1. anniem66

    anniem66 Registered User

    Aug 28, 2015
    My mum is in her 80s she suffers from mixed dementia. Her short term memory seems to be deteriorating in chunks. I don't know if this is usual. Two weeks ago she showed me how to use the boiler. This week she could not remember what to do. My sister & i have shown her at least half a dozen times since but she can't retain it.

    Her long term memory is quite poor too. She repeats about 6 long term memories incessantly. She also has about half a dozen mid term repeat memories, sadly these relate to reputed slights and malicious actions. She builds on these.

    Recently I have been trying to expand on her long term memory recall by sharing my memories of childhood with her. I am hoping to 'jolt' her into a slightly different thought pattern but she brings it back to her own.

    Has anyone had any success in increasing engagement? Has it made any difference in day to day living? Any other ideas?
  2. tre

    tre Registered User

    Sep 23, 2008
    My husband also has retained some memories of hurtful/ emotional times in his past which seem to loop around from time to time. An over 20 year old one of his ex-wife who left him for someone else telling him he was f***ing useless when he had treated her really well and it was a case of you do not value what you have until you lose it, and an equally senior colleague in another department making disparaging comments which ended up with the other guy being dispensed with and my husband being promoted and retained. However, I think however little my husband showed it at the time, these were emotional memories and unfortunately they seem to be retained. I just try distraction and reminding him how out of step these idiots were with all the others by repeating the positive comments that others who were around at the time made and trying to head him off onto happier memories.
  3. Patricia Alice

    Patricia Alice Registered User

    Mar 2, 2015
    Hi, my mum has mixed dementia and now is in nursing care, and her memory is fading now quite fast, she has no short term at all and the middle to long term is poor, however we play her songs on CD from the 40's and 50's and she still knows all the words and sings her head off. Also when we bring her to our home we play a 'wartime songs video' with Vera Lynn, Gracie Fields etc and it tells the war time stories of the land girls and munitions factories (which she worked in as a teenager) and she starts to tell her stories to us, which is lovely.

    This works for us.
  4. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Hi anniem. Most people with dementia have problems with their short-term memory, but can remember things from many years ago. This is a common pattern. If you talk to your mum about things that happened in her childhood or recount old family stories she will probably remember them and laugh or join in the telling. She will probably remember the words to old songs too.

    Unfortunately, once short-term memories are gone they cannot be brought back.
    I have had it explained to me that it is like a bookcase - recent memories are stored on the top shelf and the oldest memories are stored on the bottom shelf. If you shake the book case the books will fall out - the top ones first, but if you keep on shaking it all the books will come out, but the ones on the bottom will fall out last.
    It you try and teach your mum something, or try and replace a lost memory it will be like putting the book back in the book-case - but it will be on the top shelf and will fall out again almost immediately.

    Im afraid that there isnt anything you can do about this - it is part of the dementia and you have to learn to accept it unfortunately.
  5. tre

    tre Registered User

    Sep 23, 2008
    I do not know whether this would work with your mum but I have several recordings of David's family on CD and he enjoys these very much.
    His son made recordings og his grandad ( David's father) telling various anecdotes about his life. These were recorded some years ago when David's dad was 84 but David gets a great deal of pleasure from them despite the fact his dad has been dead for many years. Also, David's two sons, at my request recorded a conversation between the two of them recalling various incidents in David's life, from their childhood incidents to when they were both adults. Again David loves this and it also lifts his mood. Although he recognises both of the recordings his memory is such that he does not get fed up with them. Maybe you could do something similar for your mum focussing on happy incidents.
  6. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    The Sweet North
    Tre, what a good idea it was to make those recordings (even without dementia to consider.)
    Too late for us, (hubby's family now sadly much depleted) but younger carers reading this could benefit from the idea.

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