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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsThe other thing that's a little more confusing about Alzheimer's, as the disease progresses they lose more, and more, and more memory. In other words, they believe that they're younger in their mind. How do we know this? How do we know this? Who do they ask for? They'll ask, where's my mom. When they ask you where their mom is, understand what age are they living in their mind at this moment? When is mom important?

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsWhen you're a kid, when you're a child. So they may be asking, where's my husband, where's my husband. But when he walks in, they're thinking, ew. I'll be nice to that man for about ten minutes, then he's going. They want their husband but they don't recognize this husband. They're looking for their young handsome beau. So how old are they in their mind? In their twenties? When they're constantly looking for my kids, where are my kids, where are my kids, and then their kids come in and they don't recognize their kids because which kids are they looking for? They're looking for their kids. They're looking for their little kids. So how old are they in their mind at this moment?

Skip to 1 minute and 41 secondsAgain, they think they're 20, they think they're 30 when they had little kids. It's important to figure out how old they believe they are in their mind, because this is where their memories are. This is where they're living. In their mind, this is the time in their life that they're living. So let's say in their twenties, they lived in Indiana in the United States. But right now they live in Alaska.

Skip to 2 minutes and 19 secondsWhere in this moment do they believe they're living? If they're 20 in their mind, and in their twenties they lived in Indiana, where in this moment do they believe they're living, Alaska or Indiana? Indiana. So who's got to talk about Indiana instead of Alaska? We do. Who's got to talk about their siblings and their chores that they had to do and their grandparents, instead of, those grandkids that came to see you yesterday. Do they remember the grandkids that came to see them yesterday? Do they recognize the grandkids that came to see them yesterday? They might be nice and act like they do.

Skip to 3 minutes and 3 secondsBut in their memory, where they believe they're living, they're looking for their parents, their mom, their siblings when they were 15, when they were 16. It's our responsibility to figure out what age they're living in their mind at this moment.

Skip to 3 minutes and 22 secondsYou can even ask someone: How old are you? And they will tell you, and it depends on the day. But that gives you a cue into what you chat about, because this is where their memories are right now.

What age are they in their mind?

Once we realize what age a person with Alzheimer’s is living in their mind, then we will be more likely to connect with them.

If someone is looking for their mom, how old do you think the person is living in their mind? What do you think would differentiate a good response from a poor response for that person asking “Where is my Mom”?

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This video is from the free online course:

Creating Moments of Joy for People with Alzheimer’s

Purdue University