How can dad forget what he ate just 5 minutes ago but he can play our whistle game?

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Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 8 years ago. He has lived with me for the last 6 years. I don't understand how he can forget what he ate just 5 minutes ago and ask 5 times in 15 minutes, "where is this place?" but he can play our whistle game. In the game I start by whistling a few random notes and he copies them perfectly. We do this for awhile, then I whistle a phrase of a song (kid's song, hymn, Christmas carol, etc.) and he will whistle the next part of the song, on key and perfectly. I don't understand. It's so mind boggling! How can it be Alzheimer's? How can it not be? Any insight?

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For those who have to constantly repeat yourself n if your love one can still read, I high suggest getting a white board where u can write it down n just point for him/her to read it. It kind of gives them a sense that they have some Independence n hopefully your tongue won't fall off due to constantly repeating. But that would half to be able to still read n understand it n even if they forget n ask the question 5mintues later, all u got to do is point at the whiteboard. The Dollar Store has smalls one n Walmart carries the bigger ones. I sometimes put the day, year n what will happen for that day if she has a appointment. However, don't put it up if that person gets upset about the dr for I wait until it time to go. Sometimes it learn as u go. I am still trying to figure out how my mil can hide stuff but cannot remember what she just ate.
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My dad has dementia.. He will ask the same question over and over.. I get so tired of him asking and impatient at times.. But, I keep myself in check and realize he can't help himself.. In his right set of mind he would be mortified if he knew how he is now.. I feel so sorry for him... So, I just keep answering him..over and over......
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There are times that my Mother is so sharp I think she is "punking" me when she forgets the simplest tasks. At times I am waiting for her to yell "psyche" when she forgets the simple stuff but can play cards and win everyones money! We know so little about the brain and with all of our medical advances the brain is still a mystery to our medical professionals. What you are describing just happens - I guess it is just the part of the brain that the disease is affecting. The sad part for me was until I really educated myself I would get some hope. Now I know that she is not getting better, that this is the natural course the disease is going to take and I really cannot take this horrible disease personally. I just want my body to give out before my mind does - do not want to do this to my own daughter. Bless you for being a caregiver.
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dogtherapy, I wonder if you would be more comfortable in the caregiving role if you learned more about your father's disease. What you describe is typical of dementia.
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It sounds like your dad has short-term deficits, but demonstrates echolalia which is the ability to repeat words or sounds verbatim by a dementia patient. Do not get frustrated by his behaviors and do not try and understand them. It is just the nature of the disease. Be grateful he can still do the whistle song with you because soon he will lose that ability and then you will not have him one day. So be thankful for the time he and you have left to be together.
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My Dad has Dementia, and he had a stroke that took out his short term memory. He will remember the oddest things, but forget stuff he just was told 5 minutes ago. I found that you have to have patience with this. Just say, "Dad remember we ate...?" and keep taking deep breaths, and remember; he can't help it. If you need any other ideas, I have tons. Been dealing with his short term memory loss since November of 2000. Good Luck
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I had short term memory loss, but that was before I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. Now I use a CPAP. :-) W
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He remembers what he wants to. Like I just got done changing out diapers for the umpteenth time. I want to forget it ever happened! :-) LOL W
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Hang in there, this is common, the short term memory goes first but they may remember things that happened 20 years ago, I am dealing with this now with my mom who lives with me, she has moderate dementia, will keep you in my prayers
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The mind is a strange, wonderful and scary thing. My father was doing the same thing, but was diagnosis ed with mixed dementia. He would forget that he had eaten a meal or taken his medication and insist on doing it again.
His short, I mean really short term memory was terrible, but he can remember things from his childhood that are amazing!
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