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Mother has middle stages of Alzheimer's and her table manners and social skills have disappeared. She chews with her mouth open, smacks her lips and belches loudly. She takes her napkin and blows her nose, putting it back on the table, even in restaurants. Family meals are no longer enjoyable. No amount of prompting or scolding makes a difference. When caught she claims she did not know she was doing it or says sorry, but it continues at every meal. Any suggestions?

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Quite honestly I would say forget it!! If this is all you have to worry about, you are lucky!!!
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"She is such an elegant lady but has deteriorated so much over the past year." Ah, yes. That is what happens in dementia. It is one of the things that make us so sad to watch. That elegant lady would be appalled to realize what she has become. And we are appalled for her.

Your solution -- not to have serving dishes on the table -- is a kind one. By plating the food in the kitchen you don't have to bring it to her attention that she shouldn't put a used fork into a serving dish of food, etc. It can be quite attractive to place food on the individual plate and perhaps add a little garnish. After the in-laws have moved around the corner you can go back to serving dishes, except when they visit.

The months and years ahead will bring additional deterioration. Continue to find ways to help preserve her dignity and pride.
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jennie - - it's good to go into the older posts and read about a topic you're looking for - - but this topic is 3 years old and you have posted at the end of it, so you're not likely to get many responses, except from those such as myself because I posted long ago. What you should do is start a new topic with your information and your questions or comments so you can receive current relevant responses. Again, it's good to delve into old posts and read, but not a good place to post your  NEW information.
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I was not sure how to search for and describe what was I was experiencing other than "dementia and table manners". My mother in law has been staying with us for the past month. They are moving close to us and in the process of buying a house around the corner. She is such an elegant lady but has deteriorated so much over the past year. At dinner she started picking the skin off the chicken on the platter. She doesn't eat the skin, then we asked her to put it on her plate she got upset. She played with it with her hands, sulked and then put it back. She also started to just stick her fork into the serving bowl. I do not think we will be leaving food on the table during dinner any longer.
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She was seen at the Neurological Center at University of Southern California (USC) by doctors who deal with Dementia and Alzheimers. They just told us that her MRI showed that her brain was shrinking. My father realized before he died in 2006 that Mom was losing her memory, we didn't. I honestly thought that what small memory lapses she might have was due to worrying about losing Dad and how would she live without him, after 60 years of marriage.

The doctor who saw her said that he thought she had brought this dementia on herself as she basically locked herself away when Dad died. She refused to go back to church, refused to go to the store, refused to travel, refused to do anything except go to the cemetery to put flowers on her family's graves and we have a very hard time getting her to doctors. She even refused to return to USC.

We let her get away with her doctor refusals for a long time and it led us to the point of going crazy because she needed medication which we just got two weeks ago.

In September, she had gall bladder problems and was admitted to the hospital where they finally did surgery; she then developed heart arrhythmia and remained in the hospital for 8 days. She began going crazy on all the meds they tried on her Morphine, Halodol, Ativan, nothing they tried seemed to work but made her hallucinate, climbing out of bed over the rails, chewing off restraints....it was horrible for her and me. I was awake with her for over 36 hours until I had no choice but to leave and go home to sleep due to my seizure condition.

I say her dementia is moderate because of some test I took on another site where you go over the symptoms and it gives you an idea as to where she is at. If there is indeed a "chart" that tells you precisely I do not honestly know where she would be considered to be.

Two weeks ago we did finally get her to a Gerontology Case Manager and he put her on two Meds to try to get the crazy behavior and no sleep under control so we could all live a somewhat normal life. One of them is called Rimeron?? My sister had used it in the past and did not like it but I told her to keep quiet and lets see how it works on Mom as she is using it for a different reason than my sister was. The other medications name slips my mind and I don't want to wake her up with opening her medicine chest to check it right now.

We are way behind in what we should actually know about Mom's condition as we allowed her to call the shots for a long time, not wanting to upset or anger her. Now that it has reached a point of, she either gets help or I am going to have to put her in a nursing home because I AM LOSING MY MIND, we are now actively seeking help to be able to keep her at home.

The medications have caused her to be confused more so than she was before or she is moving into some new phase because she now asks us if we have seen Grace and Mom, her sister and mother, who died 9 and 50 years ago. She has asked where my father is' who died almost 8 years ago, she was asking me where my sister and I sat at the dining room table but she did not know I was one of the people she was asking about. I do not know who she does think I am. She came to my room tonight to ask where the little black dogs are, we have one gray dog. I do think the medication may have made these changes since it has happened so rapidly, she does not have a UTI, so this is all I can come up with. On the other hand the medication has taken away A LOT of the anger problems and it allows us all to sleep (except me who is awake til midnight then awake again around 4 am for some reason).

I did not realize how bad this would get to be nor did I realize after 8 years it would still be going on. Her decline has been somewhat gradual for all this time but this year just the past several months has gotten out of hand. It has taken its toll on us all, including my daughter who has considered suicide to escape the situation, which scared the crap out of me when I found out. So we are all in therapy trying to deal with caring for Mom and back on track seeking medical help even if Mom gets angry and does not want to go....she IS going. She tried to fake illness the last time we went but I told her I was putting her in a wheelchair if necessary to get her there, it was that important, after the visit was over she was fine!

I should mention that her mother had two sisters and both of those sisters girls all developed Alzheimer's, one presently has it and I found out through long lost cousins that at least one man on that side died within the past few years of Alzheimer's as well, so there may be something genetic. In Mom's immediate family she is the only person who has developed it but they all died younger than her.
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There are a variety of forms of dementia. Some, like Alzheimer's, tend to follow a somewhat predictable pattern of decline. This pattern is impacted by whether it is early onset or later onset as well as the other medical conditions of the person with the disease. Others forms of dementia, such as vascular, may remain fairly steady for a while and then see sudden marked decline. The part of the brain impacted by vascular dementia, and some other forms of dementia, may be different than those impacted by Alzheimer's. Another issue may be what you mean by "moderate dementia". It is possible for someone to have MCI (mild cognitive impairment) for some time before it progresses to a form of dementia, if it ever progresses to dementia. Does your mother have a formal diagnosis of dementia from a doctor and, if so, what kind do they suspect or have they demonstrated to be present?
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My Mom has moderate dementia and I have cared for her for 7 years thus far. I have to say I Thank God she has not begun this yet. May I just ask if your relatives have Alzheimer's or Dementia? I know they are kind of one in the same but I am wondering why some individuals do these things and others don't....perhaps they haven't progressed that far into the illness yet????
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I think most of us in the early stages try to "shut the door", so to speak, but the niceties fly out the window anyway. We then are constantly changing what WE do because we come to realize that THEY are where they're at and aren't the ones able to do the changing.
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This is also one of the reasons that caregivers can become socially isolated - they either cannot take the person out in public or they do not want to make themselves and or others uncomfortable. This impacts a lot of things. For instance, people who used to attend church stop going and feel isolated. How has the dementia of the person for whom you care impacted you socially?
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It can be difficult to remember that they are doing the best they can. The executive functioning part of the brain is impacted early in the disease. That makes it difficult to manage multiple tasks, follow-through, think of consequences, etc. Then the "filter" part of the brain goes and they say things and do things that their brain would have stopped them from doing before it started dying. The sensory strip of the brain is more impacted mid-stage and it can be difficult to know if that feeling is needing to go to the bathroom, being hungry or something else. It is sad to see someone's brain die and watch the slow impact on a day-to-day basis.
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Treat them like little children....either do what's appropriate for their condition, stay home with them (or the children's table), or be prepared not to care WHAT others think! Don't subject them to things that they don't enjoy.
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LOL, Margarets! Alas he would not use the paper towels anyway, but would take them and squirrel them away in pockets and drawers awaiting a worldwide paper towel shortage! I really do not think that the rest of us need to do without the nicer things in life such as linens because he is ill mannered. I'd rather do a load of wash. Depends what is important to the house hold I guess. We used to just used the wooden table top which is an antique and I would wipe it down, but he has a fondness for heating things in the microwave to the point that they damage the surface of that and would likely do the same with a plastic tablecloth. Sigh...trying to keep the heirloom table in decent condition.
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1tired, with all that going on, I'd say it's time to switch to a plastic tablecloth and put out extra bowls and plates for FIL. And a roll of paper towels!
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Lol, ladies,, I thought I was the only one dealing with this disgusting thing. I have found a HUGE flower arrangement in the center of the table works as I sit opposite of FIL. Luckily in a distant past career I was a florist! Good excuse to exercise my skills weekly. Doesn't do much for the noise that comes from that side of the table but at least I am spared the visuals. One of the things that upsets me most:. I set the table with fresh fabric table cloths though we do use paper napkins. FIL takes meat off his plate and puts it on the tablecloth to make room on his plate and then throws the salad which was served on a separate plate on the main plate while the meat sits on the table cloth. Yucky, oh and the sneezing on the table and wiping the nose on his hands instead of a tissue. Gross.
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Social skills were one of the first signs of my grandmother's dementia. That only became apparent looking back. At the time I just didn't understand why my grandmother was being so insensitive, rude, self-centred, etc.
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Thanks for the support. This is a great venting and info site.
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kmc i think its up to the caregiver to make the decision about NH not the siblings unless they want to take over this role. I want to keep my mum out of a nursing home for as long as I can and thats based on how much I can cope with her so my life and my choice the siblings can sod off as far as im concerned!
I get same "shes not ready for a NH yet?" what they are really saying is well youre here so shes not going anywhere yet? until youve had your breakdown!!
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Oh kmc im sorry but that made me laugh! This may sound awful but my mum god love her has had a colostomy for over 20yrs looking at this in a positive is we dont have to clean her that way! BUT ive read now that when this deteriorates she will be taking her bags off and flinging them around the place i hope she dosnt get to this.
My mums manners went about 2yrs ago and I used to get so angry with her until i realised its not her fault. She would just get angry. The fact that your mum says sorry is just so sad as awful as it is they cant help it and are not doing it on purpose or even aware of it.

I limit mums outings as she just says what she wants and thinks everyone else is deaf! Im surprised i havnt been hit be a stranger as my mum will say whatever she wants the other day we were standing by the bus a "rough" looking guy stood beside us and mum said loudly "gosh there are some wierdos around"...............this is hard!
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So sorry to agree with others it's part of the disease. That's why I rarely go out to eat with my Mom, why add the aggravation to the daily grind?

Kmcdono I'm glad I don't get any "popping in" , just stay the hell away I'm confused enough daily for both my Mom and me and don't need any remarks from siblings...
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Sorry, its part of the disease. Just wait until she thinks she has to poop then says "Oh no I don't have to poop" and sits on the couch and craps her pants. Yes it just gets better. The losses are horrific one bit at a time, sometimes in two bits. Only you the caretaker, the one that is around, knows. The other siblings, spending time on facebook, running 5K races, still taking 3-4 vacations and "popping" in order to see if dad is still breathing, don't really know (or care to know). But at the family meeting offer up their opinion that he shouldn't be in a nursing home "yet".
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As I understand it, the higher intelligent area of a persons brain is the first areas to start to deteriorate with Alz. The area that my mother-in-law's nurse in her asst. living calls the 'no no' area. When you tell a child "no no, don't do that" they no longer know not to do. There's a lot of 'no's that we tell our kids growing up, and apparently they'll eventually have to tell us the same thing. Sad.
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