How can I answer and keep things positive?

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Mom w ALZ forgets I visit, keeps asking when I'm visiting, also when she can go back to her house. My mom's ALZ is progressing. She doesn't remember something that happened 5 minutes ago. So she almost immediately forgets when i visit. She is in assisted living about 1 1/2 hours away. She's more confused as well. she asks frequently when i'm coming to visit, even if i was just there. Also says that she may want to go back to her house- she thinks the family still lives there. How do i respond in a way to keep things positive, and helps me not get frustrated and defeated? It's a catch 22, telling her i was just there will upset her, and i don't want to lie that i'm coming the next day. Any tips?


Lie! They are called therapeutic white lies. What is the goal of the answer to her questions? To make her feel better and relax a bit. So you tell her exactly what she wants to hear. That will lower her anxiety level tremendously. So, tell her you will see her in the morning. Tell her that the doctor says she may be able to go home soon. You want her comfortable. I understand you do not want to lie. But she cannot process information correctly anyway. And she will forget what you have told her almost as soon as you tell her. Relieving her anxiety will help her and help you.
Bailey, I'm not much of a reader when it comes to educational stuff like dementia, alzheimer, etc... I found that I have much more patience in learning these stuff by videos. I think you will find it very, very informative if you google YouTube videos by Teepa Snow. I read so much about her here on AC. After a year here, I finally looked her up. Oh my goodness!!! I found her fascinating.

Please try: Teepa Snow - Making Visits Count.

She makes these mini videos in progressive segments. So, that if you only have time to watch one video, then one. Or two videos, etc.... By watching her videos, it will help you know how to react with your mom's dementia.
Jeanne, I learned from four years of hands on, 24/7 caregiving to my Mom with Alzheimer's. I gave up trying to explain things so she could reason things out within a few months of starting the care. No matter how I explained it, nothing made sense to Mom. So, give up! It is not worth the frustration either Mom or I experienced when things did not make sense to her!

Much of what I learned was also on this site, though I did not find it for about a year. The book "The 36 Hour Day" helped. Teepa Snow videos helped. It is using ALL resources available to us, taking what you think you can use and put it into practice. If some method does not work, then try something else. Never give up, there is an answer and the goal was to make Mom comfortable. Feeling guilty was not in my playbook. Only whatever it took!
Jeanne, and find a caregiver support meeting in your area. The Alzheimer's Association website has links to chapters all over the country that include a listing of support groups and training classes offered in your area. Home Instead, a home care agency, also has a class for family caregivers that they do not charge for. Some churches also have classes and support groups. You have to do the research of what is available in your area to find the resources you need and could use. Another valuable resource is the Area Agency On Aging, which is federally funded, they have information on whom to contact about anything you can possibly imagine.
You are welcome, Jeanne. How long have you been caring for Mom? Is it 24/7? How far in the progression is she?
bailey33, when it comes to someone who has serious memory issues, keep it short and sweet, easy to understand.

With my Mom [98] any time she wanted to visit her Mom I would say "We will go tomorrow" and that was all I said. That made her smile and she was content.... I knew she would forget about it after awhile.

My Mom would also want to go "home" but we knew "home" wasn't the house she had shared with Dad for the past 30 years, it was her childhood home that she wanted to visit.

Tell yourself that therapeutic white lies are permissible. You won't get struck by lightening if you use them.
My mother is the same. She is in a nursing home and at 101 is pretty healthy but she has dementia. She doesn't remember we have been there five minutes after we leave. I was visiting her and left to go to the bathroom, and when I came back she said "Oh, I didn't know you were coming today". Its so sad. And when I get ready to leave she says "I'm coming with you. You can drop me off at home". Or she says "I want to get out of here and go back to my house" (which was sold 10 years ago). We just say "you are here to get well and stronger and then we can talk about it". That seems to satisfy her. No sense arguing - if we say "you can't take care of a home any more" she says "Oh, yes I can". Its part of the dementia. They remember only those times of the past and think the home is waiting for them. Try to keep your Mom calm and happy by answering with half truths. She won't remember them anyway.
Bailey33 all the answers above are 100% correct. Gladimhere is spot on, knowledge is the key to being a wonderful Caregiver. I love the line Feeling guilty was not in My playbook. Whatever it takes. This is very inspiring.

Hello bailey33 I can sense from Your post that You and Your Mom are very close and therefore You can not lie to Your Mom but remember You are not telling a deceitful lie for Your own gain, You are just telling a little fib to help Your Mom to settle peacefully and to feel happier and more content in Her surrounds.
Alz is a terrible disease. I live it with My own Mother every day. Alzheimer's is some times called the silent thief because it robs the Sufferer of every thing. God help Them it's a horrible end to a beautiful Life. I pray that a cure will be discovered soon to this awful disease.
thank you all for your comments. they really have helped me dust myself off and pick myself back up and keep being there for my mom. Today she said "you know, maybe I should go back to the house; i think my mom might be there." so instead of explaining how that's not possible i said , "you think? well, we can go check it out whenever you want." she said "okay" and we kept chatting. No guilt, nobody got upset. thank you!

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