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Why have all of my aunt's friends disappeared?

Is it a universal thing that someone with Alzheimer's loses all their friends and most of their family? I have 5 brothers and sisters, and only my one sister and I have taken charge and cared for her. And her big circle of friends disappeared as if she was diagnosed with some infectious disease.
Status: Open    May 17, 2015 - 12:33 AM


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Aug 03, 2015 - 08:26 AM

Yes that is hard to see. I think that some people feel uncomfortable because they do not know how to act or what to say. Your siblings also may be having trouble dealing with changes that are occurring with their aunt.

I would suggest that you encourage your aunt’s friends to come, see her. It may help them feel more comfortable if you are present, at least, for their first visit. I know of one man who had Alzheimer’s, who had a group of close friends. One of those friends decided to get the rest of the group together for a visit. That meeting went so well, the group continued to visit him weekly until the day he died.

You could also emphasize that their visits can, also, help relieve you by helping keep your aunt occupied. You can help foster their visits by suggesting activities that your aunt enjoys, such as watching a movie.

If you haven’t already done so, I suggest that you check out the Alzheimer’s association ( I have found them to be very helpful by making practical suggestions for family and friends of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

I think that you and your sister should be commended for taking care of your aunt. I am sure that your aunt appreciates your help. I don’t think that you will regret your sacrifices.


Jul 30, 2015 - 09:30 PM

Caring for someone with memory loss is not an easy task both physically and emotionally. What you describe is a common theme among families and support networks, unfortunate as it may be. Your Aunt is very lucky to have you and your sister to support her through her journey.

Relating to someone with memory loss can be both confusing, exhausting and scary for some people. Many of those who experience memory loss repeat themselves, over and over and over (same questions, same statements, etc) leaving those around them unsure of how to relate to them, how to have a meaningful conversation and relationship. Many assume 'they won't remember anyway.' I would disagree with this.

My own personal experience has been the feelings, emotions and thoughts don't go away, just the ability to communicate what is going on 'inside' to those around them. I often relate the story of having a disagreement (or a fight) with a family member and a few days later you might still be in emotional and often physical turmoil, upset, tired, etc. The difference between you and someone with memory loss is you (the one with no memory loss) can relate to the situation, remember what caused the angst and continue to process it. Someone with memory loss still gets angry, still gets upset, continues to get the physical symptoms of anger (headache, loss of sleep, loss of appetite, etc) but isn't able to convey their needs to their caregivers and therefore relies on others to remind them to eat, remind them to sleep, offer them a tylenol when they don't tell you they are in pain etc. So why yes, they might not remember the exact conversation they do remember (deep down) how they FELT about the conversation and it carries on with them for hours and sometimes days. Validating their feelings, emotions and daily activities (whatever they might be) is important to leave them ending each day as peaceful as they can to ensure a good night's sleep, important for everyone, especially for those with memory loss.


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