Is it normal for a person with Dementia to be so quiet?

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My father has been diagnosed with dementia about 6 months ago.. We started noticing changes with him a year ago in September.. He is taking Aricept and Namenda for the last 6 months... One thing I notice is his social skills are diminishing ... he is so quiet,.. doen't participate in conversations... and I worry about him..

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Ellen, my father was very quiet for a long time. Knowing his personality, I believe it was because he was aware enough to know that what he was saying did not make sense or he was afraid it wouldn't. It wasn't until his dementia progressed over several years that he spoke much. By then, what he said really did not make sense, but he must not have noticed.

People with dementia need increasingly more time to process information and the surrounding environment, which probably adds to their quietness.

The person's quietness makes it a little lonelier for the caregiver at times, but making one-sided conversation/observations and reading to the person with dementia helps.

Best to you!
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countrymouse,
It does help. My mother takes a half-hour nap in the morning, and another in the afternoon before her lunch. She only wants two meals, which seems to be enough to maintain her weight. Since she won't eat dinner we give her a dinner-like lunch between 2 and 3pm. She sometimes refuses lunch if she feels too tired, so we have her nap for an hour just before lunch to ensure that she has enough energy to eat. We also try to have her take an hour's nap just before she has visitors, so that she can have enough energy to enjoy the visit.
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Pearlandharold, would a regular siesta give your mother a second wind each day, I wonder? It's been recommended that my mother take a nap after her lunch - I haven't had any luck getting her to agree to this, but I believe the idea is to recharge her batteries for the afternoon.
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My mother has moderate dementia. She is fairly normal in the mornings but after about 2pm, she sundowns. She has trouble remembering names, although she recognizes most faces. Her hearing, which is poor, becomes much worse when she sundowns. Her vocabulary gets smaller; she takes longer to understand what is said and to think of what to say in reply. She also gets very tired when she sundowns, and sometimes forgets where she is. She often forgets to reply or forgets to ask when she wants something, although she acts as if she expects us to react to what she was thinking. This means that she can have a normal (if slow) conversation in the morning, but be slow or reluctant to speak in the afternoon. When there are several people around, she mostly just smiles and listens. This may be due to the dementia - can't keep up so she stays silent to keep us from realizing how badly off she is. In my mother's case there is the added problem that her hearing is very bad, even with hearing aids. She is too proud to tell us when she is having trouble hearing, and she can no longer write legibly so she can't write what she wants to say. She is also wheelchair-bound because her legs have lost their strength and coordination, but she will often just sit and suffer rather than ask for help or ask to be taken someplace. We have to prompt her and ask if she needs anything, and often we use an erasable board to tell her things or ask questions, since she seems to be able to read (slowly) even when she can't hear us. She used to be quite talkative. But as her hearing and her mental abilities have declined she has become generally less willing to talk. She also spends more time silently reminiscing and daydreaming. Sometimes I can get her to tell me what she is thinking about, but often she will just say she is thinking about the past and doesn't want to talk. Her behavior is very changeable. One day she will be more energetic and will communicate well for most of the day. Another day she will want to go back to bed right after breakfast and be very quiet all day. There seems to be no pattern, her changes seem to be random. We try to adapt to her state each day, while gently encouraging her to be more active and to interact more with us and with her neighbors, even if just to say hello. Her doctors say that social interaction is very important, and she seems to enjoy the attention, even when she doesn't say more than "hello". I have found that talking to her about family memories can hold her attention more than current topics, and looking at photos of family and friends often brings her out of herself a bit. I would be worried about the silences if she were still mobile. She used to make mistakes, throwing away bills instead of paying them, forgetting how to turn off the gas on the stove - but since she's been stuck in the wheelchair she can't really get herself into trouble - and we have home help so there is always someone in the room with her or within earshot. I think the decline in communication is hard for her and it is certainly frustrating for me. But it has been a gradual process so those closest to her have been able to adapt to it so far, and find different ways to understand and help her. It's not as good as we'd like, but it's better than it might be, so we all keep trying.
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Hi, It is a fairly recent development at my house too. This morning when Mom woke up, she couldn't talk to me for a minute. I wake her to use the bathroom in the morning so we don't have an accident. As I thought about it tonight, I realized that if I was in a position where it just took a lot of energy to keep my eyes open, I'd be ok if someone just sat with me sometimes. So I did; I just held Mom's hand for a while and even though she doesn't always respond, she seems to be comforted.

JakeWright, you are right.... there are some days they talk a LOT! I'm anticipating that someday the language won't make sense to me. So for now, I'm pretty patient because I don't think it's always going to be this 'easy'.

Mom had so many friends and was an outgoing, volunteering, happy bubbly person. This disease makes me sick. I love Momma more than words can state, but the dementia sure has stolen a lot from us.

Hearts and hugs to you all, -A
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My patient was very quiet and just looked out the window a lot.
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My mother has severe dementia and started being more quiet when she had difficulty communicating. Now she hardly ever talks. Occasionally she will try to say something but it doesn't make any sense. I don't know how to deal with this. Sometimes I will ask her a question, like "Are you cold?". Usually she just stares at me and other times she will nod. I'm not sure if she really means yes, or not. I don't want her to feel more isolated by not talking to her, but I don't know what to say. I understand that she is not being quiet by choice any more. Does anyone have any thoughts or advice??
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to Jave..... my dad used to read too. He still insists we take him to the library and he picks out a couple books. But, I'm not sure he is reading them. With his dementia there is no way he can remember what he read.. He has no short term memory.. I think he knows he remembers he loves to read..and he doesnt want give it up... Sitting at a table with other people, he can no longer hold his own in the conversation....Especially people he doesn't know.. He will not talk unless spoken too..
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They do loose their language. It is possible he is uncomfortable around alot of people. My Mother has some dementia and she is NOT nearly as articulate as she once was. She used to read all the time however now she cannot retain what she reads so she doesn't. It is sad to watch what happens to them. Get some education from the local Alzheimer's association. There are also many good books and DVD's available. One I recommend is "alzheimer's disease, Inside looking out" It is a book and a DVD by Richard Taylor. take care !!!
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My husband who has dementia, (mid to severe stage) at times talks non-stop. I was told his brain can no longer filter what to say or what not to say, so he just says whatever he is thinking. But, in the beginning he was kind of quiet. I think it's because it was his way of not letting people see he was having problems. His mother who also had a dementia, had been a very social person, but once her problems started she began to decline social invitations. How was your father before he began his medication? I would talk to his doctor about it to see what his thoughts are.
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