In Star Trek, the future is the Undiscovered Country. The future is the Lost Country for people with memory or cognitive difficulties.
My father moved to the lost country. The arduous journey was slow and filled with anguish, especially for my mother. For the first five years, I wasn't sure he was going anywhere. He and Mom sniped at each other about what they had heard on the evening news. We assumed he didn't understand the commentary because he refused to wear his hearing aids. He made mistakes playing his favorite card game. We thought it was because he wouldn't wear his glasses. He stopped calling us by name, and my brother and I compared notes. He told the same story over and over like a pre-recorded loop, and his friends began to avoid him. He stopped using the telephone. He drove to the coffee shop every day like he had a job and had to get to it. He stopped recognizing people and could no longer differentiate between past and present. He would become obsessed with a memory from his youth or childhood and talk about it exclusively, endlessly. He failed the mental cognizance tests at the doctor's office.
He sold his beloved Watusi cattle and got ripped on the price because he couldn't remember which animals were Foundation Pure, 15/16ths or some other lesser cross. What a sad change for a man who loved his cattle as much as his family. When my brother was born, he had told Mom the baby was "as pretty as a newborn calf." A rich compliment from him.
He adopted methods to cope with failing memory. If someone came to visit, he didn't have much to say, but what he did say made perfect sense. "Good to see you." "Glad you dropped by." "Come back again sometime." If he contributed to the conversation at all, it was in the context of an old memory.
When it became obvious he wasn't the same man he used to be, Mom gave me a clipping to read:
He became belligerent and couldn't be reasoned with. He ridiculed us for saying he shouldn't drive in a blizzard. He didn't notice that his clothes were dirty or foul smelling and refused to bathe. He became incontinent. He declared he was perfectly content with the situation. We were the ones with the problem.
He didn't take that journey alone. My mother was right beside him. She treated him kindly and gently. She kept him presentable. At the proper time, she took the car keys away from him. If he wanted to go drink coffee, she took him. She did everything in her power to maintain a semblance of normalcy and routine. She gave him little chores to do, like setting the table or taking out the trash, and stopped expecting him to be able to mow the grass or change the oil.
With her own strength rapidly fading, my mother made the heart-wrenching decision to move him to long-term care. He adapted well to the new country where they allowed him to wear his cowboy boots and listen to Johnny Cash on Alexa. He thought he was in a hotel with a great restaurant. He was never able to find his room by himself. He watched Lawrence Welk on TV but didn't know how to change the channel. Someone had to remind him to use the toilet. He was easy to get along with.
In the dining room, he hesitated to eat the food placed before him, because he knew he didn't have cash on him. If someone sat with him and said the restaurant was running a tab, he ate with gusto. He always offered his food to someone else if he noticed they weren't eating. He observed that the restaurant catered to the elderly. In fact, he became more talkative and occasionally knew my name.
Mom spent every day with him. Since she didn't drive after dark, they had a daily argument when she left. He wanted to go with her. When she pointed out that she wasn't able to care for him any longer, he reasonably suggested that she stay there and he would go home. The nursing staff finally asked her to stop telling him when she was leaving.
I expected the end of the journey to last longer. Two and a half months after entering long-term care, he died of a massive stroke. The personality, mannerisms, and wit of the man I called Dad died years earlier.
NOTE: If someone in your family can't remember what year it is, the name of the President, what they ate for breakfast, stops liking their favorite activities, or exhibits any of the behavior above, I urge you to seek medical help for them. https://alz.org/