Follow
Share

My cousin, 63 year old, with Vascular Dementia mixed with AD, has recently started getting emotional. She's in a Memory Care Unit at ALF. I asked what's wrong and she says she misses her mom or her parents. Her dad died in the early 90's and her mom died 7 years ago. She has never shown much emotion about it, but now she mentions it a lot.

She has quite a few health issues and am concerned about that. I wonder if this recent emotional display over her parents have any special significance. I'm planning on getting her to a geriatric psychiatrist soon, but have to get her other medical issues resolved first..

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Specially with Alzheimer's people, at a certain phase of this illness, live in the past. They know and remember thousand of things that we have put behind us, or even have forgotten about. I remember my husband could talk about holidays which I had nearly forgotten. He also talked a lot about this father having left his mother and him when he was 9 years old. And also many things that happened when he was in Germany with his mother. They regularly went there, as his mother is German and family visits of over 55/60 years were as clear to him as if they had happened a few weeks or months ago. It is therefore difficult to show certain things or photographs of long long time ago. There is a big chance that this will trigger his memory, and he will suffer, get sad, even depressed. Of course, as it is the case for healthy people, psychological distress can have an influence on the general health condition. However, if it is only a good cry from time to time, this is something they need. As at that very moment they are living an event of 50 / 60 years ago, or more, it is quite natural they show the same feelings as at that time. Just keep watching her. When she is too busy with the loss of her parents, you can try to change the subject of the conversation gently and keep her in your arms and hug and embrace her. I remember the time with my husband when words did not help any more, I took him in my arms like a child and caressed his hair, face hands etc.. What all elderly people appreciate very much (90 % of them) is a gentle massage of the legs and feet. This is very relaxing . I much appreciate your helping and caring for your cousin that much, wish you all the best and hope that despite everything, you will pass much agreeable moments with her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I don't see her emotional distress as particularly odd.She is remembering a time in her life where she felt safe. The future was ahead of her and now she's old, people she loved and cared for are passing, her mind is failing and she's become dependent.
What can a psychiatrist do for someone in her situation unless the drugs given to her are causing the problems?
I come from a family that to the outside world was cold and unemotional.The truth was quite the contrary and the only difference between us and others was that we kept our sorrows, pain and anger private, to deal with in our good time.
Maybe she just needs a good cry and someone to sit with their arm around her shoulder.
Sadness is not a disease it's a coping mechanism.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hello,

I had my mother go to a geriatric psychologist for a general work-up to get a baseline of her functioning skills, etc. as I did not know if her memory loss was normal for her age or if it was more significant. I found it extremely helpful. You could start with that when you have the other medical issues checked out/maintained, etc. as you mentioned. No, I don't believe you caused any undue distress or there is any correlation to distress and more severe dementia patients. Those individuals who have dementia fade in and out of memory and get time (past/present mixed up). Perhaps her parents are just on her mind, but in time this will be forgotten and your cousin will gravitate to other thoughts. I do know that dementia patients tend to fixate on certain thoughts so this could be one of them at the moment. You can listen, reassure, alter the topic, etc. to offer comfort. Don't take anything personally. People with dementia do not have the capability to logically think and reason. My mother, 87 years old, and has dementia and paranoia has huge mood swings. That is another thing the geriatric psychologist could help with. I don't know what medicines your cousin is taking, but the specialist would recommend medicines to help the overall situation. Thank you for caring about your cousin. Take care.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

How great you are to look out for your cousin. It is heartbreaking to see someone we care about change before our eyes. But if she is looking great physically, at least you know she is getting well taken care of. That should at least set your mind at ease. God Bless.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks for your thoughts. My parents and I went to visit on Saturday and she was very happy to see us, though I know she won't recall it now. I took photos and had an 8 X 10 printed to hang by her bed. That way she can see we were there with her.

During the visit, she mentioned several times how much she missed her parents. She said every time she goes to a certain place, it reminds her of them. I'm not sure which place she's referring to, but we just told her we missed them too.

She's happy in her Memory Care Unit and says there is a certain staff member who watches over her. She says he's like her guardian angel. I know who she's taking about and that he is keeping a special look out for her.

Physically, she hasn't looked better in years. It's just heartbreaking.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hold her. Maybe that is all the need be done .
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Your cousin is probably getting the present day events and the loss of her parents mixed up. To her, it will seem that it happened yesterday, but it was in fact, some time ago. No, the emotional display regarding her parents won't have any significance it is just her dealing with it. As to the afghan issue, don't feel bad that she cried, just comfort her, perhaps take the afghan away and it will soon be forgotten. These people need lots of reassurance, about lots of things. Don't let it drain you too. If she brings up she misses her parents, in the doctors office, pat her hand, say it's ok and leave it at that. It is just all part of dementia.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I forgot to mention that I felt like I might have caused her undue distress last week when I took her an afghan her mom had made to put at the foot of her bed. I reminded her her mom had made it. She cried soon after that. I was trying to bring her comfort, but maybe it wasn't the right thing to do.

Then in the doctor office on Thursday, she got emotional suddenly, and told me she missed her parents.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.