It can be very hard when your mother, or father, or husband or wife or anyone close to your heart doesn’t know who you are, anymore, because they have dementia. But there can be moments of breakthrough, when the fog clears for a moment and the person reappears.

There’s a lovely story in the Huffington Post about the moment a mother, with dementia, recognised her daughter after a long time of not knowing who she was.   Here’s the link to it:

Janet Jacob was manager of a Pilgrim Home for manager years.  She said,  ‘ I remember a lady telling me the story of her mother who was in residential care and in the latter stages of dementia. As she entered the home one of the staff was just leaving and said to her, ‘ Don’t go without your birthday card which is on your mum’s dresser’. ‘She asked how the staff knew it was her birthday, and was utterly amazed when told her mother had told that particular staff member. The lady cried as she told me that her mother had not remembered her birthday for some years, or her name for some months.’ People tell us about these precious times of ‘rementing’, even when the person is in quite deep dementia.  Often, it’s prompted by hearing an old hymn or a Scripture reading, or even a little Sunday School chorus.

Christine R. told us about the time she sang the children’s song, ‘Jesus loves me, this I know’ to her father in law, who had not spoken for several months.  She sang a verse and heard him say, ‘Again.’  She repeated the verse and then, once more,  heard the quiet, ‘Again!’  She sang it again, and then, falteringly but surely, he began to sing it with her.  At that moment his carer came through the door and her jaw dropped in astonishment.  For a little while the old pastor had connected with something – or rather Someone, who transcended physical frailty and touched his soul.

Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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