OKLAHOMA CITY - "It was like living with a stranger." That's how my mom, Sharron West, described the last few years of life with my dad, before Alzheimer's claimed his life in April.
Robert Morris knows the frustration. The owner of Home Instead Senior Care says there are ways to ease the aggravation and unlock positive flashbacks.
Morris says keep a life journal and share it often with your loved one.
"You will obviously have different life stages. Recipes birthday, family reunions. Each one goes through and gives you ideas that you can expand on. Marriage, dating, the proposal, wedding."
A memory box with tangible mementos can also help recapture positive memories.
Morris told us, "If they were involved in sports or arts of some sort. It may be a ball glove or baseball, football, or maybe it's a photo of them dancing. Whatever it might be to take them back."
In my Dad's case, we bought him a record player. Music was a gateway to times long since forgotten.
Morris said, "All the senses can be stimulated. Touch, smell and definitely audibly. Listening to music, just like we enjoy relaxing to music. I think it can have the same affect on them and take them back to a different time as well."
Nothing can restore their memory permanently. That's the harsh reality of Alzheimer's and Dementia. But a short trip down memory lane is a trip worth taking for patient and family.