All memory seems lost; lives in eternal present

  All Alzheimer's Symptoms

When it happens

By mid- and late-severe stage dementia

Why it happens

Between of an erosion of memory, difficulty communicating, and loss of self-awareness, the present moment becomes everything.

What you can do

  • Be in the moment. It's natural to long for the past or worry about the future, but the person with dementia needs you to be present and calm right now.

  • Lower your expectations. A skill that was performed yesterday (putting a foot into a shoe with help, remembering to swallow) may require constant prompting today.

  • Consider learning about mindfulness-based stress reduction for yourself. Classes may involve more time than you have available -- but you can learn parts of the technique, such as mindful breathing exercises that help lower anxiety and deal with the present. An easy one to try: Breathe in through your nose for a count of five, hold for seven beats, then exhale through the mouth for eight counts. Repeat six times, as needed.