The Ups and Downs of Dementia


Registered User
Dec 11, 2003
Tully, Qld, Australia
Dear All,

Having mentally readjusted myself to the fact my father has probably dropped down a knotch on the 'scale', and having endured almost a week of unprecidented extraordinarily weird behaviour patterns, he has just confounded me - again...

Earlier this week I made an appointment for him to see the Doctor. I've been dropping little hints every day so that it wouldn't come as a shock to him, but all these comments had fallen on fallow ground, thus far.

This afternoon, my father seems to have come out of his fog and has been incredibly lucid. No sundowning, no weird and wonderful conversations and no dead relatives, etc.

Just before dinner, he said that he wanted to have a little chat 'about the visit to the Doctor tommorow at 10am.' [Spot on, day and time already fixed in place in his mind.] We've just had an amazing conversation about his need to have a clean set of clothes to wear, what time we should leave by car to get there in good time, whether my Mother will be coming too, and whether he needs to take a urine sample with him? The last is completely amazing, since I popped into the Doctor on the way home today and picked up a little bottle for that very reason. I haven't even mentioned it yet and it isn't a usual prerequisite. It was actually Sheila's idea to have him checked out for a urinary infection.

I'm just hoping that all this info stays in his mind until tomorrow.

How do AD sufferers do this? I wonder if he is mentally building himself up before the event? Dad seems perfectly calm and rational about the whole visit. He is also nothing LIKE the man that he has been during the last week. Talking to him tonight, is just like being with 'Dad' as I knew him before he got AD. I can reason with him, joke with him and he is so 'together' - and all this after a week of totally demented and loony behaviour.

It just beggars belief....!! How can somebody with a five year history of AD suddenly become 'normal' for a while? He has these 'normal' episodes just after major periods of diorientation. it won't last, but I am treasuring the moment.

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Registered User
May 20, 2004
Hi Jude

I think I read some months ago about this apparent improvement stage following a bad spell. No doubt someone will be able to tell us. Its lovely to have him "back" for a little while - enjoy you moments!



Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
I don't know how it happens, but, yes, let's celebrate when it does.

The other week Jan had her first major 'fit' [grand mal] since she left our home, and they thought they had lost her.

Since then she seems to have improved each day - and I'm just dreading the inevitable drop-plus-a-bit that will happen. I had expected it before now.

This evening I said to her "Anna is coming to see you tomorrow".

"Who's that?" she said as clear as day.

"Nina's daughter whom you last saw when she was 2 and she is now over 30!"

"Oh! yes!", Jan replied with an enormous smile.

Lots of other good bits of conversation and Jan was really trying hard.

So where did all that come from? I guess it was there all the time, but masked by the dementia. Then one day a fit occurs, shuffles the blood around her brain, and some hitherto unused bits start to become functional, and she can communicate for a while.

[which neatly torpedoes the excuses of sublings who say they won't visit because it is no longer this person or that person that they knew]


Registered User
Apr 1, 2003
Hi Jude,

Enjoy the moment. I too find it absolutely bizarre how dad can sometimes be so lucid one moment and come out with the most outstandingly accurate statements the next. I make the most of these moments and throw in a hug if I can. 10 minutes later he's off in his own world again.

Must admit, in dad's case these are briefer moments rather than 'a good day'. Glad you have your dad back for a while!



Registered User
Mar 13, 2004
I had no idea this could happen, as mum is in pretty early stages. But I have noticed that her stay in respite with all the other ladies' company whom don't have dementia, has stimulated her incredibley. She is extremely lucid and in great form. Mum always did like a lot of company. Maybe more stimulation at home would be a good thing, it's just when you're exhausted sometimes, I can barely speak to her, never mind find stimulation!

Jude that's great news about your father.


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Dear All
this is the good day bad day syndrome.
I did say once that my wife was so seemingly normal that I began to wonder had" they" got it wrong,could the AD diagnosis be wrong?
I know now that this is another cruel trick of this disease and she will slip back again after a particularly normal session.
The answer-make the most of the good times enjoy them whilst you can.
Day to Day
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Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
Dear Jude et al,
I will print your posts to show to my daughter - it's so good to know it's not just 'us' ..... so many times we look at each other say "where on earth did THAT come from??".
Most of the time, we have to repeat messages, instructions etc. over and over again, often to no avail. Then, suddenly, as though someone had turned a switch, Tony joins in a conversation or mentions something of little importance completely accurately. That's when we wonder momentarily whether we've got it all wrong (as, I think, Norman once mentioned).
These are the happy moments which make the rest of the time so much easier to bear. (Even false hope is often better than no hope at all).
I am also amazed how he can, occasionally, come out with a very clever pun or play on words (when most of the time a three-word-sentence is too much for him to comprehend)! Perhaps it's all there, behind the scene so to speak, but simply cannot emerge. No wonder there are moments of intense frustration for him .....

Let's make the most of all the good days/moments.
Take care.


Registered User
Dec 11, 2003
Tully, Qld, Australia
Dear All,

Thanks so much for your kind and supportive views. Our present run of lucidity is continuing, thus far.

We took Dad to the doctor this morning, complete with fresh clothes and wee sample. New Doctor - extremely kind and understanding too. I had a quick chat first of all. The Doctor checked Dad's sample, is sending it off for a test anyway; told Dad that he had a slight infection and then prescribed Diazepam to calm him down. He spent time to ask Dad how he was really feeling and reassuring him about his frustrations over his loss of memory. He gave Dad a thorough physical and pronounced him 'fit as a fiddle', which pleased my father no end.

The oldies are currently in the kitchen chatting to the carers and they are all having a whale of a time. Much laughter and joking!

I am enjoying the moment. It is just so wonderful to see my parents so happy and relaxed.

I'm so glad to hear eveyone's postive comments about their loved ones too.

Thanks again.