May 1, 2020

Yesterday and today there was nothing to remember. As in, she can’t remember A THING. Her short term memory has shrunk to levels I didn’t know were possible. Ten second Tom has become One Second Wanda.
Today was a tiny bit better. We visited a new park and walked around the lake. It was a beautiful day for a change, with sun and warmer temperatures– a 180 degree change from yesterday, which was cold, gloomy, windy, wet, and ugly. Mom loved the park and told me all about it a hundred times in the less than mile-long walk we took. An hour after we got home she didn’t even remember we left the house.
The general rule is to not remind dementia sufferers of the things they’ve forgotten. Go along with what they’ve said, don’t argue, agree with everything, take the blame if that’s what it means to not engage with the memory loss. Distract, redirect, and move on. I find that asking questions is a great way to divert her attention. But when she asks me a direct question I have a hard time coming up with an alternative to a direct answer in that moment. I respond automatically with an answer. So when she asked if we’d left the house at all today I said, yes, we went to the park.
“We did? Gosh, I don’t remember that.”
“We walked around the lake.”
Pause. “Okay, yes, the new park.” Pause. “Oh right, now I remember. I liked that park.”
So that was better than yesterday. She was able to recall that we went to the park.
I’ve no idea why her memory is so poor lately. I have no reason to suspect a UTI. It is what it is.

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