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OlderCoupleCreditmatthew-bennett-425573-unsplash (2)Photo credit Matthew Bennett

I was recently chatting with a group of students from a university class that uses my book as a text, and a young woman shared a story about her grandmother that started an interesting discussion. The young woman was in her twenties and her name was Anna. Although she had never known her grandmother without AD, they still had a close relationship. Twenty years is a long time for the disease to progress, and some people decline much more quickly than others. Anna was fortunate to know her grandmother during the years when she was still able to communicate. Of course, as her grandmother's disease progressed, communication became more difficult. Yet, Anna never gave up, and she continues to visit her grandmother regularly. During the later stages when her grandmother was seemingly unable to recognize friends and family members, Anna experienced something both baffling and remarkable. As she was leaving her grandmother's room after a visit, Anna hugged her goodbye, as was her habit. As she did so, she said, "I love you, Grandma." To her astonishment, her grandmother responded with great clarity, "I love you, too, Anna." Then, her grandmother slipped back into the fogginess of her disease.

This occurrence is not as rare as you might think. My dad suffered from a different type of dementia; one caused by a failed brain surgery. He spent most of his last decade of life in a...

Continue reading on Agingcare for more about how people with dementia can respond (or not) yet still be sensitive to their surroundings:

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Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.” ...Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


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