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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board

Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Board Index

Re: Dementia
Oct 2, 2008
[QUOTE=GEORGEP;3748507]he said that he had lost everything and he did not know why this has happened to him.[/QUOTE]

There's your answer. My Mom has said essentially the same thing. One of the evils of dementia is that the patient is unaware of what is happening to them after the beginnings of the disease. They just know that their world has turned upside down. They are plunged into a world they don't under and don't know how they got there.

A patient with cancer understands that the cancer is causing the pain, and why they need treatment. They are aware of what is happening to their bodies. My mom battled breast cancer with surgery, chemo, and tomoxafin. She was strong, positive, and determined to beat the disease.... and she did. She understood... there is hope with cancer. There is no hope with Alzheimer. It is a sentence of slow death. When she realized she had cognitive problems she turned into an angry depressed person and has followed that path for years. She no longer understands why she is angry and depressed. She just knows that something in her life is horrible. Her world is turned upside down and she knows it is not of her doing. If she could just get back to somewhere else she would be ok. She tries to deal with it but it is too much for her, thus the periodic psychotic episodes.... which as she deteriorates become more frequent. I can only imagine her anxiety, paranoia, angst..... and she doesn't have the mental capacity to understand, deal with, or express these emotions. I can not even imagine the house of horror she is living in.

My Dad is very different. He slipped into his dementia without much fanfare. He doesn't know he is confused but is happy where he is.

The doctor did explain that it depends of the areas of the brain that are affected. Alzhemier's seems to effect the the entorhinal cortex—that area of the brain in front of the hippocampus which is vital for memory consolidation first. This level is when we begin to think there might be something wrong. Next is the cerebral cortex where memories, language, reasoning and consious thought are damaged. The temporal and frontal lobes are also key because it control our emotions and behavior as well as memory. This disturbes the complex process that control behavior. It is at this point that behavioral disruptions occur. This is when most are diagnosed. From there the damage spreads until they lose a sense of self and control of body function. This seems to be Mom's progression....

Dad's dementia is vascular caused by vascuar events in his brain. His seems to be more contained to memory. He has not shown the extreme impairment in language, reasoning, or consious thought that leads to extreme behavioral problem. He sometimes show amazing ability to think... just doesn't remember what he has processed after it has come from his lips. Even though he was many years into his dementia when Mom started.... it was him that first realized that Mom was "acting just like a demented old woman". He was standing at the back door, after eating lunch, watching her. When I walked up he spoke that revolation to me. He stood there a couple of minutes and then ask me if he had eaten lunch. That was when I began to observe and it lead to Mom's diagnosis.

Each patient is different but there are reasons for this difference and we have to deal with what is the best way we can at the moment... and now that nothing we can do will fix it. What they experience is not physical pain but an overwhelming confusion, anxiety, paranoia, and do not have the capacity to deal with or express these emotions appropriately. Little deb was right. Babies cry because that is the only way they can express their emotions and needs.... our parents with dementia are doing the same.

I do wish for you that your Dad will find comfort, which will be of comfort to you and your mother.

Love, deb

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