While I am unable to find answers for why this is, Alzheimer’s patients seem to have a stronger memory of the deceased people than the memory of their death. I tend to look at it as the emotional memory must be held somewhere other than the area where the factual memory is stored.
If you remind your loved one that the person they are looking for is actually dead, you may upset your loved one terribly. We know, because my family has been through this issue many times and has made plenty of mistakes along the way to know what works and what doesn’t. Instead, here is a communication example to help you.
Loved One: “Where did my mom go (a deceased person)? She was here talking to me just a minute ago.”
- Remind your loved one that the person they are looking for is dead.
- Fabricate a story. Somehow they know they are being lied to.
- Panic or think that a bad spirit is nearby.
- Recognize that the person he/she is looking for may be someone important or was once close to them.
- Prepare yourself to enter the world of Alzheimer’s.
- Try to trigger their emotional memory, as opposed to facts.
- Ask your loved one: “Tell me about Grandma (or whoever).” “What was some of the happiest things you did together?” “Tell me about Grandma's favorite dish she used to make?”
- Thank your loved one for sharing.