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Alzheimer`s Disease/late stage Alzheimer's and tears



My husband is 76 and is stage 7 of the disease.  He does still walk and eat if he is fed. He is incontinent, doesn't talk, sleeps a lot and has a flat effect.  I kept him home as long as I could, but last year when my own health became compromised, I had him placed into a facility, tough stuff! I visit him almost daily and participate in his care.  

I have recently noticed that he at times will have tears running down the sides of his checks, but no crying sounds, this is very upsetting to our daughter.  Could this be a symptom of his progression or could he be truly sad???

Thanks for your listening ear,


Brenda:  I'm very sorry to hear of your dear husband's decline and your worries.  You managed to keep him home for a long time, and I'm very glad you were able to make that tough decision before your health was irreparably damaged.  
There really is no definitive way to know the cause of the tears but let me tell you what I think (and remember, I'm not a physician).  
There is progressive damage going on in his brain and eventually almost every area will be affected.  The area of the brain that controls the physical switch for tears may be affected at this point and that may be why he has the tears.  You know how the tears turn on when we chop onions?  He doesn't have to be sad to "cry."  In my opinion, if he were upset enough to actually cry, then he would also be displaying some other symptoms of grief--moaning, groaning, repetitive words, wringing of hands, pacing, and despite the flat affect, possibly some worried expressions.  Since he's not doing any of that (I'm guessing), then I would say he's not actually sad about anything.  Remember too, that many people easily "cry" for joy.  So, if he's not displaying any other signs of distress, it's possible he's had a memory of joy that makes him tear up.  Encourage your daughter to do/say things he enjoys.  Singing, walking arm-in-arm, massage, wearing a smile every time she sees him, exposing him to animals or babies if he enjoys them.  Possibly watching some videos of things he enjoyed in the past (old farm machinery, county fairs, old cars, etc.)would engage him and he would enjoy it once again.  They do have those videos for elders with dementia--check out The Alzheimer's Store online.  
I would choose to believe he's not sad if he doesn't have any other distressed symptoms, so please encourage your daughter to do the same.  I wish you both much luck as you journey with your husband on this path through dementia.  Cindy

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Cindy Keith, RN, BS, Certified Dementia Practitioner


As a nurse and dementia consultant, I can answer most questions on all types of dementia. If I cannot answer your question, I will attempt to find someone who can. My passion is to help caregivers of people with dementia, which in turn helps all those wonderful elders with dementia live better lives. When caregivers are better educated, they are able to better care for themselves and their loved ones, so education is key to decreased stress levels and healthier, happier families.


I have worked as a nurse in various disciplines of nursing for over 20 years, most of which was with the elderly. I was a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility for 4 years before I started my own business (M.I.N.D. in Memory Care) as a dementia consultant six years ago. As a dementia consultant, I help families nationwide through phone conference calls as they struggle to care for their loved ones with dementia.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Geriatric Interest Network Sigma Theta Tau International

Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" which is a collection of stories about people with dementia I have known, loved and worked with. Every story has a lesson to teach and this book gently teaches family caregivers lessons about how to better care for their loved one, as well as themselves during their caregiving journey. Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training" Created "Bringing Nurturing To Memory Care" staff dementia training video Created Ebook: "Hair Stylist's Helpful Tips For Working With People With Alzheimer's & Other Dementias"

Registered Nurse with Bachelor's degree in Nursing; Certified Dementia Practitioner; Author of 2 books and an ebook

Awards and Honors
Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing

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