My older relative has been in full care for more than a year. He is always happy to see me and knows who I am. He also remembers other relatives. I have been told by other family members that he forgets about our visits moments after we leave and that there is no need for me to feel guilty for not visiting more frequently. He has never said so himself, but I still find it difficult to not be there more often. I have seen him before he knows I am there and he always looks as if he is okay and not lonely, but after a visit he never wants me to leave. It is very sad.
Is this common?

Long time ago I remember reading about a husband who use to go to the Memory Care to have lunch with his wife. Someone asked him why does he go since his wife no longer knows who he is.... the husband replied that he goes because he still knows who she is.
Helpful Answer (27)
Reply to freqflyer
ArtistDaughter Dec 28, 2018
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I was an in-home caregiver for a dear sweet lady with dementia, probably Alzheimer's, for over a year. She had lots of friends and visitors. She always greeted them graciously and enthusiastically and asked them open, leading questions like, "how've you been, how're the kids, what have yoi been doing," and slipped easily into the framework of whatever they told her, joking and laughing where appropriate and expressing sympathy as needed. Sometimes when her charmed guests left I would ask who that was and she would say, quite honestly, "i haven't the slightest idea."
But she was cultured, dignified and above all, as I said, gracious, and she would never have let on for a moment that she no longer remembered these dear friends who loved her so deeply. They would have been devastated hsd they known! So we smiled and served soda and cookies and chatted them up like the old, dear friends they'd been, right up to the end. It's what she would have wanted.
What else would you do? What else can you do,? It's how she wanted it. It was how she ruled her benevolent kingdom, and we who served her loved her for it and were her willing subjects.
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Reply to DesertGrl53
Isthisrealyreal Dec 29, 2018
What a beautiful gift all of you wonderful caregivers gave this lady and her loved ones.

There is a lesson for all of us in your experience. Thank you for sharing.
What difference does it make if he can't remember how often you visit, he still enjoys the time you are there and that's the whole point anyway!
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Reply to cwillie

Your relative was awkward in telling you to not feel guilty about your visiting schedule because "he forgets anyway". I think.they just meant to say don't feel guilty if you can't come. You are doing what you can do and that's all anyone can ask of you.
I read on this forum that guilt is for people who are doing something wrong. Lose the guilt. You are doing great.
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Reply to Marcia7321

Yes, do continue to visit.  You are seeing with your own eyes that the patient is happy when you are there...When you are ready to leave, say, "I am going down the hall to check on your menu for tomorrow's food.  I'll be back."  That will eliminate the sadness you have witnessed when leaving the patient.  And, as you WILL be back, you would not be lying...Short term memory will be erased and patient and you will be happy.
Grace + Peace,
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Reply to OldBob1936

What does it matter if he doesn’t remember the visit? There is a saying somewhere along the lines of
Yesterday is gone, we are not promised tomorrow, all we have is today. To me as it relates to your LO you should just enjoy the visits you have and not worry about others opinions.
I wonder if he would still know you if you stopped visiting? I think the frequent visits helps them to hang onto names and faces. It seems that way to me with my aunt. Don’t worry if you can’t go more often but enjoy the times you do. The happy feelings he has to be with you are good for his spirit and you will feel better for having visited him.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
DesertGrl53 Dec 29, 2018
I really like this answer! The lady I worked for was always very present "in the moment," and enjoyed her visits very much, but did not remember them shortly afterward. You know your loved one has dementia, so why concern yourself with what is remembered after your visit? Just try to enjoy your special time together as a window into their life and count it as a blessing.
I know that my LO doesn't remember me any longer or anyone for that matter, but, I still visit because in the moment that I'm there, she can sense that a person with loving eyes, loving touch and loving words is there comforting her.....It's all about what's happening in the moment. I hope that it somehow reaches her subconscious...and that I'm still in there.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
Aging082981 Dec 28, 2018
Nice Sunnygirl!
It appears to be very common. I had a friend who was diagnosed in the summer and things moved very quickly in her case. Zero short term memory, which led to a lot of repeating. But while she still could carry on some semblance of a conversion, she did state she " had nobody, all her immediate family had passed and nobody even knows she's in AL." I promised her I would never turn my back on her, visited frequently as I lived nearby. She recognized me every time, except once , even when things got really bad. She mercifully passed in early November , I have no regrets. Some of her friends kept saying they " were going to visit" but never got to it even though they also were close by. So do what you think is best, I feel at peace knowing I kept my promise to her.
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Reply to Friendtotheend

Absolutely go visit. The moments of happiness keep him going, even if he doesn't remember, but I suspect he remembers you because you visit often.
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Reply to ArtistDaughter

I actually cherish the time I spend with my LO IN THE MOMENT THAT I’M THERE.
Whether or not she remembers anything about each visit means very little to me.
She continues to react with her typical snappy, sarcastic sense of humor, and I give it right back, and I know, in that moment, that we’re BOTH BENEFITING from our interaction.
Part of the tragedy of dementia is that each victim reacts in a slightly different way, depending on his or her original personality and emotional state and how they have adjusted and are reacting to current circumstances.
Guilt about going often enough for visits most likely benefits neither the visitor nor the person being visited.
I have the good fortune to be physically near enough to run in for brief visits often during the week. I sometimes notice some vague suggestions that some things still seem to linger in my LO’s thoughts, whether as real memories or not. When they are enough to keep conversation going, I’m happy about them.
When not, I think of something else to chat about and go with that.
The one certain thing is that love shared between us is definitely real. She always tells me to “Come Again!”.
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Reply to AnnReid

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