Dear Carol

"Dear Carol, My grandmother is struggling with her memory, and it's been really hard on my family"

Dear Carol,

My grandmother has Alzheimer’s. It’s really sad. She doesn’t always remember who we are and, lately, when she’s talking to my mom, she thinks she’s talking with her sister (not her daughter). My mom keeps correcting my grandmother, but then they both get upset. When my grandmother talks to me as if I’m someone else, I don’t correct her even though it feels weird and a little wrong to just go along with her.

- My Grandmother

Dear My Grandmother,

I’m so sorry your family is grappling with this. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and, when it’s severe, it can be very disheartening and frustrating. If correcting your grandmother doesn’t tend to bring her back, then you’re right—it may be better to just talk with her kindly, maybe giving her hand a squeeze to show her that she is loved. But be gentle with your mom, too. It’s heartbreaking for her to not feel recognized by her own mother.

Carol Weston is the author of 16 books including Speed of Life (about a girl who writes to an advice columnist). More at and on Instagram @carolwestonnyc.

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by GL | 12/8/2023