I just read a blog written by a man who is an Alzheimer's caretaker for his mother. He dealt with questions being repeated over and over until he became frustrated and angry. His answer was to not just remember that his mother's short term memory was gone but to acknowledge that he couldn't change that fact. Instead, he changed his response.
He calls the life that you and I live the Real World and the life his mom lives the Alzheimer's World. When speaking to his mom he literally takes a step to the left before responding. This is his way of reminding himself to enter her Alzheimer's World. By taking a physical step he is able to remember that the Alzheimer's World is an actual, physical place where his mother lives.
Mom lives in Alzheimer's World. Her short term memory is non-existent. It truly breaks my heart watching Mom become frustrated that her parents are late picking her up. Or that her family is waiting for her and she is heart broken that they are worried for her. I cannot imagine how alone it must feel to know absolutely no one around you. What a terrifying and isolating feeling to have. When she repeatedly asks the day of the week, she is not doing it to irritate. She is asking for confirmation that she is still in control of her mind.
I am going to try to remember to enter Alzheimer's World when I am responding to Mom. I probably will forget to take the step to the left before entering. But, I can make the effort. And while making the effort, I can try to respond with more comfort in my voice. Even though she probably does not understand a lot of the words that I am saying, she can understand the comfort and compassion that she can hear in my voice. And I will pray she finds peace in her world.