Sunday, August 7, 2011

Intact social graces

I got into the habit years ago of noting if a patient with dementia had intact social graces.

By this I mean they are able to converse and appear pleasant.

I always record this because these are the folks that sometimes need closer follow up to determine if their dementia is advancing.

They tend to be engaging and conversant, even when they can't answer orientation questions, etc.

They have errors of commission: they answer questions but the answers do not match the question that was asked.

They also tend to deflect direct questions by asking the provider such questions as "how are you and your family doing?"

This often causes a provider, such as myself, to go on a long tangent to give them a  family update.

At times, it's such a pleasant encounter that it's easy to forget they are even demented.

If/when I get dementia, I hope my social graces remain intact.

In my experience, it sure makes things a lot easier for the caregiver(s)!

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