Facing your Parents when Dementia Creeps In

My parents are not my parents.  The man and woman who raised me and who would join my family weekly for meals are not the people who carry around my parent’s ID cards now.  It was a really hard thing for me to face as my parents changed. Before I visit my parents now, I remind myself of this fact.

I can no longer have a meaningful conversation with my parents. They don’t remember what is going on in my life, the ages or interests of my children or any of the life events we share with them when we visit.

I still cry when I think about the loss of my parents. Some days, I get a glimpse of the people I remember my parents to be. A witty remark zips off my mother’s tongue or my father will trot like he used to do when plain walking just got boring – I still savor those moments

When I greet my parents they still get hugs. I honor them with the respect they deserve, but I learned to not torture myself but pretending they are my parents and allowing the behavior and language to destroy my memory of the two wonderful people who raised me.

Some days, it’s still a battle, but it’s getting easier to manage. Coping.

If you are in my shoes, how are you dealing with your visits?


Other related stories on this topic include:
Three important things to practice when visiting a parent with dementia

Planning activities for people with dementia

Finding activities for parents with memory loss