She says she can't hear - but she can. Is this part of her illness or her manipulative streak? - AgingCare.com

She says she can't hear - but she can. Is this part of her illness or her manipulative streak?

Follow
Share

Hi
I'm living-in caring for a lady with Alzheimer's. By nature she's always been dramatic about things, but her illness has exacerbated the trait.
She yelps and groans if she sneezes or has hiccoughs, groans and sniffs and says she has a cold all day etc.
Now she says she can't hear. But in the shower she will do what I say even if her back is to me, so she CAN hear. She closes her eyes if she sees me approaching then jumps and yelps if I gently touch her to get her attention. Walks staggering if I watch her but if I'm not in the room walks normally.
We get in well, and gave good fun doing crosswords and playing patience - but that's gone now, as each clue/word has turned into a saga.
Is this part of her illness I wonder, or is her manipulative streak showing through? Do I act like she CAN hear and hope she gets over it, or continue this constant acting things out or writing messages to communicate ?
Frustrating.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
7

Answers

Show:
Yes I've had the audiologist in - she's to have ears syringed then he will test. She hears perfectly well, with good understanding, and can follow all instructions, 90% of the time. Then for some reason will say she can't hear and overact her attempt to hear - and will ignore attempts to attract her attention so that we can show or tell her something, so that we have to touch her to get her attention. Will also walk in a very doddery way, but if nobody is around, will walk briskly and well. Her children say she's always been like that - just worse now. She couldn't hear all day today, then at 4 suddenly started sharing the crossword clues like normal.
Shame, I wonder what's going on in her muddled mind. Thanks for all the replies.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You know what they say about assumptions, both yours and ours. If her ALZ isn't too advanced there is no reason not to have her hearing checked.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

For more information, I found it helpful to look at the Teepa Show videos found on You Tube. They provide a lot of information to help understand dementia behavior. Just yesterday, I was looking at one of Late Stage Dementia and how when a patient is agitated, angry, or unresponsive it could be something else entirely. It could be that they are in pain, only their brain does not have the ability to process it and tell you. They gave a demonstration on how to best assess a person to see if they may be feeling pain, without verbal communication.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thanks very much. I didn't like the thought that she felt the need to manipulate. On with the miming and signing!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Trust your judgment on this one, shellsbells. Many people when they get older get this way. It is like they've embraced a late-life career of being the sick person. I don't know if you would call it manipulation. I think it is more of an amplification of each discomfort felt so that onlookers get the feeling that it is the worst discomfort ever.

About the hearing -- people with dementia may not understand what they hear. My mother is hard of hearing. I have to say things several times to her. Many times she hears, but she doesn't understand. She has a hard time processing the words. I try to keep sentences short and words simple.

I doubt if the hearing is manipulation, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if she was being overly dramatic on the other things. She wouldn't be the only one who does that.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Don't assume she is always faking, dementia is a brain disease that can cycle from good days to bad, her abilities could even change several times throughout the day. Hearing loss and vision loss are on a continuum, she perhaps hears quite well in some situations and less well in others, or can hear certain sounds and tone but loses others making it difficult, especially with dementia, to piece together what she is hearing.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I'm posting a link from an article about this question on this site. Although, the odd behavior may seem like manipulation, the patient really isn't likely to have the ability to process the thought processes needed for manipulation. I would do whatever it takes to best communicate with her. Eventually, the behavior will change as she progresses. Also, sometimes a person with dementia has better skills than at others. They may be quite more lucid on some days than others as well. I'd try not to be suspicious of her abilities.

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/dementia-behavior-manipulation-154554.htm
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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