One Step Forwards Two Steps Back


I’ve often been asked how Mom is progressing, and mostly I reply that she is well and sometimes I even venture to say she seems to be improving.

She seems more alert and is able to follow what is going on around her. She looks forward to the weekly sessions at the dementia daycare centre and on those days she comes back physically tired out but mentally prepped up. I guess the activity and affirmation she gets at the centre stimulates her and gives her confidence.

On the other hand, I notice her memory of past events can be unreliable. She remembers only three brothers, and details of one of the brother’s daughters are mixed up with another of my uncle’s daughters. Talking to her I imagine in her mind one face melding into another, the history of one person meshing with the history of another. In this sense, Mom is not typical of those patients with Alzheimer’s who are described as remembering distant events with accuracy and clarity; Mom cannot remember distant events clearly.

Mom does not seem too bothered by this loss. She is completely focused on the present, concentrating on what happens today and maybe paying a little attention to tomorrow’s plans.

Mom can still read the clock. However, she cannot understand “in five minutes time”. She does understand “now”, “later” and “at 1pm”.


18 thoughts on “One Step Forwards Two Steps Back”

  1. I saw some of this first hand at my Gramps 90th birthday party. He called my cousin my dad’s name, even though they don’t look anything alike, and he mixed up me and my sisters.

    If I go alone with my Gram to visit though, he can usually figure out who I am. But too many faces, definitely confuse him.

    I wish there was a way to “cure” them. Perhaps someday.


  2. Thank you for your blog entry! I love hearing from you. What you say in your article confirms the individual nature of each person’s disease. Even if someone is diagnosed with the exact same type of dementia as another person – the manifestation of each person’s disease is very unpredictable. Why? Because each person is unique – therefore the disease will be somewhat unique as well.


    1. Thanks. Although everyone is different, I can see what is happening to Mom has happened to someone who blogs too. It helps me deal with it, and so I hope my writing helps someone else in turn.


  3. Yes, so similar to my mom. Her memory of distant events seems nearly gone. She has “word salad” to the point she can’t carry on meaningful conversations. Yet people continue to ask how she’s doing as if dementia/Alzheimer’s patients get better. I know they ask to show their concern but there’s no happy answer I can give them. Thanks for continuing to write about your journey with your mom.


    1. I can see for myself that although words and meanings seem to be jumbled up, emotions can be very strong. I remind myself to take care of the emotions more than the other stuff. Have spoken some vague nonsense using a soothing tone once when Mom got upset, and it worked.


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