Lost my dear aunt and uncle, both to dementia

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A couple of years my dear aunt and uncle, both in their 90s and in care, died, the death certificates were a bit vague in both cases but dementia waasd efinitely a contributing factor in both cases in my opinion.  One had vasular dementia and one had alzheimer's.  The curious thing was that although both their personailities changed radically towards the end, the effect was different for each of them. My aunt, who had always been quite right wing like my dad (his sister), became very racist and intollerant towards the care home staff, many of whom were Phillipino, whereas my uncle, who had always doted on his wife and been kind and tollerant, became very calm and a real old sweetie.  I know very little about dementia in its various forms but what I was wondering is: is it common for people to revert to type, to become extreme versions of their old selves in these situations.  I never really came to terms with their loss as I have such happy memories of my times with them as a child.

Sorry to go on

Lizzie

xxx

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  • Posted

    Hello Lizzie,  I'm sorry to hear about your aunt and uncle.  I too have had very little, if any , experience with dementia patients.  My mother, now 89, started getting confused very occassionally about 2 years ago, but that has increased and she also gets very paranoid.  Unfortunately, she suffered vertebral compression fractures 2 weeks ago and has been in hospital since.  I visit her every day and have found that every second day she is like a completely different person and aggressive towards me, accusing me of all sorts of things that I have never done.  I found it very difficult to start with but now if I find that my visit is just aggravating the situation I just leave.  She's supposed to be going into rehab soon and then come home.  I don't know at this stage how things will turn out.  Re your question if dementia patients revert in their personalities, I don't know generally.  My mother is certainly like a different person. 
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    • Posted

      Thansk Stefania for your reply, I wish you well with your mum, its so distressing when personalities change so dramatically with this awful condition.  My mum is 90 ans its her worst fear, although I don't think she has any cause for concern as although she is fiorgetful she can still play progressive whist with her friends, do crosswords and has never forgotten my name.  I think she is more likely to suffer from a kidney problem than dementia as she just won't drink enough water and has already had tests done showing  problems with her kidneys.  Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about your mum, it must be terribly distressing for you.

      Best Wishes

      Lizzie xxxx

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  • Posted

    Hi Lizzie, I suspect we're all "practising" when we're young for what we'll be like when we're old! My mother, who died at 89, certainly became a kind of caricature of her younger self when she went down to vascular dementia. She too had always been very right-wing and insular, as well as suffering from life-wrecking anxiety (hers and everyone else's!) all her life. When the dementia started, she cut herself off from her few remaining friends and took to shouting racial abuse at her (very kind) Pakistani neighbours, who she was convinced were coming through the wall.

    I'm now caring for a 79-year-old friend who also has vascular dementia. She was the kindest, most considerate person you could ever wish to meet, but has now become physically and verbally aggressive with everyone around her. However, another friend who knew her when she was young told me she'd always felt there was "a well of anger" behind her calm, kind exterior. In her case, it's worth noting that she suffered terrible sexual abuse at the hands of her drunken father throughout her childhood - confirmed by her younger brother - so I'm guessing this is where the anger wells up from.

    And me? Well, I'm 71 now, have always been a bit lazy, and am sometimes horrified these days by the state I let my flat get into before I start cleaning it. There is an actual condition known as "senile squalor" and I sometimes wonder whether I'm developing it!

    Like I said, we're all practising for what we're going to be like when we're old... so watch out!

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    • Posted

      Hi Lily

      Thank you for your kind post, I really appreciate it, and you backed up my hypothesis too.  I wouldn't worry about lack of house cleaning, I'm younger than you, mid fifties or soemthing, keep fogetting, and hate cleaning with a vengeance lol.

      Tkae care of both yourself and your friend, and don't wear yourself out caring.

      Love

      LIzzie 

      xxx

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