Q and A: What are some surprising signs of dementia that you've encountered?

Please note: Information in this post is not meant to be construed as medical advice. For medical advice for your own personal situation, please contact your doctor or healthcare professional.

What are some surprising signs of dementia that you've encountered?

A few interesting situations of clients come to mind. One gentleman was so incredibly shy and non-communicative when I first started his care, that I wondered if his vocabulary had diminished too far to converse. His family said that he was always too shy to speak because he stutters so horribly.

After four months into this situation, I can see the decline in his cognition in our day-to-day activities such as his confusion as what to do with his toothbrush, and how he now abhors bathing. The surprise is that this man has become quite a charming and witty personality. He is conversing and taking part in group activities and offering vocal advice that only the insight of a 90-year-old can offer. His humor is on time and I have yet to experience any stuttering.

Another interesting, maybe not surprising, situation with a gentleman with dementia, is his constant buying of grocery items and toiletries. His cupboards contain 12 large boxes of Cheerios, 8 large jars of peanut butter, 10 boxes of dry spaghetti, 8 boxes of chocolate lunch cakes, and so on. His bathroom closet contains 12 bottles of the same brand of body wash, 16 cans of shaving cream, 12 large bottles of mouthwash, (found 3 more in the garage today) 10 bottles of aftershave, etc. I am still baffled at how his family was unaware of his dementia after experiencing this.

We had a female client with a mix of early childhood schizophrenia disorder and Alzheimer’s. She had a lot of compulsive behaviors but a particular skill that was fascinating to me was her genius ability to do complex math equations. Her speech had become unintelligible but she could follow the crawl of the financial channel and write the stocks that were up or down, do the addition or the subtraction, and continue to keep up as they changed. She had long lists of equations on every piece of paper in the house. I verified they were correct with a calculator.

About the Author: Michelle L. Belton is the owner of Companion Home Care Inc, providing non-medical senior home care in Roanoke, VA since 2004. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), Certified Alzheimer Educator (CAEd), and has been caring for seniors with Alzheimer's disease and dementia for over 15 years.

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Companion Home Care Inc
424 Campbell Ave SW
Roanoke, VA 24016
(540) 981-2255