Non Stop Talking in Dementia

Excessive talking, also known as garrulity, is associated with dementia, or cognitive impairment.

You would have heard of many elderly people repeating stories over and over again. Family members and caregivers everywhere complain about the long and winding narration, which sometimes makes no sense. But, while these speeches can be tedious to endure, they are an important communication technique as well as a coping mechanism for a dementia patient who is slowly losing their memory.

Non Stop Talking in Dementia

4 Common Types of Dementia

1. Alzheimer‘s Disease

Alzheimer‘s disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia. According to the Alzheimer‘s Association, the majority of Dementia cases; 60 to 80 percent to be exact are found to be caused by AD.

The early signs of AD include depression, forgetting names, inability to recall recent incidents they saw or read, why they entered a particular room, or what they were supposed to do with a familiar object.

The brain cells of a person with Alzheimer’s disease begin to die as the chemical functions of the brain tend to change. This is why seniors experience confusion and sudden mood shifts.

They also have communication challenges like difficulty speaking, choosing the right words to express their thoughts, or evolving into a compulsive talker. A patient with Alzheimer‘s disease could experience cognitive impairment and forget how to walk properly.

2. Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia. It is caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain. Seniors with severe heart disease are at high risk for Vascular Dementia. The risk factor for getting vascular dementia is higher in old age and after a stroke.

Vascular dementia symptoms may appear suddenly or slowly, depending on its cause. An early sign of this type of dementia is confusion. The senior adult may often look perplexed as you talk to him/her about the usual, mundane stuff.

During moderate to severe stages of dementia, the patient may experience trouble accomplishing a task or concentrating for a long time as cognitive decline starts getting a hold on them.

confused dementia patient

Vascular dementia can also cause vision impairment, as well as hallucinations with advanced dementia.

3. Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies is a result of protein deposits in nerve cells. This causes an interruption in the brain function and results in memory loss and disorientation.

Lewy body dementia patients also experience visual impairment, and many of them report difficulty in falling getting enough sleep at night. Some seniors with Lewy body dementia also say that they often fall asleep suddenly during the day.

This type of dementia shares a lot of manifestations of Alzheimer‘s and Parkinson’s diseases with patients reporting common events like fainting, wandering off and getting lost. They also suffer from shaking or shivering hands, have trouble walking, and feel weakness in the limbs.

4. Parkinson’s Disease

Problems with reasoning ability and poor judgment are major indicators of early PD. A senior with this type of dementia suffers from cognitive decline and has difficulty understanding visual information and comprehending doing simple tasks of daily life. Another rather distressing symptom is that they may face confusing and frightening hallucinations.

Advanced PD can cause seniors to be very irritable and depressed. The patient may suffer from paranoia as they progress to advanced dementia.

The dementia patient shows communication challenges; they may often leave sentences unfinished, forget a word in the middle of talking, and even show signs of hearing loss, leading to complete a withdrawal.

We can also talk about frontotemporal dementia, which is caused by a family of brain diseases known as frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Frontotemporal dementia is estimated to account for up to 10 percent of all cases of dementia.

Senior with Parkinsons disease

Frontotemporal dementia

Frontotemporal dementia is usually more common in younger people when compared with the other types of dementia. According to statistics, about sixty percent of people with FTLD are between the ages of 45 and 64.

In the early stages of frontotemporal disorders, people may have only one symptom. But as neurons in more and more parts of the brain become affected, other symptoms may develop

For the most part, dementia is an irreversible disease.

If alcohol and substance abuse are also likely to cause dementia. In such cases, reversing the brain damage is sometimes possible, but according to extensive studies and research, the reverse is likely to happen in less than 20 percent of patients with dementia.

In this case, a trained caregiver can offer inclusive services to help your loved one stave off cognitive decline and troubling physical condition, and lead a normal life in golden years while aging in place with cherished memories and family.

Why do some Dementia patients talk non stop?

You, like many family members and caregivers of people with dementia symptoms, often feel drained after listening to the elderly dementia patient sense talk for hours on end, and sometimes, they do not even make sense of what they say.

If you are wondering why they have become so chatty all of a sudden, there are a couple of explanations that you might want to go over.

The underlying cause for your elderly adult behaving like a compulsive talker is because they see you as the one who is always leading the conversation. They have a deep need to engage with you, but, they also have this drive to remain in charge of the conversation or else they often feel anxious, stupid, and even depressed.

This is also one of the reasons why dementia patient often tasks about old stories that they remember; it is because they can have dialogues with other people instead of being the one who is listening to someone all the time.

As the patient goes through advanced dementia, cognitive impairment is inevitable and communication abilities decline. As the caregiver, you can encourage even small attempts by the dementia patient at social interactions as these are crucial for maintaining relationships and preventing feelings of loneliness.

How can you encourage a dementia patient in severe dementia stages to communicate better?

When a person with moderate to severe dementia starts showing signs do wanting to talk, you can respond at certain times by asking to elaborate further. This is a supportive method that lets them know you want to talk with them.

Now, as a family member or family caregiver, you can also have someone take videos of them reminiscing about old times. This is because Dementia patients will gradually lose their ability to repeat stories. In the meantime, the videos you captured may even provide important personal information that will be helpful throughout your caregiving journey.

The best thing you can do is to listen to a loved one’s stories so that you and the whole family get to know the patient better. this is a great way of reestablishing connections.

listening to a dementia patient

Repeating things, again and again, is also a sign of worsening dementia.

Dementia patients’ brains are incapable of remembering things that have already been saying. If the cognitive decline is a factor, it’s likely that the repetition will only get worse, so mastering empathy and self-control is paramount for dementia caregivers.

Research suggests that verbal repetition is more common among individuals in the earlier stages of dementia and among those with Alzheimer’s disease versus other types of dementia.

Elderly patients with dementia will often repeat a word, statement, question, or activity over and over. While this type of behavior is usually harmless for the person with dementia, it can be annoying and stressful to caregivers. Sometimes the behavior is triggered by anxiety, boredom, fear, or environmental factors.

What can you do as a caregiver?

It is truly a hard time for the family members and caregivers, but there are certain things you can do to provide reassurance and comfort:

One is, you can try distracting the patient with a snack or activity. Give them their favorite snack to munch on, or play the music that they love. You can even ask them to help in small chores like folding laundry.

The next thing is to avoid reminding them that they just asked the same question. For instance, if they somehow got it into their head that they had a doctor’s appointment, and keep asking when to go even after you said they don’t need to, you can simply say that the doctor called in a couple of minutes ago to say that they are not expected to visit until next week.

Thirdly, if your elderly loved one with dementia keeps asking about the time to go to an event, don’t discuss plans until immediately prior to an event.

Learn to recognize certain behaviors. An agitated state or pulling at clothing, for example, could indicate a need to use the bathroom.

We understand how trying and difficult it can be to accommodate a dementia patient’s incessant chatter and the volley of questions, but the key is to understand that the reason they are behaving this way is because of a disease and that it can happen to you too as you get older.

About Aswathy Suresh