Do I keep trying to keep my mom in the present by conversations about current events?

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My mother lives in a nursing home.she is better controlled physically because of the care but dementia is setting in and seems to be progressing quite rapidly because of past strokes. I go to see her every day. One day she will be fine and have a good conversation , then the next day she is in the past and believes we are all her cousins or grandma and everything she relates to her growing up, the next day she may be very combative and hallucinating. I never know from day to day which person I will see. I try to talk to her about her children and grandchildren . I take pictures of things going on and try to keep her more in the present. I have noticed this becoming harder and harder. Each conversation goes to the past within just a few minutes these last few weeks no matter what I do. She gets very good care for her physical and dementia problems. She has CHF, COPD, low kidney function, chronic anemia and has had several major strokes from which has recovered 90% . She is 82.. Do I keep talking about the present even when she lapses into the past and asks me questions like yesterday: Is momma still in the hospital or did she go home. i told her grandma had passed away and she got upset that no one told her or took her to the funeral. her mom died in 1995. I do not know how to talk to her. They want me to keep talking about the present day but she gets frustrated if i am not talking to her about the things she is saying. Do I go along or tell her the truth about people being alive or dead. I am just not sure what to do.

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I don't know who this "they" are who want you to talk about the present, but I'll bet they don't know much about dementia.

You never know who your mom is going to be until you get there. Once you figure it out, try to enter her world. When she asked if her momma is still in the hospital, that was a huge clue that it is not 2012 in Mother's world. In fact, it is obviously before 1995. So, in her reality, her mother is still alive. Telling her otherwise is a cruel shock, and serves no useful purpose. If you want to talk about your gramma's passing, do it on a day when Mother is operating in 2012.

If you visit when your mother is reliving the 1950s then of course you cannot be her daughter -- she could not possibily have a child as old as you are! So she might see you as her sister or cousin or aunt. At least she gives you family status. Yes, talk about the present -- but her present. Ask her what her favorite thing to do on weekends is. Ask her to tell you about her mother. Did she date a lot of different guys? And don't be shocked if she talks about the past as if it the present, and she tells you about the guy who took her to the dance last week.

No matter what you talk about, you cannot talk her out of having dementia. So keep your conversations pleasant, and if dragging her into the present isn't pleasant for her, why insist on it?

"Creating Moments of Joy," by Jolene Brackey will give you some helpful insights into the minds of persons with Alzhiemer's.
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The short term memory is the first to go when you have dementia/alz. So her long term memory is still there, but it will also become jumbled up too eventually. She will do what my mother-in-law does, it's called 'confabulation', meaning that the reality of what really happened, will mix in with what she thinks happened. Either because of a movie or tv show she's seen, or sometimes it's because of what she's heard someone else talk about. It's a pain in the rear I know, but it is what it is. When my m-i-l talks about 'dad' now, I have no idea if she's talking about her late husband or her own dad, so I have to wait and see. You might try bringing a photo album with you and going thru the pictures with her. Have her identify the people she recognizes from her past, maybe as a little girl or so. After all, once your mom is gone all those peoples identity will be gone too. Better strike while fire is hot so to speak. Then I think also you could take a newspaper with you and read all the things that you think she'd find interesting. My mother-in-law gets into what I call 'loops' where she gets something in her brain that she absolutely cannot get out. She becomes obsessed and agitated over the stupidest things I swear. But she and I are comfortable enough with each other, that when she gets into one of her loops, I tell her to STOP. She laughs (thank you Jesus) and says 'okay', and we move on. ♥
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Who is "they", that want you to talk about the present? If she is declining as you say, you can talk till your head falls off and it's not going to change where her mind is.... I always say, 'go to their world' she doesn't always live in ours.... and I personally do not tell them some one has died, no matter how long ago that was... it upsets them all over again... I do what I call 'loving lies', I tell them so and so has run an errand, or anything to get their mind off of it for a few minutes.... genlty redirect them if they persist....take them to another subject.... sometimes it's about listening as opposed to talking 'with' them....
it upsets them to find out , again, that someone has died.... and current events... shoot, even I don't want to talk about that, how depressing.... just let her know she is loved, valued, respected, and loved some more... that is much more important than trying to force her mind into the present... she doesn't always live in the present.... just go where she goes, that is the most loving thing you can do.... let us know how things are going.... hugs
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