Is it normal to lose all past memories?


Registered User
Sep 11, 2017
Hello, I would like some of your wisdom please. My mum has probably had Alzheimer s for 10+ years, but only diagnosed a year ago. She still won't accept it. So my question is. Is it the norm to not just lose short term memory, but to lose long term as well? To elaborate my mum told me the other day she had 4 daughters (i am one of those) she said they were all delivered c section in local hospital. None of us were c section, or were we delivered in the local community hospital. She needs reminding who she was married to for 48years, and constantly asking about her mum. I always understood that the best way was to be in the moment with the person with AD. I m finding this increasingly difficult because she has no memory of long term memories. She incorporates what ever she is watching on the tv as her life, and goes to great lengths telling us stories, that aren't true. We all nod and agree, even when sometimes it can be quite hurtfull. That's just something all of us looking after a loved one with AD has to accept. I feel like she's changed the rules, can anyone identify with me please? Vicky


Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
North Manchester
Have a look at this video, ultimately the lower shelves of the rickety bookcase will be affected and confabulation takes over.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
We can all identify with that @vicx
Im afraid that all of these things are normal for dementia. You are handling it the right way.


Registered User
Dec 30, 2011
I found that if I brought up in conversation, small things that happened in my Mum's past, she remembered (or perhaps sometimes seemed to remember) those events. I knew a lot about her early life because she had always talked about it. I think those childhood memories were retained, probably not so much ones since her children were born.


Registered User
Jun 26, 2013
My PWD also talks about her past life when prompted, and trots out the same anecdotes quite regularly. But when asked a specific question (e.g. by Mental Health nurse "what job did you do?") she only vaguely remembers or not at all. (in this case, she worked all her adult life with long chunks of time in 3 different jobs, but the only job she remembered was the one I had reminded her about, half an hour earlier.)


Registered User
Oct 14, 2017
My mother has virtually no memory of her past life unless given several minutes to sort through the tattered synapses in her brain. She often asks whether I have seen “our” Mum recently (she died in 1982) and if I ever mention my Dad, her husband of 40 years, she will say quite openly that she has no idea who he was. I always thought long term memory would remain even if short term memory went, but that isn’t the case. The only thing we can do is show her photos but as she has macular degeneration, she can’t even see those very well.


Registered User
Sep 11, 2017
Thank you for your replies. Knowing this is another quite normal symptom is reassuring. I do love the stories my mum comes up with, when you know someone s past you can identify what is from their life and what's from else where. It can be quite comical, I don't mean to sound uncaring, but mum and I laugh even if we are laughing for very different reasons.


Registered User
Sep 1, 2016
I found that MIL's only very clear memories were from when she was living at home with her Mum and Dad and brothers. It took me ages to find this out - she would laugh and smile about what we said or asked about her husband and her children's childhoods, but there was no understanding or comeback there at all.

I eventually found that the silliest little questions about maybe the first twenty years of her life (1920s, 1930's) brought forth an amazing amount of things that she could tell me in great detail - it was wonderful, and I wish I had realised earlier.

I would suggest that you try going back far, far earlier than you would presume. Some lovely conversations we had were on the lines of questions from me like "Did your Mum have a fridge when you were living at home - how did she keep things fresh?" "I bet your Mum didn't have a tumble dryer - how did she manage to get washing dry?"

Just an idea to pass on to you - I'd be interested to hear if something like that engaged your Mum at all?