A fairly recent longitudinal study of older people with hearing loss that was conducted by John Hopkins University discovered that, over a period of 10 years, people who entered the study with any form of hearing loss showed a much faster rate of brain atrophy – hearing is a neurological process that takes place in the left and right auditory cortices located in the frontotemporal region of the brain – than people who had entered the study with normal hearing. Continue reading
This is the fifth installment in a series of posts that includes a brief excerpt from each chapter as a preview of You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.
This post includes an excerpt from chapter 4, which discusses in detail the fourth step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease where visual and auditory perception is affected, resulting in hallucinations.
This chapter shows how these hallucinations present themselves, what the impact is on our loved ones, and how we as caregivers should respond to them both medically and personally with kindness, gentleness, and honesty.
Although lying and dishonesty in this step is overwhelmingly encouraged by support groups and resource books – they call these “fiblets” – I am adamantly opposed to any kind of dishonesty with our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.
When we practice dishonesty of any kind, we destroy our character and our trustworthiness. Our loved ones entrusted us with their lives. Lying to them breaks that trust.
And once dishonesty becomes a habit in one area because it temporarily makes a difficult situation – hallucinations, for example – seem easier, we will eventually, by default, begin to employ it as our response in other areas of our lives where and when difficulties arise until it affects every area of our lives. That’s how we peeps work, unfortunately.
I know this fourth step will catch us and our loved ones off guard as it emerges, but this chapter offers practical and accessible information to navigate this step successfully.
This series begins with the forward to the book and an explanation of why I wrote this book and why you should read it.
The steps in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease are presented sequentially in the order in which they actually appear in the course of these neurological diseases.
There are no other books that literally walk through each step in sequential order as they emerge in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Additionally, there is no other book that discusses:
- The process we as caregivers acknowledge each new step – there is an acceptance period that we have to go through
- The process we use to guide ourselves and our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease through the recognition phase of each step
- The concrete, loving, and practical information on how we should respond and how we can help guide our loved ones’ responses
These are the things that make You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease unique and stand alone in the plethora of books about dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Excerpt “Chapter 4: ‘When Men on the Chessboard Get Up and Tell You Where to Go'”
“Well-formed and insightful hallucinations (either manifestations of things and/or people who are not there or the perception that still objects are moving) are overwhelmingly prevalent in our loved ones suffering from Lewy Body dementia, where Lewy bodies are present in the temporal area of the brain (particularly in the amygdala and parahippocampal regions).
The amygdala is linked to aggression and emotions, and is involved in emotional learning, forming long-term memories, and the hormone secretion (along with the pituitary gland) that tells the adrenal glands to release the copious amounts of adrenaline associated with the “flight-or-fight” response to fear, anxiety, and panic.
The parahippocampal (surrounding the hippocampus) region of the brain is responsible for encoding and retrieving memories of landscapes and scenery (faces and facial recognition happens in the fusiform gyrus region of the brain).
Early hallucinations are often seen in short-lived episodes of delirium that are triggered by stress (hospitalizations are the most frequent source of this kind of stress and the subsequent episodes of delirium).”