Lewy Body Dementia Story: Coy’s Journey

Donna Pittman Father Coy with Lewy Body Dementia

My family’s Lewy body dementia story began with a misdiagnosis. My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013 after a long heart-valve surgery. He spent extended time under anesthesia and then had to go under again a few days later to resolve the first of many complications. My mother and I noticed that the man who left the hospital and rehabilitation center almost thirty days later was not the same man who had entered the hospital.

Early Signs

One of the first signs that my father’s brain was not well was that he lost the ability to balance his checkbook. He had always been meticulous about balancing his checkbook down to the last cent. At that point, my mother took him for testing with his primary care physician, who mistakenly determined that my father was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. He told us that the long hours under anesthesia had most likely aggravated the condition.

The incorrect diagnosis was not unusual. The Lewy Body Dementia Association reports that LBD is the second most common type of dementia but the most misdiagnosed. It impacts one million people in the US each year.  It is frequently diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease because there is no specific test to differentiate it until after the death of the patient.

5 Lewy Body Dementia Symptoms My Father Had

However, as the years passed, some of his symptoms just did not fit the Alzheimer’s profile. Here are five Lewy body dementia symptoms that led to my father’s eventual diagnosis:

  1. My father had fluctuating levels of confusion and concentration. On certain days, he appeared to be fine cognitively.  He held conversations, worked around the house, and completed tasks as he normally would have.  On other days, he would forget how to drive home from the grocery store or operate the microwave.
  2. He had severe sleep disturbances. He would act out dreams, often violently. My father would have extreme daytime drowsiness. Some days, he would sleep for a total of 18-20 hours in a 24-hour period.
  3. His movements changed. He developed hand tremors and began to shuffle instead of walking normally. His balance became impaired, and he suffered several falls. At 230 lbs., picking him up was nearly impossible. Parkinson-like symptoms are a hallmark of LBD.
  4. He began to have auditory and visual hallucinations (which was our PRIMARY clue). He would think he saw children playing in the floor or a group of women talking in the other room. My father would hear people having conversations in another room when no one was there. He began to believe his home was haunted and became fearful.
  5. He began to have violent outbursts toward others. He kicked and hit my mother as well as nurses, doctors, and the hospital security guard. During the times he was so volatile we took him to the nearest emergency room for help.


Finally, in the summer of 2019, my father began wandering.  Several times, my mother would wake up and find him missing in the middle of the night.  She would drive through their small town searching for hours and eventually locate him. The wandering, plus the above symptoms, made her realize that she could no longer keep him safe in their home.

In early October, my father spent one week in a geriatric psychiatric hospital where he was diagnosed tentatively with Lewy body dementia.  He had several medications changed because certain anti-psychotic medications that he was on were actually making him worse.  He then moved into a dementia-care facility.

Nightmare Experience with Dementia-care Facility

We thought that we were making the best decision, but the dementia-care facility was understaffed, poorly-run, and did not understand how to work with LBD patients, especially large, sometimes-aggressive males.  The four months he spent there were a nightmare.  We were frequently called because they could not handle his behavior. Twice, he was sent via ambulance alone to the local ER, where he could not remember his current address or phone number- just his name and birthdate. We were honestly appalled at the care he received.  We once arrived for a visit, and his Depends had a date and time written on it 22-hours earlier. He had worn the same soiled adult diaper for nearly 24-hours.

His behavioral issues spiraled, and after he choked a female nursing assistant one evening, he was sent for another stay at a different geriatric psychiatric hospital.  There, he was so heavily medicated, he couldn’t lift his head.  My father didn’t seem to recognize his family or understand his surroundings at all. He was propped up in a wheelchair during the day, but he struggled to even open his eyes during visits.

He was allowed to return to his dementia-care facility after this stay. Although weak and over-medicated, he was no longer violent. At this time, my father was placed under hospice care, and a wonderful hospice nurse named Robin entered our lives.

I cannot say enough about the difference Robin made. She was a fierce advocate for him with the facility staff. She treated him as if he were her own father. She advised us to get him out of the current living situation.


In February of 2020, just before the start of covid, we found another assisted-living facility with a locked dementia wing.  He was much happier there and was better cared for in the new facility.  In March, they closed their doors to visitors, which was devastating to us as a family, but Nurse Robin texted us pictures, called us on Facetime, and kept us in contact with him.

Final Stages of Our Lewy Body Dementia Story

On May 6, we received the call we had been expecting for quite some time.  Robin believed the end was near and despite covid regulations, the assisted living would allow us to be with him in his private room until he passed.  My mother rushed to the facility and found my father emaciated (he had stopped eating and drinking for the past week) and agitated.

She tried to calm him for hours, and then he finally fell into a deep sleep.  He was in that sleep when I arrived from out of town, and for the next three hours, my mother and I sat by his bedside. I will never forget the sound of the death rattle and counting the seconds between his breaths until the next one didn’t come.

Even though the last months of his life were rife with turmoil, he died peacefully around midnight. There was no struggle, no dramatic exit.  For my mother and me, it was a moment of both sadness and relief.

Lewy body dementia story
Photo of Donna and her father on their last Thanksgiving together.

Author Bio

Donna Pittman is a writer and community-college professor from Tennessee.

Why Do Dementia Patients Lie?

do people with dementia lie

It is common for those living with dementia to exhibit changes in their behavior, including lying. When you are the caregiver to someone who has dementia, it’s hard to know what to expect. If you have a loved one who suffers from dementia, you know that they can be lying very often. So, why do dementia patients lie and what can you do about it?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons behind why dementia patients lie, as well as some tips for how to deal with it. Stay tuned!

Reasons for Dementia Patients to Lie:


The #1 reason your loved one who has dementia is lying is because of confabulation. If you’re unaware of that word, confabulation or to confabulate is the term medical professionals use to describe a very similar symptom to lying but also quite different.

And this is the reason your loved one who has dementia is lying to you, unaware of the fact that they are doing it.

In layman’s terms, Confabulation happens when someone has a distorted memory that causes them to give false information without the intention of deceiving others. The person experiencing confabulatory symptoms does not know that their false memories aren’t true; they’re just giving off misinformation with no bad intentions!

In a nutshell, when your loved ones are making things up, they are not aware that whatever they are saying is not true. On the contrary, they actually believe whatever they are saying is true even though none of them are true.

Most of the time, your loved one is only lying because their unconscious mind is replacing their memory with imagination and filling the gaps of the memory that slipped through their mind.

Why Do Dementia Patients Lie


Anxiety and Paranoia

Many seniors with dementia experience a significant decline in their short-term memory capacity. This can lead to paranoia and anxiety and can also make it difficult for them to navigate social situations. In many cases, dementia patients will lie to preserve their dignity and fit into the situation.

One common way these individuals try to cope with their condition is by telling untruths about themselves, both to others and themselves. This may exaggerate or minimize their abilities or accomplishments to fit in with those around them. Additionally, they may also give false information about their past to preserve their dignity and self-esteem.

While this may seem like dishonest behavior of these patients, it is important to remember that dementia patients aren’t actually lying. Rather they are mistaken by their own imaginations. Ultimately, understanding why dementia patients lie can help us better support them as they navigate this challenging time.

While detecting the lies is pretty easy for the nearest ones, it can confuse your relatives and neighbours who are not aware of the situation. Also, if you’re going to explain, make sure not to do it before the patient. That might make them seriously upset.

Dementia and Lying


Do Dementia Patients Know They Are Lying?

Dementia patients are not aware of the fact that they are lying. Their lies are usually incorrect information about themselves or others that their unconscious mind has created, and the patient can’t really differentiate between the two versions.

The reason dementia patients lie is because of the deterioration of their mental faculties. The ability to understand what is true and false becomes impaired, so they may believe the lies they are telling.

It’s important to understand that when dementia patients are lying, they are not doing so deliberately or maliciously.

Is It Okay to Lie to Dementia Patients?

There is no black-and-white answer to this question, as it can depend on the individual case and situation. In general, however, it is accepted that lying to dementia patients is okay if it is done to ensure their wellbeing or prevent any distress.

For example, if a patient expresses a desire to see a long-lost relative who has passed away, telling them that this person will be coming to visit soon could brighten their day and help improve their mood.

In contrast, if a patient repeatedly asks about an upsetting event from their past (e.g., something that led to their dementia), denying that the event ever happened could help preserve their emotional health.

How to Deal With Confabulation?

It’s important to understand the difference between confabulation and lying. Confabulation is an inaccurate memory, but it’s not an intentional choice. Instead, it’s an unintentional effect of dementia. On the other hand, lying is a deliberate choice to misrepresent the truth.

When someone with dementia confabulates, they may sincerely believe that their memory is accurate, even though it’s not. This can be confusing and frustrating for both those with dementia and their loved ones.

However, it’s important to remember that confabulation is not deliberately misleading. Rather, it’s a symptom of the disease.

compulsive lying and dementia


A Word From Us

 Confabulation is a complicated topic and one that may be confusing or frustrating to those who don’t understand it. However, it’s important to remember that confabulation is not the same as lying.

It’s easy to see why confabulation in dementia may be confusing or frustrating at first. After all, it can seem like the person is making things up or lying. However, it’s important to understand that confabulation is actually a coping response to the cognitive changes in dementia.

Once we view it in this light, it can help decrease any emotional reaction we might have and enable us to “go with the flow” and join the reality of our loved ones.


Dementia patients may often lie unpurposely to compensate for their lost abilities. Therefore, caregivers and loved ones need to understand this condition and cope with it in the most effective way possible.

Understanding the situation can help make life easier for those who have dementia. What have you found to be the best way to deal with a loved one who has dementia? Let us know in the comments below!

Author Bio

Jason Hubble

Jason is a certified polygraph examiner and a twenty year veteran in the field of forensic IT. He is the owner, chief examiner of Lie Detectors-UK and the Secretary of the UKPA. He qualified in America at APS Fort Myers under the supervision of his mentor Benjamin Blalock.

Jason Hubble is a twenty-year veteran in the field of forensic IT, having worked for many City law firms throughout his career. This experience has really helped with the field of polygraph allowing him to use this in his polygraph testing.

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How to Prevent Dementia- 7 Easy Things You Can Do

how to prevent dementia

The best time to correct early signs of dementia is right now, rather than waiting for cognitive decline to become a real problem. In this article we show you how to prevent dementia naturally.

To understand what the early signs of dementia are view our article HERE.

A key element medicine is missing

The problem in medicine is the lack of importance of diet and how this effects your brain.

Medicine does not connect the dots and make the links between diet and your brain. Medicine may point cognitive decline to genetics, stress or things just happen and you cannot do much about it. However, your diet is key to preventing and even reversing early dementia.

how to prevent dementia naturally

The Hippocampus

A complex brain structure rooted deep into temporal lobe is called the Hippocampus. It plays a major role in learning and memory. The hippocampus is a plastic and vulnerable structure that, if not nurtured, can be damaged. People with dementia have a shrinking or damaged hippocampus. There are easy natural things that you can do to care for your hippocampus.

How to Prevent Dementia Naturally

Vitamin B1

What would shrink your hippocampus?Vitamin B1 Dr. Berg

One thing that could be a real problem with your hippocampus is a Thiamine deficiency. That is a Vitamin B1 deficiency. The demand for thiamine goes way up when alcohol and carbohydrates are consumed. Vitamin B1 is needed to metabolize carbs and alcohol.

The more sugar you eat, the more carbs you consume, and the more alcohol you drink, the more you need vitamin B1.

Nutritional yeast is the best source of B1. Make sure you get natural yeast that is not fortified with synthetic vitamins. Synthetic vitamins might work initially but are not a good long-term solution.

Of course, you want to do things to prevent a B1 deficiency by giving up alcohol, reduce sugar and carbs in your diet.

The good news is that you can consume plenty of vegetable carbs.

Fix the Gut

You want to fix the gut microbiome.

There has been interesting research on Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. Research points to a lack of diversity in the microbiome of the gut in people with these diseases. There is also a correlation with these patients having gut inflammation, with leaky gut being common.

Also realize that the gut and the brain are by-directional. Through the vagus nerve you have information going from the gut to the brain and information from the brain going to the gut. If you have a problem with your brain you’ll have a problem with your gut. If you have a problem with your gut, you can have a problem with your brain.

Interestingly, our gut microbes produce neurotransmitters, and they can synthesis B vitamins.

Having a healthy diversified gut microbiome is essential to preventing cognitive decline.

4 ways to fix the gut


One of the best ways to increase diversity of the microbiome is to start consuming vegetables.

Look for a wide variety of vegetables, and different types of salads that have a variety phytonutrients and fibers. Organic vegetables are best.


Another way to increase the diversity of microbiome is to introduce fasting.

Many would think that fasting would starve the microbes, resulting in them getting weaker. Yet, the very opposite happens. They get stronger and new strains come out and try to survive. It is part of a survival mechanism that has been evolving for eons.


Research has found that when people with dementia are taken off gluten, they are seeing huge improvements in dementia. Gluten can worsen dementia.

Being on a gluten free diet is not enough. There needs to be low carbs and no grain.

4.Stay away from GMO foods

Foods that have been exposed to glyphosate (a herbicide) are not good for your gut biome. Glyphosate destroys microorganisms like bacteria. This affects our gut microbes, just like it affects the microbes in the soil.

The reason GMO foods are a problem is because they have been genetically modified to tolerate heavy applications of the herbicide. That way, farmers can spray glyphosate on their GMO crops to kill weeds without killing the crops.

Seek out non-GMO foods. Better still, seek organic foods that have not been sprayed with glyphosate or any gut damaging chemicals.Sulforaphane Complex

Consume More Sprouts

The unique thing about sprouts is that they come from little seeds. If you were to consume the seeds on their own the nutrition would not be so readily available to you and they are difficult to digest.

However, if they are grown into sprouts, you have incredible amounts of easy digestible nutrition is released when eaten.

Eat sprouts on a regular basis. Not only will you be getting peak nutrition from a plant, but you are also getting certain phytonutrients that are a superfood for your brain.

Broccoli sprouts are abundant in sulforaphane. This substance is fantastic for any type of neuro degenerative disorder.

Check price of Sulforaphane Broccoli products on AMAZON.com

Sprouts are also beneficial for your gut.

Include sprouts into your diet on a regular basis. Add them to your salads. They are very cheap and easy to grow yourself.Freshlife Automatic Seed Sprouter

Check price of Sprouts seeds and Sprouts’ Growing Machines on AMAZON.com


Ketones bypass the damage in the brain and feed the neurons directly.

People with dementia are experiencing the destruction of their brain cells in their hippocampus. Due to this damage, the brain is not getting glucose fuel. Brain cells need to be restored by feeding them fuel in the form of ketone fuel. Ketone bodies are a more efficient fuel than glucose fuel.

Check price of Ketones products on AMAZON.com

3 ways to increase ketones

1.Intermittent fasting and periodic prolonged fasting give huge benefits for two reasons. Fasting generates many more ketones than you gain from being on a low carb diet. Fasting also up regulate genetic factors that support your brain.

2.Consuming MCT oil (1 tablespoon twice a day), a supplement made from a type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides will help brains by increasing ketone production.doctor's best extra strength ginkgo

3.Exogenous ketones (buy as a supplement) are a terrific brain-enhancing supplement which may reduce cognitive decline, improve brain power, and reduce brain fog.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba (specifically the extract EGB 761) has shown significant benefits for dementia patients by giving neuro protection. Ginkgo Biloba is the Maidenhair Tree native to China.

Check price of Ginko Biloba Extract products on AMAZON.com

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

How does lion’s mane work in the brain?

Research show that lion’s mane mushroom extract may in fact support brain health by promoting the creation of two important compounds: nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived Lion's Mane Mushroom liquid Dropsneurotrophic factor (BDNF). These are proteins that stimulate the formation of new cells and bolster existing ones.

Check price of Lion’s Mane Mushroom products on AMAZON.com

Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D, Zinc, Exercise and Sleep

Other ways to prevent cognitive decline include:

Including Omega-3 in your diet. This fatty acid can be found in oily fish and fish oil (especially cod liver oil).

Vitamin D, the free sunlight vitamin that can also be gained from diet. Foods high in vitamin D include oily fish, egg yolks, mushrooms, orange juice and many vegetables. Check price of Vitamin D3 products available at AMAZON.com 

Zinc is very important. Foods with high levels of zinc include oysters, sea foods, avocados, nuts, beans, meat and berries. Check price of Zinc products available at AMAZON.com

Exercise increases oxygen to your brain. It also increases blood flow, delivering nutrients to the brain.

Sleep is very important. If you are not sleeping enough; cortisol increases, you may be more stressed, and important oxygen to the brain is reduced.

Final Comments

In a nutshell, diet, exercise, and sleep all play a core role in preventing of the onset of dementia.

A wholesome low carb diet, rich in superfoods and free from chemicals is key.  The right diet will foster a healthy gut microbiome and provide the best brain nutrition.

Regular exercise increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain delivering nutrients for healthy brain function. This combined with quality sleep will reduce cortisol levels causing stress.

Viewing Dr. Eric Berg DC channel provided much of the content for this article. Dr. Berg specializes in Healthy Ketosis and Intermittent Fasting.

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8 Benefits of Home Care Services for Seniors

home care services for seniors

Thanks to breakthroughs in modern technology and the medical field, it has become possible for seniors to live happier, fuller, and longer lives. This also means many are choosing to age in their own homes since they now have easy access to a vast range of home care services for seniors options.

If you are considering in-home care for your loved one, below are eight of the enticing in-home care benefits they will enjoy:

01: They can get help with personal hygiene.

It is important for seniors that are homebound to have proper hygiene. However, some have difficulty bathing or showering without assistance. Unfortunately, poor personal hygiene can sometimes result in health issues like infections. Thankfully a home health aide can help seniors with their personal hygiene needs, including grooming, showering, and dressing.

02: They can get help with light household chores.

Keeping their home safe and clean is vital for seniors. However, it is a reality that some seniors who opt to age at home can struggle with the demands of household chores. With in-home care, they can have someone to help them with different household chores including vacuuming, lawn work, dusting, basic cleaning, and laundry.

03: They can get help with nutrition and meal preparation.

One of the most prevalent problems among the elderly is malnutrition. This can be attributed to the fact that they are often unable to go out and shop or have difficulties cooking healthy and nutritious meals.

Those over 65 years old, those with chronic conditions, and those who have recently been discharged from the hospital have a high risk of poor nutrition. Those who have injuries or are bedridden also have a high risk for body mass and muscle loss.

In-home care services can include help with grocery shopping, meal preparations, and even nutritional counseling to help ensure your senior loved ones are getting the nutritious foods they need to remain healthy.

04: They can get help with transportation.

Whether it’s social outings or doctor’s appointments, in-home care providers can accompany and provide transportation for those who don’t have access to one. Aside from driving your senior loved ones to gatherings or appointments, healthcare aides can stay with your loved ones, so they have someone with them when they speak with their doctors or when socializing with others.

05: They have someone at home with them.

Safety is another issue many seniors face. Fortunately, in-home care aides can stay at home and assist your elderly loved ones with their needs. This is especially beneficial for those who have trouble getting in and out of bed or those with mobility problems.

Another invaluable service provided by in-home care aides is communication with the senior’s loved ones. One of the primary elements of creating a safe home for seniors is having productive and open communications with family members about the potential hazards at home and how to eliminate them.

06: They can get help with medication management.

Many seniors struggle when it comes to remembering their medications. This is especially true if they have multiple prescriptions. This is another thing in-home care aides can help them with. They can also help ensure they take the right medications at the right time, preventing any risk of overdose.

07: They can get help with socialization and companionship.

Another great benefit of in-home care services is giving your senior loved ones access to interaction and socialization. An in-home care aide can accompany them on short walks, play games with them, or simply talk to them. In most cases, having someone they can talk to and accompany them can make a world of difference in their emotional health and overall well-being.

08: They can provide a break for caregivers.

If you are a family member looking after a senior loved one, you can attest that it can be overwhelming and stressful at times. With an in-home aide, you can get some much-needed rest and break as they can provide a vast range of tasks on your behalf.

Final Thoughts

Home care services for seniors are often customized to meet the unique and special needs of your senior loved ones. While in-home care needs can vary from one person to another, one thing is certain—they can help seniors stay independent while living healthy, happy, and fulfilled lives.

Benefits of Home Care Services for Seniors

The 8 Benefits of Home Care Services for Seniors pdf

The 8 Benefits of Home Care Services for Seniors

How to Talk to Someone with Dementia on the Phone

how to talk to someone with dementia on the phone

It is common for loved ones to ask how to talk to someone with dementia on the phone.

Phone conversations are important when relatives or friends want to keep in touch and cannot always enjoy face-to-face conversations because of distance and other factors.

Keep in mind that when calling a person with dementia, they may have some communication problems brought about by the illness depending on the level of progression.

This said it is possible to have fulfilling and fun conversations over the phone.

Practical Tips: Dementia and the Telephone

practical tips on how to talk to someone with dementia on the phone

Below are some practical steps to follow when calling a person who has dementia.

Do Not Be in a Hurry

When scheduling a phone call with a person who has dementia, be prepared to take some time. Do not be in a rush to speak quickly and get the conversation over and done with.

Free up some time and make sure to speak slowly and clearly. Pay close attention to the responses the person makes.

It is also best to talk about one point before moving to the next to avoid overwhelming the person.

It is also important to avoid jargon and use language that is familiar to the person on the other end of the phone line.

Where necessary, repeat or rephrase to make sure that the individual has enough time to process what they have been told. Additionally, use the name of the person when speaking to them or a title they prefer.

Listen Actively

listen actively when speaking with dementia patients

When talking to an individual who has the progressive illness, it is advisable to listen very carefully to them. It lets them know that an individual values them and has time for them.

At times, the conversations may be one-sided with a lot of pauses. This is the time to be a little creative and come up with ways to enhance the dialogue. It can be through fun things like singing or reminiscing on a memory that brings joy to the individual.

Have a list of topics to talk about during the duration of the call. Listen keenly to how the person responds to the topic of discussion and move on to a different one if they are not comfortable with what is currently on the table.

Most importantly, do not infantilize a person with dementia by talking to them as though they were young kids or senile. Always use a respectful tone of voice and treat them with honor.

Plan Ahead

plan ahead with calls to dementia patients

When learning techniques on how to talk to someone with dementia on the phone, it is important to be in tune with the person’s daily schedules. You do not want to call when they are having a meal, sleeping, irritable, or taking part in an activity.

If the person is in a facility, call ahead to know when it would be best to schedule the conversation. If the affected individual is still at home, you may have to visit or get into contact with another individual who lives with them to know the best times to make the call. Ideally, this needs to be a time when the person with dementia is most alert and well-rested.

At the end of the conversation, the person calling may agree to set a time and day for the next call. The individual with dementia can note it down on their calendar or have reminder alerts on their phone or other devices so that they can have something to look forward to.

Try Video Calling

try video calling when phoning a person with dementia

If the person with dementia is tech-savvy, it may be better to use video calls particularly if they are in the later stages of the illness.

It will not only help two or more people to see each other but gestures can also be added to the conversation.

A study conducted in 2015, explained that representational gestures such as pointing to an object can help compensate for speech deficits.

Some of the gestures that experts recommend include:
    • Giving thumbs-up
    • Waving
    • “Talking” with hands
    • Giving an “OK” sign
    • Pointing to objects a person is talking about
    • Facial expressiveness
    • Indicating size with the distance between hands or fingers
    • Using fingers to list (such as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd)

Gestures come in handy in many circumstances. For instance, rather than saying “Thank you very much, that means a lot to me” it might be better to say “Thank you”, offer a meaningful smile, and place a hand on the heart. If the affected individual is at a loss for words, remind them that they can point to an object and it can be seen through the screen.

Remember to position the device used for video calling at a table or desk considering factors such as lighting to ensure the person with the illness sees who they are talking to clearly.

It also helps to sit at eye level to the camera so that the affected individual does not struggle to stare up or down at the person they are conversing with to avoid making them feel intimidated. Remember to concentrate fully by looking into the camera lens at all times during the conversation. Looking elsewhere may give an impression that the person on the other end is not important.

It is also advisable to minimize distractions when on call giving the individual with dementia undivided attention they require.

Focus on Sensory Experiences

While it may be tempting to bring up the past when learning how to talk to someone with dementia on the phone, it is advisable to focus on the present.

As the neurodegenerative disease progresses, it may affect long-term memories like important past dates, events, and relationships. To have an enjoyable conversation, focus on the present.

Describing surroundings, for example, may work and the individual with dementia can also describe their current surroundings, weather, and other things they are comfortable talking about.

Enter their Reality

phoning dementia enter their reality

One of the things that stands out when discussing how to talk to someone with dementia on the phone is to enter your loved one’s reality. Get into their shoes and try and feel what they are going through. Rather than show disbelief when the person makes a mistake during a conversation, just mask or brush it off.

A person with the progressive illness may find themselves asking one question over and over. Do not get irritated by this, but calmly answer each time. The primary goal of conversing is to connect with the person with the illness and not to correct them or keep reminding them about who they are.

Closing Thoughts

While it may not be easy to converse with a person who has dementia, the above are some practical tips an individual may work with when learning how to talk to someone with dementia on the phone.

Remember that dementia affects everyone differently. A lot of experimentation and patience is needed to identify what works for both parties. Keep the conversations light and fun so that the persons always look forward to the calls.

Loved ones also need to be flexible because what works today may not necessarily work the next day. Learning more about the disease is also prudent when it comes to empowering, encouraging, celebrating, and offering better support to people living with dementia.

While there is no formula for holding successful conversations at all times adding genuine warmth and respect can increase the odds of success.

How to Talk to Someone with Dementia on the Phone- A Quick Guide

1. Do Not Be in a Hurry

Patience is key when talking to someone who has dementia over the phone. Do not schedule a one-minute call. Instead, create ample time to catch up and have a good time.

2. Listen Actively

The person calling an individual with the progressive illness should not just talk, talk, and talk. Keep ears wide open and listen to the other person as well. Where possible, let them lead the conversation.

3. Plan Ahead

No one wants to be called without an agenda even those with dementia. Plan the calls ahead of time and know what to say and not what to say. It is also crucial to get the timing right to avoid interfering with an individual’s daily routines.

4. Try Video Calling

Video calling is a great way to communicate with a person who has dementia. It allows a person to see the other individual’s reaction and also incorporate gestures to understand each other better.

5. Focus on Sensory Experiences

Do not force a person with the neurodegenerative disease to talk about the past especially if they are having trouble with their memory. Focus on the present and have conversations that the person can take part in. Do everything possible to bring joy to the individual during the conversations.

6. Enter their Reality

Understand that the neurodegenerative disease affects the way a person communicates. Try and understand how they feel and treat them with love, respect, and dignity.

The 10 Best Nuts for Dementia

nuts for dementia

Research reveals that persons with dementia should consider adding a variety of nuts for dementia in their diets. High nut consumption, in the long run, may be the key to enhanced cognitive health in seniors. In this article we discuss at the best nuts for dementia.

NHS describes dementia as a syndrome that is associated with a constant decline of cognitive functioning. A new study, however, found that eating nuts might help boost brain function in old age. Dr. Li says that nuts are known to be high in fibre, healthy fats, and proteins with nutritional properties.

Check out some of the nuts that come highly recommended for persons living with dementia.

Best Nuts for Dementia & Alzheimer’s

best nuts for dementia and alzheimers


These are nuts that have protein which can help repair brain cells: thus, enhancing cognitive functions including memory.

Almonds are also rich in zinc which can help reduce the effects of free radicals that destroy body cells and make a person sick. Omega-3 fatty acids present in the nuts strengthen neuron function.

Furthermore, almonds consist of Vitamin E that may help to slow down the aging process of brain cells.

Brazil Nuts

Eating a single Brazil nut every day might help to reduce dementia risk and slow cognitive decline.

The above is a statement that was made by Dr. Barbara Cardoso a biochemist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University.

This is because Brazil nuts are the richest natural source of selenium. Dr. Cardoso reveals that selenium is a nutrient that lacks in the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brain. AD is one of the most common causes of dementia.

Brazil nuts are also said to help reduce bad cholesterol, keeping the heart healthy, regulating blood sugar, and improving neural health.


walnuts for dementia

Researchers categorize walnuts as one of the top nuts for brain health making them a great addition for nuts for dementia.

Walnuts are rich in DHA a type of Omega-3 fatty acid that is said to boost brain performance as well as prevent age-related cognitive decline. Experts also suggest that walnuts and oil derived from the nuts is helpful in reducing stress.

A study that was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported that participants who consumed walnut oil and walnuts reduced their LDL levels and also recorded significant drops in resting blood pressure and blood pressure response to stress.


Hazelnuts are not only a tasty snack but they are a great source of healthy fat, vitamin E, protein, amino acids, dietary fibre, and multiple minerals and vitamins.

The nuts may help to boost brain health by assisting in the promotion and regeneration of healthy brain cells.

Hazelnuts are also said to be loaded with selenium, vitamin K, and thiamine, components that can help enhance memory.

Additionally, the nuts can help regulate digestion, aid in weight loss, improve heart health, manage diabetes, and make bones stronger.


Consuming almonds could prevent memory loss and enhance cognitive ability.

Studies conducted on the benefits of almonds show that these nuts can help stave off decline in brain function. A study that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition reported that eating almonds during lunchtime enhanced memory in the afternoon. One of the reasons for this may be that the nuts have a positive effect on balancing blood sugars.

Almonds are also said to be rich in magnesium which can combat fatigue and tiredness. The nuts are also a source of brain-boosting folate, thiamine, and niacin.

Other benefits of consuming almonds include reducing the risk of stroke, reducing cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure.


pecan nuts for dementia

Pecans are among the nuts for dementia that help in boosting the brain.

The University of Massachusetts Lowell studied the effects of pecans on the brain. They concluded that the nuts offer neurological protection. This is based on the fact that pecans are rich in antioxidants that fight off Alzheimer’s.

The antioxidant that occurs naturally in pecans include flavonoids, vitamin E, and ellagic acid. The antioxidants are said to prevent oxidation in cells that is linked to developing various dementia types.

Pecans are also a great option when it comes to fighting brain-threatening fat. Research from Loma Linda University in California and New Mexico State University revealed that pecans can also fight bad cholesterol. This is because they contain beta-sitosterol which is a natural cholesterol-lowering compound.

As nut consumption increases, overall body weight and body fat decrease according to clinical research from Harvard University School of Public Health.


Peanuts have specific antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which can alleviate and reduce cognitive decline. This is according to researchers who conducted a study observing about 5,000 Chinese adults over the age of 55 for more than twenty-two years.

They uncovered that adults who consumed more than 10 grams of nuts daily had better memory, mental functioning, reasoning, and thinking.


pistachio nuts for dementia

Pistachios are a kind of tree nut that offers multiple health benefits. The nuts are a good source of protein, fibre, and antioxidants.

Pistachios contain numerous nutrients one of them being vitamin B-6 that helps with protein metabolism and cognitive development.

Antioxidants are essential when it comes to preventing damage to the body’s cells which often results in disease development. Pistachios may also help in preventing oxidative stress that usually results in memory loss, inflammation in the brain, and preserving essential fatty acids levels.

The nuts are also known to reduce the risk of colon cancer, good for blood sugar balance, helpful in weight loss, great for heart health, good for eye health, low in calories and so much more.

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are linked to several benefits like improved heart health, digestion, blood sugar control, and weight management. This is thanks to the fact that the nuts are nutrient-dense and contain beneficial plant compounds.

Netmeds reports that taking macadamia nuts may also help to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s which are types of dementia. What makes this possible is the fact that the nuts are loaded with tocotrienols a kind of vitamin E which protects brain cells from glutamate effects. An anion of glutamic acid may result in multiple brain degenerative conditions.


For years, chestnuts have been an excellent food source. These are nuts that are low in fat and surprisingly high in Vitamin C which is not common with nuts.

The nuts are also a great source of antioxidants like ellagic acid and gallic acid among others that support a healthy heart, control blood sugars and enhance digestion.

Chestnuts also offer different minerals and vitamins like Vitamin C, A, & B complex, magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc, copper, and iron.

Ambiguous Loss in Dementia

Ambiguous Loss in Dementia

When caring for a person with dementia, it is possible to experience ambiguous loss in dementia.

Ambiguous loss can be described as a type of loss an individual feels when a person with dementia is physically there, but is not as emotionally or mentally present as before.

Ambiguous Loss Pioneered by Pauline Boss, Ph.D. explains that this type of loss happens when a loved one is not psychologically present.

This is where a person is cognitively or emotionally gone.

Dementia is a progressive, neurodegenerative, and fatal disease that destroys brain cells. For people who care and love for those with the illness, the ambiguous loss is a constant reminder of how challenging the illness can be.

This kind of loss is not like other types of losses.

Ambiguous Loss, Grief and Dementia

Ambiguous loss in dementia affects everyone

Ambiguous loss is often unclear and has not resolution, closure, or predictable ending. For instance, with death, loved ones know that the person is gone and they can grieve the loss.

With the ambiguous loss, however, individuals are usually at crossroads because there is no certainty of death and it is also not possible to tell whether they will go back to their “normal” selves.

Ambiguous Loss in Dementia Affects Everyone

Ambiguous loss does not only affect caregivers but people with dementia as well. Individuals with the progressive illness are likely to experience feelings of grief and loss over their diagnosis and the changes they go through as the disease progresses through various stages.

Some carers will not recognize ambiguous grief or know how to react when the abilities of the individual with dementia change. This type of grief can confuse relationships and prevent people from moving on.

Recognizing these feelings and understanding the concept of this type of loss can help ease the effects. It is possible to grieve the losses through guidance and support allowing carers to stay connected to the person with dementia while at the same time building resilience and strength.

Understanding Ambiguous Loss

Understanding ambiguous loss

Carers need to get an in-depth understanding of this unique type of loss. It helps caregivers come up with effective techniques to cope with ambiguous loss in dementia and live successfully with all the uncertainties that surround the progressive illness.

Carers have to learn new ways of relating with the person with the illness while becoming more comfortable with the ambiguity. This is especially because it is not possible to control the effects and progression of dementia. At the same time, caregivers have to move on with their lives while looking after the individual with the illness.

Effects of Ambiguous Loss in Dementia

Effects of ambiguous loss in dementia

Ambiguous loss can be a huge stressor for people looking after their loved ones with dementia. It can lead to several negative effects such as:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Ongoing strain and tension
  • Role confusion
  • Depression
  • Family discord that may result in dysfunctional relationships
  • Caregiver isolation

Managing Ambiguous Loss Positively

Managing ambiguous loss positively

Caregivers, family members, and friends can take several steps to positively live with ambiguous loss in dementia and some of them include:


Reflecting on the losses that occur both in the person with dementia and the one looking after the affected individual. Acknowledge this grief, express it, and share it with other persons who will be supportive and understanding. Knowing that a person is not alone when dealing with this type of loss can help offer some relief.

Engage in paradoxical thinking

Paradoxical or dual thinking allows carers to accept the presence and absence that ambiguity presents. It is where a person uses “both/and” thinking instead of “either/or” when dealing with two contradictory ideas that are true at the same time.

This helps people reframe perceptions that they cannot change. “My grandmother has dementia and needs help and I need opportunities to enjoy life” is an example of a paradoxical way of thinking.

Strengthening relationships

Strengthening relationships

Strengthen existing relationships with family and friends is important. At the same time, carers should be open to establishing new relationships that can support and enhance life amid grief and loss.

Where possible, carers should continue with family traditions and celebrations (e.g., holidays and birthdays, etc) making changes where necessary.

Caregivers should also learn to create new rituals that will aid with effective daily living.

Carers should not be afraid of going out to ask for emotional support or hands-on assistance. They should also be ready to share their experiences with others in a bid to help those who may be in a similar position.


Eating well, staying physically active, and taking practical steps towards relieving stress are options people have when it comes to taking care of personal needs. Scheduling breaks from care can also help boost morale and health to enable better decision-making and caregiving.

Identify creative outlets

Look for creative and interesting ways to express loss and grief like painting, writing, or other visual forms of art.

Get professional help

Other than reaching out to caregivers, relatives, and friends for support, professional assistance may also come in handy. Options available include well-organized support groups, licensed councillors, and professional organizations like the Alzheimer’s Society.

Celebrate the happy and sad

While grieving what is lost celebrate what has been gained. It is important to always embrace what remains through the various stages of the illness. For instance, while a person may not be able to take long walks or go to the gym, they can still go to the movies.

Ignore what cannot be controlled

It is not possible to control memory loss of a person with dementia but carers can control their reactions.

Closing Remarks

Caregivers looking after people with dementia may struggle with ambiguous loss in dementia. This does not have to be something that wears the carer out. Understanding what this type of loss is and learning how to successfully manage it is instrumental in taking good care of persons living with dementia.

10 Famous People With Dementia

10 famous people with dementia

November is now recognized as the National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, all thanks to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Sadly, Regan would later succumb to Alzheimer’s in 2004 after nearly a decade spent battling the disease. It serves as a bleak reminder that the degenerative condition doesn’t target a specific demographic or group of people; it can affect anyone, whether poor, rich, unknown, or famous. Several other celebrities have suffered from the cognitive disorder, and unfortunately, many more famous people with dementia also succumbed to the disease.

Celebrities and Famous People With Dementia

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan dementia

Reagan was 83, in August 1994, when he found out that he was suffering from an incurable neurological disorder. He informed the nation about his diagnosis later in November through a handwritten letter. In part, Reagan said that he was one of the millions of U.S. citizens who were afflicted by Alzheimer’s Disease.

Reagan’s son Ron shared in his 2011 book that his father’s dementia had presented itself as early as 1984. Ron later tempered his claims during an interview with The New York Times. He explained that he doesn’t believe the disease inhibited his father’s time in office, but rather, it could have been “present in him” years before the diagnosis.

The disease progressively affected Regean’s mental capacity over the years, but he was able to still recognize his wife Nancy and a few other people. He’s also said to have maintained regular visits to beaches and parks near home, and he also played golf until 1999.

Pneumonia is what claimed Reagan’s life, aggravated by Alzheimer’s disease.

Robin Williams

Robin Williams suffered from a host of symptoms including confusion, depression, paranoia, and Parkinson’s disease. Collectively, he had the disorder called dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). His widow, Susan Williams, shared their ordeal with the disease during a 2015 interview with Good Morning America.

Susan likened it to a “sea monster” that had 50 tentacles of symptoms manifesting when they wanted. She added that the disease is chemical warfare attacking the brain and it only reveals itself when the affected person dies.

Susan also revealed that leading up to his untimely death in August 2014, Williams had disintegrated before her eyes. He was losing his mind and very much aware of it, and the pressure of it all pushed him to take his own life.

James Doohan

Canadian actor James Doohan revealed that he had Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease in July 2004. Doohan explained that he would withdraw from public life given his health condition.

Doohan also suffered from several other ailments, partially as a result of his lifestyle, and some of his afflictions were post-World War II injuries during his military service. He had high blood pressure, diabetes, hearing loss, liver cirrhosis, and osteoarthritis.

Chris Doohan, his son, explained that his father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis came about from his increasing short-term memory loss. However, his long-term memory appeared to have been intact.

Chris also said that his father’s energy seemed to be diminishing and he looked frail. Doohan passed away in July 2005 from complications brought about by pulmonary fibrosis.

Rosa Parks

Legendary civil rights activist Rosa Parks is also on the list of famous people with dementia, and for her, it started when she received an eviction notice in 2002 for non-payment of rent. She hadn’t been able to keep up with her monthly $1,800 rent payments owing to age-related mental and physical decline. A collection from the Baptist Church in Detroit covered her rent, but Parks recurrently couldn’t keep up with her financial affairs.

The incident was highly publicized in 2004, and by then, Parks was 91 years old and in extremely poor health. Her medical records were released when a lawsuit filed on her behalf against the hip-hop group OutKast went to court. Lawyers claimed that the duo had defamed her by using her name for their 1998 single “Rosa Parks” without permission.

Gregory Reed, Parks’s lawyer at the time, explained that she had severe mental impairment and dementia that prevented her from testifying. Reed added that “it comes and goes,” but Parks was receiving care at home. She passed away in 2005 from the condition.

Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder’s family shared the terrible effects of Alzheimer’s in 2016 following his death. His fourth wife Karen and the daughter he adopted from their marriage were well taken care of following his demise. It all falls back to good estate planning, which is something people with neurological disorders typically don’t have the chance to leave in order.

Wilder had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013 and the public wasn’t aware of his condition until his death. The disease took his life in August 2016, and according to his family, the decision not to share the news with the public wasn’t vanity. They didn’t want young children to get exposed to adult references of the illness, given that Wilder left a lasting impression when he appeared in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Karen poured her efforts into bringing attention to the disease, and Wilder’s Willy Wonka character was used in a Pure Imaginations Projects Alzheimer’s awareness campaign.

Glen Campbell

When country star Glen Campbell embarked on his final tour in 2011, he shared that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Campbell was the subject of James Keach’s documentary titled Glen Cambell: I’ll Be Me that examined how the disease affected his musical performances while he toured across the U.S.

Campbell’s wife Kimberly spearheaded the documentary and has openly shared what it means to be a wife and caregiver to someone with Alzheimer’s. Kimberly explained that she would help him with daily tasks like changing his shirt and it wasn’t easy because he would sometimes become agitated and fight her away. She knew that he just wanted to maintain some semblance of dignity, and she would patiently return to the task once he had calmed down.

The illness claimed Campbell’s life in August 2017. Kimberly released a memoir titled Gentle on My Mind: In Sickness and in Health with Glen Campbell detailing their life together in June 2020.

Peter Falk

Peter Falk, known for starring in the long-running crime drama Columbo, was reported to have Alzheimer’s disease in 2008. An incident earlier that year at a Beverly Hills street reported that Falk had been behaving erratically and he appeared disoriented. Passerbys had to call the police to subdue him.

The next year, a conservatorship trial revealed more details about his state, with his personal physicians saying that he slipped rapidly into dementia. It started after a series of dental operations Falk had in 2007. Dr. Stephen Read explained that it wasn’t clear whether the anesthesia had worsened his condition or yet another unknown reaction to the procedures. The judge appointed his wife Shera Danese as his conservator.

Falk passed away on June 23, 2011, at his Roxbury Drive home, and his death was ruled to have been caused by pneumonia aggravated by complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Tom Benson

Sports franchise owner Thomas Milton Benson is remembered for owning the New Orleans Saints. By the Christmas season of 2014, Benson who was 87 years old had become increasingly forgetful. He had undergone a series of knee surgeries and the pain medication was identified as the potential trigger to his forgetfulness.

Amidst legal feuds between his family members, a court declared Benson competent to oversee his business affairs in 2015, despite the allegations that he had Alzheimer’s. Benson changed his will and testament leaving his entire fortune to his third wife Gayle.

Benson died in February 2018 after being hospitalized at the Ochsner Medical Center for a month with the flu.

Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston was amongst the well-known famous people with dementia and he memorably starred in The Ten Commandments (1956). In August 2002 Heston released a taped message announcing that he had symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. He retreated from public life after his final appearance at the White House in July 2003 to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Various newspapers were reporting in March 2005 that his friends and family were shocked by his level of deterioration. The progression of the illness had left him weak to the point of not being bedridden sometimes.

Heston passed away in April 2008 at his Beverly Hills home with his wife Lydia by his side. The two had been married for 64 years.

Sugar Ray Robinson

Five-time world middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson died in April 1989 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Robinson had been receiving treatment at the Brotman Medical Center for diabetes and other symptoms related to Alzheimer’s.

Robinson was completely dependent on his wife Millie for his daily needs and care. Reports also revealed that he was hypertensive and barely able to speak in the year that he battled the illness before his demise. Millie said that she could have hired help to help care for her husband, but she didn’t mind doing it. She added that she didn’t want him subjected to any kind of ill-treatment and that’s why she chose to take control of his care.

Closing Thoughts

celebrities and famous people with dementia

Revisiting the experience of these 10 famous people with dementia and the experiences of family members, we are reminded that neurological disorders can affect anyone indiscriminately.

There are certain risk factors that lead to the disease, with age, genetics, and family history being some of them. The bottom line is that Alzheimer’s is not a disease that is exclusive to a certain demographic but anyone can develop it.

Dementia and Sexually Inappropriate Behavior

Dementia and Sexually Inappropriate Behavior

Dementia and sexually inappropriate behavior can be challenging to manage, and can make it difficult to provide quality care.

Sexually inappropriate behaviors are among the most distressing behavioral changes for family members and caregivers of people with dementia. Sexual behaviors can leave care partners rattled by a range of emotions, from shock and fear to embarrassment and shame.

Sexually inappropriate behaviors, sometimes called hypersexuality or sexual disinhibition, encompass a range of activities from lewd or suggestive comments to non-consensual touch.

Sexually inappropriate behaviors may interfere with the rights of others or with a person’s activities of daily living.

Some sexual behaviors are not inappropriate in and of themselves, but rather in context. They are pursued at inappropriate times or places, or with the wrong people.

Examples of sexually inappropriate behavior include:

examples of sexually inappropriate behavior include

  • Disrobing or exposing one’s genitals
  • Masturbating or looking at pornography in public
  • Sexually suggestive comments, language or stories
  • Touching others’ private areas, or touching others in a sexually suggestive way
  • Requesting unnecessary genital care

Sometimes these behaviors aren’t actually motivated by sexual desires.

Is it Actually Sexual?

is it actually sexual behavior shown by someone with dementia

There are a number of reasons people with dementia display behaviors that might be construed as sexual. In some cases, they are driven by a desire for sexual gratification, but not always. For example, a person who exposes himself may actually be seeking a place to urinate. A person who is disrobing may simply be overly warm.

The first step in managing sexual behaviors is to determine the cause behind them.

Common Causes Behind Dementia and Sexually Inappropriate Behavior

common causes behind sexual behaviors of persons with dementia

Some inappropriate sexual behaviors are due to dementia-related brain changes. Confusion, disorientation, misinterpretation, and impulse control are all common in dementia, and are frequent culprits behind sexual behaviors.

There are also a number of needs that may be unmet, which can lead to sexual behaviors.

Disorientation to Place

When someone with dementia doesn’t realize where they are they may behave “inappropriately”.

The solution may be to provide privacy. For example, if they wish to masturbate or look at sexually explicit materials, provide them with a private area to do so.

Disorientation to Person

dementia and sexually inappropriate behavior

Sometimes the person with dementia mistakes one person for another. For example, it’s not uncommon for a father to mistake his daughter for his wife.

It can help to leave the room for a few minutes, and then come back in with a big greeting such as “Hi, Dad!” to clear up any confusion while sparing any embarrassment.

Misinterpretation of Signals

misinterpretation of signals of inappropriate sexual behaviors of persons with dementia

People with dementia commonly misinterpret signals or environmental cues. For example, a man who sees his pants are down, and then notices a young lady in the room with him, may come to the conclusion that she is interested in him sexually – not that she is here to provide incontinence hygiene care.

This can be especially pronounced if the person giving care is smiling, giggling nervously, or otherwise emitting signals that might be misinterpreted as flirtatious behavior. If she is also wearing somewhat revealing clothing – including scrubs that may not fully cover the chest when bending over, for example – there ends up being a lot of hard-to-read signals and room for misinterpretation.

Exerting an air of confident, no-nonsense professionalism during personal hygiene assistance can be helpful. If the behaviors exist more with caregivers of one gender, try using caregivers of another.

Putting on a lab coat or bulky jacket, tucking long hair up into a hat, or wearing dark glasses will sometimes alter a caregiver’s appearance enough to change the environmental cues, or signals – and the behavior.

Impulse Control

impulse control

Somewhere between 7-25% of men and women with dementia exhibit sexually inappropriate behaviors to some extent. About 60% of these instances are comments. Sexual behaviors tend to be less frequent in people with Alzheimer’s-type dementias (7-8%), and higher in other types, with vascular dementia having the highest prevalence.

Researchers theorize that this may be related to the areas of the brain affected by various types of dementia. Damage to certain areas of the brain, such as the frontal and temporal lobes, is likely to decrease inhibition, making it more difficult for a person to control their impulses and actions.

When helping someone with impulse control issues, reasoning is generally ineffective, and may create unnecessary negative feelings. Instead, try to avoid situations or images that trigger the unwanted behavior.

It may help to avoid alcohol, change caregivers (or their attire) and remove potentially stimulating television programing from the environment. In some cases, it may help to strategically substitute other pleasant distractions – such as providing a small lollipop during personal care.

Environmental Triggers

environmental triggers

The person may disrobe due to environmental triggers, such as feeling too warm, or wearing clothing that is tight or itchy.

Improving the environment and assisting them to become more comfortable should resolve these behaviors.

Unmet Needs

People with dementia often have a hard time recognizing and communicating what they need, and their behavior becomes a form of communication.

When their need is identified and met, the behavior resolves.

Physical Discomfort

“Indecent exposure” or touching one’s genitals may actually be a sign of needing to use the toilet. Urinary tract infections, yeast infections or prostate problems can also contribute to genital discomfort and “inappropriate” touching.

Assist the person to the toilet, or take measures to make it easier for them to find it on their own.

Look for changes in urination patterns, new incontinence, difficulty passing urine, and signs of rash or redness in the genital area. If noted, report to the person’s doctor.

Sexual Expression

dementia sexual expression

While some seniors may naturally lose interest in sexual activity as they age, others do not. Some seniors enjoy healthy and evolving sex lives well into their advanced years. Older adults – as well as those with young-onset dementia – may continue to feel a desire for sexual expression, sexual contact and intimacy.

Dementia may affect a person’s sex drive – as well as that of their partner. In some cases, the person with dementia may experience an increased interest in sex, while the caregiving spouse is less sexually attracted to them (or simply too exhausted to be interested).

While it can be uncomfortable to discuss, sexual health is an important part of holistic wellness. If the person with dementia has a need for sexual expression, it’s important to find ways to meet it appropriately.

Sexual expression isn’t limited to intercourse, and these needs can sometimes be met by cuddling and exchanging loving touch with a romantic partner. If there is no romantic partner, some find masturbation to be a suitable alternative. Provide privacy and materials as needed.

Intimacy, Affection, Companionship and Social Connection

People need companionship, affection and connection in their lives. While they may seek to meet these needs through sexual expression, there may also be alternate ways to do so.

The term intimacy refers to the need for trusting connections and shared vulnerability in a relationship. Intimacy can be sexual, but it isn’t always. It can also refer to an open emotional, mental or spiritual connection. Intimacy is usually cultivated over time, through a process of communication and patience. When someone lacks intimate connections, they may feel isolated, lonely or disconnected.

Supporting positive, healthy friendships, heartfelt conversations, and meaningful relationships may help meet the need for companionship and close connection.

A cuddly pet can be a very affectionate companion.


Every human being needs touch. Some people with dementia have very little opportunity to share positive, appropriate touch with other humans.

Look for ways to increase appropriate touch in their lives. Foot, hand or back massages, manicures, pedicures, or even combing their hair can offer satisfying tactile stimulation. Find excuses to offer handshakes throughout the day. Holding hands may also be appropriate.

Sucking on lollipops or popsicles can offer alternative sensory stimulation.

Responding to Sexual Behaviors in the Moment

responding to sexual behaviors in the moment

Encountering a sexual behavior from someone with dementia can evoke uncomfortable feelings of stress, embarrassment or even fear in many family members or caregivers. It’s easy to be overcome with shock or disbelief, especially if it’s the first time it has happened.

Keep in mind these simple steps:

  • Remain calm
  • Ensure the safety of all involved
  • Step back, or out of the room, if needed
  • If possible, determine the cause behind the behavior

Depending on the situation, it may help in the moment to…

  • calmly and firmly tell them not to touch you
  • respectfully remind them why it’s inappropriate
  • look them in the eye and ask them to stop because it’s making you uncomfortable
  • ignore comments or behaviors that aren’t harming anyone
  • step out of the room
  • redirect with humor
  • provide privacy

Managing Ongoing Sexual Behaviors

If the person with dementia has begun to demonstrate a pattern of sexual behaviors it is essential to determine the unmet need. Once the need is fulfilled, the distressing behavior will resolve.

It’s important that people caring for someone with dementia are educated about potential sexual behaviors, so they can be handled successfully should they arise. In addition to education, emotional support and reassurance for family members and caregivers may be necessary.

If the person can understand, it may help to have a frank, respectful conversation about their needs and behavior. Sometimes this is better received if it comes from someone the person holds in high regard, such as a doctor or religious leader.

Sometimes the behavior occurs more with a particular gender, or with younger (or older) caregivers.

Switching caregivers can help.

Gather Information, Track the Behavior and Look for Patterns


It can help to have basic information about the person’s lifelong sexuality, if possible. It can also be very helpful to keep a log of challenging behaviors in order to discover patterns, and develop interventions to prevent unwanted behaviors.

Track details about each episode to identify any patterns or trends.

  • Who else is around or involved?
  • What are they doing? What have they been doing recently? And what else is happening in the area?
  • When is it occurring? Note the time of day, the date, and day of the week
  • Where is it occurring?

You may notice that the behavior is occurring, for example, after visiting with a particular family member, when a certain television program is on, at a certain time of day, or primarily during personal care.

Keep a log of these details, and, if possible, sit down to discuss them with another care partner of the person with dementia. Plan to debrief with some regularly for as long as the behaviors occur.

Medications for Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors

medications for sexually inappropriate behaviors

At this time, there are no good drugs for managing sexual behaviors in people with dementia. Sometimes sedatives, or drugs that reduce testosterone or libido are used, but their success is hit or miss, and many have serious side effects.

Drugs can make it harder for the person to communicate or function, and they can increase the risk of falls or health complications. Medications should be used only as a last resort when the situation is serious, and the need clearly outweighs the risks and drawbacks of the drug.

Note that alcohol or certain medications can increase sexual behaviors in some cases.

Refer to the doctor or pharmacist for questions about medications.

Keep Calm and Uncover the Cause

Cause of sexually inappropriate behaviours with dementia

There are many reasons that people with dementia may exhibit sexually inappropriate behaviors, which can be very impactful on the people around them. Understanding the cause or need behind behaviors is essential for resolving them.

When encountering sexually inappropriate behavior in a person with dementia:

  • Remain calm and respectful at all times.
  • Ensure the safety of all involved.
  • Determine the need or cause behind the behavior. (Tracking behaviors and discussing with the person directly, other care partners, or medical providers may be necessary.)
  • Try an intervention. If it doesn’t work, try another. Keep trying until you figure out a solution.

Education about the nature of sexual behaviors in dementia is helpful for family members – and essential for professional caregivers – so they aren’t caught completely off guard if it happens.

Speech Therapy for Dementia Treatment

Speech Therapy for dementia treatment

Individuals with dementia or their carers should consider speech therapy for dementia when an individual with the progressive illness has communication problems. Dementia is a progressive disease that can cause a person with the illness to experience various communication difficulties such as:

  • Inability to find the proper words to use
  • Using substitute for words
  • Not using words at all
  • Going back to the first language that a person learned as a child
  • Using words without any meaning
  • Difficulties following conversations, etc.

The illness can also cause drinking, eating, and swallowing challenges.

Learning how to communicate with others effectively is important for persons living with dementia.

With the onset of dementia, it is common for speech-related issues to progress. It is important to note that speech therapy is not only used to treat lost language function and speech, but it also enhances memory loss deficits and multiple cognitive functions. This is why individuals with dementia seek speech therapy to improve their current functions.

Speech and language pathologists have the skills and knowledge to assess and manage the issues effectively.

Before digging deeper into how speech therapy can help persons with dementia, let’s first discuss what speech therapy is.

What is Speech Therapy?

speech therapy for dementia

Speech therapy can be described as an intervention service that focuses on improving verbal and non-verbal language. It can also be defined as the assessment as well as treatment of speech disorders and communication problems. This is performed by speech-language pathologists who are also known as speech therapists.

The professionals mostly focus on 2 areas of treatment and these are:

  1. Addressing fluency, articulation, and voice-volume recognition via mouth coordination.
  2. How to express and use language through various alternative and traditional communication forms like body, written, social media, sign, and computer, etc.

With this in mind, let’s jump into how speech therapy helps persons with dementia.

How Individuals with Dementia Benefit from Speech Therapy

how do individuals with dementia benefit from speech therapy

Speech pathologists can help individuals with dementia through all the stages of the illness. Some of the ways speech therapy for dementia can help persons with the progressive illness and these include:

Maintains level of independence

Speech therapy can help people maintain their level of independence for a longer time. It helps to stimulate cognitive ability through various activities that relate to the underlying cognitive domain.

Learn how to modify the environment

Persons working with speech pathologists learn how to modify their environment and compensate for their deficits. This is vital because it helps affected individuals adapt well to the changes that are brought about by dementia.

Management strategies

Speech pathologists can also help access how people drink, eat, or swallow. The professionals offer management strategies for mealtimes if they notice any dysfunction.

The language-speech pathologists also gauge the person’s capacity to consent to care and treatment.

Caretakers can rely on the experts to communicate relevant details to the person who has the illness. This ensures that the affected persons can process the information in the best possible way.

What Does Speech Therapy for Dementia Involve?

what does speech therapy involve

When it comes to speech therapy for dementia, professionals come up with personalized speech and language therapy programs that will take into consideration the severity of the illness. A program may involve assessments, reviews, reports, education, advice, and support programs.

When dealing with a person who has speech issues, speech therapists may indulge them in various exercises like repeating words, naming pictures, and teaching techniques that strengthen the mouth’s muscles.

Speech and language pathologists may also guide an individual through workouts that train the muscles a person uses for swallowing. This helps improve an individual’s ability to swallow while reducing the risk of food going through the windpipe into the lungs. In the event where swallowing is extremely challenging, the pathologists may suggest alternative feeding methods like feeding tubes.

Support for Caregivers

support for dementia caregivers

When talking about speech therapy for dementia, expert speech and language therapists also beneficial support for caregivers. This helps to maximize effective communication, skills, knowledge, and quality of life. It also minimizes anxiety and stress. Enhanced communication has an impact on:

  • Peer relationships
  • Selfcare
  • Social skills
  • Behavior

Keep in mind that early intervention is usually best. Persons with dementia or their carers should consult speech or language pathologists as soon as possible to enjoy all the benefits that come with working with the experts.

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