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I am the only one who hears about the money I've stolen or the fires that my boyfriend flies in from out of town and the assault that I inflict on her. The neighbors and few friends that venture over just see this sweet, quiet,maybe a little confused invalid. The never experience the insanity that for me is becoming more frequent. They never are told to turn on the heat when it's 80 degrees and then 5 minutes later be told to put the AC on 5 minutes later and then again with the heat and she actually gets mad at me when I tell her I can't run the furnace and the AC at the same time.

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I call it Show Timing and my mother is the best. She was an entertainer (vocalist) and so this comes easy for her. IF someone sticks around long enough, though, the true woman comes through.
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Their dementia is most evident with caregivers because they feel comfortable enough to let their guard down. They know you won't reject them if they say something odd. With visitors and MD's they can keep up the Showtime for about 24 hours. That's why psych evaluations are 72 hours, they can't keep Showtiming for three whole days.
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Just keep reminding yourself that your mom is more than her dementia. This terribly insulting affliction is not all that defines her. It pained me to see my mother overlooked, dismissed, ignored at the table by family and strangers alike....as though she was a non person....as though it was contagious. I knew that she was still in there. There were times when she was sleeping that my presence in the room woke her and while just coming out of a dream she was lucid, made complete sentences and was reliving things I'd thought she'd forgotten. And this occurred during the stage when she mostly just made repetitive humming noises all day long during her waking hours. Your mom is still in there......struggling to communicate normally and sometimes she's successful.
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It's not the dementia she's turning off and on, it's her public face she turns off and on and it's very common in people with dementia. Those of us who care for a loved one with dementia get all the negative stuff, the battle over the A/C, the accusations of stealing, the wild delusions. That public face can only last so long but it's a source of frustration for many people caring for loved ones with dementia especially when we try to tell people how bad the dementia gets and then all that person gets is an invitation to tea and polite conversation. We're just left shaking our heads.
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Yeah, mom can put on a pretty good act for strangers, too. Even her doctor. She usually gives herself away some time during the conversation though...like a "Bye now!!! Oh, and Happy Easter!" in August. It can be very disconcerting for people. Ha!

As to the heat and a/c. Just like our husbands often learn, "Yes, dear," is the best reply? So it was with a senile parent. I'll often jump up (if I'm not dog tired) to one of mom's off-the-wall requests and say, "I CAN DO THAT!!" with a happy face and a big smile. Then, I "go do it." Not. She's happy. I'm getting more trim and fit every day. ;) ;)
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