How much will she remember??


Registered User
Mar 31, 2005
I have recently lost a close friend and promised him that after his death i would look after his sister who is in her 80's and has ad. I went to see her today for the first time in 5yrs-(she used to look after me when i was a little girl) i am numb with shock- one minute she knew of her brothers death and then the next spoke about him like she'd seen him yesterday- do i explain to her that he has died when she has 'forgotton' or do i chat happily like he is still alive-because in the next 5 minutes she will be back to normal and talk of his happy times when he was alive- i could tell by her eyes-which mode she was in-present or past! please someone help me-when i told her who i was it was like she had to think for a minute-then something clicked and she remembered me-it was aheartbreaking experience- it is her brothers funeral tomorrow morning-will she remember i went today???


Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
Hi Janie,

Your friend's sister may well not remember that you went to see her but then again, maybe she will. It is so hard to know what the 'right thing to do' is with AD, you kind of learn as you go.

My Mum used to tell my Dad that he had forgotten all his brothers and sisters were dead, when he spoke of them, but she now feels guilty because she says this was cruel. After all, Dad seems happy to talk about them as if they were still here and why not?!

Yes, it is heart-breaking, but when all is said and done, (and as you seem quite aware which mode your friend's sister is in), it is probably kindest to follow her lead. I believe it is best not to tell her that she has forgotten.

Best wishes,


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
the memory comes and goes,better some times than others.
Go with the flow,let her talk whichever mode she is in and just go with it.
You will find that you cannot reason ,it doesn't work and every one is different.
Hope this helps,post when you wish
best wishes and welcome to TP
Norman :confused:


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
I can't see any benefit in your telling her he is dead. If he is alive in her opinion, just chat to her as if he is still around. I'd go so far as to tell her he asked after her but that he couldn't make it to see her on the day because he had a cold or something.

Don't worry that she doesn't remember visits. Tailor each one to her and how she is.

You are great to be doing this caring!


Registered User
Mar 31, 2005

Thankyou for your help. im am finding it difficult to cope with his death-he was so close to me-so close i can't begin to explain it-i promised him in the chapel of rest-id care for her-as at 82 he was still cooking for her and caring for her-This man was of great strength and courage-he lost his leg in world war 2, adjusted to becoming a diabetic, had recently had a back operation then was diagnosed with leukemia-which in the end got the better of him- i am only 29 but have 3 children aged 5 & under and am feeling guilty that i should have done more for him as he has done so much for me over the years-what a lovely relationship we had-he never told me of his pain and how close to the end he was-maybe he was protecting me-Then to visit Rose yesterday-was so sad. I will keep to my promise and help care for her. She has no husband, no children-just brothers who must also be in their 60's or even 70's. She is id say 50/50 ok/poorly. i will visit these pages daily and learn form all your experiences to allow her have happy times while she still can! i know this is a long windy road-so stick by me everyone.
Thankyou again for your help and advice
See you again-this evening
Jane :confused:


Registered User
Jan 29, 2005
Hi Jane,
Try not to be so hard on yourself. I would say he probably enjoyed your friendship and probably loved seeing your children. He was also of the same age group as my mum-in-law ....... it took us (even as family) a long time before we realised what she was coping with on her own with my father-in-law and could try to help her out ...... as far as she was concerned, looking out for your husband and family without complaining was just what you did! A pride thing perhaps? Dont know.

However, you are being a lovely friend to him still by looking out for his sister. With my father-in-law, we used to just go along with whatever he was saying ..... if we took him out for a 'ride' in his wheelchair we often had some very surreal conversations! ..... often we couldn't really relate to what he was saying ..... but more often than not it was things from his younger days but a bit jumbled up. He always was a great 'chatter-box' and chatting cheered him up ...... so we just went with the flow.

Take care, Elaine


Registered User
Mar 31, 2005
Thankyou Elaine, this advice is making sense. will pop in tomorrow to take her a cream cake and go do a jigsaw puzzle with her,and wash up!!i will go with the flow and and let her show me the way...
She was'nt at her brothers funeral-im sure this was for the best-just hope she does'nt ask about it.
Thanks again

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Hi Janie,
Yes, it is best to go with the flow. My mother has had 2 siblings die now and I've never told her. At the beginning, before I knew what to do, I told her a few times that my grandmother was dead - she kept asking for her mother! My grandmother died in 1970 so I found it a bit creepy. All it did was make her cry & get so upset. Now she asks a lot less frequently but when she does, I just say that her mother is fine, the same as always.

You're doing a wonderful thing by visiting. Just visit, chat, walk (if she can walk). Look at old photographs. Perhaps listen to music from her era. Read to her (if she likes that). And if and when she asks for her brother, just say he's fine but busy that day - has an appointment etc etc. Little white lies can make the person happier. What matters now is the happiness and contentment of the person with AD. In this case, honesty is an overrated virtue.

Bless you


Registered User
Mar 27, 2004
Hello Janie

I must say that I agree with the advice given by the others, just listen and agree.
There is nothing to be gained by trying to bring reality into the conversation with someone suffering from AD.

Do not worry about the fact that you know you are not telling the truth, they don't know, and are happier with their version of what is happening.

It may sound cynical but it is a fact of a carers life that whatever makes the sufferer happy is the road you take.

I personally think you are wonderful taking on the responsibility of trying to take care of someone who isn't a relation.

I wish you the best of luck and at the same time warn you not to get too involved to the detriment of your own family.

Cheers Barraf

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