How do you cope when your Alzheimer's parent doesn't remember the family?

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My mother is 84 with Alzheimer's Disease, who lives with me and my wife; I am her son. She remembers our family less and less. She really doesn't remember her other sons, which she see infrequently.

Two days ago, I was trying to talk about old times, but she doesn't remember my father anymore who died a few years ago, who she was married to for 60 years. She didn't recognize his name, and I pulled a picture or two and she had no idea who he was. She is recognizing me and my my wife less and less. Is this a sign of her Alzheimer's Disease progressing?

I knew this was coming. It was such an emotional punch in the gut, when she looked at a photograph of my father and she had no idea who he was. I know these are the "good old days," and that things are going to get worse. I keep telling myself that. I logically understand that. I guess if she can't remember my father I have to expect she won't remember anything.

Most days she still remembers me, depending on how she feels that day. I know I need to be grateful for that, because I know what it feels like when she doesn't remember me, her son. One day, she asked me to prove who I was. So I pulled out my wallet and my driver's license.

When an Alzeheimer's Disease patient is questioning who you are, how long can you take of them at home?

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One day my mother said, "No, you are not my daughter. Not my little Laura." And all I could do was laugh because in actuality, I don't look like I did when I was a baby or a teenager or even a young adult. I have put on a bit of weight, well, more than a bit, and I DO look different than I used to. Right now, her mental age is younger than mine, so I seem like the older person in the room. And that being said, it would seem impossible for her to have a daughter who is older than she is! Yes, it is sad, but shifting your perspective to what your father's perspective might be could help alleviate some of the pain. Good luck.
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The nursing home I placed mom in called me for everything. If she was holding hands with someone they called and asked if that was okay. Because my mom was a pacer and I mean never sitting down, it was a safe place for her to roam. I guess had she been bed ridden it would have been different. I really could not of handled the very end, it was just to devastating. As much as I hated leaving her at the NH, I needed time to let go. You are so connected as a caregiver and the mother child bond is so strong. You are never ready to say goodbye to your dear parent. You have to remember that you have to carry on without them, so you have to take care of you.
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It sure hurts when you come to realize that a parent doesn't remember the family. I'm finding it with my dad now. The way I handle it is I don't ask him do you know who this is? I don't want him to feel inferior because he doesn't remember. If I show him a picture, I don't say "do you know who this is"? I say look, here's a picture of you, Joe, Bob etc. I feel that I'm robbing him of his dignity by asking. It may sound stupid to some, but it helps me with dad and I feel that he may have lost his memory, but he still has his dignity. I never get upset with him when he can't remember. I keep telling myself that he can't help it and how would I feel if I was in his position?
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I've bee there with my grandmother, just remember it's the dementia that is robbing her of her memories and she has no control over that. It is difficult when our loved ones don't remember us. Just remember her as she was and find help to take care of her now. As the above posting, contact your local Area Agency on Aging or Bureau of Senior Services they can inform you of options for your mother's care which includes home and community based services. They should also have a caregiver program that includes a caregiver support group. Dementia robs us of our loved ones twice: one when there mind goes and then again when the body passes on. You may see moments of clarity until the disease finally takes away that ability.
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How do you cope? One moment at a time. I had the pleasure of speaking to my mom on Tuesday this week and by Wednesday she was back to memory loss. I'm still reeling...... one moment at a time.
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My Mom is at home with caregivers and I am very nearby. I see her 3-4 times per week. I was there this week and she asked who was in a picture on the mantle (My Dad -her hubby of 52 yrs) I told her it was her hubby. She said I don't know him . Then I grabbed a photo of their wedding day and her face lit up and she said there he is-thats my honeybun!
it's a very strange disease but she truly has no idea. She does knows that she is surrounded by people that love her and she loves us. I have seen so much worse ways to exit this life. I pray for God's mercy and blessings everyday. Peace to everyone on this journey.
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Stressed52, omg I am SO sorry for your loss! How dare they tell you not to come to see your Mom, sneaky no good jerks! This reinforces why my Mom is with me. I have interviewed over 100 CNA's and I have heard so many horror stories of why they now want to do private care and not work in a nursing home. Bless you !
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I took care of my mother for 8 years and she had dementia. She did not get to the point that she did not know my siblings or I but her memory of my father did seem to wain and she too had been married for 60 years and was 85.

I know it may feel like a punch in the gut that she does not remember anyone but it is the disease progressing, and it is not her fault. Rationally we do know that but sometimes we lose sight of that and may even begin to believe in a way that it is their fault or that they are pretending. I was shocked to hear my older sister say in the hospital as our mother was dying that what a nurse had told her was true and she had never thought of it that way....she was told by the nurse that Mom could not help her actions, it was the progression of the disease. I thought to myself, "Oh my God how could you not realize that?" Her and my mother had a combative relationship and she would get to the point she was yelling and was then shocked that Mom would yell back at her...(who wouldn't?)

As far as how long can you take care of her at home....that will depend on you and how long you can handle her and the disease. I have a line of relatives that every single woman in that family has died of Alzheimers (scary!) and there are two who are still being cared for at home by their children who are in their 60's.

After caring for my Mom for 8 years, I became sick and developed panic and anxiety attacks; I was literally going out of my mind. I went to a hospital one night and was admitted for stress and told by two doctors that I could not return home to care for my mother unless I wanted to die of a heart attack or stroke. When they told me to turn to my 22 year old daughter and tell her goodbye now, I decided that I could no longer do this alone.

We hired an in home care giver for 8-12 hours a day but my older sister said it wasn't enough after just 4 months of her being responsible for Mom's care in the evenings and she wanted her placed in a nursing home.

I have to say that I had requested this myself 4 months earlier and both sisters told me NO! As a matter of fact this sister gave me 30 days to get over the panic and anxiety, fire the in home care giver and get back to caring for our mother! When I walked out the door and said I wasn't coming back anytime soon, I think they were in shock! After 4 months my older sister said she could no longer take care of Mom, the house and the property.....it was too hard and she just could not handle it! She had no concern whatsoever about me having to do it!

Anyway as pamstegman said, you MUST TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, 30% OF CAREGIVERS DIE BEFORE THE PATIENT DOES DUE TO STRESS! Some will wind up committing suicide and I have to admit, it crossed my mind because I felt like I had failed and I saw this as my only way out. Those two doctors saved my life in the hospital by telling me to leave.

When it gets to the point that you can no longer handle the care then you need to place your Mom in a Skilled Nursing Facility who deals with Alzheimer's patients.
I do not want to scare anyone, but you need to be aware that in my search, there were no beds available at ANY homes in our area, so you need to begin a search now and check out each home and see what the availability of a room is.

You need to ask many questions of them, and unfortunately you need to keep constant watch on your parent in the nursing home to make sure they are not being abused or neglected. My mother could walk and talk and take care of her personal needs, but after just two weeks she sustained a mysterious "fall" and had a huge bruise on her forehead and back of her head. They did not take her to the hospital for 16 hours and did not call me until the following day. They kept telling me that she was fine and told me "Do not come to the nursing home, she is fine." She wasn't, it turned out that she had 4 hemorrhages of the brain, pneumonia, MRSA and broken ribs as well as bruises.....she died 9 days later.

I was getting ready to have a TV installed in her bedroom at the nursing home and something hit me that rather than the TV I should be installing a camera to keep an eye on her....it was too late.

What happened to my mother will never be known because they have lied to us numerous times since the fall, but everyone needs to keep an eye on their loved ones to protect them. I cannot tell you how many people I have met in the last month who have told me the same exact story!!! It is an ABUSE epidemic!

I know there are many good homes out there and all you can do is be as diligent as possible to find one and check on her every day or have a camera installed in her room to keep an eye on her and her care, get a nanny cam or leave a tape recorder there to hear what is happening....I SO WISH I HAD!!!!!!!

Listen to that small still voice within you and act accordingly. God Bless you and your family!!!
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It shocked me when my mom at 82 did not remember her husband who had passed. She lost all the memory of my dad and their 46 years of marriage. So you can not talk of old times, as they simply do not remember. I said, to her, Im your daughter. She said, I didn't even know I had a daughter. Of course that hurt me. Them sometimes, she would introduce me and say this is my daughter. I always said, when mom does not know me any longer, and is incontinent and wont listen to me, then it would be time for nursing home. The time came in April and she was there 10 weeks and passed on July 3. The disease is so hard sometimes to deal with. How do you explain to them that their things were not stolen but that they just do not remember where they put them. It was a never ending cycle. It becomes a very long day, when they can't entertain themselves. Looking back now, I see that mom was existing but not really living. I was lucky that mom never was violent. I just kept telling her we all loved her and she was a great lady. I miss her smiling face everyday!
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Sometimes people with considerable dementia "come alive" with music. You might try playing some old favorites.
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