My LO, my cousin, has Vascular Dementia mixed with Alzheimers. She's 63 and in a Secure Memory Unit. She has all the symptoms of Stage 6 on the Alzheimer's chart. She's now in a wheelchair. She does recognize me. She recalls my brothers, but thinks they are kids. (They are 52 and 42 years of age.) She needs extensive assistance with all areas except feeding herself.

She still has good oral skills and that is encouraging. I made a comment around the director of the Memory Care Unit that I was hoping for at least a couple more years of her keeping the status quo. She didn't say anything, but the look on her face was odd. I instantly got the feeling that my appreciation of her condition and progression was off. So, I now have to prepare myself for the day that she won't know who I am when I walk into the place or meet her for her doctor appointments. Do I just hug her and introduce myself?

Do they know if the person just feels the love and so you just keep giving in that way?

It doesn't appear that many of the people with no memory of their loved ones get many visitors. Do the families just stop going to visit once they have no idea who they are? I can imagine it is a tough thing to do.

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I suppose you're right. I'll just keep doing as I always have. No other family or friends go to visit that much. Just my parents a couple of times, but she has forgotten about it, so they don't feel compelled to return. Plus, they are elderly and have their own health issues. I think going to the facility upsets them. None of us know if may end up there.

The staff tells me that she is always asking when I will be there and if I'll meet them at the doctor appointment. When I do she is all smiles and happy as can be, but I know that will not lasts.

I don't know how long she may stage in stage 6, but she has progressed pretty quickly to that point. It's just shocking how dementia can literally rob you of your life.
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You need say nothing. It is all in her eyes and yours. When my neighbor, Harold, could no longer speak or find his way home, I could always hug him and he would smile. Touch is so incredibly important, to all of us.
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It can't hurt to try.

I mean, supposing we're all just romantic sentimental fools, and the person with advanced AD is not, as we fondly imagine, feeling anything at all. What have we lost? Love is about giving it, as well as receiving it. So even if your cousin doesn't feel better for your presence (and I'm not at all sure about that, because who knows what's going on in her head?), you'll feel better for knowing you're watching over her.

Small consolation. I'm sorry you're having to face this prospect. Hugs to you.
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