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Grieving for the person my Nan once was


Registered User
Jul 11, 2015
Today, i went to visit my Nan at the residential home that shes in, the visit is the same as the last. I sit there helplessly while my Nan cries in frustration, unable to get her words out clearly and express what she wants or how she feels. I try to hold back my tears because I dont feel its fair to her for me to cry and cause her even more distress. Me and my Nan have always had a very close relationship, but I feel that I am grieving more than ever for the person my Nan once was, the person I would confide in and would comfort me. I cared for my Nan for two and a half years, but have since started a degree in nursing, which limits my time to visit. I am currently on my summer holidays and i'm anxious to spend as much of my time with her as possible and treasure evey minute. I know in my heart that the time I have left is limited and it hurts. My Mum has told me that I am fortunate to have such a wonderful Nan and I know she is right, but the grief is endless. Many family members who have been unable to cope with my Nan's illness have falling at the wayside, I could never do this. How have others coped with this continuing grief?


Registered User
May 25, 2015
That's horrible to hear.. Alzheimer's is truly a death sentence for people and no one deserves such a horrible end. Cherish your memories of her and accept that there isn't much you can do, some things are beyond the scope of human ability.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Hi Natsim, Im sorry you and your nan are finding visits difficult. I think you will need to do most of the talking - dont expect normal conversations! You have to be creative. Try taking something with you to talk about, perhaps some old photos. If you do this dont say "do you remember" just point out the people, tell her who they are and tell her the old family stories - this is your niece xxx and when she was young she once ..........
Or take in an object (non-breakable) for her to hold and tell her its story. Mum likes me to read stories from her youth (Whinny the Pooh and the Just So Stories are popular) which she laughs over. Mum also likes me to give her a manicure and her hands get washed and have hand cream rubbed in too.
If she is able to be taken out, perhaps in a wheel chair, try pushing it along the road and talking about what you can see.
Keep your visits short and sweet and remember that even though she cannot speak now she will be very good at picking up body language.


Registered User
Oct 23, 2014
Hi Natsim.
I cried when I read your post. (My mum has vascular dementia and is in a care home.) What a wonderful Granddaughter you are. Your Mum is right that you are lucky to have such a good Gran but she is also lucky to have you. Where to begin: I am a qualified nurse of 28 years. I prescribe and I am an autonomous practitioner. I truly believe that our sixth sense is the most important thing we have, as nurses. You are blessed with this; you feel your Gran's frustration and you empathise. You are there for her. This is all you can do. You instinctively feel for her. After many, many years of caring for people whose demise is untimely, unfair, inhumane and plain cruel, I truly believe that this life is not all there is. I am not a Christian and have no discernible faith but I really think that there has to be more and that everything happens for a reason that we do not perceive. Please do not waste the precious time you have with your Gran grieving for her. We really do not know what's around the corner. Cherish your moments, enjoy her company. Cry with her and love her. Be yourself. You may not believe it now but you will cope. You will make a fine nurse and you are a good person. Love to you.

Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point


Registered User
Jul 11, 2015
Thank You

Thank you to all of you who have replied to my post, it has been very helpful and encouraging to hear from you all and your kind words. I will take what you have suggested onboard. I had another visit yesterday with my Nan, I went with my Mum, who is such a rock, I dont know how she does it but somehow she does. We were allowed to take my Nan into the beauitful garden where she lives and sit in the sunshine. We took some lunch for my Nan as she isnt eating very well and she will only eat what family members give her. I gave her some cake and joked that its not all that bad being on a cake diet to my Nan and she laugthed and said yes your right. Yesterdays visit is one to treasure, my Nan appeared a lot more relaxed and happy. Every time I leave I kiss her and tell her that I love her lots and she doesnt always reply but yesterday she said that she loved me too and thats such a precious thing x


Registered User
Oct 18, 2013
British Isles
Thank you for sharing about the better visit you had. Hope you are able to enjoy more lovely visits in the garden while you have time to visit this summer.