Sometimes mom speaks logically and other times she doesn't make sense. Can someone explain how that works? - AgingCare.com

Sometimes mom speaks logically and other times she doesn't make sense. Can someone explain how that works?

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My mother was diagnosed with alzheimer two years ago. Many times she can have talks with logic, even remembering things from the past, but at the same time she does things that doesn't make sense. I'm so confused. Can someone explain how that works??

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Hi Jessie, sorry to hear your mom has an odd "rash". Mom's rash is actually real. It's the part that it was caused by a doctor that I find so strange. I think she has had the rash this long because she is forgetting to use the medicine, but she doesn't want help. And still she swears up and down it was the doctor's fault.
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Nancy, my mother is up and down in her thinking. Some days she seems almost like her old self. Then other days she is in a different world.

Dawn, I had to chuckle about your mother's rash (but not the razors!). My mother and I have a skit we go through often. She has a rash on her arm that only she can see. She swears it is caused by a tree near our yard. She says she is going to cut down the tree. I tell her that it is in a neighbor's yard and I don't think they would approve. I tell her I don't think it is the tree, but it's the mailbox causing the problem. We can cut down the mailbox. She tells me that is silly because they've had the mailbox a long time. I tell her the tree has been there even longer. About that time she starts getting irritated. (I just can't help myself sometimes.)
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For some reason I found it comforting to read this post. My mother was diagnosed 2 years ago as well, but has never agreed with the diagnosis and says the weirdest things to reason it away. I tried to explain that past history really doesn't prove that what is happening now can't happen. It doesn't matter. She is in independent living and I'm not really sure how she manages, but just before she left to go there, I kept finding razor blades on the floor. I mentioned to her, that it looked like the cat was finding her razors, she should find a different spot for them and she said "Oh they like playing with them ... I let them have them". I practically flipped. I told her that was not a good idea and she defended herself. It's ok, they do it all the time. I started taking the razors when I found them. That was last year. It happened for a few weeks and then stopped.

Now she some rash that she swears up and down that a doctor caused 5 months ago. I can't convince her otherwise.

She still plays bridge though. Somehow she works through the daily activities of getting up and dressed, but doesn't always know what day it is. I'm not sure what she thinks. I wish I knew.

Anyway, I thought ALZ was just memory issues. It's comforting to know someone else is seeing similar things.
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This fluctuation is characteristic of dementia in general. It is one of the defining characteristics of Lewy Body Dementia in particular. Since that is what my husband had I can testify that it is certainly present in that disease!

Different parts of the brain control different functions. Here is an example I heard yesterday: If you tell someone with Lewy Body to lean forward, he has to use the part of the brain that controls movement through thought. If that part of the part is damaged, instead of leaning forward for you, he'll lean back. (I know this from experience!) But if you appeal to the part of the brain that controls learned behavior that has become automatic (and doesn't require thinking) he may be able to do the action. (When I told my husband to "come on and give me a hug" he could move forward just fine.) It seems amazing and confusing that someones he could move forward when asked and others times he could not. But different parts of the brain were involved.

Similarly, the part of the brain that stores old memories can be working but the part that controls processes could be way out of whack.

Once after a head injury my husband called me and said he was coming home.

DH: Where is my car?
Me: Your car is home. It is not at the hospital.
DH: Oh. Then I will call a cab.
Me: Do you know what address to tell him?
DH: Um. No. I don't remember our address, but I can look it up in the phone book.

I talked him out of trying to come home, and later I asked the hospital psychiatrist how a person who couldn't even remember where he lived could remember that you can look addresses up in the phone book! The doctor told me that different parts of the brain were involved in those two activities. One had been injured and the other wasn't.

It can be frustrating and confusing for us caregivers. But it is the way it is, and it helps if we understand it at least a little and remind ourselves that our loved one is not choosing which cognitive functions will work at any given time.
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I wish I had an answer for you, but I feel your confusion. My mother will be just fine part of the time and sometimes carry on a phone conversation like nothing is wrong. Then other times I wonder where she went. I do see her getting worse in the evenings. (The Dr. mentioned Sun-downers or Twilight episodes). I know when she is tired she almost sounds drunk (and this is a woman that never drank). She will make her words sounds slurred...that isn't completely right, more like she is accenting a different syllable in the word. Does that make sense? The other day, and this was early in the day, we went to the cemetery to visit my dad. We were in her car. When we pulled in she said, "I don't see your truck". I left that one alone, but we met my 26 year old daughter at McDonalds that same day. My daughter was showing her pictures on her I-phone, and said, "There's our old house". Mom looked behind her and said, "Where"? I should have left that one alone too, but for some reason had to say, "Why would our old house be sitting behind you in McDonalds". I'm usually patient with her, but I sense some frustration on my part. It isn't her fault, and I think I just get mad at what I see happening to her. Yes, like your mother, she seems to remember much from her past, but if I ask her about yesterday she gives me a confused look. She used to get frustrated when she would forget something, knowing she couldn't think of a word or answer. Now she seems to just stare and leave it alone. Sorry I picked your post to do my own venting on. I just want you to know that you aren't alone. This is the hardest thing many of us ever take on.
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