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My mom suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Today while visiting I noticed something totally new. There is a picture of my father hanging above her bed (He passed away 37 years ago.) To make a long story short, she remembered my Dad's name, remembered he was in the service, but didn't seem to associate him with being my father or her husband.

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Yes this is common. My Mom knows my name but is so surprised when I tell her I'm her son. She lives at home with me and thinks that I'm just a worker there. I have to keep reminder her of who I am. This happens almost every day. At first I was hurt that she didn't know I was her son but then I 'jumped' into her world and it really doesn't bother me anymore.
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"First in, last out" is the way I characterize the progression of memory loss. I always find it surprising to observe what people with memory loss remember and what they don't. I also believe it is a very painful aspect of memory loss because adult children lose part of their history as their parent loses their memory.
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As Kevin states so well --- yes this is a step. During my Mom's 2 1/2 year journey with dementia, there were times she asked who that man that was all dressed up in the photo was! It was her wedding photo, her and my Dad! There were times that she thought I was her sister and would ask about her brothers. (I would tell her they had a soccer game they were playing! ) Both my Dad and her siblings were LONG gone! Another time, she asked where my Dad was as he hadn't come home 'last night'. I reminded her he was on a big committee for his fraternal organization and they had a very late meeting. I guess I was very fortunate, my Mom was calm and docile through most of the 2 1/2 years - she accepted my stories. Still, each time I visited, I would greet her with , Hi Mom, it's me my name!
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My heart goes out to you and to all of us who have had to discover the Alzheimer's person's "way of life". I lost my Mom 4 years ago and it feels like yesterday, but the one thing I remember most about those last few years, is the day she called out my name after having a "conversation" with my husband. She would act as if she knew me when I greeted her every day, but she did not. God gave me the strength to live through this and to remember all the good things my mother taught me and gave me. I hope he does the same for all of us.
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Yes, my husband asked me how long we had "been together." He was startled to learn that we were married.
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So sad having to loose someone you love twice. Long before the grieving after a death, there is the grieving of a life that can no longer be remembered. All you can do is go on loving them and hope they can still feel the warmth of the lost relationship
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Alzheimer's/Dementia is one of the most dreaded diseases that inflict so much pain on patients and their families. The brain is very complicated and sometimes it seems like the brain cells are no longer there since they can't remember who you are and just as suddenly, one day, they will call you by name and know who you are! Never take any of this personally though, because it's just the disease. Just go along with whatever he/she says and keep it happy and kind. None of them can help it, even those who seem to be agitated and mean suddenly. That's just fear about who you are what you are doing there with them. It's always best to let them know immediately who you are even if you are doing it on a daily basis, like geewhiz esplains, "Hi, Mom/Dad, it's me again, (name) so they won't have to wonder. Spend as much time as possible with them because it will end soon. Always identify another who approaches as well, such as, "look, (name), so and so has come to visit today". Not knowing creates stress and they think they will be laughed at for not knowing who it is so just identify everyone. My mother didn't always remember me either and thought she was in Hawaii of all places! If only! If they are in fairly good health otherwise, they and you may have to deal with this for a long time but if they also have other ailments, it usually last for about 2-5 years, just to give you an idea. A lot of that time can be spent at home but eventually, they will have to go into an AL first, then full nursing home, then hospice. Parents don't hesitate to do what is necessary for their children (most of them anyway) when they are raising them and when it becomes necessary for life to reverse itself and children are taking care of parents, do it with grace and kindness so they are at peace and feel safe.
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Alz patients progress in plateaus. My mom thought I was also a helper for her and my dad! I finally realized that when I would take dad somewhere without her, she was upset with me! So, I called him away and we went shopping or for chores, and he came in alone. this did not upset her! Best wishes. My mom died 3 years ago and dad almost a year ago. Miss them!
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Yes, for a year before my husband died, he thought I was either his brother (he could not seem to distinguish between male and female)) or the lady who took care of him. Don't take it personally. It's part of the disease.
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Thank you, cothrangirl3 for posting on this subject. Dementia is heart-breaking, confounding, sometimes fascinating, and in my case, occassionally hilarious. My Mom is 94+ with now moderate dementia. She still recognizes all immediate family and her good friends who visit frequently. She even recognizes my voice on the phone. Luckily, she is still, sweet, happy, social and has a great sense of humor....all good.

BUT....over the last year she has developed "delusions" about who certain people are and what their relationship to her is in reality. For instance, she has been convinced for almost a year now that one of the male LPN's is actually her HS boyfriend and he lives down the hall from her. Luckily, Rich is wonderful...he truly likes Mom and goes right along with her. Recently, when I visited, he told me that apparently he and Mom had a wonderful date: they went ice skating...lol...she's in a wheelchair and they're in SW FL....but Mom grew up in Chicago....no doubt, many, many years ago she really did go ice skating with her HS bf.

For a long time (about 9 months) Mom talked constantly about her 2 sons named J*** (she has 1 son, his name is J***). She actually confronted my brother over the dinner table at a large (family and friends) Thanksgiving dinner saying she didn't really think he was "the nice J***... from Houston....the one who pays my bills". Unable to convince Mom of who he was, my brother finally showed her his DL. Mom reluctantly accepted that he was "the nice J*** from Houston". Then she refused to give his DL back, asking, "Why can't I keep it? Don't you have another one?"....lol...Luckily, my brother is a nice, patient guy with a good sense of humor!

Brother got his payback a few months later. Unfortunately, Mom had another fall and serious bone break requiring surgery. A couple of days after surgery, he called me from Mom's hospital room. I could hear her yacking away and bossing him around, demanding things so I knew her recovery was going well! My brother said, "Excuse me, Mom....I'm on the phone with M***. If you really can't wait for whatever you need right now, maybe you can ask the "other J" to get it for you!"......OMG.....we all roared with laughter...including, maybe especially, Mom!

This weekend, my brother told me that whenever Mom sees a female with long blonde hair on the TV, she thinks it is me. She points and says, "Oh....there's M***!" Actually, calling her a few weeks ago, when I asked what she was doing, she did tell me that she was watching me on TV. I thought I had misheard her!

Jeez....what a long, strange ride it is.....
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