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Old 07-10-2012, 02:22 PM   #1
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Normal Dementia?

I'm new to all of this, but I'll try to keep this brief. My MIL was diagnosed with dementia and has been living with us for the past year. About 8 months ago we gave her a coloring book (we told her it was for the baby) to keep her busy.. Yes, she's still working on it. A while ago, she started telling us how if you push the button on the coloring book, it illuminates. OK, I know that's a hallucination. Recently she's really into it being extremely complicated. She asks for help and goes on and on. I really don't understand what she's saying, so I tell her, it your coloring book, you can color it however you want. She gets upset and says No! I can't! If I don't do it this way the picture disappears, you can't color the lion while he's sleeping, you have to wake him up.. She's pretty consistent with how the book has to be done, how different things "appear", etc. A friend of mine who works with dementia patients says that doesn't sound like dementia, it sounds like some kind of psychosis. She does hallucinate a lot. The majority of the day, actually. Does this sound normal? Does anyone else experience this? I don't know if I should just chalk it up to dementia or talk to her doctor about some kind of evaluation. Thank you very much for any feedback!!

 
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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Re: Normal Dementia?

There is no normal dementia!!! Do you by any chance know what type of dementia your MIL has? Alzheimer's, Lewy Bodies, Vascular, or one of the many other types? Each dementia presents differently. The delusions and hallucinations are more typical of Vascular than Alzheimer's. Beyond that each person presents differently. Even though there is a "standard" timeline of symptoms for each dementia, this is just a general list and rarely fits an individual patient.

My suggestion is that you let her doctor know (hopefully a neurologist and not a general physician) of her symptoms and ask him if it is typical of her specific type of dementia.

Love, deb

 
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:38 AM   #3
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Re: Normal Dementia?

Thank you for your reply! She has seen a neuro twice, but he doesn't say much. We're waiting for her to get Medicaid so maybe we can change doctors. It's difficult to get appointments authorized through the county help she has now. When we asked what caused her dementia, he asked if she used to drink a lot, which she did. She's an alcoholic that has been in recovery almost 30 years. He said that the MRI showed that her brain had shrunk. But he hasn't said much more than that. Just prescribes her medication and walks out. Thank you so much for your post! I was worrying we were going to have to try to bring her to a psychiatrist. She had a bad enough fit when we told the first doctor what was going on!

 
Old 07-11-2012, 08:19 AM   #4
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Re: Normal Dementia?

Yes, there is Alcohol related dementia but if she has been in recovery for 30 years I doubt that is the cause. Brain shrinkage is a symptom of several kinds of dementia. So you really don't know much. My best is the prescription was for Namenda, Aricaept, or Exelon.

The compulsive obcessive behavior your Mom is showing is typical. The target of the obcessive compulsive can be different. You Mom has her coloring book. My Mom had her window washing and flower bed pine straw. Between bouts of window washing (sometimes severeal times a week) Mom would sit in the flower beds picking leaves and twigs out of the pine straw and "fluffing" it. Yes it had to be done just so.

It is only when behaviors became dangerous to your MIL's safety or mental well being do you need to worry. They are going to do bizarre things. If she gets agitated to the point of hysteria, combativeness, or become extremely depressed... then you might want to talk to her doctor about medication to relieve these unwanted emotional symptoms. But don't worry about the bizarre behavior itself.

Love, deb

 
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