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Old 08-05-2012, 08:21 PM   #1
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Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

I was glancing at our photo collection over the past 10 years, reminincing about the things Lucy and I have done and places we have traveled. I am wondering, is there a distinctive "look" to someone with dementia? Looking at Lucy's pictures in the past 12 months, her facial expressions seem a bit flat, and her eyes a bit more vacant. Just wondering if it is just my iminagination.

 
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:43 PM   #2
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Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

The expressionless look and vacant or distant eyes are common in dementia, so probably not your imagination. Lack of expression is common in Parkinson's disease too.

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:28 AM   #3
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Unhappy Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

With my Mom, who has vascular dementia, it is like she is looking at a movie in her head and not really at the person she is talking with. Yes the eyes do have a spacey look. Its like she is in another reality all of her own. She has the sensation of falling every time she is moved.
I hope you can get some form of help with Lucy as your health is possibly at stake. We all know where you are at as we have been through many stages of dementia with our loved ones. The only certainty is change, as they go through many stages and every one takes a toll on the family in some way.
Wish I could give you some answers but there are few options with this type of disease.
Aras

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:03 AM   #4
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Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

Thank you everyone. I know you all have been through this, in one way or another. That's why your support is particularly appreciated.

What I noticed most in her pictures within the past year or so, are her eyes. They don't seem to connect with either the camera or with people with whom she was posing. They lacked warmth. In contrast, pictures 5 years ago had her radiantly connecting with the camera or engaged with another in the pictures.

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:57 AM   #5
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Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

In a way, yes the person with dementia looks different. I think it is due to the confusion and false understanding and etc. My husband does not want to use any photos of his late Dad while he was sick for 7 years. For memorial, my husband prefers the normal ones before his Dad got sick in 2004 or so. That means the last picture was the ones in 2000 or before. Yes there is a difference, not that strangers or not-so-close friends would notice. Often his own delusion would make him look different.
Of course, in severe stage, the disabilities made it more obvious (wheelchair and no talking at all.)

Hugs,
Nina

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:26 AM   #6
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Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

Nina, the reason I posted this thread was because I found it very difficult to look at Lucy in the more recent pictures. I didn't really quite know how to describe it, except it felt like her radiant energy was gone. I just wondered if it was my own imagination.

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:50 AM   #7
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Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

I saw my late FIL when I visited him in 2002 or so, and I felt he was unkempt. At that time, I felt nothing about it. Thinking back, he was different already.

I can see that my husband doesn't like to see those photos with AD.

Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 08-06-2012 at 08:51 AM.

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:03 AM   #8
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Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

Luau, I know exactly what look you are referring to. It is a distant disconnected look as if they are unaware and distracted from their surroundings. As if they are focused on something that is not within our realm of reality. When I look back at pictures of Mom between 2004 and 2006 (diagnosis) I now see "the look" in some. Most of the pictures since then have either that vacant look or a look of fear in them. I am sad to say some of the early photographs picked up what I didn't see (or didn't want to see) at the time.

How is the diagnosis going?

Love, deb

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:14 AM   #9
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Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

I was looking for that look in the earlier years when my late FIL was sick with AD.
Actually it is not so obvious given his old age and etc. It is easier to see the difference in person.
I know what you mean, Luau, the demented look.

Nina

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 12:12 PM   #10
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Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

Interesting post Luau......yes, I say most definitely there is a "look" to dementia. However, as others have said on this post, I think it's easier to see in hindsight. I lost my dear stepdad (Oh I miss him soooo much) in January of this year. I can look back at photos now and see a vacant look in his eyes before we **knew** he was ill

I mean, once they're full blown into the disease there is no doubt of a vacant look, but as they are becoming ill.......I'm afraid it begins to be present, but we just don't want to see it. My mom said to me back in 2006 that she thought something was "wrong" and that my stepdad would get a "far off look in his eye" and sort of gaze off.....with his mouth sort of open. I of course dismissed her comment, and even when I first saw it for myself, I discounted it, and then......well.......time went by......and that vacant look sadly became more of the norm. So, no, it's not just you. Hope you're doing okay. This is a rough, rough road.......

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:20 PM   #11
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Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

I always thought my mom was mad at me. She used to be angry a LOT (back when she was just mentally ill and not demented) but then her depression was finally treated and controlled after sooo many years, and her anger issues subsided. Then several years later I remember always asking her, "ma, what's wrong?" or "what's the matter?" and she'd keep saying "Nothing!" Her expression started changing and I feared her old moods were back, but it was just a vacant look as she walked around expressionless and somewhat bewildered. Considering our history I mistook it for anger or sadness.

Annie

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:10 PM   #12
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Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

i remember my mom with such a vacant look. looking back at videos before she was diagnosed i saw strange behavior in her and more vacant looks. we had no idea then. how strange we did not notice until the behavior changed.

 
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:31 PM   #13
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Re: Is there a distinctive "look" of dementia?

Oh yes.... they do get a "blank" look in their eyes. My mom used to be so smart and on the ball. Since the dementia, I noticed that her look is that she is not all there.

What is funny about our relationship now, is that it's easier for me to talk to her on the phone. In person, I see the blank expression and the clumsy movement, which makes me think she is worse off than she really is. On the phone, I notice the short term memory--and even confusion, but it doesn't seem as severe!!

 
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