"He's working with the horses today."  The adult care taker is giving us a head's up so we know where to "meet" Dad. He's having a better day than some, but is completely convinced he has to take a group of horses, about six I guess, to someplace within riding distance. In his mind he has them tied up along the back deck and by my estimation, maybe six would fit there.  He is the only one who can see them and is noticeably frustrated with the task at hand.

"How long will this take?" he asks  me. Of course I have no idea, I don't know how long it takes to deliver invisible horses. I have only ridden a horse once in my life and that was at a place where you pay to ride out about a mile and back with a group of 10 or 12 others. I think that whole trip was about a 45 minute ride. I doubt he has ever ridden either. Distract him I think, get him to think about something else and the horses will go away. He does not follow any train of thought for more than a few minutes, except the ones where he wants to go home, this not my home. And since he does not remember correctly anymore it really probably is not home as he expects to find it.

Late in the afternoon, or early evening he requests to go home. "Where is that guy that is supposed to take me home?" or "They did not pick me up." It seems to be about the time he would be getting off work if he was still working. Most of the time it helps to take him to the store, maybe pick up a quart of milk, or fresh produce, any thing that may be needed. When we get home he usually thanks me and instructs me were to drop him off and where to turn around. Then I have to figure out how to make that seem normal when I stay. I had done that just a couple of days earlier, only this time, he had invited me in when I had it all planned out so I would drop him at the front of the house, and be inside from the back before he walked through the house. Before we got home he had asked me who was going to be in the house. I had told him his daughter would be there. It worked, he walked through the house and gave me big hug because he recognized me as his daughter for a few minutes. Except it didn't work like I thought it would. He started looking for the guy who brought him home too. 

One morning he was asking me if someone he knew from school was still in town. I did not know them, but he told me I went to school with them. Clue for me, I must be one of his sisters today. The day before that I was Betty. We don't know any one named Betty so I don't know where he was in time or place.

"How fast should I move these horses, maybe about 5 miles per hour?" "Do you think we will have this done in about 35 minutes?" 

"Dad, a guy with a big horse trailer is coming to take the horses. He will take them all at once and we will not have to worry about leading them. Just leave them it is OK, he knows what to do." I told him. It worked, he dropped the topic and came with me to do other things.  Note to self, watching Bonanza reruns is probably not a great idea.

Here is a link where they help people understand what it is like to have dementia or Alzheimer disease. I hope you have help if you take care of relatives with dementia.   
What it's like to have dementia

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