Heart-wrenching film shows the moment a mother with dementia forgets who her son is

By Thomas Burrows

This heart-wrenching video shows a son filming his mother with dementia as she forgets who he is for the first time.

Joey Daley, 45, from Dublin, Ohio, is documenting his mother Molly's battle with dementia through a weekly video series.

Molly was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia at the age of 65. She is now 67, in a nursing home and can no longer bathe herself or take her own medication, the Daily Mail reports.

In the latest footage, her heartbroken son fights back tears as he asks her questions about their family that she can't remember.

Earlier in the day, Molly had told her son she couldn't recall her husband, Joey's father, who she divorced when Joey was one.

During a trip to Tim Horton's in a shopping mall, he restarted the difficult conversation.

He asked: "So you weren't sure who my dad was. Do you know who my mom is?"

To that, she replied: "No ... I guess I don't know. Who is that?"

"My mom? You don't know my mom is?", he asked.

"I have to think about it ... tell me."

"I'm Joey. Who's my mom?"

"I don't know. What is it?"

"You are."

"That's what I thought."

Molly then asked, "say that again, who your mom is?"

He replied, "who's my mom?"

"I don't know."

"Who am I?"

"I don't know."

At the end of the footage, Joey sobs uncontrollably on camera and says: "This day I will never forget. When your mother doesn't know who you are, she knows my name but doesn't know who I am.

"I tried so hard to get her to say who I was ... but she just doesn't know. I feel like she just died. I wasn't expecting this.

"I thought this would come a lot later when maybe she couldn't talk, I don't know who she thinks I am, a friend, someone she went to school with?

"I just want to get back in and ask her one more time — 'who am I?' And have her say 'my son'."

Speaking to MailOnline about the emotional footage, Mr Daley said: "I've had an overwhelming response that has really surprised me ... there are so many good people in the world.

"I've got 50 emails coming in as we speak.

"Everyone has a mother and it's hard to imagine your mother not knowing who you are. You can see from watching the footage how devastating it is.

"I am exposing my weaknesses and vulnerabilities but I wanted to bring awareness to dementia and that is more important."

Responding to criticism from some viewers that he asked his mother too many questions, he said: "I answered a lot of questions in this episode because I was panicking. I didn't want to ask whether she knew me, I wanted her to say it. I desperately wanted her to realise that on her own.

"My mother's mental health changes day by day, in this video she wasn't acting much differently from how she had been in episodes two, three and four ... I just hadn't thought to ask the question before."

Describing his relationship with her mother before her illness, he said: "We always did things like that (what you see in the video) — going to the shops, or horse racing. I had a sister, but after my mother's divorce I was the only guy in the family. My mother and I always end the evening with a frosty in Tim Horton's."

Mr Daley said the visits to his mother were "draining" and recording it online had consumed his life.

He added: "Who knows how bad she will be in six months time? It's tough having to watch back the footage, and edit it. But it's OK as I want to get the message about dementia out there."

WHAT IS LEWY BODY DEMENTIA?

by Mia de Graaf, Health Correspondent

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is the second most common form of degenerative dementia after Alzheimer's.

Unlike Alzheimer's, LBD affects the brain regions responsible for vision — as opposed to memory.

That means sufferers may start with memory loss, but over time the more debilitating symptoms will be powerful hallucinations, nightmares and spatial-awareness problems. LBD is closely connected to Parkinson's disease, meaning that many sufferers will develop Parkinson's as well — as happened to Robin Williams.

SYMPTOMS

The most common symptoms include:

Impaired thinking, such as loss of executive function (planning, processing information), memory, or the ability to understand visual information;

Fluctuations in cognition, attention or alertness;

Problems with movement including tremors, stiffness, slowness and difficulty walking;

Visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not present)

Sleep disorders, such as acting out one's dreams while asleep;

Behavioural and mood symptoms, including depression, apathy, anxiety, agitation, delusions or paranoia;

Changes in autonomic body functions, such as blood pressure control, temperature regulation, and bladder and bowel function.

HOW IT STARTS

Many sufferers will first develop Parkinson's, suffering physical disabilities, before doctors diagnose their dementia. That is what happened to the late revered actor Robin Williams.

Some will start with memory loss that could be mistaken for the more common Alzheimer's disease. Over time, they will develop symptoms more clearly associated with LBD.

WHAT CAUSES IT?

There is no known cause. What we do know is that risk increases with age.

At a cellular level, LBD is characterised by tiny clumps of abnormal proteins produced by the brain when its cells are not working properly. They cause memory problems, although these don't tend to be as severe as with Alzheimer's — which is linked to a build-up of the protein beta-amyloid.

Another key difference is that Lewy body dementia affects regions of the brain responsible for vision, causing powerful hallucinations, nightmares and spatial-awareness problems.

- Daily Mail

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