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Mom sits in her chair with her eyes closed and rocks back and forth. She sits up then back repeatedly. Sometimes she mumbles. Sometimes she reaches for things that aren't there. I can tell she isn't really sleeping because the expression on her face is not one of relaxation. She has expressive aphasia (which is in more of an advanced stage). Has anyone seen this behavior in their loved one? Any explanation of what is going on?

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JoAnn29–My Mom would hum a tuneless hum since I was a child. Especially if she was puttering around doing housework. It seems just a self soothing behavior and is very familiar to me. I don’t pay much attention to it.
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Reply to HolidayEnd
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In her mind she may be rocking a baby. My Mom couldn't put a sentence together. When she closed her eyes she could carry on a conversation. What your Mom is doing is normal but if the rocking increases it may be a sign of anxiety. My Mom started humming which got worse as the days went by. She was put on Medication.
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The only thing that would really concern me is that her facial expression isn't relaxed. But she may be falling back to instinctive methods used by people as relaxation for years: rocking. Perhaps she senses she's unsettled, can't articulate it b/c of the aphasia, and is trying a method she learned as a girl.

Try playing some soft relaxing music, or her favorites that also are relaxing. Or add some aromatherapy...the goal would be to use passive activities can create an environment more conducive to natural relaxation.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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I’ve seen the elderly act that way all my life. They’re in their own little world and I pray it’s a happier place than this one.
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Reply to HolidayEnd
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Mapotter, has your mom seen her doctor lately? You say she is showing some signs of dementia, but this behavior is very indicative of that disease. People with dementia can have a whole different world going on in their minds that only they are a part of. My mom was a famous stage actress. Her roommate carried around a baby doll constantly. A lot of people in my mom’s facility had lively conversations with people who weren’t there. Only mom could tell you what she’s seeing and doing, and if she has aphasia, that might not be possible.

If your mom is not adversely affected or upset by these episodes, just accept them as part of her world now.
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