• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can now be found in our new area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can access this area by going to the Health and wellbeing forum >here< or you can directly access the area >here<.

A quick welcome and a grandparent with dementia

sherwin12

Registered User
May 19, 2015
2
Hello to you all- I have posted this discussion elsewhere, but have now just found the welcome forum, which may be a more appropriate place.

Firstly, I'm delighted that a forum such as this exists in order for me to get some advice, so thank you, Alzheimer's Society.
Secondly, I pose this question on this forum (even though I'm not sure if it's the right place) as I'm struggling to find anything that will provide me with information regarding my specific situation.

My Grandpa is an Alzheimer's sufferer and has been struggling for many years now. It has become progressively worse over the last year or two and is now getting to the stage where he no longer recognises the people who he is closest to, including his wife (my grandmother) and his son (my dad). We've never been an incredibly close family, but we do see each other fairly regularly. However, it is now getting to the stage where I know that if I go to visit him, he won't know who I am.
I love seeing my Grandpa and since I've been aware of his diagnosis, I've been very keen to talk about the memories he does have, such as his time being posted in the RAF and his childhood which he still remembers vividly.
We're all managing with supporting him and making sure he is living a happy, comfortable life at home with his wife.

I'm currently going through some very important stages in my life; i'm just about to finish my university degree and go on to become a teacher, something I know he would be proud of if he could remember me. I'm also running a 10 mile race in October, for which I'm raising money for Alzheimer's Society for him. I'd love to tell him, but to him, I'd just be a stranger.

I'm finding it really difficult to process how I'm feeling and it makes me very sad that he won't know who I am anymore.
Anyone who has experienced this before or has any tips for dealing with this emotion, I'd be very grateful. I know there is nothing I can do to make him better, and I'm sure something like this may seem to be a bit selfish, but I'd like to know how others have coped with this in order to try and feel a bit better about it myself and maybe somehow find a way for us to reconnect.

Many thanks, and lots of love to you all. My problems are tiny in comparison to some of yours, so I'm very appreciative for any help I receive.
 

Tin

Registered User
May 18, 2014
4,825
UK
With my mum knowing who I am comes and goes. With the major events in your future, take photos and then you can sit down and show them to him and have a little chat about what they all mean. My mum still enjoys looking at photographs especially those taken recently, she has no idea who the people are, but loves looking at them and sometimes these photos remind her of the chat we had when she first saw them.
 

Chemmy

Registered User
Nov 7, 2011
7,591
Yorkshire
Welcome to TP, Sherwin 12

One bit of advice I was given at this stage was introduce yourself every time you arrive. ie. "hello Mum, I'm Chemmy, I'm your daughter." That way, if there is still the slightest sliver of recognition left, it might just help establish some connection on that visit.

Eventually, I used to call my mum by her first name as that tied in with what everyone else called her. Your grandpa may not know exactly who you are, but the feeling that you are someone he cares about and who cares about him seems to remain a lot longer than the ability to put a name to the face.
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
12,760
England
Hi and welcome to Talking Point.

My husband has not recognised me as his wife for 5 years. I see him every day, he sometimes smiles at me, appears to be content in my company so must see me as someone familiar and comfortable to be with. I can never change this situation and at the end of the day I know he is my husband as you know your granddad is your granddad so keep visiting and just chatting, I am sure he knows you just can't think where from or remember your name. We all get moments like that, we then remember, sadly granddad can't.