She was over at my house for dinner last night and she must have asked me over 10 times how old Natalie was. Natalie is my daughter and her grand-daughter. Mom babysat Natalie ever since she was an infant. Even now, Mom sees Natalie at least once a week.
I'm sure you know that a person with Alzheimer's tends to ask the same question over and over again.
After mom and dad left, Dave asked me how many times mom asked how old Natalie was.
I replied "I stopped counting."
It used to frustrate me when I had to answer the same question over and over again. Sometimes 10 times in a span of a few hours, some times more.
What I realized was mom's questions are important and relevant to her at the time. Her condition keeps her in the moment - at that moment. It doesn't matter how many times she has to ask, she keeps asking because it's what's front and center in her mind.
So, I stopped counting. Instead, I respond with an answer, and occasionally I follow up with another question or a statement such as "Mom, you must think about Natalie all the time.". She then smiles and tells me how she remembers her grand-daughter coming home from the hospital for the very first time, and how she held that baby infant in her arms to drink in her love.
It's amazing the kind of emotional memory mom still holds on to. She may forget what she heard five minutes ago, but she doesn't seem to forget how an event or a person made her feel. In this case, mom distinctly remembers Natalie coming home from the hospital 13 years ago.
She just doesn't remember that it was 13 years ago.