What Do Dementia Patients Think On A Daily Basis


Asked by lisa

What Do Dementia Patients Think On A Daily Basis


Every individual thinks differently on a daily basis, regardless of their cognitive abilities. Although, I cannot provide specifics in what individuals with Alzheimer's disease think. I can provide you with information that will help understand how this disease affects the individual and thinking process.

Alzheimer's disease is considered a progressive neurodegenerative illness, which means that the illness will cause more and more brain cells to become damaged over time. The result of this ongoing brain damage is a continual loss in the ability to think and function correctly. Our brains are very complex and amazing organs, with many different areas controlling different aspects of how we think, act, remember, function, and control our bodies. Alzheimer's disease affects the whole brain in time, but not all at once.

Although I am not a physician, there are certain symptoms that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease and do not appear in every individual. These include a loss of short term memory (what they ate for breakfast or what was said 5 minutes ago), problems expressing thoughts or comprehending requests (trouble finding the right words or calling something by the wrong name), confusion or disorientation to time, place, or person. People with Alzheimer's disease tend to experience confusion and disorientation, which can influence their perception of reality.

Alzheimer's disease causes communication problems due to damaging the brain. One of the terms to describe this loss of language is Aphasia. Aphasia is an inability to express one's inner thoughts and feelings through communication, as well as an inability to understand the communications of others. Similarly, the disease also prevents a person from accessing the vocabulary that they have developed throughout their life. With Alzheimer's disease, a person can have problems giving information (expressive aphasia), receiving information (receptive aphasia), or both. In receptive aphasia, a person with dementia may be holding a magazine and may appear to be reading, but they may not be able to understand the words on the page. In expressive aphasia many words become inaccessible. They are unable to successfully share their thoughts and feelings most of the time. Overall, as the disease progresses, communication becomes more and more difficult. More words are lost, and there are fewer substitutions available.

In general, what a person is thinking of on a daily basis can depend greatly on the person's progression in the disease process. Someone in the early stages, who is still aware of surroundings, etc., may be no different in thinking than someone without the disease. As the disease progresses, the person might be struggling in his/her thoughts to make sense of the surroundings, people caring for him/her and of "going home"—a common reaction to the need to feel comfort and safe. The important thing to remember is not so much what the person is thinking, but rather to make the person feel safe, secure and stimulated.