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My 82-year-old grandma was just recently diagnosed with dementia and was prescribed Memantine. She is in the early stages between "mild" and "moderate." She is still very aware of what is going on with her health and is having difficulty accepting it.

She's the most intelligent person I know, but her age is catching up with her. Within the past 5 years, her health (physical and mental) has deteriorated rapidly. She is also the most stubborn person I know. We have a close relationship, but my mother is the only person who she lets see how her changes in health have affected her outlook on life. Whenever I visit, she always tells me that she's okay, as to not worry me... but my mom tells me that she is struggling.

I want to be able to make it so that she feels comfortable expressing her true feelings and thoughts with me. I think if she could/would, I could help her enjoy life a little bit at a time. Then, there is figuring out how I do that!

I know these are very broad questions but I have to ask: How can I get her to open up to me without her feeling interrogated? What are the right questions? How can I help her feel better about her mental state? What are some ways I can help her have joy in her life again?

I really appreciate any response. Thank you.

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Make sure you don't point out any errors she may make in conversation which are related to her memory deficits. Learn to answer repeated questions as if they are being asked the first time. Be patient with her and with yourself and remember to laugh together and be silly. She is lucky to have such a caring granddaughter.
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Be very grateful that Gram has at least one person (your mom) that she can open up with. That is probably enough.

You can be one that she is "normal" with. The others have given you good advice.

Where is Gram living now? Does she have a caregiver?
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Thank you for all your kind responses. I've learned a lot from you all and I appreciate the honesty. I feel a lot better about how to handle this. Thank you!
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I agree, continue to do things you've always done, encourage her to reminisce, write down or record family stories, recipes etc. for she may not be able to do so soon. Love her. I can only imagine if I had dementia, I wouldn't want to 'share' it, and wouldn't want others to see my memory issues. Don't ask her about the dementia, modify activities if possible to accommodate her. Contact your local Alzheimer's association they can give you tips and provide education on dementia.
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Take her out to eat, watch a movie together, and tell her about your life. Bring her your joy....let her talk but always bring in the positive.

She will change as the disease progresses. These are the good days so just enjoy them with her.

Not sure you can do any more than that. She will naturally have some down days knowing what she has. Try to accentuate the positive...

Hope this helps...
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Oh my do not ask her about the "D" word, dementia. Just be her grand daughter. Let her feel as normal as you can, do things that make her smile. Have coffee with her, ask her what life was like at your age, share some cookies.
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