endearing habit of draping her used pads over the toilet grab rail...of a morning it always reminds me of a spaghetti tree :D
 

Slugsta

Registered User
Aug 25, 2015
2,762
South coast of England
Mum puts her wet (IE urine soaked) clothes to dry, rather than wash, when she takes them off. She drapes them over her cleanclothes so, of course, they then need washing too! She occasionally offers me money 'for doing the washing' but doesn't even think of doing anything to make the task easier!
 

Ann Mac

Registered User
Oct 17, 2013
3,693
Mum puts her wet (IE urine soaked) clothes to dry, rather than wash, when she takes them off. She drapes them over her cleanclothes so, of course, they then need washing too! She occasionally offers me money 'for doing the washing' but doesn't even think of doing anything to make the task easier!
I feel for you. I had a similar situattion with Mil. If she had an accident, wet trousers would be hung up to dry - in her wardrobe, where the smell would transfer to everything else in there. Wet undies could be placed straight over the radiator, or she might attempt to 'wash' them - in the bathroom sink, usually in cold water and occasionally, she would actually use the hand soap on them - then they would also go over the radiator. The smell was bad enough if the radiators weren't on - but if they were, the horrendous smell would spread and leave upstairs absolutely reeking. Mil would seem to be oblivious to the smell, she simply couldn't get my objections to her using the hand soap for washing wet and soiled undies and it was a just a long standing battle until we got to the stage where pull ups were used all the time. Any suggestion that I did her washing for her was met with outrage - she would insist that she 'always' did her own washing, and didn't need any help from me - thank you very much!