When grandma doesn't remember you...

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Alzheimer's and Memory Care Question from an anonymous reader:
How can I help my fiancé understand and deal with my grandmother’s condition, which is occasionally confrontational? How do you deal with the times when they no longer remember you or others?

Having a loved not remember who you are is one of the most emotional experiences when dealing with dementia patients. How you deal with it is a very individual, personal experience. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone and that there are others going through the same thing you are.

There are others you can talk to – either through support groups or just others you may run into who are visiting family members. The best thing you can do when you visit is to engage your loved on in a familiar activity, as this is when they are most likely to be themselves and share stories and be the person you remember.

As to the rare instances when your grandmother is confrontational, the best thing you can do is to remember that the behavior is a result of the disease and is not the essence of who your grandmother is. “Don’t take it personally” is the best advice in that case.

It also helps to gather as much information as you can about the disease, either from your loved one’s personal physician or from the plethora of information that currently exists.

When they understand how the disease will progress, it often makes it easier to deal with it. The most important thing you can do for anyone with dementia is to continue to love them without expecting them to show their love for you in the same way they’ve demonstrated it in the past.

Alzheimer's and Memory Care Question from an anonymous reader:
How do you best handle a situation where a parent’s care is being handled by multiple children and one of the children is doing a disproportionate share of the caregiving?

That’s a very common situation. As trite as it sounds, the key here is to have open communication and discover the desire you all have in common, which is to provide the best care possible for your loved one.

It’s important to have a clear understanding of what everyone’s role is and what they are able to provide.

It’s possible that one child is better able to provide more care, due to geography or work schedules. If so, that person needs to be very clear about what they need in order to provide the support required, such as having dinner with the family every night or getting to go to a movie at least once a week.

Perhaps the person not able to provide as much of the caregiving can find a “relief person” for the primary caregiver. The ideal here is to provide a forum where everyone involved can share their joys and frustrations throughout the caregiving process.

Alzheimer's and Memory Care Question from an anonymous reader:
How do you deal with delusions? I’ve been told not to argue or correct, but when they are upset about something that isn’t real, how do you deal with that?

Start from the place of letting your loved one know that what they’re experiencing is very real to them. Simply validating someone’s feelings is a very powerful thing. Also, focus on how the delusion is manifesting.

For instance, if someone feels there are bugs crawling on them, it may because their skin is dry and cracking. So you could offer some lotion or a warm towel that will help alleviate the symptoms. If the delusions persist, consult a psychologist or psychiatrist to see if the delusions are part of an underlying issue and not related to the dementia.


Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

How do you know when its time to move to assisted living? My mother-n-law lives with us and has for two years. She is progressively getting worse with her short-term memory loss, delusions and daily living activities. She is stubborn and won't listen to our caregiving instructions. My husband is the only child of hers that is taking care of her and we are exhausted. Our household is crazy most of the time and and I can see the wear and tear on us as individuals and as a couple. This is his mother and I understand its hard to make the decision.

The Senior Care Blog's picture
Submitted by The Senior Care Blog on

The best rule of thumb for deciding when to move loved ones into an assisted living community is determining if they are able to take care of themselves.

Can they bathe and dress themselves? Do they remember to take medication on their own? Can they still safely operate a stove, drive a car, or clean their home?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” it may be time to consider finding some help, whether in-home assistance or moving to a senior care community.

If living on their own poses a risk to their health or well-being, it’s definitely time to consider making the move.

Additionally, you have to take into account how her living with you is affecting you and your family’s health and well-being. It sounds like it is taking a heavy toll.

If it is getting to the point where your lifestyle is being diminished and your mother-in-law won’t accept your care, this sounds like it is time to make the move to an assisted living community.

If your mother-in-law is resistant to moving, here’s a video that can help you start the conversation: http://www.emeritus.com/emeritus-senior-living-videos?category=how-to-vi....

Senior living community programs and services will vary, so you want to make sure that you do your research and tour different senior living communities.

For more information about your assisted living options, visit our website: http://www.emeritus.com/assisted-living-services.

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