Dementia – Frequently Jumpy at the Slightest Noise

 Dementia  –

Frequently Jumpy at the Slightest Noise

By  Barry Pankhurst

Barry_PI have mention about this in some of my other articles about how sudden noises or motion can affect us making us suddenly Jump out of our skin, so I now want to elaborate on this topic which some non sufferers seem to find extremely amusing when they see it happen to us…
I realize this is something that can happen to each and every one of us even if you do not have dementia and a part of normal daily life when you suddenly hear some type of loud noise like a car exhaust pipe backfiring, or if someone drops something on the ground that makes a sudden noise… but people do not realize just how disconcerting the effect can be on a person that has dementia… and I’m sure that if you were to ask people with our illness what makes them suddenly ‘Jump’ you would have enough information to produce an encyclopaedia…

The repercussion of any type of ‘loud noise’ as in, Music, Loudspeakers, Traffic, Crowds, Children shouting as they play, People all talking at the same time, Motor vehicle horns, In-house music in shops, Fireworks, and even on hearing a young baby cry, the list could go on and on… but in the ears of someone with our illness such noises can cause an adverse affect in our eardrum that reverberates distortions to our brain and cause us a great deal of anxiety, confusion, and disorientation, which is not a pleasant sensation, and when this happens to me I tend to lose all awareness of ‘Time and Place’ or even what I’m doing…

Sometimes when my dear wife and I are out walking and we try to cross the road to the other side but because of the extreme noise from the traffic I immediately have a problem at the curb side with ‘Freezing’ whereby my legs start to jerk up and down as though trying to step forwards, but you go nowhere, as the intense noise only confuses the normal body movement, it also makes us lose our sense of judgment and the distance between the curb and the roadway, (at this point I should point out that zebra crossings are non effective where I live, as vehicles are King of the road)

A few weeks ago when my wife and I were crossing the road we had managed to get to the middle of the roadway where we got stuck with the traffic racing by us in both directions which frightened me so much I started to panic and became extremely agitated not knowing which way to go ‘forward or backward’ I was clinging onto my dear wife so tight as the traffic whizzed by us so close almost touching our bodies and causing sudden blasts of gushing airflow she said, ‘Your hurting my arm’ then on seeing a gap in the traffic she tied to guide me across the road, but as I tried to step forward I again became ‘Frozen on the spot’ shaking in fear… my head was pounding so much from all the noise of the heavy traffic that it was sending vibrations through my mind and body…

Finally we managed to get to the other side of the road whereupon I just sat on the curb holding my head and ears in my hands trying to block out the horrendous noise…

This is now going to sound unbelievable… but as I said even children at play can sometimes cause unfriendly noise that upsets our equilibrium, (but don’t get me wrong as I dearly love children as much as the next person) Yet now when I hear them playing, laughing, and screeching outside our house in garden the noise is like a pneumatic drill in my mind causing a total distraction from what I might be doing and any sense of logical thinking or reality is gone… an instance is that at the moment it’s a special period of every year when the children out here get exceptionally exuberant especially first thing in the morning at around 4am and again in the evening after 7pm, when they go loudly shouting dashing up and down the road letting of fireworks which I once used to enjoy but now the sudden (Whiz, Cracking and thunderous explosions) send unexpected shock waves through my entire body that almost have me reaching for the stars myself! This again can causes me deep anxiety and disorientation…

But the anomaly of this illness is that it’s not just loud noises that cause us great shock to the mind that make us jump, as it can also be triggered by an innocent light tap from behind on the shoulder or someone speaking, maybe by the family or a friend… my dear wife (who God bless her still can’t understand it) is a prime example… I can be sitting engrossed at the computer or watching the TV and have no awareness that she has entered the room until a her tranquil voice almost hits me like a ton of bricks saying something like (What would you like for lunch, or, I’m off to the market) at which point I again almost jump out my skin and jokingly say, (My daring I don’t know what will be the death of me first, the Alzheimer’s, or your, Quiet as a mouse loving care)

Another example was a few days ago when I was sat at the computer typing this book unbeknown to me our niece of 3 years old extremely quietly came into the room and I was so immersed in what I was typing that I did not realize she was standing by my side watching me until her gentle fairy like fingers touched my bare leg (as I was wearing shorts) and a little voice saying (what you doing Uncle) which made me jump so much… that it frightened her and she started to cry… yet besides my almighty shock on this occasion I was still able to laugh and to pick her up for a cuddle (to make it all better with lots of kisses…)

If only all the shocks of this terrible illness could be eradicated with just cuddles and kisses… as I’d be first in the cue…



Barry is a member of the closed group Forget Not on Facebook.  If you wold like to join click on the logo above to ask to be part of the group.

9 Replies to “Dementia – Frequently Jumpy at the Slightest Noise”

      1. Many thanks for your reply Judi and I’m pleased that my story will be helping to explain about dementia to school children
        Best wishes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.