Special case: Dementia

We had a neurological disorder case at Geriatric Unit admitted yesterday. She was suffering from dementia, to consider metabolic, vascular Alzheimer.

What makes this case close to my heart is that this old lady is from Dingras, Ilocos Norte. She is, as I would consider, one of my kind.

Together with my senior around 10:00 am today, we proceeded to room 158 where the patient was admitted. We found Dr. Q and the group already tackling about the disease of the patient. It was quite more of an observation than of a lecture, but the rounds does make sense. (I wish that things like this happen more frequently at Geria because the process is very educational, inspiring and uplifting) It was like actually being considered as a part of the ‘team’.

Going back, the old lady was asked to write down her vision of a clock pointed at 3:00. Obliging, she then sketched a curve line then started writing numbers. When asked again to repeat the same stuff, she did exactly the same picture below her first drawing.

After a while, Dr. Q decided to draw an example of a clock pointing at 3:00 and then asked her again to copy the image.


He said that some people with very special cases, like hers, needed more time and understanding because they suffer from a neurological deficit that will continue to degenerate as time goes by. This kind of loss is apparently not exactly what one person would wish for- forgetting things automatically.

He also explained that people with a case like hers need to practice and imitate in order for them to retain their memory which last only for a couple of minutes or so. Furthermore he explained that this is due to a deficit of a memory neurotransmitter called: acetylcholine.
After drawing an example of a clock in another sheet of paper, she was then asked to copy it and this time she was able to draw a more concise image!

Next, Dr. Q told her that she was currently admitted at St. Luke’s Medical Center and that his name is ‘Juben Quanang’ (this was to further validate the illness).

After several minutes, he asked her what the hospital’s name was and she couldn’t answer. When he asked her what his name was, at first she was hesitant but then answered ‘Juben Quanang’ (And I bet they knew each other since Dr. Q is also a native of Ilocos).

After, she was instructed to recite Saint Luke’s Medical Center for at least four times.  She did.  And when asked what the hospitals name was, she could now answer the question.


The lady could learn through repetition because unlike younger people the neurons of her brain fires up slowly, making it difficult for her to retain her short term memory.

He said that the lady needs to be brought into a rehab or a therapy session for her to enhance her memory.

And now I’m thinking.

He was right. These people needs to be tended with patience and understanding. Not the type which we usually give to elders but the type which we we usually give to children. After all, they’ve served their lifetime trying to establish decorum.

She was practically loosing it but that doesn’t mean that we should give up on her, on these kind of people. We can still register her memory through series of repetition and imitation. Thus slowing down the degeneration process.

I often thought before that it would just be waste of time, money and effort to keep the strings together for people like her, when in fact they would eventually forget all their short term memories sooner or later. It didn’t make sense.

Patients suffering from neuro-degenerative disorder still has a hope and a chance no matter how old or incapable they are. They have all the right to live their lifetime the way it has always been: Normal. After all, they deserve it.

At the end of the forum, Dr. Q asked her to sing her favorite song, out loud. I was amazed, she sang beautifully. The song was clear, concise, melodious and full of emotion. The reason behind was further discussed by another doctor.

Emotional attachment.

These people will remember their past memories that has touched their lives, easily. As for the new up commig ones, it would be very difficult for them. That is why  they need help.

I remember that old woman happily singing the melodious and relaxing song right now and I feel relaxed. It vibrates through her heart saying she still has hope. They still have hope.

If you want to know more about it visit: http://blog.brainfacts.org/2013/05/how-can-we-enhance-working-memory/#.Veeyi9kayc0