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My elderly Father has started to constantly 'sing' nonsense phrases such as 'Ooppsy diddley didoo boddledy boddely boo!' Is this a sign of dementia?
Is there another reason for this?
To be honest he is driving me round the bend!

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No crystal ball here... but tiny bits of damage going on in the brain can effect language.

Songs, music, rythms seem to work better or for longer than words.

The plaques, tangles, proteins that build up in dementia. The hardening of arteries, narrowing of tiny blood vessels, causing clots or bleeds in stroke. Heart not pumping so well, causing reduced oxygen to the brain. Kidney or liver not working so well causing confusion. These sorts of things can be creeping around unseen. Call them *old age*.

I suppose do what you still can together that you enjoy. Take steps so you are not a *lone caregiver* & get some helpers (housecleaning, a sitter, etc).

What's your longer term plan? When will you reunite with your own life? Or is this your new permanent residence?
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A consultation would be helpful, but it sounds like self-stimulating (or self-soothing) behavior and I've seen many elders do it, including the two I cared for. I do it now, too, only I talk to myself out loud all the time which I never did before caregiving! lol It's probably a behavioral by-product of some kind of cognitive/psychological decline but if there's no problem that medical science can determine and it bugs you... maybe noise-cancelling earbuds..?
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JulieKac Oct 21, 2021
Reading through the comments on my post, it really sounds like, on the upside, my Dad is self soothing: the downside is that his cognitive skills are declining. I am not really sure how a consultation will really help.
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JulieKac: Imho, perhaps it is wise for him to have a cognitive evaluation.
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JulieKac Oct 21, 2021
Yes, I should probably go down that route.
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Sounds like he is simply happy. It probably gets on your nerves hearing him do this all the time. My mother makes noises all day, like she wants me to know something is hurting. All day, every day. I have to fight my thoughts of saying something to her because she does hurt. She's 87, uses a walker, and is just plain worn out. These noises and sounds drive me crazy. My husband tells me to ignore them, but I'm with her all day. I just sit outside on the porch for awhile to give myself a break. Your dad probably doesn't realize he is doing it. It doesn't sound to me like there is anything major wrong like others have suggested. My mom will start singing sometimes out of the clear blue sky. She tells me it's to see if she can still sing because she doesn't use her voice enough. She likes to hear herself. Singing makes her happy. I know I'm going to miss all those noises when she is no longer here... I feel for you.
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JulieKac Oct 20, 2021
Yes, I know what it's like to hear other 'disturbing' noises. My Dad doesn't always make happy noises. Often he repeats 'oh dear, oh no!' When he gets distressed and just lacks the energy to get out of bed or walk to the bathroom. Whatever kind of sound it is, when it's constant, it's really hard to cope with listening to it. Even though we know we will miss them when they are no longer here, I think it would be hard for most people to tolerate. It does help when people share their own stories though and to know that someone out there understands. Thank you.
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how is his speech? sometimes brain changes make understanding words and speaking words challenging. Music and rhythm are in a different area of the brain.
What happens if you sing back to him? Echo back what he does...or change it up...or a simple song that won't drive you batty if he gets stuck on singing that for a while?
happy birthday, pop goes the weasel. part of the Star spangled banner or a church hymn or anything that he used to sing or whistle when you were growing up.
Or try background music from the years when he was becoming an adult - 16-30 is usually about right. He might 'sing' or babble along with that...less obvious nonsense for your ears.
It may be self soothing for anxiety...or for boredom....
how are his eyesight and hearing? if he is lacking sensory input, he may be making up his own sounds that he can hear.

Good luck...and it may be a phase that just passes......put in one earplug in your ears to decrease the volume might help.
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JulieKac Oct 19, 2021
Thanks for your input. I think the repetition is his way of self soothing his anxiety. Regarding sensory input, he watches TV constantly and although I have suggested listening to music, he isn't interested.
Watching sport is good for him I think as it is quite interactive.
His eyesight isn't great and he is a little bit deaf but these things don't impair his communication. He can hear the TV and can hear me too.
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So what do you consider to be 'serious signs of dementia'? Panic attacks, extreme anxiety, singing nonsensical phrases constantly and memory loss is what you're saying your dad's symptoms are. Add to that the man is 92 and I'd say he has an awful lot of dementia symptoms myself!!! Then you go on to say the prescribed meds he has 'knock him out' so you rarely give them to him. If my mother's doctor would only prescribe something to 'knock her out', I'd send the woman a very large gift card to her favorite restaurant, or perhaps a designer handbag!

Seriously though, get dad a cognitive exam because he truly does sound like he's on the dementia path to me. While my mother has lots of moments of lucidity and doesn't always act off of her rocker, those moments are getting fewer and fewer these days. She's now insisting she has 'a job' at the Memory Care where she lives and fell out of bed this morning in her rush to get up in time for work. Sigh. Dementia presents itself in constantly changing ways interspersed with times where they can remember what happened 30 years ago and recall the events like it was yesterday.

Good luck.
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JulieKac Oct 19, 2021
Thanks for your advice.
My Dad is 100% lucid most of the time, so that's why I don't see his problems as completely dementia-related, But yes.string all those problems together and they do sound like dementia. There are no easy ways of dealing with this.
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Julie, I have no good advice about the sounds but about anxiety, yes.

My mom's geriatric psychiatrist explained that it was important for mom to be on a steady, regular dosage of anti-anxiety meds, not just take something when she felt panicky. By maintaining a regular dose, you get ahead of the anxiety and prevent the "attack" from happening.

There are also antidepressants that have good anti anxiety properties that might be worth exploring with a geripsych.
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JulieKac Oct 19, 2021
Thanks for your advice. My Dad has been taking a daily antidepressant for two years. On top of that the doctor gave me Lorazepam, which he said I should only give Dad when he has an anxiety attack.
He is quite short of breath generally due to years of smoking, so the panic attacks display themselves as him getting short of breath. The trouble with the Lorazepam is they cause drowsiness which I am afraid will put him at risk of falling. His mobility is very poor.
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The reply I did last night seems to have vanished.
I often compared my Husband to the kids that have Autism or ADD. They quite often make noises to calm themselves and I think that is what my Husband did. When we were out in a large store his noises would get a bit louder. If there was a lot of excitement around him, his noises would get louder. So much of it I think was anxiety.
There are medications that can help with anxiety you could discuss that with his doctor.
If the noises really get to you try pinpointing the trigger.
Is it when there is excitement around him, or is he alone? Is it when he is trying to do something and he can't quite get it?
Try turning volume down on the TV. Calming music if he likes music, there are sound machines that might help. Talk to him in a quiet voice and try lowering the pitch of it.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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JulieKac Oct 18, 2021
Thanks for your ideas on this.
Although my Dad does suffer from anxiety sometimes, he tends to do the repetitive talking when he is just sitting in his chair, not when he is anxious. The gist of it is not upset or anger, he just repeats those phrases over and over.it's a habit he's got into. I have read about autistic children or adults with dementia who repeat what people say back at them. He doesn't do this.
I do have a medication to give him if he gets very anxious or depressed but rarely give this to him as it just knocks him out,
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Echolalia.
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Reply to EmotionallyNumb
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He has a bit of memory loss, but to be honest, apart from that he doesn't really have any other (serious) signs of dementia. He suffers from panic attacks and so I wonder if he does this to try and settle himself down. I don't think he really realises how often he is doing it.
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JoAnn29 Oct 16, 2021
It could be a way he calms himself. If he hasn't had a good physical lately, wouldn't hurt to get one.
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Is this the ONLY thing that would lead you to think that dad has dementia? Surely there are things other than that that would make you leap to that conclusion.
A full exam by his primary doctor and an exam from a neurologist sounds like it would be in order.
Make a list of all the things that seem “odd” think back over the past year even things that did not seem significant at the time. Present that information to the doctor.
And have you asked dad why he does this? If so what does he say.
To keep this from driving you ‘round the bend I suggest headphones, earbuds and listen to music or a book.
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JulieKac Oct 16, 2021
He has a bit of memory loss, but to be honest, apart from that he doesn't really have any other (serious) signs of dementia. He suffers from panic attacks and so I wonder if he does this to try and settle himself down. I don't think he really realises how often he is doing it.
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