How do I stop mom, who has moderate Alzheimer's, from dwelling on death of parent that has passed 30 years ago?

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Why do you want to stop her?
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its clear to me that short and mid term memory fails as the brain dies. my aunt doesnt remember our long motorcycle rides 6 years ago, dont remember the death of her parents in the 60's and 70 ' s but recollects her grandmother shaving apples with a knife to eat them more easily -- 75 years ago..
at death i think you can expect the person who had the greatest influence in their childhood to appear in the room in the form of a hallucination to " recieve " them..
sadly, its about the only fleeting memory left. the brain has died.
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I do not know to your answer, but here is what I do for my husband. He’s been missing his mother a lot recently, especially holidays. I have never met her, but the way my husband explained to me could tell she was such a good mother. He often used to ask me whether or not his mother was still alive. No matter what I explained to him, he asked me the same question. One time, I responded to him saying, “I can tell you miss her a lot. She was such a good mother, wasn’t she?” After that conversation, my husband and I started talking about his mother whenever we have an opportunity. He does not remember anything about his mother. Only what he remember is good feelings he had with her. He now know she was dead, but wants to know where she would be… I say, “She must be in Heaven since she was such a good mother.” and that satisfies his quest. My husband did not speak till 5 years old, and then started speaking with full sentences. Now he’s getting aphasic, especially after he had non-clinically recognized mini strokes. I am struggling to help him improve his language problems and bladder control, and often say to him how his mother gave him such a good toilet training. He does not remember anything about it, but he still remembers good feelings about his mother. And that’s all the mater for us.
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My 88 year old mother in law had to go into assisted living 13 months ago and when we knew she could never go home we began cleaning the house up and organizing it for eventual sell. She even told us several times that selling it was the sensible thing to do. Last month she cried and carried on one day wanting to go to the house after a whole year of never mentioning it. We made the mistake of taking her and opening "pandora's box" because now she wants to go every time we see her or take her out somewhere. We were approached by a buyer, much to our surprise as there are soo many houses for sale here, and knew we could not let the opportunity to sell pass, we had just had to get repairs to the plumbing and could see the house getting run down. The problem was that the buyer wanted to move in within two weeks. We were leaving for a weeks vacation. We had to hire an estate seller to clear the house in two weeks. Now my husband is "afraid" to tell him mother, but we cannot take her there as it is being prepared for sale and nothing is where she would expect it to be. I think when we return from vacation we should take her somewhere for a drive and find a place to sit and explain - we are getting old ourselves and cannot deal with taking care of two houses. I hope someone has an objective opinion of how to tell her. Ironically, the young man who bought it, had gone to her assisted living to introduce himself and his new business and she had told him, "i have a house for you to buy" He has 3 little boys and it will be nice for the house not be be empty any longer. So should we remind her of that, if she will remember? Her memory is very sketchy and some days she does not mention it at all.!
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Thank you for your post.....that is what we ( me siblings and myself) are doing to help assure her that she was with my Grandmother every minute....and REST ASSURE none of us would EVER fail to stand beside her.....I must say, my Mom was an amazing lady....she was ALWAYS there for her children and we all have successful lives, but MOST important - all 4 of her children are VERY close in our hearts...we live across the US from one another...but we are all there for each other and especially our MOM!

I realize what you said in your post daily....about trying to see through the eyes of my Mom....Once I excepted that my Mom has this dreaded disease, I's not so loose your ability to worry (which my Mom worried often)...but now I see what the disease really is.....truly a living HELL....please keep my Mom and our family in your prayers. thank you SO much for your post!
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Unless you've spent time with a loved-one suffering with Alzheimer's disease you can never know what it is like. Nancy Reagan is credited with the descriptive term "the long good-by" and Heidi's poem captures this very well. All I can add is try always to see things through your mother's eyes. As her disease progresses, her short term or working memory begins to fail and all she has to navigate through life is her long term memory--especially those memories which have significant emotional meaning like the death of a loving parent. During these times, the best response is to affirm her grief. For you it was 30 years ago but from your mom's perspective it might have been yesterday. If she begins to obsess about it, try calling attention to positive memories you have about the person like "she made the best apple pie you ever tasted" or she always liked a certain movie or song. This will help your mom springboard from one memory string to another but she will still be in familiar territory. You may even be able to guide her back into the present by throwing her a lifeline into her past. In any case--don't fail to stand beside her.
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My mom did the same thing. She always wanted her Mutti and there was nothing that would get her to stop. I know now that she is gone I want my mom back too. I guess they have such a impact on our lives that when we lose our short term memory the people most important in our lives are the one we want to fix us again. I know this is not the answer you are looking for but I hope that it helps to ease the stress. We parent our parents in their old age. And it is like having a small child, patience and compassion go a long way.
Do not ask me to remember.
Don't try to make me understand.
Let me rest and know you're with me.
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I'm confused beyond your concept.
I am sad and sick and lost.
All I know is that I need you
To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me.
Do not scold or curse or cry.
I can't help the way I'm acting,
Can't be different 'though I try.

Just remember that I need you,
That the best of me is gone.
Please don't fail to stand beside me,
Love me 'till my life is done.

- Unknown
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