I've been keeping my father in law company for the last few months. He has Alzheimer's and is still able to stay in his home with a little help. It was his late wife's wish that Shana and I help him stay at home and we have been able to help him transition from his wife's passing to becoming accustomed to having some hired caregivers in the house. Although I am certain he does not remember our names I know he recognizes or faces and trusts us as friends and helpers. I've done some searching around the Internet for some information about dealing with this disease and have run across some pretty good resources. Teepa Snow , an expert on Alzheimer's has a series of videos on You Tube that are easy to watch, enoyable, and informative in addition to a helpful website. Here's one:
One other thing I have found on my own is that people, even old friends, are afraid to stop by and reluctant to offer any concrete forms of help. To them I say: "Man Up!" Alzheimer's is not contagious. Don't just pull long faces and ask how the patient is doing when you see me on the street. Ask how the caregiver is doing. Come by to visit, bring some cookies or a casserole, seriously offer to stay for an hour or so to let the caregiver have a break. Offer to pick up groceries or the dry cleaning. We are lucky to be able to hire caregivers, but lots of spouses do not have this luxury and would at the very least like to think that their friends have not all disappeared.