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My mom (with Dementia/Alzheimers, 87 years old, pretends she is sleeping, and then when we walk by she jumps as if she got startled. It is so obvious that she is pretending. This happens 40 to 50 times a day EVERYDAY!!! It drives my husband nuts. He always turns the TV off when he sees her pretending to be asleep and then she opens her eyes and is really mad that he turned the TV off. I just ignore the behavior, but it does aggravate me. Does anyone else do this, or is she unique with this little habit.

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My mom has fainted since 1960, and now with the alzheimers she will tell us she is going to faint, but then will be out for several hours. Doctors have said as long as she is not unconscience, to leave her along because she just doesn't want to communicate. She will not answer or awaken, but if for example I say I am going to call 911 and take you to the hospital, she will wake up and say no-- so she is hearing me trying to wake her up, just is being stubborn. The wierd thing is that she can be in a very uncomfortable position, and will stay there, and then later say, my arms really hurt (and it was because of the way she is laying) Anyone ever have this along with the sleeping?
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The best thing to do is keep the tv on. My mom always sits in her recliner and has her eyes close she tells me she just resting her eyes. But if you watch closely she either moving her fingers or her feet. Sometimes she is really asleep.
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I guess we do not want to believe that something is wrong and so then we blame someone who cannot understand what is going on. Please get help for her and for yourself s. hugs
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The most important thing is take steps NOW to take care of yourselves. I waited too long and I am getting depressed and sad over all of this, but help is now coming with Respite and they will help us to understand and help....I can hardly wait...Do not wait as long as I did...It is not good on your helath or marriage. And she does not understand..truly...But take care and God Bless...call your local area agency on aging and get help now...HUGS
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Trying to "show her" by turning off TV or reason with her and expect her to respond normally is unbelievable. Whatever happened to respect your elders especially when they have no control over what is occurring in their brain? WHY would a caring person do this with someone who has a physical mental condition is beyond me. Perhaps your husband doesn’t know about Alz/dementia enough, is cruel or is in desperate need of mental health help. Yes, it can be excruciatingly annoying and frustrating at times. In order NOT to get to that point, look into respite (Home Caregiver can come in once in a while or regular basis to give you time off from her behavior.) You are not alone. Millions of people are dealing with these types of issues. If you take care of yourselves, you’ll be better equipped to take care of her properly. Good luck.
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Ics, I don't know this particular experience, but I do know the frustration of trying very hard to do everything I can think of and still not being able to "get it right" and help the loved one. This is not your failure -- it is the disease process. Especially those of us who are problem solvers by nature and maybe by profession have a hard time bumping against a problem we can't solve. I've learned not to give up. Your talking to your husband from a distance as you approach him was a good try and probably helps at least some time. But I've also learned (sort of, it's hard) not to take lack of success as a personal failure.

Getting dementia diagnosed in the very early stages can be very helpful. For one thing, all of drugs aimed at dementia seem to work best in the early stages. Might as well get as much value from them as we can! For another, it is very helpful to the caregiver to find out as much as possible about the type of dementia that is suspected, so we know what to expect, perhaps learn some stratedgies for coping with various behaviors, and we can stop beating ourselves up for not getting it right. Also, certain drugs make certain kinds of dementia worse, so the sooner doctors realize the patient has a dementing condition the safer for all concerned. If your husband has dementia, finding out soon won't change the dementia, but it can help the situation in various ways. It sounds like you have had some up close and personal exposure to dementia. Another frustrating aspect is that no two people have exactly the same symptoms in the same order and same severity. Even people diagnosed with the same kind of dementia will differ in their symptoms. So if Mother and Grandfather and Husband all have dementia, they will have lots of similarities but lots of differences, too.

In my opinion (and I don't have any professional credentials as an opion giver) it might be useful to start tracking in a notebook all the behaviors and sympoms that are out of the ordinary or that you think might indicate dementia. It sounds like your husband must have doctors he sees frequently. Discuss your notebook with his PCP and ask if a referral to a specialist is in order. Maybe the doctor will have other explanations for some of the symptoms -- drug side effects, symptom of one of the diseases he is known to have had, etc. That could put your mind at ease somewhat. Or maybe the doctor will agree that it is worth pursuing further.

Best wishes to you as you continue to do your best for your husband, even when you can't seem to "get it right."
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If jumping and yelling when I "startle" my husband is a sign of dementia, then I am hoping some of you can tell me at what stage of dementia this starts to happen? I hope at a very early stage because my husband started doing this about a year ago. He has always attributed the startling to the fact that "I sneak up on him" because he didn't hear me coming (he has hearing problems that seem to vary) so I try always now to speak to him before I approach him (but when I do this before entering a room sometimes I startle him anyway by waking him from a snooze). I can't seem to "get it right". And I must admit that I find the jumping and yelling upsetting (some times more than at other times) because his jumping and yelling sends almost an electric shock through my system and it is very jolting. My husband has always needed a lot of my attention and at times I must admit (although it seems very suspicious and unloving of me) I wonder if his jumping and yelling is an attention-seeker. My mother who had dementia and hearing problems was never startled by me and she never jumped and yelled. My husband has gone from one illness to another for the past several years so I suppose he could just be stressed from all the illnesses (as I am) and this is why he startles so easily. I have suspected for a while that dementia may be my husband's next illness as he has shown some signs of its approach (and he is so much like his grandfather who had dementia) but I have always put all the signs down to the effects of his illnesses and tiredness and the many drugs he takes. I was so interested to read the question that prompted all the above responses. I have never encountered anyone else who was facing the problem of the "jumping and yelling" family member. I agree that it is not a BIG problem compared to the other things that go along with dementia but sometimes it's things like this that can be the straw that breaks the camel's back. As caregivers, we are all under a lot of stress so let's keep supporting each other.
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LisaSmith - Very good post. What really caught my eye was the depth perception and judging distance part. My husband is still driving and I think this is part of his problem with his dementia. I can't seem to push any of the doctors to help me get something done. I am afraid to ride with him and won't if I don't have to. He seems to think he can do it. All everyone tells me is to contact the DMV. I have and they won't cooperate either. I don't want anything to happen to him or anyone else because of no cooperation.
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Thank you EVERYONE for answering me. I think after one year with only a 4 hr break every 3 months when my brother comes, it is getting to me. I need to take a walk and get it together. Like a few of you said ... what does it matter to me if she has her eyes closed ... pretending or not? She is not bothering anyone. I just wish I was more patient these days.
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Caregiverdiary, its so nice to read your reply. I cannot imagine it being comfortable to keep jumping like that, or, someone doing it on purpose even! Poor thing cant help it, I'm sure. Thank you for posting.
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The startle reflex is not uncommon in patients with dementia. It is usually triggered by sound. There is a good chance your parent is not playing, but having a brain reaction she cannot control.
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I have cared for many people with some form of dementia or alzheimers for 17 years.I have seen this behavior often....depending on the area of the brain effected the noises or sudden movements can cause overstimulation and create great confusion and fear. Percetions are off...they may confuse one object with something else, may be unable to tell things apart, may not understand what they see or hear-could lead to suspiciousness or fear, may lose ability to recognize familiar sensations (pain, thirst), may have problems with depth perception and judging distance, might not recognize an object for what it is (hair brush). I hear your frustrations....just consider the idea this may not be a diliberate act on your mothers part....however I do and can relate to the frustration this causes when it is in your home day in and day out. I hope you can take time for you and your husband away from the daily caring for your mom. Maybe your like many of us who have to give yourself permission! Praying for you!
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My mom pretends to be asleep, but if we talk about something she hears every word. We have to be careful not to talk about her. I think she's faking it to see if we will say something mean. My brother and SnL talked about her all the time. In front of her like she was deaf. They would say horrible things. I think she needs to see that she can trust me and my husband. We don't get angry with her. We just joke with her and make her laugh. That seems to be working. she's not faking it nearly as much now.
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People with this behavior are most of the time not faking it ,that is the nature of this disease. How you react to this the problem. Please get some time of or get her another room,make it work for all concerns
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HelenM - I thought this might be the case. Good. This is not an advertising site.
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PatriciaAS

It would appear that either the Aging Care people removed Kyle's thread (thank you if you did) or Kyle took it upon himself to remove the thread (thank you if you did).
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HelenM and linda09 - I think I have missed something here. Who is Kyle? Also, if this person is advertising I agree with you also. I think links that were mentioned to me and books might be OK if it is not from the author. Guess we just need to use good sense when we post.
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helen m - i agree with you , i saw every one of the thread has kyle onit so i went to each one of em to see what he had to say , oh he s adevrsisting . suprise AC did not removed that cuz it is agaisnt thier policy to adveriste stuff like that .
maybe he just opened up a new bussniess and wanting people to go for it . phhht ,
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klye

I don't know about others but selling/advertising your business on this blog would not seem like the appropriate location to me. I come onto this blog to read and perhaps share knowledge and info with others. I do not advertise for the program that I operate. Appreciate the business you do but I think as business people that have chosen to participate in this blog, it is not the place for us to "sell" our programs. Just my opinion, professional and personal.
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jeannegibbs. I have read all of your answers to me and I greatly appreciate it. Will answer all eventually. The past two weeks have been VERY stressful. Learning, research etc. I'm not sure how to post on your wall as this wall-to-wall stuff is new to me too. I think if I do this the answers are between you and me and we don't clutter up the forum. Correct?
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PatriciaAS, when you have a special needs pet to care for, it is very helpful to learn all you can about the condition and especially what you can do that is helpful. Most of us don't absorb that all in one go, but we gradually get comfortable and get better at dealing with it. I think your analogy is a good one. If we are taking care of a loved one with special needs it usually makes things go a lot better if we learn all we can about the condition (lots of sources of information about different kinds of dementia) and about what others have found useful (this site can be a good source).
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MiaMadre

Yes, just say venting. We all do this and it surely helps. I couldn't agree with you more on your 4th paragraph. We have experienced 4 mood changes already today and it isn't even noon.

Also, I am not one to "sugar coat" anything. Facts are facts and I commend you for speaking frankly. I know it helps me.

Also, just wanted to say one more thing about speaking frankly. One of my dogs (know this isn't human stuff) has just been diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Of course, we have to try and regulate her insulin, food, water etc. Just an example, I guess of speaking frankly so that I can do the right thing. My husband has the dementia and he imagines all kinds of stuff going and is always wanting me to call the vet. I do have a lot to learn and all seems to be working so far even if he doesn't understand. I have been given lots of info and spent an hour in consultation with the vet which was so helpful. We are only into our first week of this so things could change rapidly. I have already taken a BIG does of patience with my husband to help him understand best he can what is going on.

I am really having trouble being a caregiver and I am not the most patient person on earth. I am learning though. God Bless you too. As always everyone is in my prayers each day.
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As I read through the responses, so many offered practical advise to avoid the situation and with Alzheimer's/Dementia that is THE most practical advise!

Although it may seem like they are deliberately doing something, it more cases than NOT this is not the case. Even if it were the case, offering a quiet out of the way place for her to watch TV... or even just "to be" may be the solution. Its a fine line between interaction and ignoring them that all caregivers must navigate!

If I 'hovered' around my mother she would tell me to "GO AWAY!" If I left her to her room, she would cry and feel "neglected"! Since I wanted her to feel part of the action, and yet able to feel independent, it was a tight-rope act much of the time.

We ALL need to vent, and if that is the case, post a 'note' that says "I am just venting". That's easy to do! I always try to offer advise that will help the situation, but with Alzheimer's or any dementa "ALL BETS ARE OFF" since the mood can change from one minute to the next.

I would look into checking medications AND the possiblity of a UTI or other imbalance if this is NEW sudden behavior! Hydration is also another issue, so is diet! AND... don't forget to try to include them in activities that actual keep them "up and around"!

Clearly this could be just someone looking for attention (it happens a lot) or it could be the sign of something else. WE have to be proactive when we notice something changing. They can't change their behavior, WE can! God Bless, and hopefully I won't be chastised for speaking frankly!
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My mother always use to do this when we were growing up.....say she was watching tv when we turned the channel, so I'm not sure if dementia is always the reason :) :) :) - my husband claims I do it now (well of course I am NOT like my mother)!
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I don't have this problem with Mom, I just found it interesting about the TV. We keep it low because I am always talking with her, or, she is asleep. My husband got cordless headphones for the TV, Fabulous Purchase! He can even put the news on the tv in the bedroom and walk around the kitchen listening to it while we have another tv on, llol
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ppi784...Sorry for some of the answers you are getting. Some of us have bad days alot and we tend to vent without thinking what bothers us as caregivers. It is like anything else. Like getting use to someone you married, you will eventually get use to the annoying habits and or the terrible decline in your mom's behavoir. I am a full time caregiver and I tend to get annoyed with alot of things that my MIL does, but to yell, or get mad, or intentionally stop the habit is only going to get you more frustrated. You and your husband need to have Peace to keep your sanity..so yes the best solution is to try and set her up where she can have a spot to sleep, rest , or watch T.V. without it being annoying..It is hard and I feel for you. And do look further into the unusual things that take place with dementia...It won't get better..so the more you know the better you may be able to help her and yourself. Hang in there...God Bless you for watching her...It takes alot out of any caregiver to watch any decline in a parent especially the ugly disease such as she has...SMILES and HUGS...I hope this helps....Just be informed. YOU are earning your wings...We all are...XXXXX
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Sounds like a game to me, one she can play all alone. She could possibly be listening to the tv while resting.

If it is that bothersome to hubby, maybe he could move the furniture around so he doesn't have to walk by her 40-50 times a day.

Ignore her actions or just say "oops".

Things could be much worse, be happy.
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Wow...jeannegibbs...sounds like poster just needed to vent. My mom has annoying habits also, and if I can just vent them to someone, I feel better and can move forward.
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Where is she sleeping or pretending to sleep that you walk by her 40 or 50 times a day? On a couch? In a recliner? Could you provide her some place to watch tv where you don't have to walk by her so often? A tv in her room, perhaps? I don't really understand why this is so annoying to you or to your husband. So she sleeps or pretends to sleep in front of the tv. So? Why turn it off if you know this is going to annoy her? A wireless headset is a great solution if it is the sound of the tv you object to. It almost sounds as if you are trying to catch her at "pretending," Why? If she acts startled when she walks by, why not just say, cheerfully, "Sorry, Mom," and keep on about your business? If this is her only bothersome quirk (so far) and she has dementia, you should be grateful, not annoyed. If she has dementia, it is unlikely that this is a deliberate ploy to aggrevate you. Getting more information on what you can expect from a loved one with dementia may put things in perspective and give you all some peace.
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Oooops meant haven't had her formally tested yet.
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