Who is this person and when did my mother disappear?

By: Mary Ellen Mullholand, RN,MBA

Over the years of working at a nursing care facility, I often heard this question from distraught family members. They spoke in quiet voices and told the story of mom who became like a ghost of the person that had cared for them their whole life and then there was this new person that looked different, acted different and just was not “their” mom.

Dementia and its symptoms often are hidden or ignored by family. This reaction inhibits families from reaching out for advice and support and often leaves the nominated caregiver with feelings of guilt and placing blame on those with dementia like it was their fault. I often heard families cry with the summary statement: “then there is the feeling of relief when the senior is placed in care”. There is no graceful way through it as it is a very complicated illness and the fallout to the entire family network is earth-shattering!

As the company that developed RememberStuff™, we are hoping that those experiencing dementia and those who are facing the elder years with no signs of dementia but thinking about what they can do to slow or stop memory loss, take the opportunity to use this software to record their wishes about their care should they find that one day you cannot take care of yourself. RememberStuff can hold many a set of daily activities that you enjoy and help you recall how to participate or lists of directions for family if your memory is no longer strong. Think of RememberStuff as the device to help you stay engaged and to help those who will need to make the weighty decisions for your care.

Finally, families should embrace the person who is in their care as they are and to do so in the moment not the memory of the past. You will find joy and a treasure chest of in-the-moment experiences. Soon you will erase the ghost of who your loved one was and ask, “who are you now?” Review our website and learn more about RememberStuff™ (rememberstuff.com) and learn to navigate through the changes caused by dementia.