Mil is 88 and lives with my husband (her son) and me. Recently, she does not remember that we are married, have children and she even has one great granddaughter that we see frequently.

Time and relationships have become foreign concepts to her. I can often just agree with a lot of what she says but how do I respond to questions?

"How long have I known Craig (second son)? I don't remember my parents talking about him. I must have been in college when he was in high school."

"Who were the young people (her grandchildren) at the funeral? I don't know how they fit into my family."

These are questions that are hard to tell fibs about, I think. When we say the truth, she just looks at us like we are talking another language.

I've been watching my granddaughter a couple times a week. I've tried to explain that she is the granddaughter of her oldest son and she might even look like she understands and then she says, "I don't remember my parents telling me about her."

It's just crazy! I have tried having her tell me who she thinks she is, but she just responds that she'll have to think on that and then asks me again.


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That sounds awfully frustrating! If you're too tired to answer the same questions, could you try saying "I don't know", or "I'm not sure". ??(After all, you don't want to go crazy yourself).
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Here's my perspective. The dementia brain is like a puzzle that can never be solved. And the only right answer is the one that keeps them satisfied and calm at the time. If we try to keep thinking logically and explaining the true reality or factual information, it's often just useless. Like with the second son thing and parents not telling her about that? How about "Oh, yes, maybe you were". I don't know the answers of course, but with my mom, we have found it's all about the CURRENT moment. Because in the next moment? All is different anyway.
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I don't see why you would have constantly tell her she has sons she has forgotten about. She could be in a stage where she has no husband or children. She maybe in her childhood. Telling her otherwise is confusing. I remember someonectelling Mom I was her daughter. She looked at them like they were nuts. When she asks how long she has known anyone tell her the years or since birth. That should be enough.
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When you are speaking to her, are you expecting or wanting her to respond as though she understands what you’re talking about?
It sounds from what you’re describing as though the fact is, she doesn’t Remember or understand your attempts to establish the chronology of family members.
I respond to questions with simple information, not much detail, and assume that the question will soon be asked again.
”How long have I known Craig?” Ans- “since he was born. Craig’s your son”. (Repeat)
When talking to my LO, I choose to receive all her answers as “ok”. Sometimes she’s right on the mark, sometimes pretty far away, but If she’s relaxed and cheerful and comfortable in the moment, I’m content with that.
Changes like your MIL’s are a fact of life as symptoms of dementia. The “stages” can last for a long time or move quickly.
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