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Mom is in mid stage dementia and lives with my husband and I.

We attended my niece's wedding this past weekend. Mom only recognized the bride as her grand child (there were 5 others at the wedding including my children).and did not know several of my cousins their spouses, one of my SIL and many other long tie friends and family.

Last night she was sad because :"my grand children did not even come to talk with me at the wedding!" My husband and I reassured her that they had all come to visit with her at the wedding many times and had hugged her, even danced with her.

We stepped into a mine field! She was immediately furious with us insisting she did not see any of them. Then she stomped off to bed declaring that we are just so mean to her
.
I know we must accept her reality but I didn't intentionally try to hurt her feelings.

How would you have handled this situation? Any clues will be most appreciated.

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ppalmer 316
We have the same problem with children and grandchildren. No one wants to visit except one or two and there are 8 children and 25 grandchildren and then there are the greats which are quite young. I don't understand but suppose it is because they feel they can't communicate so why bother. One of the kids said, my dad is already dead but he is very much alive. They don't call on Holidays or his birthday. Very sad. Figure their day is coming
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If it makes you feel any better my Mom has 20 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren??? I don't even know all their names!!!

I don't worry about her in a social situation with them...they never come to visit so 'screw them"..But why should they come visit their parents don't...
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mlface, my DH and I had a discussion last night about how words have lost their meaning to my mother. Cantelope is called grapefruit, fish is chicken, granddaughter is niece, etc. It is a challenge to keep a straight face some times!
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I know my husband w/dementia doesn't remember names or usually faces but I never thought about when I say our granddaughter the word might not mean a thing.
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'Rhonda, thanks for you thoughts. We are not ashamed of anything Mom does. We can only support her and have no expectation of trying to fix anything. It took a few years, but our family fully understands our role in Mom's journey.
Starshine, you are right about the pictures. The hard part is that even when looking at the pictures Mom will comment that she doesn't remember that happening. The sad part of her comment is that she is acknowledging out loud that she has a problem. Sometimes this upsets her and can turn the rest of the day or evening into an unpleasant memory for everyone else.
Fortunately, we are able to roll with it. But it can be exhausting. Mom has been here 6 months and I feel like I've aged years.
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When your mother doesn't recognize relatives, don't be ashamed for her there is nothing you can do except to tell your mother who they are. She may or may not remember but that's not your job to fix her memory be always kind and be mindful of your mother's level of comfort that is what you can fix
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When your mother doesn't recognize relatives, don't be ashamed for her there is nothing you can do except to tell your mother who they are. She may or may not remember but that's not your job to fix her memory be always kind and be mindful of your mother's level of comfort that is what you can fix
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My mom also wants to go home to her mama and daddy . she doesn,t like to bathe,or go anywhere "They" keep telling her various nonsense I am Jo, her sister, her mama, Gloria, my sister etc. She sits still untin dusk dark then the pacing starts its getting more and more difficult to clean her up. I know a cleaning is necessary especiall in the bottom part so for an hour or more we endure cussing,and just plain contrariness on mom's part. As the caregivers we do our part with the knowledge that we're doing the right thing.After all what is a few hours of frustration compared to their 24 hours of frustration. Be glad its not you and pray Psalms 71:1-9
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My suggestion would be to talk pictures of the people and her when they are together so she can see them and KNOW, if only for the time looking at the photos, that yes, they did show up and talk with her. Not easy. Just best to be reassuring and NOT argue. Easier to change the subject. Blessings.
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Thank you for your thoughts and ideas. We really are not taking anything personally and realize it is the disease. We did put out a photo album. Mom will sit and look through it but not remember many relatives. For us, one of our problems is that Mom has OCD on top of the dementia. She never had a hobby or an interest in anything but cleaning her home. These days she dries dirty dishes with clean dish towels, puts dirty clothes in the dryer, and incessantly moves our things (which sometimes means we can't find things). We have to try to be three steps ahead of her most of the time so exhaustion is my most familiar state. Crying, breathing, laughing, praying and finding ways to relax help. We have care givers who take her out for a few hours several times a week so that I can have some time to take care of things at home. I am so grateful I'd found this forum before we moved Mom in with us! I learned so much and continue to learn and appreciate the support and empathy I find here.. You are all wonderful friends. Hugs to you, too! Bee
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My husband is in the mid to late stages of dementia and hasn't recognized me or any of the kids and grandchildren for a few years now. At first it was difficult to understand but the neurologist told me this would happen so I was at least prepared. One thing I do notice is that if we see the same people often he seems to recognize he might know them but doesn't call them by name. I think we are familiar to him because we (wife and friends) see him daily. Looking at photos no longer works but I talk to him about the family and call each child by name as I talk to him. I am sure he doesn't know who I am talking about. If he does talk to one of the kids, he tells me he hasn't seen or talked to them recently so I let it go. Sometimes when I pick him up from Day Care, he will ask who I am. I laugh and joke with him and pretty soon I am that familiar face who is always around. I can tell because he is smiling at me and wants me to hold his hand and give kisses. He doesn't do this with anyone else. What can I say except to love them and be good to them. It doesn't matter if they remember you. This disease is dreadful and it is not their fault. Trust me, I know my husband would never want to live this way and I am thankful he doesn't know how bad he really is. God Bless all of you for helping your loved one thru our difficult journey.
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Please do not take any of these behaviors personally. She cannot help remembering faces and events, and she will not believe you when you try to tell her otherwise. Just make up something about the grandchildren could not come, or they were sick, but don't try and convince a person with dementia what reality is or was because you will lose every time. The next day or even several hours later they might remember and they might not. Just show photos of the wedding to her and maybe she might recognize someone. But, again, do not take any of these forgetting behaviors personally. It is not your job to make them remember for you cannot. Best wishes for the time ahead.
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We are very careful about where we take mother. A restaurant with just family, works well, but a church function is very uncomfortable. There are numerous people who do not know about her dementia. If someone walks up to strike up a conversation, We say something like: "Oh mother, isn't cousin Susie looking great", or "Mom, don't you just love the hat that Aunt Mable has on." It doesn't always help, but it lends a little dignity to the situation. We try to keep uncomfortable situations from lasting too long and say something like, "Oh, we've gotta get moving, the parking meter is about to expire." or something such. I've also made her a photo album of recent pictures of all her children and grandchildren (and Ggrands) this kinda keeps the faces more current.
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I also have my Mom living with me, she has dementia. Like NYtoFLAgirl I do find that prayers and faith help alot:). Helps to calm the spirit and thereby helps to cope better. I also read the same 2 books and refer to them all the time- "36 Hour Day" and "Speaking the Language of Alzheimers". I also purchased "Moments of Joy" which is also excellent. These are my go-to books. My closest friends whom I can confide in and this forum are very good stress relievers also. As to the original question: I also let people know ahead of time when attending an event that she may not know who they are. I also have realized that hugs feel good to my Mom even when she doesn't recognize who is hugging her!
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This is a awful disease and very hard to understand at the best of times. Maybe if you gathered some old pictures ( as they do tend to slip into the past) and put together a picture book with their names and such it may help her to remember. Anger is only part of the disease and you can't take it literally. Try playing a game with the pictures to see who she recalls. I hope this helps.
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My Mom has ALZ. she doesn't always know who i am. (her daughter)Mom calls me 'her sister', her 'best friend'. I take that as believing she knows I'm her daughter but forgets meaning of words. :) But its ok. I've learned to go 'into her reality' and just 'be' in there for the moment. Changing the subject helps, doing so quickly. :) I too walk outside and take a breathe, cry to the One above!, and feel a sense of calm and it helps. I just know, 'its not Mom..its the disease..and it helps me to have such compassion for her. My mother is one of the best women in this world. I'll always remember her beauty inside and out! And try my best to handle this disease that is taking my little Momma away from me. Prayers help alot. :) I certainly hope you can cope too with the realities of this disease. I read "speaking the language of ALZ" and "36 hour day" book. They helped too. Also I appreciate all the sincere comments people give on "aging newsletter" to me. BIG HUGS TO ALL OF YOU THAT HAVE A PARENT LIKE MINE WITH ALZ/DEMENTA.
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sweetie, you are going to have to learn to let it roll of your back, as my mom also had dementia, i am her full time caregiver and daughter, caring for her now 7 years, when she says nasty things or yells at me, i just walk outside and take a breathe, sometimes i just go sit somewhere and cry to reduce my stress, it is not them it is just the disease, i so wish they had a cure, will keep you in my prayers, many hugs
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I'm in the same boat with you guys...and I have done much of the same like Patti.

My mom often wants to go 'home' at night, too! And we are in the home she's lived in since 1958! I find it kind of ironically funny that I moved in here so she could stay at home and she doesn't even think she's home half of the time!

I have to laugh. I've cried enough. I had a period of mourning or grief for my mom's lucidity. It is better now, though. We have fun with it sometimes because we have to have fun somehow!

Lately she's taken to calling me 'mother.' And I still call her mom. It's kind of cute.
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Thanks, Pattie. We don't take it personally. In fact, Mom talks to us about us, referring to us as "they". Back in November this was a very different situation. Over the past few months we have seen drastic changes in Mom. It is obvious from her comments that she often thinks I am her sister. The other day she was going out with a CG to exercise class and she said "Good bye, Mommy". I guess I have multiple personality disorder. lol Thank you for your thoughts. We will find ways to get through this and it's people like you who help us. Hugs across the miles. Bee
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What a tough situation, but so common when dealing with this disease. When my dad was in this stage we would 'introduce' people to him, even family and friends, with a reminder - "Dad, here's Amy your niece, or "Say Hi to your grandson,Tony. Do you remember the cocker spaniel he used to have?" Or even remind him of "Ann, your wife." It's hard not to, but you really can't take them not recognizing you personally, and I found that letting family and friends know in advance just how far the disease had progressed helped both them and us.
I also found over years of dealing with declining memory issues that these things are never good to discuss at night. Between just being tired and the possibility of Sundowners' making dementia patients all the more fearful, sometimes it's better to just say "Yes, mom, I can understand how you feel. Lets talk about it in the morning" and move on, if possible. Or perhaps change the subject to how pretty the brides dress was or if she liked a particular song. I got very very good at changing the subject and we even managed to clear up some perceptions he had after he was rested and sometimes more coherent. When he would insist, always at night, sometimes aggressively that it was time for him to go home - and he was already home - instead of arguing with him, I would ask him to describe what his home looked like, what things were in it -- then show him those things and sometimes get him to talk about where they came from. Arguing didn't ever seem to have any impact at all except to upset him and upset me as well. Sometimes I would just put him in the car and drive around the block... it was easier than arguing and sometimes did the trick. There were times I would call a family member who may have just visited that very day and ask them to talk to Dad for a minute because he didn't remember seeing them. Sometimes I would call a family friend who would PRETEND to be a family member and would talk to Dad for awhile - it was enough to soothe him and there was no harm done. We do what we have to do. Sometimes you have to be creative about it. We've had many gatherings where everyone wore name tags, it was silly and fun and helped immensely.

Big hugs, and hang in there!
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