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Shadowing... does it end or abate at some point?
Posted: Wednesday, November 24, 2021 9:40 PM
Joined: 6/3/2019
Posts: 123

This isn't a very thankful message, but here goes nothing - it is driving me bonkers having him all up in my business every waking moment, wanting to know what I'm doing, and can he help me? (No, he can't even figure out how to eat ice cream, so how is he going to help me finish my proposal for work?) Short of medicating him into a catatonic state, is there any way to reduce this clinginess? Would anti-anxiety medication help him chill out and give me some space? I think I understand why he is doing it, but when I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth and I hear him breathing right outside the door, it's hard to keep it in perspective.

Does this behavior sometimes calm down as the disease progresses? 

Happy Thanksgiving, folks! 

Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2021 7:01 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 3125


Ugh. You have my sympathies. Shadowing- on paper- doesn't seem like all that big a deal until you are living it. And then it is just crazy-making.

If it's driven by anxiety, it might respond to something anti-anxiety like and SSRI. SSRIs (think Prozac, Lexapro, etc) can take up to 6 weeks to trial but they are not sedating. A geriatric psychiatrist could prescribe that or make other suggestions. 

Another option might be a day program which would take him out of the house and provide a structured day to engage him. 


Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2021 10:48 AM
Joined: 6/3/2019
Posts: 123

Thanks, HB, it's good to hear from somebody who can relate. 

Dad goes to memory daycare for about four or five hours a day three days a week, and that time is golden. Wish we could increase the hours, but it takes him so long to get going in the morning.

He takes a very small dose of Seroquel, and I might ask his doctor if increasing the dose could help with the shadowing or if we might add an SSRI. I struggle with knowing if taking measures like that is for his sake or something I'm doing selfishly. I know my mental health is important too and all that, but I don't want to try to medicate away an issue unless it is truly for his comfort and benefit. As annoying as the shadowing can be, I also fear the day when it stops because he is bedbound or so withdrawn that he is just not connecting anymore. 

He's napping Thanksgiving Day away. I might need to do that too! We're having an easy dinner. Many holiday traditions have been jettisoned, and we're giving ourselves a pass this year. It's kind of nice. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, whatever is planned. 

Posted: Friday, November 26, 2021 1:57 PM
Joined: 1/1/2021
Posts: 153

My spouse also follows me around and tells me "interesting" things he found on the Internet. I'm wondering if, while you're waiting for a better solution to manifest (like anxiety meds to kick in), if you can find him a way to "help" that will keep him engaged--a sturdy tablet and pens and ask him to take notes for you, for instance. Whatever he draws may provide some insight into his thinking, at least. I've been trying to focus on saying yes and think of something my dh can do to help, with some limited success.
Posted: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 12:07 PM
Joined: 11/10/2021
Posts: 4

I am new to this, and my advice is similar to other responses. First,I want to thank you for your post because it sure does help me as I have the same situation. I can empathize with your frustration, you just want a minute to yourself. My mom always wants to help, and sadly she does not even realize she cannot perform the steps of those tasks,cooking, vacuuming, etc. Having a routine for her seems to help her anxiety and boredom. I make a list every day and she checks off the tasks. In the downtime, playing music seems to relax her. Is there something your dad can do without your help that might calm him? Music, drawing, "reading" or looking at pictures/magazines, etc.?  Is anyone available to sit with him so you can have some free time? Great idea to have him in an adult day program. Sounds like you're doing a great job making sure he is getting good care!
Posted: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 6:20 PM
Joined: 11/26/2021
Posts: 10

Thanks for this thread. My mother's MCI is still relatively mild, but I feel like she is starting this behavior. It has been driving me crazy. She's constantly using my things, taking my coffee cup (with coffee in it sometimes!), using my bathroom items, even taking my clothes because she thinks they are hers. It's been driving me a little crazy and I'm having to hide things that I don't want her to use or touch. She's become quite the klepto and seems pretty clueless when I remind her that cup of coffee is mine, etc.
Posted: Saturday, December 4, 2021 12:48 AM
Joined: 11/30/2021
Posts: 11

I had never heard of this before, let alone associated it with dementia, but my dad's got it in spades.  I'm guessing he's about at a stage 5 mixed VD and AD, with severe impact to receptive and expressive language ability, memory (both short-term and long-term), and executive function.  He's also somewhat unsteady on his feet.  He's been living with me for 2 years, with erratically progressive loss of function the whole time.  I attribute the clinginess to a combination of a decrease in object permanence (when I'm out of sight, he can't remember where I am, or even that I am there at all, and doesn't know if or when I will return) and a recognition of increased dependence (if he doesn't know where I am, he doesn't know that I can help him when he gets confused or doesn't know what to do or can't do something that he wants to do or when he gets hungry).

 It was freaky the first time I noticed him doing this, which was about 4-5 days after his second Covid-19 shot.  He was silently shuffling through the house all day, lurking just out of sight behind me outside the door to my computer room and watching me.  And as you mention, I could hear him breathing.  It felt like I was living in a haunted house.

I anticipate than as his disease progresses, he will eventually lose the awareness of his dependence on me, and the clinginess will abate. 

 In the meanwhile, I keep reminding him not to hide from me, but to say hello when he comes to the door to my computer room, and he is welcome to come in and sit down if he wants.  And I try to engage him more when he does it, but honestly, when I'm on the computer I'm not usually able to pay attention to him at the same time.  Sometimes it does seem to be driven by anxiety, because he will come into the room and then fidget, flick his fingernails, and sigh.  Which only gets me irritated.




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