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Grandparent with dementia

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by sherwin12, May 19, 2015.

  1. sherwin12

    sherwin12 Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    Hello to you all. Hope everyone is well.

    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.
  2. Risa

    Risa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2015
    Hi Sherwin12

    You sound a very loving grandchild and even if your granddad doesn't know precisely who you are, he can see you are a caring person who likes to chat with him :)

    Apart from coming to this wonderful forum, do you have any friends who are in a similar situation? I have close friends and work colleagues in the same boat and it does help to be able to chat to them and share experiences.

    I don't think it is possible not to be sad over this illness and what it does to your loved ones. It does hurt a lot when there is a milestone or special event that comes along and you can't share it anymore. Don't let your sadness stop you from celebrating the good times, it will give your family a boost and having something to look forward to can help a lot.

    Not sure if this has answered your question but just my 10 cents worth :)
  3. balloo

    balloo Registered User

    Sep 21, 2013
    we have my Mother in Law with us which has affected her granddaughter quit a bit as grandmother behaves as though my daughter dislikes her .My daughter sits with gran if we have to go out as at the moment she is local to us as doing her year in industry for uni. Gra took overher room only 3 months after she moved to uni.but as she said Gran needs ti be with us more than she does at the moment.Can i suggest you offer to sit and look after them and give the carers a break .this will give you quality tim with him and can talk about memories .I would suggest you either take notes or tape as their memory will get worse. Good luck by the way
  4. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    Sherwin, the best thing, in my experience, is to actually introduce yourself to grandad when you see him. Hi, I'm Sherwin, your grandson, or hi, I'm Sherwin, toms son, or whatever your father is called. At least he should still be able to put that into context. An alternative is, look see who has come to see us, it's Sherwin, you grandson. This worked for ages with my OH. Everybody gets used to introducing themselves!
    I'm afraid the disease gets worse -I'm the only person my husband recognises, even then he's not sure sometimes, I can be the carer or his mother!
    But get him talking about things back in the old days, usually the memory of those times are better than more recent things. Good luck!
  5. HelenInBC

    HelenInBC Registered User

    Mar 23, 2013
    I can imagine how painful it is to realize that your grandpa doesn't recognise you. My mom has alzheimers as well. My children always say "Hi grandma, it's Aly, your granddaughter" Sometimes she will say "of course, I know that!" but we know she often doesn't know them on sight.
    She still can understand that certain people are familiar to her. Perhaps your grandpa still has that ability as well.

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