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"Showtiming" and Dementia - When Seniors Mislead Their Doctors


Sometimes elderly patients with dementia refuse to see a doctor for a test or diagnosis or are not being honest with their doctor. It is a frequent problem for many families caring for a parent with dementia. At home seniors can complain of pain but the moment they sit down in a doctor's office, a change occurs. They can become animated and charming, answering all questions properly and reporting no complaints.


So why do some elderly mislead their doctors? Reasons can be multifaceted and difficult to pinpoint; fear, embarrassment, denial and a phenomenon called "showtiming" are usually to blame. This behavior can convince a doctor that everything is alright frustrating loved ones who know daily routines and behaviors at home are connected to dementia. The convincing performance of alertness and lucidity requires such energy and concentration that it can leave the patient physically and mentally exhausted afterwards, sometimes for hours or days.






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