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When I tell her that I was just there an hour ago, she gets upset that she doesn't remember. Which is more distressing for dementia patient in assisted living?

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Yes, tell her your visit every day and then don't say another word. An argument will not work.
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Ah, I did not remember that. It was a sad movie, and I cried when the visitor read "Runaway Bunny" as I usually do, reading it to my grandkids. BTW, the grands did not seem particularly impressed with it (one wanted books abt trucks and mud and soldiers, and the other was very much into "The Hobbit" when he was four). Perhaps it's more a book for adults, who can see how precious relationships are, and how rare. Also "The Velveteen Rabbit", from which a friend of mine had a reading at her wedding.
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Jingle
The other striking part from that scene in the movie was the professor got in bed with Emma and rocked her in her arms
I will order that book
Today
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Continued (I wish we had an edit button): The plot involves a little bunny who wants to run away, becoming variously a fish, a rock, and I don't remember what else, but the theme is love, and the mother's love for her bunny. You might read that to show her how much she's loved?? In spite of not being able to recognize anybody?

"Have a carrot, said the mother bunny."
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You might buy a copy of "The Runaway Bunny: by Margaret Wise Brown" and read to her every time you visit. It may get lost in the NH, so keep it and bring it every time you visit.

I remember seeing the movie "Wit" in which Emma Thompson plays an English prof. who has ovarian cancer, and late in the movie, when she's dying, the only visitor she receives in the hospital is her former graduate school professor who reads her excerpts from "The Runaway Bunny". At that time, she is nearing death and is pretty much out of it. So I've always wanted it read to me on my deathbed (how morbid), but it seems like it'd be a reassuring thing to read anyway.

Just a suggestion.
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My dear Dad used to ask me how I'd managed to find him. I assured him I would always be able to find him, and even if he was sleeping, I'd look in on him and come and hold his hand. Staying calm and giving a loving answer may help reassure your Mum in her moments of doubt.
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It's a terrible illness. I would ask myself if visiting every day was helping or hurting me because your mom's diseased brain is going to do what it's going to do. There's no point in reminding her about anything, unfortunately.
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You are wonderful to Your Mom, and as long as You know that You come to visit Your Mom every day that is the most important thing. Since it is upsetting for Your Mother not being able to remember You calling to visit Her the day previous I would avoid mentioning it. I know Your sadness, heart ache, and pain as it is dreadful sad to loose Your oldest and dearest Friend slowly little by little every day through that most horrible illness. I Pray a cure will be discovered soon.
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I hate this disease....:( sorry feeling down. my mother asked me last night how I am related to her husband....
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Sing for her and hold her hand. Music and touch are deeply embedded memories.
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My cousin used to beg me to come and see her in AL, as if she hadn't seem me in days, when in fact, I had only left an hour earlier. She had no short term memory, so I just started saying that I would come as soon as I got off work. She would forget that too within minutes.

I just had to deal with the moment we were speaking to assure her. When the short term memory goes, no amount of reminding is sufficient.

Now, her short term memory is even worse, yet, I still call her in between visits to chat and ask her if she needs me to bring her anything. She always says no, but, I still bring her favorite treats, which she loves. I think she's forgotten what her treats are, until she sees them or I bring it up.

I know she can't recall the phone call, but, for that one minute, I know that she's smiling and being told that she is loved. She says it back too, so, I think there is something positive from it.
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Sorry I meant to add that it is often an effort for Alz. patients to remember visits, because that is coupled with effort to remember what was said or done. That means stress, to be avoided. So when visiting my friend, I only say "do you remember xx or yyy" when pointing to a picture or photo on her wall, and if this doesn't trigger anything, I just make up a story. As she doesn't retain any new information longer than 2 minutes max, I think of her as living in the moment. One day she won't remember who I am, although I have been caring for her for 10 years, but I've already decided that that won't matter. As long as she smiles when seeing me, that is enough.
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What usually helps is to have something up on the wall - either photos of people the patient would remember from a long time back, or family. Places usually mean less than people. And also have a whiteboard or corkboard where you can put up different pictures or messages and swap them around when you visit. Also leave kind messages on pieces of paper in any pile of papers the patient has around.
My Alzheimer's friend used to be a secretary and is manic about filing papers, opening up every folded paper to read it before putting it back into the pile, left tidily in a new position. So one cheerful message or greetings card will last for weeks or months. She reads it as though it has just arrived.
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Thank you all. Great advice
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Mj, I think this is pretty common. When my mom still had a phone, she would sometimes call me before I was even out of the parking lot after a visit and ask why I never visited her anymore. I learned that instead of saying "but mom, I just left", I would say "we must be thinking alike because I am getting ready to come visit later this afternoon". Mom would forget our conversation in a minute. Sometimes a staff member would get her busy with an activity right after I left. I think that my visits made her think about me, but she couldn't remember that I was just there. Now my mom has found a friend in her memory care unit and she doesn't complain about my perceived lack of visits nearly as much.
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Mj
We understand your sadness - and in fact one reason I mainly visit mom in the evening is that she has a meltdown when I leave after a daytime visit
I generally get her ready for bed and slip out after she's asleep - sometimes she's intent on staying up late and I'm there til 1:00 am
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You are wonderful to visit everyday - I work long hours and can only make it 3-4 x a week but I try to have personal caregivers there everyday for 4 hours so she can have some one on one attention - a dear friend visits weekly as does our housekeeper - doesn't make up for her other kids and grandkids ignoring her but it's way more than most who have no one
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Again, thank you. I am just sad tonight. No real reason. I know better than to second guess myself.
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I think that is the best you can do, Mjlarkan. When our loved ones have memory loss or dementia or mental illness issues, we cannot make their world perfect; we cannot fix everything. Just keep doing the best you can.
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Thank you very much. That is almost exactly what I'm doing, but sometimes I wonder if that is best for her. I hate her thinking nobody visits when actually I'm there every day. She says something like, "Do you think you could ever find time to visit?" Often within an hour of me leaving. It distresses her that she doesn't remember my visit. I say, "It's ok Mom. I will come see you tomorrow. I come every day."
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I think the most distressing thing for anybody would be to feel abandoned. I would do everything I could to assure your loved one that she is loved and cared for -- short of arguing with her about her memories.

My sibs and I visited our motherly several times a week. She enjoyed the visits while we were there but she didn't always remember them. We tried to reinforce the awareness that we cared and we came often. I learned that if I asked "Was Ray here last weekend?" I sometimes got a confused look and sometimes a tentative "Yes, I think so." So I switched to saying, "I heard that Ray was here last weekend. I know he likes to come as often as he can. I suppose you played cards." I'd also say things like "I see you have new magazines. I know Rita brings them to you." And the staff helped by often saying, "You are so lucky, Jean, to have your children visit so often!"

Sometimes we'd write on her whiteboard.

I wouldn't want to argue about whether someone was there an hour ago, but I would casually and frequently remind her that you come a lot, and others do, too (if that is true.)

My mom knew she had memory problems. We'd reassure her that it didn't matter -- she would be taken care of. "It doesn't matter if you don't remember lunch, Ma. We are so glad you are in a nice place where helpers bring you to the dining room for every meal. You don't have to remember, they'll help you." And, "Ma, it doesn't matter if you can't remember that Sue was here yesterday. We all come and enjoy being with you. It is OK if you don't always remember."
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