Follow
Share

My 98 yr old grandmother came to live with me last month, she has no short term or long term memory. Has to ask “where am I supposed to sleep” every time, has to ask where bathroom is every time. Does not know who I am, other than that she’s in really good health her only medication is a breathing treatment twice a day.😞

Find Care & Housing
It won't do you or her any good to tell her, as she won't remember it anyway. Your best course of action would be to educate yourself on dementia and all it entails. Teepa Snow has some great videos on You Tube, and the book The 36 Hour Day is a great resource as well.
When someone has dementia/Alzheimer's it's important that those caring for them enter their world, and just go along with whatever they say or do. It can be challenging for sure, but in the long run it will keep the peace. Bless you for taking care of your grandmother. You must be a very special grandchild.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to funkygrandma59
Report

No, telling her isn't going to be helpful.

Be thankful that she remembers to use the bathroom and is willing to go to bed. Imagine having to toilet her or change her diapers. Imagine her screaming that she needs to go home so she can go to bed.

I know this is hard but, you have to look for the blessings in everything that you do with and for her.

My grannie was able to enjoy a coca-cola, playing toss with a stuffed animal and going for walks. She couldn't ask for the bathroom and she couldn't get out of her wheelchair to use it if she could, 2 person assist as she was dead weight. However, making her laugh was the best thing ever. She could only live in the moment and that is where your grandma is. Try to make the moments memorable for you.

If you feel like you have taken on more than you imagined, that's okay, you must speak up and get her into the care that will be best for everyone. If not, you both will suffer needlessly.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report

Tell her what has meaning for her. Starting with "everything is okay. I'm here, and I will help you."

From there, answer her questions truthfully and in a way that, again, will mean something to her. I doubt if that will include using the term "dementia" specifically, but it is fine to explain to her that her memory is not working as it should, so she and you will find other ways to manage.

How are you getting on with the tedious questions? One trick to stop yourself grinding your teeth over them is to pretend that, just as she doesn't remember the answer, you don't remember her having asked before.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

You are a wonderful granddaughter to let your grandmom move in with you. This may be a difficult journey even if you are familiar with memory loss; if you are not, please watch the youtube video recommended by funkygrandma59 and read the book the "36 hour day". It will enlighten you. The brain of a person with dementia doesn't work like it used to and that is sometimes hard for caregivers to understand. She has to ask where the bathroom is and where she should sleep because she absolutely can't remember. Her bridge to memory even 5 minutes ago no longer exist. As one poster said be thankful that she remembers to use the bathroom and doesn't sundown. But we all have our limits so when she needs more care than you can give, drop the guilt and find her a good place to live with professionals who can provide care.

You will find lots of good advice and guidance on this forum and whenever you have a question or need to vent.... just log on and type. This forum is open 25/8!
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to geddyupgo
Report

A few simple questions:   will it help her to know that she has dementia?  And how will it change anything?
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report
AnnReid May 6, 2021
Absolutely true, and just adding that when you tell her she has dementia at
1 pm, she won’t know what you told her by 1:03.

My LO isn’t in a “bit of a fog”. Far more advanced than that. She spoke to another relative on Monday about graduating from HS in 1946. When SHE gives us a starting point, we pick up right there, hoping that what SHE said in relation to herself will STILL, at least briefly, have some meaning for her.
(7)
Report
See 1 more reply
My mother had dementia and I'd tell her often that she has dementia. I'd explain that it wasn't anything she did or didn't do. That her brain will get tired and forget things or would create stories that wasn't true. But that I will always tell her the true so all she'd have to do is ask. She lived in memory care and the caretakers weren't keen on my honesty. But it gave my mom such peace at knowing that she wasn't going crazy. That we understood that something was happening to her and we were looking out for her. You can try the same to see how your grandma reacts. Maybe it won't mean anything to her. Or maybe it'll mean everything. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to coauran
Report
rlljvl20 May 9, 2021
My mom had late onset dementia and her short-term memory was very short indeed. She definitely recognized her memory issues and we would talk about it as just...‘that’s the way it is’ and not dwell on it. Mom always had a positive, loving attitude which made her journey down this path easier for her and her family. Assisted Living was mom’s home for her last 16 months and the care she received, especially during Covid-19, was a gift to her and to me.
(6)
Report
It's very good of you to take care of your grandmother. Lower the bar of your expectations. People with dementia are confused, and cannot make good decisions about themselves. You will have to do this for her. This can be draining for you, especially over time. And she may get worse. My mother with advanced demenia cannot feed herself or do anything for herself. Are you able to get an aide to take care of her for part of the day so that you can get a break? You could have the aide in the morning to help her get dressed and bathe, or in the evening to help her get ready for bed (and bathe in the evening). Do what you need to do for her with adult incontinence pads, pads on her bed and if you get her new clothes, get clothes that are easy to get on and off, like pants with elastic waists, crew neck tops that are easy to pull over her head, etc. Don't tell her she has dementia. She won't understand or remember anyway, so why give her anxiety or stress? With dementia, you have to take things day by day and accept people and their capabilities as they are. They are not this way by choice.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to NancyIS
Report

It is very nice of you to take in your grandmother. It sounds like perhaps this was thrust upon you with little/no warning. Who was caring for her before? Why did no one explain her situation?

Short term memory is going to impact remembering where she sleeps and where the bathroom is. About all you can do is guide her there. As others noted, being in good health and still able to use the bathroom is a good thing! She sounds like she's not hard to deal with, just has memory issues.

Also note that moving disorients people who have cognitive issues. If she left a home that she'd been in for many many years, she might have been okay navigating, but now she's moved and with short term memory loss, she can't retain the information.

So, it this considered a permanent move? Will she stay with you until the end? That could end up being a few years. Are you able to do that? When she needs more physical help, can you provide it? If you have a job, are you working from home, so you can be there? If so, will you have to return to work when lock downs are removed? If so, who will be there with her? She clearly can't be left home alone.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report

Would the label have any meaning for her? Concentrate on keeping her safe and comfortable and helping her with the things she cannot manage on her own. Be ready to hire some additional help if your grandmosther's care becomes too much for you alone.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to RedVanAnnie
Report

Telling her will have no meaning for her.
Tell her that she is safe.
Tell her that you love her.
Tell her you will be there for her when she needs help.
Hold her hand.
Give her a hug, if you get one back all the better.

For yourself...
Ask for help when you need it.
Accept help when it is offered.
Hire caregivers to help. (grandma pays for them with her assets.)
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter