I'm really worried about my grandma. She's 84 and has what the doctors say is early to mid-stage dementia. Sometimes she seems completely disoriented and barely even lucid. The other day my dad went over and she wasn't talking at all and fell asleep while he was there. But then there are days she seems confused but somewhat okay and can talk to us. Are there forms of dementia that present this way or could something else be going on? It just seems weird to me that her condition varies so much.

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Hi, yes, there are forms of dementia that present that way. Dementia with Lewy Bodies is one form of dementia where there’s often a significant fluctuation in impairment. Does she hallucinate at all? That’s another potential symptom of Dementia with Lewy Bodies. There could ALSO be a medical issue; perhaps she has a certain medication that is influencing this? I would recommend having a neurologist or other doctor check out her medications and see if there’s something that could be causing these big changes.

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Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

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