A Georgia lady was overjoyed when her Alzheimer’s-affected mother recognized her name in a viral YouTube video though she has an identical twin sister.
Kelly Gunderson of Georgia says her 87-year-old mother, Daphne Tresher, has Alzheimer’s disease but “knew who I was, even if just for a moment.”
Gunderson, a hairstylist and married mother of two, revealed she had not expected such a response when she first pressed record a week before.
“I never know what I’m going to get when I’m talking with her,” Gunderson explained. “I was just enjoying it. And then, when she said my name—and I have an identical twin sister—so, when she said ‘Kelly,’ it just caught me off guard.’”
The most frequent form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Spotlight, in 2020, 5.8 million Americans were estimated to be living with the disease.
Persistent mood or behavioral changes, misplacing things, poor judgment, and memory loss are the most typical Alzheimer’s indications.
“Do you think I will lay here with just anybody?” Gunderson asked her mom in the touching video.
“No. I think you’d want to have a love for them if you want to,” her mother replied.
The mother and daughter’s love has not faded at all. Tresher realizes Gunderson loves her and loves her daughter in return though the mother might not always recognize Gunderson.
Gunderson tried once another time to revive her mother’s memory. Finally, Gunderson asked if her mother remembers her name about 40 seconds into the 90-second footage of the two lying in bed.
“Kelly,” her mother says, causing Gunderson to raise her head from her pillow, startled.
“Yes, Mama!” said the daughter. “Yes, I am Kelly.”
Everyone realized that while Alzheimer’s may take away a person’s memory, it does not entirely remove a person’s link or love at that time.
Tresher continued. “Well, I love Kelly,” and she asked, “And didn’t I name you Kelly?”
Gunderson responded, “Yes, you did!” with a shared laugh.
“Well, I love you, Kelly,” her mother added.
“I love you, Mama,” Gunderson said.
Gunderson, later in the video, asked about her mother’s thoughts.
“Well, I’m lovin’ you,” said Tresher.
“I’m lovin’ you, too, Mama,” replied the daughter.
Tresher went on to ask, “Oh, well, we’re both doin’ the same thing, aren’t we?”. With such a beautiful interaction, the video came to a close.
Gunderson had to adjust how she saw and communicated with her mother when she had the disease in 2003.
“In the early stages, [people with Alzheimer’s] repeat themselves, over and over again, and they’ve got that short-term memory where they don’t remember your conversation that you just had,” she said according to Today.com. “It’s a little aggravating because you don’t realize [they have the disease]. Then when you realize it, and in the late stage, that’s the new normal, and you just deal with it. Love them anyway, and love them through it.”
Author Lisa Genova, an Alzheimer’s expert, said that she was not amazed by the footage, but it does not mean that the video becomes less moving or important.
“Don’t try to accomplish anything other than connecting emotionally,” Genova explained. “You’ll probably have a lot of moments that feel mutual and reciprocal and meaningful. [Gunderson’s] mom recognized the love before she recognized her daughter’s name”.