Betsy Cross

You? Again…?

In, Dementia, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Uncategorized on April 4, 2012 at 8:31 am

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This is what I call a “throw away” post. I’m frustrated, venting, and sharing the pain of Family History Dementia (FHD for short)

Just for fun I looked up the symptoms of dementia on the  Geriatric Care Management  site :

Dementia” refers to a large cluster of symptoms. These symptoms include:  short-term memory loss, poor judgment, difficulty performing familiar tasks, etc. When a person develops these symptoms, it is often a sign that something is wrong inside the brain.”

Yeah. Something’s wrong inside my brain. I’m looking at records of people who I researched months ago and feeling like we’re meeting for the first time.

Have you ever been to a party or large gathering of people when you are in a really spacey frame of mind, only you don’t know you are until you’ve been introduced to a handful of people, and realize you’ve been daydreaming about the buffet table treats when someone calls you by your first name and you spend the next few minutes racking your brain for the memory of theirs?

If you have you might understand how I feel. Even though I only have about 800 people in my records, and I work on one family at a time, I’m having a hard time remembering their stories. And I want to remember. I like them. They entertain me. The feeling’s mutual I think.


“Did not, Lester! I NEVER went to China!” insisted Stella. “Remember we resolved that the LAST time she was here? Same-Name-Syndrome?”

“Well then,” Lester asked, “why does she keep bringing it up? I’m all confused”

“I want to hear your story unfold again,” Olga huffed. “I’m still trying to figure out why you left me and the kids for HER!”

“Listen, Dear. You thought I was dead. At least for a while you did. That story would have held, too if she hadn’t kept looking. Dad? Why on earth would you leave such a good paper trail? But if she puts me on one more ship. Gads! I’m so seasick. Who cares when I died? Just keep my feet on land.”


So, back to the file folder. Back to the family group record where I try to remember what I already knew. It doesn’t matter that it’s all written down on a timeline. All of my research has to be researched again. I feel like my children must feel when we take them to visit my father in the nursing home.

“Hey! You’re Lauren. Right?”

“No. I’m Madeleine.”

“Which one’s Kyle and which is Connor?”

“That’s Kenny, the bigger one. James is the little one. The other two couldn’t come.”

We collectively turn our attention to the Crocodile Hunters that are on the tv across from his bed as we help him to remember who loves baseball, is married, going to college, living with Grandma, and which one is in high school  middle school,and grammar school? Is James ever going to nursery school? Why is Kenny’s hair still blonde? Any more grand-babies coming from me, or great grand-babies from my daughter?

It’s all good, we all laugh and have fun sharing and correcting when necessary. We’ll push “repeat” next week.

Unlike our little group visiting my dad, my ancestors are getting very tired of repeating themselves. I think they’d like a bit of an adventure instead.

All in good time people. First I have to remember who you are.

Have any tips for remembering your people easily? I’d appreciate some help!

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  1. Sticky notes? A whole wall of them? *wait..I have to figure out who you are before I can answer, What was the question?

    Sorry..had to do took care of Alzheimer’s residents in a home for a few years, it was a very interesting experience. Turn around in front of them and your a whole new person to them..sure teaches one patience!

    As Always..



    • I have been close to a few people with either dementia orAlzheimer’s. Some people do better than others with the confusion. It’s so sad to see people trying to cope with the embarrassment and confusion. But whenever I could help them relax and laugh about it it was magical. I always joke with my kids that I’m next! They (only one of them really) get so upset with me! But if you can’t accept the bad how can you enjoy the good? How do people survive without humor? Sticky notes? For dead people? Ha! Ann! You’re a blast!


  2. Hi, my name is Bill and I’m glad I finally hooked up w/ your new post. I think I had tried to put it in my Reader earlier but it didn’t ‘take’……….I can’t remember……….:).

    About 10 years ago I had gone to a neighboring community to run a branch of our office. It’s close enough that I didn’t move from my home town, but I did get immersed in the community and got to meet a lot of people. About 3 years ago, we consolidated the branch back to our home office and I came back. I still do ‘stuff’ in the other community, but now I run into people who I knew well enough back then that I hope they have a name tag……….

    Needless to say, everybody becomes hey pal, buddy, you, etc. I feel your pain…..:)

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