When the phone rings and it’s my mom on the other end asking,”Hi Tass, what’s happening at your house?”, I know now what she’s asking. She is trying to find out if there are people at my house because they are visiting for my dad’s funeral. My dad’s funeral was 9 months ago. She will not usually come out and ask. She will just try to ask questions that give her a clue to the answer. She has pride. And she has fear. She knows she is confused.
I have come to know what answers to give her that will not make her feel bad but will help her to feel okay with what is happening to her. I give her the same answer each time now because it is almost every day that I get asked this question.
I’ve learned that people with dementia can hide it from others by pretending they remember things. It must help them to cope with what it happening to them and they don’t want others to think they are forgetful or that there is something wrong with them.
I’ve learned that the worst thing to ask a person with dementia is, “You remember?”. It is not an easy habit to change. I still will ask my mom things like “remember the time..” or “remember that guy…”. And she still does remember most of her long term memories about her childhood. It’s just that they’re starting to get mixed up with each other.
She is living in the moment and in the distant past.
She calls me Tass sometimes because that was the name my nephew called me when he was little and couldn’t say Kathy. I was Tassy and then Tass.