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Something that happens a lot when the tv is on is that grandma will read and read whatever words are on the screen over and over. Or read any words that are on commercials. Here is an example of the usual scenario: I’ll be watching HGTV and it always says HGTV in the bottom right hand corner like most tv networks do during shows. Grandma keeps reading it and saying it out loud, “HGTV...” many times. I can never hear anything they’re saying on the shows so a lot of the time I end up turning off the tv so it can rest for a little while. Does anyone else’s loved one with dementia do this, or a behavior that is similar? I’m curious of the possible reasons she may do this? Of course I know she does this due to the disease, but is it because reading is a skill that is currently still fairly well intact for her, so she just gravitates towards what she knows? I’ve just never heard of anyone else’s loved one doing this. Even though she reads, she does not understand tv at all anymore. Cannot follow shows or what is happening. Sometimes when I’m watching tv, I can see her out of the corner of my eye and instead of looking at the tv, she is staring at me. We used to have so much fun watching certain shows together before she had dementia, but now it just feels like I’m watching alone. Dementia is heartbreaking and it’s so hard to see her like this.

This is just a guess - since she can't follow the story any more she might be looking for ways to make sense of it and instinctively reads and rereads hoping those words might decipher something?
Maybe you could stick a post it note over the logo so you can watch in peace. For fun maybe you could turn on the closed captions and let her go for it...
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Reply to cwillie
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My Aunt with dementia used reading as a defense mechanism.
In her case she truly couldn't see to read, but she wanted me to think that she was fine.
It was kinda comical watching her with her magnifier and an upside down paper. And it was quiet!
Maybe it's Grandma's way of trying to prove she's ok? Ultimately there is no rhyme or reason for much of what they do.
You're so right, it's heartbreaking to watch them go through this.
Hang in there and God bless!
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Reply to xrayjodib
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Yes, my mom reads whatever is on the tv and will even try to associate what she's reading on the tv or on the cover of a magazine with other things happening in the room. I've noticed this association thing going on for a while. She'll suddenly remember something that happened days before and put it with the present in very bizarre ways. If I'm having trouble filling out a health form for her, she thinks the information will be on the tv, that the commercial is somehow explaining the answers to the health form to me. If your grandmother can't follow the story on the tv, she might be trying to make sense of it by reading HGTV. Try turning on the captions. Some of the residents at my mom's assisted living facility like the captions, even when they can hear. But for my mom the captions just confuse her. It's too much information to see, read, and hear the story.
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Reply to ArtistDaughter
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jacobsonbob Mar 7, 2020
Sometimes the captions can get in the way of seeing what is actually taking place on the screen.
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My husband reads the channel identifier in the corner of the screen as well as the upcoming show name. A lot of times he asks me what does that mean. When we’re out in the car, he’ll read license plates of the cars in front of us and signs, store names as well.
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texasrdr22 Mar 7, 2020
My Mom reads out loud all the billboards by the roadside, all the names of businesses from their signs and all the road signs we pass. This condition has a name but I don't remember what it is. It is a recognized phenomenon with dementia.
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Yes, my mom would verbalize any sign, whether at the doctor's office, driving down the road - all the street signs as we were driving. It was something she could still do! She didn't watch a lot of TV, ever, and couldn't manage the remote control, as her dementia progressed. She would still read a magazine and take notes in the early stages of her dementia but that stopped after a couple of years. I remember her reading the signs on the walls in the nursing home, but she could not really have a conversation at that point. I don't think she understood the signs but could still say the words!
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Reply to Jeanettekay
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Because my mother has MCI with short term memory impacts, we have used "notes" and labeling to compensate for her memory deficits for several years. There are printouts on the wall in Mom's room with our address, a reminder to use her cell phone to call me if I'm out of the house, and how to use the cell phone, etc. When Mom goes into a new environment, I write a note stating where she is, why she's there and when I will be picking her up. (Mom, you're staying with your sister M for 2 days while I'm in Nashville. I will pick you up about 6:00p on Friday.) Mom will read those notes repeatedly during my absence.

Mom started having some occasional mild dementia behaviors in the last year and now she sometimes reads those wall printouts out loud every now and again.
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Reply to TNtechie
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If she is unable to follow a show now by watching (my guess too much info too fast to process) maybe this is her way of feeling some control, she focuses on the letters/words she can follow to distract from the picture and talking she can’t. Might she be happier with a story or something to actually read while you are watching tv maybe? That allows you to be together in the same room just not following the same story the way you used to. The other possibility is maybe putting the program on an iPad for her or something with the caption on so she can read and follow the way that’s easiest for her while you watch the tv. Not sure if that would stop her reading out loud but maybe if she’s hearing (from the tv) what she’s reading the need to read out loud won’t be as prevalent? I know my mom likes watching things on her iPad over the tv, I think she feels more in control and free to interpret the way she “chooses” because it’s just her watching and in control (we’ll sort of, she can’t seem to grasp the pause feature, everything is “live” as far as she’s concerned). She also uses an earbud as she is deaf in one ear and hard of hearing in the other so this helps her hear.
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Reply to Lymie61
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Has she always been a reader? I would try a simple book with pictures to see if she might enjoy that. As a reader myself, I cannot imagine not having something around to read. I always keep captions on when I watch TV due to mild hearing loss myself. Good luck and God bless. When they are gone, we will wish we had these days back.
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Reply to kdfo90
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My 85 yo mom has done something similar a few times - once she went as far as to try to call the phone numbers on the commercials at the same time because the commercial "told her to". I took her cell phone from her (she couldn't really remember how to use it anymore anyway). It is disturbing because she'll loudly say the numbers over and over again and gets very irritated when whatever it is she expects to happen doesn't. She had a rapid decline recently and was put on a low dose of Seroquel. That has helped a lot.
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Reply to kirahfaye
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I have not heard of the reading issues, but you can pretend you are watching with me. I too watch alone or turn it off because my husband talks (sort of) thru anything i put on. ALZ is a horrible monster that has destroyed our "quiet time". I have nothing to offer but understanding of your plight.
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