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Questions concerning dementia

As most of you know, my mom is now living with my sister. Mom is 84 and has Alzheimer's. Since mom's been at my sister's, I have been trying to help out by spending as much time as I can with mom on the weekends, since I am still working full time.

I picked my mom up today and took her back to my home and then we took her out to dinner, something she has always loved to do. Everything went fine. While driving her home tonite, she began talking about her "memory problem". She is not aware she has Alzheimer's; she was told by her doctor, but she's forgotten and just thinks she has problems with her memory. In any case, tonite, she starts talking about her memory problem and how much it bothers her to not be able to remember, and how empty her head is. She's brought this up many times before and I never really know how to handle it; how to respond. What I've been doing is letting her talk and then just saying "Mom, I know you have problems with your memory, but look at how well you are doing physically" and I try to get her off the subject of her memory. I'm wondering how others handle this? It always makes me so uncomfortable and I end up leaving her feeling so depressed. Tonight, especially so, because besides saying the usual about her "empty head", she went on to tell me how she has noticed how much worse her confusion is at night. She then said "but then everything is better when I go to bed. When I'm in bed, I don't have to think and I feel wonderful."
I just makes me feel so helpless and so sad to hear her say that, not to mention, it is also confusing the heck out of me....how can someone who literally cannot remember something that was said, or what she ate, or what she did, or who she talked to, just two minutes previously, be able to express how she's feeling and have an understanding of when she is more confused? Talk about confusing!!

I guess I'm on a roll here, so I might as well continue... I've also noticed when I'm out with mom, how people stare at her and I'm not sure what it is that is "catching" their eye? When I take her out, she is in a wheelchair because her balance is very poor and it is just easier for her and me. I don't know if people are just staring because of the wheelchair or is it the lack of expression on her face? My husband said something to me tonight, and I'm wondering if I just don't want to see it, or what. I realize that she is losing her ability to show facial expressions...could it be that other people notice that too?

I would love to get a thread going with some of you, just to share your thoughts and experiences...blessings to you all,
Mimi

[This message has been edited by MIMI427 (edited 04-08-2006).]
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