View Full Version : Mom forgot who my sister was today

May 19th, 2018, 10:06 PM
Hi All,

It's a sad evening here in NE Ohio...my sister from Texas came up for her annual visit today (she goes home Thursday), and Mom had no idea who she was. (Mom is 88 and has Alzheimer's.) At first we thought she was just confused because E has almost the same haircut I had 10 years ago. Nope. After my sister left for her hotel, I asked Mom who she thought E was. Mom looked at me like I was nuts and said that I knew very well she was "so-and-so's" daughter. I never did find who so-and-so was (maybe someone from Dad's side?).

Anyway, I had both my sisters crying the kitchen (E and M, M lives with Mom), and poor Mom was completely clueless, and doesn't understand why E is coming over for lunch tomorrow. We finally told her it was because our brother is coming over and she wants to see him. Here's hoping Mom has a better day tomorrow and knows who E is. Mom was so looking forward to her visit; darn that Alzheimer's for not letting her enjoy it. :icon_cry:

And darn that rotten disease for getting us all upset -- I managed not to lose it at Mom's house, but now I have a cake in the oven for our luncheon tomorrow and I can't for life of me remember if I put the oil in or not. Probably not the best night to bake. :(

Thanks for letting me vent, and remember to hug those you love every chance you get!

May 19th, 2018, 10:21 PM
Oh I'm so sorry. Don't ask her questions like do you know who that is. Tell her. My father in law came for thanksgiving one year and sat next to me with a whole house full of family. He said, "I wonder who was responsible for this beautiful meal and I just told him it was me, Hanks Wife. He seemed relieved not to play guessing games.
My mother is 92 and I call her once a week. Some days we do well on the phone, others not somuch. She needs me to tell her who I am and my relationship ad then we can move on for a few minutes. When the conversation goes full circle the second time, I tell her we don't have anything else to talk about and she agrees....remember...her mind is still in there, it just needs to be nudged and when things get overwhelming it will be harder.
God bless all of you and I hope for a better day tomorrow. Take some pictures with you and reminince . That is the easiest part for her.

May 19th, 2018, 10:31 PM
It's so hard when you realize your own parent doesn't even know who you are. I feel for your sister and your family. It's not easy and there is no one right way. Remember the old days and focus on things she does remember.

Hugs for all and prayers for your family.

Sandy Navas
May 19th, 2018, 10:46 PM
Julie, so many of us have been down that road. When my Mom was at her best she always told everyone that my little sister was "Mud Ball". Not even close, but we embraced it. Terry gives some great advice.

May 19th, 2018, 11:28 PM
I was an Alzheimer's research nurse for 8 years. Please know that your mom DOES know your sister...she just can't articulate it. She can get out the daughter part. Always look for that kernel of truth. Don't try to reason or rationalize. Try to minimize her anxiety. People with Alzheimer's don't do well in large groups with folks they haven't seen in awhile...it's just too much over-stimulation. With Alzheimer's the brain cells can't communicate with each other. Their ability to learn new information is greatly diminished...that's why they can't remember what they had for breakfast, but the information that has already been encoded (learned) a long time ago stays intact quite a while.
I know it's very hard, but don't mourn for what's gone...celebrate what she still has. Humor goes a long way.
The Alzheimer's Association is a wonderful organization www.alz.org with the latest information and support.

May 20th, 2018, 12:41 AM
Hugs to you Julie. This must be so hard.

May 20th, 2018, 12:45 AM
I am so sorry this is happening in your family. I just can't imagine that. I suppose it is much harder on you, your sisters and brother than it is on your Mom, because she doesn't know what she forgot but you can see the big picture and it kind of breaks your heart. I guess just be thankful you still have her in your life even in her diminished state.

May 20th, 2018, 05:31 AM
Both of my in-laws had Dementia, MIL had vascular, FIL had Alzheimer's. With both we used to sit down and go through the photo albums. They really appreciated bringing back memories and it lessened the stress when they couldn't remember what happened yesterday. We would also ask them about their youth etc and right up to FIL's passing he still thought he worked, he was 88 years old and had retired at 66!!

Try not to dwell on the sad times and if you have to keep repeating yourself, well that's what it is. I will say a sense of humour frequently got us all through the day.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

May 20th, 2018, 08:35 AM
I never had to go through this with my parents, my dad passed away in '86 and Mom died of cancer. But I did watch my mother-in-law and it was so terribly sad. My husband was always her 'brother' in her eyes.

Sending prayers to you and your family.

May 20th, 2018, 09:06 AM
My SIL (80) has Alzheimer's as well as other medical problems. She's lived with her dau. since my bro. passed away in 2009. It's getting to be too much caregiving for my niece; she has her mom on a wait list for the local nursing home. I just attended our county's annual caregiver's symposium & attended a class on the stages of Alzheimer's / dementia. If you don't already participate in one, I'd encourage you to find a support group. One of our friends from church -- his wife had to be placed in a memory care unit last year. When he & I talked about it, I learned his wife no longer recognized him. "She just knows me as Bill." It's very sad.

I haven't had time to verify this info., but I heard recently that people who take Prilosec & other acid reflux meds. may develop dementia after long time use. The acid blocking process affects the body's ability to absorb Vit. B-12 which can affect the mind. I know this lady from my church took Prilosec for years. Whether this was a factor in her case, I have no way of knowing.

May 20th, 2018, 09:39 AM
Hugs to you, Julie. I know just how it feels. The day my Dad didn't know me it broke my heart. I truly believe he knew me because I could see it in his eyes. God bless those who care for those of us with this terrible disease.

May 20th, 2018, 09:42 AM
If your mother was so looking forward to seeing your sister, maybe you should tell her who she is and not let her guess. At my granma's 90th birthday we threw a party and her younger sister (88 with Alzheimer) would greet me every time she saw me, asking who I was. Everytime I answered she was so happy to see me again and would not stop hugging me until she forgot again who I was (I lived with her for a year, long time ago). So in fact she had several happy moments in one afternoon.

May 20th, 2018, 09:50 AM
If your mother was so looking forward to seeing your sister, maybe you should tell her who she is and not let her guess.

We did tell Mom who E was (repeatedly), but Mom just could not grasp that. I'm hopeful today will be a better day. This is the first time Mom has forgotten one of us.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words of support!

May 20th, 2018, 09:58 AM
This happened to me first with a great-grandmother, than a grandmother, then my father and at times, my mother. It is heart-breaking and sad beyond belief. I just hope and pray to never put my kids through this. I would suggest, as others have already, to talk about her “ best days”, days of her youth, her happiest moments. Use photographs, reminders, old music, food smells, perfumes, things she has old associations with......she is still in there......keep looking for that key to unlock her memories. Sometimes her other senses are the best avenue in. Remind your sister that she loves her and to not take it personally. It is so very hard, but you know in her right mind, she would never treat her this way. Please try not to play guessing games with her or try to surprise her. As always, treat her as you would want to be treated and gently. I can only imagine how scary this feels to her.

May 20th, 2018, 10:09 AM
Oh, I forgot to mention music! If you know her favorite music from earlier times she will so love to hear it and you'd be amazed by her response to it.

May 21st, 2018, 05:16 AM
Forgot to mention that in the UK we have 'memory boxes'. Basically it could be a shoe box or something like which we put old photos, newspaper cuttings of weddings, family gatherings, maybe a piece of jewelry, maybe a dvd of old films or cd's anything really from the past. That way when family visit you can get it out and say 'that's xxx when we were on holiday'

The sad thing for FIL was that he would often say that he hadn't seen his youngest son for ages - he died in 2014!

May 21st, 2018, 05:44 PM
I told my Doctor once that we were either poisoning ourselves worldwide or we are going extinct! his pupils got larger but his face didn't budge. maybe i hit the mark. who knows? I do wish we did know. maybe.

May 22nd, 2018, 02:05 AM
I am sending a hug to you Julie.
I am the youngest of many children and when my mom could no longer live on her own due to dementia, she came to live with us. She started telling the stories of her life constantly. I kept saying I would record them. Then, they slowly started to change until she no longer remembered them. Maybe because I was the youngest, she forgot who I was before most of my siblings. My mom said I was the lady she lived with. There were bright spots. Every day, she would see my miniature dog and spend time with him. She would say, "If ever you do not want this dog, I will take him." Then, she got the most amazing treat when she opened her bedroom door. Waiting for her on the bed were her two beautiful cats. Nothing made a day happier for her than these animals who helped her deal with the fear she had of her dementia. She would spend hours each day petting, brushing, feeding and taking care of them.
I agree with you that we all need to remember to hug those we love every chance we get.