Is my wife's short term memory and dissociative thinking caused by her Alzheimer's disease?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 25, 2016
Flx73 asked...

my wife, who has been diagnosed with onset of dementia and severe short time memory loss is now having bouts of dissociative thinking and confusion. is this part of the degenerative process of dementia/Alzheimer's?

Expert Answers

Helene Bergman, LMSW, is a certified geriatric care manager (C-ASWCM) and owner of Elder Care Alternatives, a professional geriatric care management business in New York City. She consults with nursing homes and daycare programs to develop specialized programs for Alzheimer's patients.

Alzheimer's Disease affects the entire thinking process at all stages and although there are common cognitive losses, each afflicted person manifests impairments differently. Some persons lose the gift of speech and have difficulty finding words, confabulate or speak tangentially. Some individuals misperceive reality significantly and are delusional or paranoid. Others might maintain a sense of reality and organized thinking process but have severe short term memory loss like your wife. Some become very disoriented to time and/or places and may even not recognize themselves. I have seen patients look in a mirror and depersonalize talking to the image as someone else! Often these symptoms occur at moderate rather than early stages of the disease but not always. As dementia progresses, the cognitive changes increase so all facets of thinking and speaking deteriorate. Yet, amazingly so, within this degenerative process, individuals will have periods of lucidity.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Helene: with my medical background and education, I think I understand your answer and agree with it. But, heavens to Betsy!, "cognitive", "impairments", "confabulate", "tangentially", "misperceive" (spell checker never heard of that one, "depersonalize". Hey, as a care-giver in contact with other care-givers, I am aware that most of them would be lost in trying to read your comment. You have a lot to offer to us, but, please, in simpler English.