grandmother with dementia

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My grandmother is 82 years old and after a spell of pneumonia she has gotten worse every day. She is bedridden. Now when I go visit her she doesn't even know I'm there doesn't even make eye contact or hold my hand. It is very sad to see her decline so very rapidly. I am not sure if she knows I'm there but is unable to communicate with me. It seems like she's in another world can't speak or doesn't even seem like she hears me when I talk to her. Has anyone else had similar dealings with their loved ones?

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Terry believe me your grandmother knows you are there. It may not seem like it but you should try to rub her arm gently. Run your hand over hair. Keep talking to her. She does know you snd knows when you visit. So please do visit, a touch a kiss on the cheek. I know she knows when you visit. I've been in a worse position and I knew my husband knew I visited him daily. Don't force your grandmother to get out of bed, encourage her.

    I feel you. Take care


  • Posted

    Yes she does know you are there...believe us! At the very start of our journey (in a caring home environment) with this disease we were advised by a very wise young manageress ...that often family feel that their loved one diesnt know them and that it makes no difference visiting or not etc.....she explained how much happier the residents wer3 after family had visited, it lifted their mood even though they couldn’t verbalise why. 81/2 years later I was at my mother-in-laws bedside during the last 5 days and nights and most of the time the many weeks before. Towards the end Ann’s ‘shut down’ closing her eyes most of the time or staring etc. Thankfully music always helped her and I had it playing constantly. During the last days I often played her ‘Jesus loves me this I know, because the Bible tells me so etc’ as it was such a calming song. I couldnt tell if she was really enjoying it so I said to her Anne are you still enjoying this song? She briefly opened her eyes and hoarse,y whispered ‘yes’ and promptly shut herself away again. I was so grateful for this brief communication. She went back to closing her eyes against the world, no communication etc. Then about 2 nights before she died I knew she was in pain (we were waiting for some morphine..delayed due to another emergency) so when the carpets came in wanting to turn her I said ‘NO, she is on too much pain’. Anne again briefly opened her eyes looked at me deeply (bearing in mind her sight had mostly gone during these last few weeks) before shutting them again. I k ew then that she was trying to say ‘thank you’. 

    What I am trying to say is YES, YES, they know you are there. I was the fortunate one to witness these rare brief ‘communicative moments’ because I was able to be there continuously...having taken early retirement. As the person previously responded...touch, music, keep talking to her with reassuring words, family news etc. She can is the last sense to go. So even if she can’t communicate to you at all she is reassured by your presence, touch and voice. Keep on loving her while you can. Lots of love and prayers. Xx

  • Posted


    My Father had this illness and was unable to relate with people around Him. He eventually died with a pulmonary embolism.

    I looked after an Aunt with this dementia, the husband had been very good hiding the problem and when He died everything came out and I looked after Her representation in a Nursing home. Both family members lacked understanding in a way and Nursing homes needed to be able to deal with dementia patients and were very expensive, and sad to say some homes seemed questionable.

    What you are seeing is all very sad and I feel for you.

    When you visit talk to Her, you may find although lacking understanding she may respond to you, there is no reason not to hold her hand, she may have sensation.

    Remember good times and discuss what went on in the past, like holidays, what is going on in your life etc. Some like my Aunt would listen to music and would attempt to sing. If you know the period of her youth try and enter her memories. Sometimes you may get some feedback from her as she responds to those different times

    Your Mother/Father will be from those earlier times, one will be Her Child. Try and get them to talk of earlier times and any activities they used to do. You may find friends can also be approached, they will know your Gran in different ways and will be able to converse. Expect little and you may be given something quite wonderful, patients are always different, you just need to ring that bell

    I always found with the Aunt I was unable to relate to her life because I was from a different generation, it was hard work, although very rewarding


  • Posted

    It seems your grand mother need a care giver.who will take care of all her needs.
  • Posted

    I hope you have found these responses helpful Terry. Have you managed to read any of them yet.? How is your grandmother doing.?xxx
    • Posted

      Thank you for the replies. My Grandmother is in a home being taken care of 24/7. She is too weak to get out of bed, it is a feat to get her up and to the bathroom. My aunt visited with her today and said she talked to her a little so that was good to hear. I will go visit her this weekend and hopefully she will be awake and recognize me.
    • Posted

      Good to hear from you terry.Take care.
  • Posted

    Sadly my Grandmother passed the day before Thanksgiving. I am sad that she is gone but happy she is in a better place now. Thank you all for your support.

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